As we draw closer to the Fall, November 17th to be exact, more details are slowly coming to light on EA Games’ newest entry into the Battlefront saga. It’s shaping up not only to be a game that will please frustrated fans of the first game, but also fill a very interesting part of canon – what will happen to the most loyal Imperials when their Empire no longer has an Emperor? One of my favorite new canon novels is Lost Stars, the story of two young lovers that wind up on opposite sides of the Galactic Civil War. It features perspectives of both loyal Imperials and daring rebels, and one of the things it does best is that it humanized many Imperial characters. They were real people with real issues, friendships, predjudices, and aspirations. Battlefront 2 (AKA Battlefront II 2) will feature an Empire-centered storyline connecting events directly following Return of the Jedi up into the times of the First Order.
Our main character is Iden Versio, portrayed, modeled, and motion-captured by actress Janina Gavankar. She is a born-and-bred loyal Imperial TIE pilot who grew up on an Empire-controlled planet known as Vardos. She climbs the ranks and eventually becomes commander of Inferno Squadron, a black-ops Imperial team that plays a part in Operation Cinder. In the gameplay bits of the video, we see that she has a droid similar to a viper probe droid that takes down a rebel soldier for her, shocking him with one of likely many weapons/attachments that can be upgraded throughout the game. We also see her firing up what looks to be a TIE fighter, and the Inferno Squadron symbol comes up as a sort of loading screen on her flight computer. No confirmation yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see her get a special TIE fighter with unique red markings similar to Inferno Squadron’s TIE uniforms. However, she may not get a special ship until her squad takes control of its personal Raider Class Corvette. Some of these background factors may be introduced in Battlefront II: Inferno Squadron, the soon-upcoming novel by Christie Golden.
Next we are properly introduced to those other two Inferno Squad troopers we saw in the first trailer. First we have Gideon Hask, portrayed by Paul Blackthorne. I only know of him through the ‘Arrowverse’ shows on the CW, based on DC Comics characters, but that’s plenty and he’s got the perfect level of intensity (not to mention the accent) to play a proper Imperial soldier. Hask is described as a zealot with ultimate faith in the Empire, and believes that the only way to true lasting peace is through the might of the Empire. Voice and motion capture actor Paul Blackthorne mentioned that Hask was an orphan – to me that sounds like backstory that will more likely be addressed in the novel, but the way this story is shaping up, it sounds like it will all be well-connected with canon.
The third member of the team is Del Meeko, whose Wookieepedia page has some interesting details on. Del is voiced by AJ Tamini and is the most humorous member of the squad. He grew up on Coruscant when there will still
traitors Jedi around and worked his way up through many Imperial ranks including Stormtrooper, shoretrooper, TIE pilot, and eventually an Inferno Squad member. Tamini notes that he’s able to get Iden Versio to laugh, which may hint at the pair being good friends throughout the conflicts of the post-Endor era.
Last but not least is Garrick Versio, father of Iden Versio and admiral in the Imperial Navy. Garrick is voiced and appears loosely-based on actor Anthony Skordi. I try to relate actors to things I know because I’m kind of crap at remembering who is who outside of Star Wars most of the time. He played “man” on the Drew Carey show, and I used to love that show! Anyway, Garrick Versio directs Inferno Squad on their assignments through Operation Cinder, which is the Emperor’s postmortem set of contingency plans. Only the most loyal Imperial officers are contacted by the mysterious Sentinel droids, and Garrick often appears in the video with one such droid near him on the bridge of his ship. Duty is extremely important to Admiral Versio, but he is also very protective of his daughter, whom he helped in some way to attain her high rank. How will this play out in the main story, which is set just after the second Death Star is destroyed and both Vader an the Emperor are killed?
We’ll soon get a better look into the backstories of these characters in the novel I mentioned, Battlefront II: Inferno Squad. I was a big fan of the first Battlefront book, Twilight Company, and the way its battles were a slog to process mentally – the casualties, troop movements on both sides, and the bigger picture of the galaxy as the company comes back from the brink of total retreat. I’m also a huge fan of Chrisie Golden’s previous Star Wars novel, Dark Disciple, so I suspect this novel will be another fantastic entry into the canon. It’s just over a week out now and set to hit the bookshelves on July 25th. I think I know which novel I’m reading next. Not to get into spoilers and over-speculation too early, but who’s that fourth person and why weren’t they in the video?
Thanks for reading! Until next time, squad!
-Supreme Leader David