‘Star Wars: Battlefront II’ Explains Some First Order Backstory Ahead of ‘The Last Jedi’

The newly released video game “Star Wars: Battlefront II” tells the story of what happens after “Return of the Jedi” and gives a hint at what Kylo Ren has been up to

(Note: This post contains spoilers for the story campaign of the video game “Star Wars: Battlefront II,” including its newly released chapter, “Resurrection.”)

The newly released “Star Wars: Battlefront II” adds a little something new to the ongoing “Star Wars” saga. The game tells a tale 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.

“Battlefront II” shows how the First Order rose from the remnants of the Empire, apparently working off at least some instructions from Emperor Palpatine that he created before he died. 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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It originally seemed like Operation: Resurrection might be teasing the First Order’s ultimate plans — and might have something to do with resurrecting Palpatine, a major plot point in the “Star Wars” Expanded Universe novels and comics from before Disney bought Lucasfilm. But we now know that Operation: Resurrection is part of how the First Order became so powerful.

A newly released downloadable chapter for the story of “Battlefront II,” also called “Resurrection,” details what the operation is actually all about. As it turns out “Resurrection” doesn’t refer literally to bringing back Palpatine, but more broadly to rebuilding the Empire’s military might.

As detailed in “Resurrection,” Protectorate Gleb’s job was to kidnap children from various planets, brainwash them, and train them to be First Order stormtroopers. Of course, we know from “The Force Awakens” that this is exactly what happens to Finn — he was stolen from his family and forced to fight. He has no idea where he actually belongs in the galaxy.

To execute the big child kidnapping plan, Gleb enlisted the help of a band of criminal mercenaries. Gleb gathered the First Order’s massive army and trained them into the powerful fighting force they’ve become, “resurrecting” a huge chunk of the former Empire’s militaristic capability.

Apparently the program worked very, very well, until Iden Versio stumbled on it during the “Resurrection” campaign and helped destroy it. By that point, though, the events of “The Force Awakens” were well on their way, and it was already too late.