[[quoteright:220:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/220px-Wing_commander_post_6005.jpg]]
As part of the agreement between Creator/ElectronicArts and Chris Roberts, in regards to the departure of the latter from the former, he was given contractual permission to make a movie based on the ''VideoGame/WingCommander'' franchise. In 1998, the result was released to the public by Creator/TwentiethCenturyFox.

New pilots Christopher Blair (Freddie Prinze Jr) and his best friend/rival Todd "Maniac" Marshall (Matthew Lillard) are assigned to the TCS ''Tiger Claw'' [sic] as the Kilrathi fleet prepares to mount a massive assault on Sol Sector, using navigational information gained in a raid on a major Terran Confederation naval base. Time is short for Admiral Tolwyn (Creator/DavidWarner) to mount a defense, and the ''Tiger Claw'' is ordered to buy them more time. Whilst integrating with the ''Claw'''s flight wing, led by Jeannette "Angel" Devereaux (Saffron Burrows), Blair finds himself fighting some of the most crucial battles of the war--and trying to keep secret the fact that he's half "Pilgrim," a sub-species of humans subject to FantasticRacism.

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!!Tropes employed by the movie:
* AdaptationDyeJob: Maniac started out, in the game series, with darker hair. While the jump to FullMotionVideo kept close to that with Tom Wilson, in the movie he was depicted as blond.
* ArtificialGravity: Done in such a way that it affected objects even as they left the ship, as long as they were within a few meters of it. Caused [[HateDumb many a cry]] it was ruined when a wrecked fighter is pushed off the flight deck, causing it to "fall" off the edge into space. To be fair, the ArtificialGravity is at least consistently shown to affect objects leaving the flight deck that way.
* ArtisticLicenseMilitary: Commander Gerald and several ''Claw'' pilots go with the Marines on a raid [[spoiler:against the Kilrathi Command And Control ship]], even though there's no logical reason (other than to keep the protagonists front and center) for them to join the mission.
* AsteroidThicket: The Ulysses Corridor
* AttackPatternAlpha: Two Confed fighters execute a "Jack in the Box", with both of them popping out from behind an asteroid to engage Kilrathi ships at close range.
* TheBattleStar:
** TCS ''Tiger Claw'' is a carrier that is ''capable'' of fighting enemy capital ships toe to toe, but anything from a cruiser on up is considered long odds. She relies on her fighter wing to keep the fight away from her.
** Admiral Tolwyn's flagship, the TCS ''Concordia'', is indicated to be a straight example of this trope in the {{Novelization}}, described as a Supercruiser.
* BetterThanSex: Rosie claims that some hotdog flying with Maniac was better than sex. Angel calls "bullshit" on the claim, to which Rosie replies "better than sex with myself".
* CasualInterstellarTravel: Jump drive technology allows for interstellar travel, but can only be done from certain points and it can sometimes take days to reach a given destination when travelling at sub-light between jump points. It's implied the Pilgrim war and following Kilrathi war has resulted in the Confederation ceasing most exploration and sticking to safe jump points. Paladin demonstrates that ships can get around a lot faster if they're willing to jump things like pulsars and black holes, which is incredibly dangerous.
* TheCavalry: {{Subverted}}. Admiral Tolwyn's fleet manages to get to Sol System before the Kilrathi do, and take up orbit over Venus to await the Kilrathi arrival. When Blair arrives in Sol System [[spoiler: pursued by a Kilrathi Cruiser,]] Tolwyn can't send any ships to help Blair without tipping off the Kilrathi to the presence of the Enigma Sector Fleet in Sol System. Even considering that their non-intervention will [[spoiler: leave the Kilrathi cruiser free to [[DeathFromAbove open fire on Earth]]]], the cost of springing their trap early before the Kilrathi fleet had stepped into it would be much worse. [[spoiler: Blair's broadcasting the Kilrathi fleet's intended jump coordinates does allow Tolwyn to move his fleet into position to [[CurbStompBattle wail on the Kilrathi as they are forced to make the jump one ship at a time.]]]]
* ChekhovsGun:
** [[spoiler: [[NegativeSpaceWedgie Beacon 147 ]]]] in the outer reaches of the Sol System.
** If you look closely, you can see a distinctive chain around Taggart's neck [[spoiler:supporting his [[MembershipToken Pilgrim's Cross]]]] through the entire movie.
* ClassicalMythology: Quite a few references throughout the plot to ''Literature/TheOdyssey''
* ComingInHot: Complete with the crashed fighter being pushed off the edge of the deck and falling into [[SpaceIsAnOcean the ocean, er, space]]
* CreatorCameo: Chris Roberts, creator for both the movie and the game series on which it's based, gets a cameo at the end after the climax of the film, as a rescue ship pilot welcoming Blair to Sol Sector.
* CurbStompBattle: The Kilrathi attack on Ulysses Station in the beginning of the film [[spoiler: as well as Enigma Sector Fleet's ambush of the Kilrathi fleet in Sol System in the film's climax]].
* TheDeadHaveNames: {{Inverted|Trope}}. Anyone who dies is said to be forgotten, and mention of their name actually forbidden. Maniac finds this deplorable.
* DeflectorShields: Though they only hold up to so much punishment for the ''Tiger Claw'', given that she isn't designed to get that up close and personal with enemy ships. These shields appear impervious to torpedoes, and the shields must be down for either the ship to launch torpedoes or for enemy torpedoes to hit them. Much of the anti-ship tactics in the film revolve around either timing their shots just right, or goading the enemy into lowering their shields somehow.
* DelayingAction: The Tiger Claw's primary mission in the film, harassing and delaying the Kilrathi fleet by whatever means possible so Admiral Tolwyn can make up the few hours he needs to be in position.
* DontThinkFeel: Due to his special heritage [[spoiler:as a Pilgrim]], Taggart tells Blair to ignore the warnings of his fighter's computer [[spoiler: to calculate the jump to Sol Sector]].
* FantasticRacism: Against the Pilgrims.
* FinishHim: ''Give him a broadside, Mr Gerald!''
* GodHelpUsAll: During the film's opening montage, which is capped with an audio snippet of the president of the Terran Confederation informing the Senate that all attempts at a peaceful resolution with the Kilrathi have failed:
-->It is my sad duty to inform you... that as of six AM this morning, [[ThisMeansWar we are formally at war with the Kilrathi]]. God help us all.
* GravitySucks: Beacon 147, a NegativeSpaceWedgie also known as [[MeaningfulName Scyllia]]. Two Confed ships nearly fall victim to this trope, and an unsuspecting Kilrathi warship ''does'' fall victim to this.
* HighlyConspicuousUniform: The Confederation Marines wear red armored suits.
* HollywoodEvolution: As told in the ''Confederation Handbook'' and hinted at during the OpeningMonologue, Pilgrims are a result of spacers who worked and lived in the less shielded outer sections of space stations, over generations mutating to have special powers.
* HollywoodTactics: Most noticeable in the broadside scene, given the cinematic reasons to have the larger ships close enough to be on the same screen.
* HolographicTerminal: Used for displaying the sensor readouts on stations and capital warships, in particular the maps used to plot the Kilrathi approach path [[spoiler:to Sol Sector]].
* HyperspeedAmbush: Blair transmits the [[spoiler:Kilrathi fleet's intended]] jump coordinates, allowing Tolwyn to position his fleet to strike [[spoiler:the Kilrathi]] as soon as the enemy makes their jump, one at a time as per normal jump tactics.
* InTheBlood: Pilgrims' navigational talents
* InvisibilityCloak: The Kilrathi Skipper missile is a cloak-equipped missile that travels a certain distance, decloaks and changes course, then cloaks again. It's slower than a normal missile, but the cloaking makes it impossible to shoot down unless a fighter can chase it down.
* LiveActionAdaptation: Based on a series of computer games.
* MembershipToken: The Pilgrim Crosses for Blair [[spoiler:and Taggart]], as well as the class ring [[spoiler:of Admiral Tolwyn]]: [[MilitaryAcademy Annapolis]], [[WorldWarTwo Class of 1942]].]] The novelization takes this further, with the Pilgrim Crosses also eventually identifying the traitors: [[spoiler:Admiral Wilson and Captain Sansky.]]
* TheMole: Cut from the film due to poor test audience response. Instead we just have lots of FantasticRacism and unexplained system failures that lead one to believe that Confed's ships are ''definitely'' built by the lowest bidder. The {{novelization}} retained the traitor subplot, ultimately revealing the mole: [[spoiler: Captain Sansky, working for Admiral Wilson]].
* NewMeat: Blair and Maniac both initially receive a frosty reception due to their inexperience.
* NomDeGuerre: Maniac, Maverick, Angel, Iceman, Paladin, etc. Most of the characters are fighter pilots after all.
* NotTheFallThatKillsYou: Averted and played straight in the same scene, when the hangar bay was depressurizing due to damage from an attack. Blair plays it straight, when he grabs an item on the deck to stop his being sucked out into space, without any obvious discomfort or injuries. Maniac's rush towards the vacuum is stopped by a cable tied around his waist and held at the other end by other pilots. The sudden stop when the cable that was tied around his midsection catches makes him visibly wince in pain, and afterwards it's shown to have badly dug into his midsection, causing him to cough up blood. He is later shown shirtless in his quarters wearing bandages on the affected area.
* OpeningMonologue: The intro pans over space charts while playing a recording of JFK giving a speech about the Space Race, which segues into other radio broadcasts delivering exposition about the Pilgrams, mankind's invention of FasterThanLightTravel, and the disasterous FirstContact with the Kilrathi.
* PeopleInRubberSuits: The Kilrathi. However, Chris Roberts has never liked the appearance of ''any'' of the Kilrathi, from ''any'' source. Sources (i.e. rumors circulating on-line) say that the Kilrathi costumes [[VisualEffectsOfAwesome actually were very imposing]] when allowed to stand to their full height, but cramped sets meant they spent the movie hunched at the waist and shoulders, resulting in their [[SpecialEffectsFailure less-than-impressive final appearance]].
* PlanarShockwave: from destroyed Kilrathi capships, and they look pretty freaking awesome. Also from a Skipper missile near the end of the movie, but this time Angel tries to [[OutrunTheFireball Outrun A Fireball]] which is less tall than her ship is, instead of, say, [[TwoDSpace pulling up a few meters]]. They even ''refer'' to it as the "[[LampshadeHanging Planar Wave]]" in dialog.
* PoorCommunicationKills: What turns Beacon 147 from a warning to pure High Octane SchmuckBait.
* RaceAgainstTheClock: With the loss of the Vega Sector Fleet, the door is open for the Kilrathi fleet to move on to attack Earth. Admiral Tolwyn's Enigma Sector Fleet, moving at top speed, will arrive a few hours too late to intervene. The Tiger Claw's mission is to delay the Kilrathi fleet to [[DelayingAction buy as much time as possible for Tolwyn to get in position.]]
* RightInFrontOfMe: Blair is sitting in the cockpit of a Rapier, when a woman suddenly standing next to the ship quizzes him on his dogfighting skills with a couple hypothetical scenarios. She is brutally honest in explaining why Blair's responses would only get him killed, leading to the following:
-->'''Devereaux:''' What's wrong, Lieutenant? Did I bruise your ego?\\
'''Blair:''' No, it's just that I'm not used to getting combat advice from a [[WrenchWench grease-monkey]].\\
'''Devereaux:''' ''[introducing herself]'' Commander Devereaux, Lieutenant. Your wing commander.
* RuleOfCool: The reason for using ArtificialGravity to make the ''Tiger Claw'' work like an [[SpaceIsAnOcean ocean-bound aircraft carrier.]] Is it the most sensible way to operate an aircraft carrier in space? Goodness no, but it's entertaining to watch.
* ShoutOut: Quite a few to ''Literature/TheOdyssey'', evidently the Pilgrims who named everything were fans of the Classics.
* SilentRunningMode: Via StealthInSpace. Ships, from small fighters up to entire fleets of capital ships, try to avoid detection by shutting down all non-essential power systems and getting as close as they can to asteroids, debris, or planets (in the case of the aforementioned fleet). Works to varying degrees depending on how close the enemy gets. At one point the ''Tiger Claw'' plays up Roberts' inspiration by ''Film/DasBoot'' with the ''Claw'' doing this while damaged, to try to avoid the Kilrathi fleet. They go as far as requiring everyone aboard the ship to stay as quiet as possible, despite the fact that sound doesn't travel through vacuum.
* SpaceIsAnOcean: And space carriers are submarines.
* TakeAThirdOption: Suggested by Rosie, after Maniac introduces himself and Blair to ''Tiger Claw's'' pilots in the rec room. The first option is that the new pilots and the old pilots get into a brawl. The second option is that they instead share a friendly bottle of scotch. Rosie's proposed third option? Kick the new pilots' asses, ''then'' drink their scotch.
* TimTaylorTechnology: [[DeconstructedTrope Played to its logical conclusion]]: Several of Tolywn's ships suffer [[ExplosiveOverclocking catastrophic meltdowns]] from running their engines too hard in the push to get in position to defend Earth. Upon being informed of this, [[RaceAgainstTheClock he orders the ships to raise their engine output again.]]
* VanillaEdition: Although more a case of the Creator/TwentiethCenturyFox executives [[TheyJustDidntCare simply not caring]] about the film than a quest for more sales, all three releases (non-anamorphic {{DVD}} in 1999, anamorphic DVD in 2011, and BluRay in 2013) have nothing more than a fairly barebones menu and the theatrical trailer included.
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