(Note: This post contains spoilers for the video game “Star Wars: Battlefront II” and the beginning scene of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”)
“Star Wars” fans have waited as patiently as possible for December to roll around, and with it, the release of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
But for fans who want a little more, there’s another “Star Wars” story that’s not a novel or a comic book. “Star Wars: Battlefront II,” a video game in which players take part in some of the biggest battles in the “Star Wars” films as soldiers in the two opposing armies, also includes an original story that’s set between “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens.” It gives something of a window into what happened in the aftermath of the destruction of the Death Star, and the final months of the war with the Empire.
“Battlefront II” follows Inferno Squad, a crack team of Imperial commandos, led by Iden Versio, the daughter of an Imperial admiral. The game more or less starts with the destruction of the Death Star. The remnants of the Imperial fleet flee the battle, and as they’re leaving, Admiral Versio calls Iden to his ship to receive new orders. A recording left by Emperor Palpatine tells the fleet what to do in case of his death — a series of objectives known as Operation: Cinder.
Iden and her squad don’t know what Operation: Cinder is, but they set out to execute parts of it. First, they help secure several special satellites at a shipyard, fighting off a Rebel attack in the process. Inferno Squad doesn’t know what the satellites are for, but they help keep the Rebels at bay long enough so the ship transporting the satellites, an Imperial Star Destroyer called the Dauntless, can get away.
Next, Iden dispatches Del Meeko, one of her Inferno Squad teammates, to a planet called Pillio, to destroy a classified observatory the Emperor had there. Inside are “artifacts” the Empire doesn’t want falling into Rebel hands. While he’s there, though, Del encounters Luke Skywalker. Rather than kill him, Luke saves Del’s life, and the two work together to get into the observatory. When Luke finds what drew him to the location through the Force — an artifact he calls a “compass” — he asks Del to let him have it. Del, already conflicted about the Empire at this point, lets Luke go and the compass go, and destroys the facility.
It seems that compass is likely what led Luke to Ahch-To, the home of the first Jedi temple, where Rey finds him at the end of “The Force Awakens.” The artifact is also an Easter egg in “The Last Jedi.”
Inferno Squad then gets dispatched to Vardos, Iden and her father’s home planet and an Imperial stronghold. As they arrive, Iden sees that the special satellites have been deployed in orbit over the planet, creating deadly storms all over it. Apparently, Operation: Cinder’s goal was to destroy a few planets, even Imperial ones, in order to strike fear into the galaxy and help the Empire reestablish control through terror.
Iden isn’t exactly thrilled that the Empire is attacking its own planet or killing civilians, though. On her mission to retrieve her mentor, an alien named Protectorate Gleb, from Vardos, Iden and Del defy orders by helping civilians escape the planet. The third member of Inferno Squad, Agent Hask, turns against the other two and their defiance of Imperial will. Iden and Del are branded traitors as they escape the planet aboard their ship, the Corvus, and Hask returns Gleb to Admiral Versio’s hands.
With nowhere else to go, Iden, Del and the crew of the Corvus defect to the Rebellion. They eventually enlist, helping to stop the Empire from using its Cinder satellites against Naboo, Emperor Palpatine’s home planet. The Rebels manage to destroy the Cinder satellites and repel the Imperial attack on the ground, saving the planet and everyone on it.
The war finally comes to a head over Jakku in a battle “Star Wars” fans have heard about before — it’s the reason why all that starship wreckage that Rey forages through in “The Force Awakens” ended up on the surface of the planet. Iden and the new Rebel Inferno Squad are a major part of the battle. The Imperial remnant is defeated, but despite her best efforts, Iden can’t convince Admiral Versio to abandon the Empire and save himself as his ship is destroyed. Iden manages to escape the ship, and there’s a suggestion that she and Del start a relationship together as the Battle of Jakku ends.
“Star Wars: Battlefront II” then skips ahead 30 years in an epilogue scene that takes place sometime closer to “The Force Awakens.” In it, the First Order and Kylo Ren have located Del Meeko. Using his Force powers, Kylo Ren delves into Del’s mind in search of information about Luke Skywalker from when Del encountered him years before — suggesting the compass has something to do with the map to Skywalker Kylo is searching for in “The Force Awakens.”
When he finally gets the information he needs, Kylo kills Del. Hask, the former member of Iden’s Inferno Squad and now a First Order officer, to bury the body but leave the ship — ostensibly to lure Iden out of hiding.
Kylo also takes Protectorate Gleb into First Order custody in the epilogue, and mentions something called “Operation: Resurrection.” As noted earlier in the game, Gleb trained Imperial officers and turned them into high-caliber leadership in the Empire before its fall. That cliffhanger is were the main game’s story ends.
But this week, developer DICE and publisher Electronic Arts released a new set of downloadable levels to cap off the story of “Battlefront II,” adding events that run concurrent to the story of “The Force Awakens.” And the new bit of story adds a bit of backstory and setup to “The Last Jedi,” leading right up to the beginning of the film.
The new addition to “Battlefront II” is called “Resurrection,” and picks back up with Iden. We find that she and Del have a daughter, Zay, and that they still hang out with Shriv, their Inferno Squad buddy from their Rebellion days. Shriv is still fighting, however, and has joined up with the Resistance.
When they realize Del is missing, Iden, Zay and Shriv go looking for him, just as Hask expected. They discover what Gleb has been up to all this time: “Operation: Resurrection,” a massive program to kidnap children from their families and brainwash them to be soldiers. That’s what happened to Finn, when he was separated from his family as a child, and it’s how the First Order managed to raise such a huge army.
As Iden, Zay and Shriv pursue Hask, they manage to infiltrate his First Order Star Destroyer. Aboard the ship, Iden searches for any intelligence that might be of use to the Resistance, and stumbles upon the schematics for a massive class of First Order ship: the Dreadnought.
After crippling the Star Destroyer and killing Hask, Iden is wounded and dies. Zay and Shriv manage to escape and get their intelligence to the Resistance, now on the run after the destruction of Starkiller Base. Those schematics are what give Poe Dameron and the rest of the Resistance fleet a chance to take down the Dreadnought at the start of “The Last Jedi.” They know where the ship is vulnerable and how to hit it, allowing the Resistance to destroy the ship before it has a chance to wipe them out.
The “Resurrection” chapter ends with General Leia Organa dispatching the new Inferno Squad, consisting of Shriv and Zay, on one last important mission: Contact the Resistance’s allies hiding in the Outer Rim planets of the galaxy, and implore them for assistance. The game ends with Inferno Squad departing for the Outer Rim. We know that trying to get word to these unnamed allies is a big part of the Resistance’s goals throughout “The Last Jedi,” so it seems both the “Battlefront” games and future movies will be adding to the story on that front.