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"Almost there…"
―Garven Dreis[src]

Garven "Dave" Dreis was a male human pilot from Virujansi who served in the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. During the war, Dreis participated in the Rebellion's attack on the Galactic Empire's first Death Star in the Battle of Yavin, flying an T-65B X-wing starfighter as leader of Red Squadron. During the battle, he was killed by Darth Vader.


Battle of ScarifEdit

"This is Red Leader, standing by."
―Garven Dreis[src]
Garven Dreis Scarif

Garven Dreis during the Battle of Scarif.

In 0 BBY, Dreis led Red Squadron as part of the Rebel support forces attacking the Shield Gate above Scarif.[4] As part of Admiral Raddus' plans during the early phase of the engagement, Red Squadron was assigned to cover the Rebel capital ships and Gold Squadron, a Y-wing bomber group, Fighters under Dreis' command also engaged the large TIE fighter detachment guarding the Scarif shield gate.

X-wings under Dreis' command, including Red Eight and Red Twelve, attempted to penetrate the shield proper of the Scarif gate with repeated proton torpedo bombing runs in conjunction with Gold Squadron's attacks on the aperture itself. Despite their continued bombardment throughout the engagement, the Rebel ships were unable to break through the powerful Imperial shield.

The TIE fighter garrison directly intercepted the Rebel fighter and bomber forces as a result of these runs, including Dreis' squadron. Dreis personally scorned Pedrin Gaul, a cadet pressed into active service with the squadron under the callsign Red Five, for splitting off from the main group. Despite Dreis' instruction for Gaul to return, the latter was shot down, along with several other Red Squadron members. Dreis himself survived Scarif, and his pilots were a direct cause for the Rebel Alliance strategic victory that resulted from this attack.

Battle of YavinEdit

"Stay there, I've just lost my starboard engine! Get set up for your attack run!"
―Garven Dreis' final words[src]
Only a few days after the costly victory over Scarif, Dreis and his remaining pilots were summoned to a briefing by General Jan Dodonna. Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, a Rebel sympathizer who had taken possession of the plans for the monolithic Death Star battlestation as a result of the skirmish over Scarif, had briefly fallen into Imperial custody, while the plans had been secreted within a droid, R2-D2, which eventually found its way to Luke Skywalker, a Tatooine moisture farmer. Motivated by a message from Organa which guided him to Obi-Wan Kenobi, a hidden Jedi, young Skywalker had hired a Corellian smuggler, Han Solo, and, through a complicated series of events, rescued Organa from imprisonment and returned the plans to her, although Kenobi was killed shortly before the group escaped the Death Star, where Organa had been held and from which she had witnessed the destruction of Alderaan itself by the station's superlaser. Their means of escape was Solo's infamous freighter, the Millennium Falcon, which had, unbeknownst to Organa and her compatriots, been tagged with an Imperial tracking device. Thus, the Death Star and its ruthless commandant, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, had been guided to the Rebel stronghold on Yavin IV, and had arrived in-system shortly before the briefing. [2]

Dreis, along with most of those assembled, were skeptical that the handful of fighters remaining could have any effect on the Death Star. Dodonna explained, however, that there was a key flaw in the designs of the station: a thermal exhaust port, only three meters wide. A proton torpedo fired down this shaft would impact the main reactor, causing critical failure and, ultimately, the destruction of the Death Star. It would be the ships under Dreis that would attempt this 'trench run,' the only hope the Alliance stronghold had for survival. [2]

Returning to the hangar, Dreis met with Skywalker, rescuer of Organa and the plans, who had volunteered to join the squadron and bolster their numbers. Garven was initially skeptical of the young man's piloting skills; however, Biggs Darklighter, a childhood friend of Skywalker and already a pilot under Dreis' command, personally vouched for his piloting skills, gloating that Luke was the best bush pilot in the entire Outer Rim. Dreis accepted Skywalker and assigned him to the position of Red Five, left vacant after cadet Pedrin Gaul's death over Scarif. [2]

The squadron, scrambled alongside Vander's Y-wings once again, rose from Yavin IV's jungles and flew to the Death Star, along the way confirming readiness and checking in. Arcing toward the trench and their target, the squadrons quickly began suffering losses to the innumerable turbolaser batteries and deflection towers across the surface of the moon-sized battle station. Dreis' X-wings initially served as cover while the bombers of Gold Squadron peeled off in groups of three to attempt the trench run; however, as squadrons of TIE/In starfighters poured from the Death Star's hangar bays to engage the Rebel ships, these early runs were annihilated to the last man. [2]
Garven Dreis last moments

Dreis' last moments at the Battle of Yavin

Darth Vader, a Dark Lord of the Sith and masterful pilot, rose from the station to personally defend it in the midst of the skirmish. He was responsible for the deaths of several of Dreis' subordinates in Red Squadron as well as his close friend Jon Vander, in dogfights. Despite this danger, Dreis and Red Ten, alongside another pilot, attempted the trench run. [2]

Although Vader shot down Dreis' wingmen, he managed to launch a pair of proton torpedoes towards the exhaust port. These, however, missed the target, and another group of fighters would have to make a third attempt. While arcing out of the trench to recover from his failed attack, Dreis was personally targeted by Vader. Skywalker, seeing the Imperial fighters, told Dreis that he would come to his aid; the squadron leader dissuaded him from this, instead leading Vader as far off from the trench as he could before he was finally shot down by the Dark Lord. Dreis' X-wing spiraled into the surface of the Death Star, and he was killed on impact. [2]

Behind the scenesEdit

Garven Dreis was portrayed in 1977's Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope by British actor Drewe Henley (whose last name was incorrectly spelled "Hemley" in the credits, including those of the Special Edition). A pre-battle scene in which Dreis discusses Luke's piloting ability with Luke and Biggs was cut from the original release, but partially restored in 1997 for the Special Edition.

Henley passed away on February 14, 2016. His role in A New Hope was his final acting role on film; shortly after the movie was released, he was diagnosed with manic depression and retired.

Henley posthumously reprised the role in 2016's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story through the use of archival footage.



Notes and referencesEdit