(Note: This post contains spoilers for the story campaign of the video game “Star Wars: Battlefront II.”)
The newly released “Star Wars: Battlefront II” adds a little something new to the ongoing “Star Wars” saga. The game tells a new story set after “Return of the Jedi,” doing a little bit to fill in some gaps between the original “Star Wars” film trilogy and “The Force Awakens” some 30 years later.
“Battlefront II” tells a story of an Imperial commando squad that’s dispatched around the galaxy to carry out Emperor Palpatine’s final orders, after he’s killed aboard the Death Star. Those orders are called Operation: Cinder, and they’re angled at preserving the Empire’s grip on the galaxy even in the aftermath of a Rebellion victory.
The team responsible for carrying out some of those orders, Inferno Squad, is led by Commander Iden Versio, a special forces commando whose father is an Imperial admiral. Part of Operation: Cinder sends Inferno Squad to the planet Vardos, Versio’s home world and the place where she was trained in a special Imperial officer school. The mission is to locate and transport Versio’s mentor, an alien called Protectorate Gleb, off the planet.
While much of “Star Wars: Battlefront II” and its story concern the war right after “Return of the Jedi,” the bit with Protectorate Gleb doesn’t come up again until the game’s epilogue. That part of the story is years in the future, closer to the time when “The Force Awakens” take place. In the Disney era trilogy, the Empire was defeated by the Rebels, but a new evil army called the First Order has risen to take its place, hoping to resurrect the Empire and its former glory. And Kylo Ren, its lightsaber-wielding, Force-using enforcer, worships Darth Vader.
In the epilogue, Kylo Ren travels to one of the planets from the war after “Return of the Jedi,” where he finds Protectorate Gleb and returns her to the First Order. He and Colonel Hask, a former member of Inferno Squad, also discuss the First Order’s plans — something they call “Operation: Resurrection.”
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“Operation: Resurrection” is likely a clue about the First Order’s ultimate plans, beyond its star system-killing superweapon from “The Force Awakens,” Starkiller Base. And thanks to the old “Star Wars” Expanded Universe, we have a pretty good guess what “Operation: Resurrection” is all about.
In the old Expanded Universe novels and comics from before Disney acquired Lucasfilm, Emperor Palpatine made other plans in the event he and the Death Star didn’t survive. Specifically, Palpatine had clones of himself made in a secret facility on a planet called Byss in the “Dark Empire” comic series. Using a rare, ancient Force technique, Palpatine was able to transfer his spirit to one of the clones in a bid to live forever.
That sounds an awful like whatever Operation: Resurrection could be. The addition of Protectorate Gleb, a mentor for Imperial officers, suggests at the very least, the First Order could be training some important player to be a leader — but it could easily be a Palpatine clone. The First Order, its head honcho Supreme Leader Snoke, and Kylo Ren are formidable enough on their own, even without a reborn emperor in their ranks.