Welcome today’s special guest poster–my husband Chris 🙂 He’s the biggest Star Wars fan I know (don’t believe me, check out the picture of him in his jedi Halloween costume to the left), and he’s also the one who introduced me to Battlestar Gallactica. I couldn’t think of anyone better to pit the best fighter pilot from each against each other and see who wins . . .
In much the same way that sports fans have fantasy leagues to make dream-team matchups, it’s fun for science fiction fans to have dream matchups between some of the larger-than-life characters in the most successful science fiction franchises.
I’ve heard in a few places that Kara Thrace of Battlestar Gallactica (whose call sign is “Starbuck”) is the best fighter pilot in the sci-fi universe. I’ve also heard that Wedge Antilles, Luke Skywalker, or Han Solo (all from Star Wars) are the best. With this thinking in mind, I decided to do my own little all-star matchup between Wedge Antilles, the long-time leader of Rogue Squadron, and Kara Thrace, arguably the best fighter pilot in the Colonial fleet.
(I didn’t choose Luke Skywalker or any other Force user, as they have an innate advantage through the Force. I didn’t choose Han Solo because the Millenium Falcon, although an amazing ship, is a heavily modified light freighter, and he doesn’t qualify as a fighter pilot.)
In terms of skill, Wedge and Kara are probably equal. They are both aces (they’ve racked up five or more kills), both served as commanders of large strike groups, and are highly respected for their skills inside the cockpit.
Wedge’s decades of experience (eventually he’s promoted all the way to Admiral), cool head, and innate calculating instincts serve him better than Kara’s fiery personality. Wedge excels at getting inside an opponent’s head, both with his flying and with his words.
Kara’s drive to excel probably matches or even exceeds Wedge’s, but hotheads like Kara can easily be manipulated, in much the same way a skilled martial artist uses his opponent’s weight and momentum against them. For example, in the Star Wars books, Wedge frequently uses his ship’s comm system to talk to opposing pilots. He would probably try to talk Kara down from a fight, while she would likely tell him to “shut the frack up” and be ready to lose.
If they both flew the same starfighter, it’d be a coin toss as to who won the fight. The difference between the two pilots really comes down to the equipment at their disposal, so let’s take a look at the birds they fly.
Imagine it like a dogfight . . .
Kara’s Viper Mark II would easily outmaneuver Wedge’s X-Wing, but she’d have to pack missiles to get through his shields, which can be placed into a double-strength configuration wherever he wants. And Wedge’s four laser cannons outclass Kara’s machine guns. As she maneuvers out of any lock he achieves on her and angles in behind him, he has his astromech droid program a proton torpedo to go off via a proximity fuse. She has no shields, and a proton torpedo can destroy unshielded enemy fighters.
Should she manage to take out his weapons and disable his shields, all he needs to do is plot an emergency hyperspace jump and live to fight another day, while she has to wait for Gallactica to recover her, determine his course, and plot a trailing FTL jump to find him.
The Mark II Viper probably has an edge over the T-65 X-Wing in terms of speed, power, and maneuverability. However, the X-Wing has a definite advantage in terms of armament, range, supralight travel capability, navigation, and survivability.
The winner of this duel would be Wedge Antilles, based solely on the equipment used.
But I’m just one sci-fi fan.
What do you guys think? Would you bet on Wedge or Starbuck in a dogfight? What other science fiction or fantasy characters would you love to see faceoff?