When Disney and Lucasfilm announced they would partner up to revitalize the Star Wars franchise one of the first casualties was the bloated canon of books and comics and TV shows and video games. They said that outside of the movies, basically, no other stories would exist in this new Star Wars universe.However, every Star Wars story going forward would be included in the canon, after meeting some rigorous standards of course. This includes video games like the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront 2, which will give us our first official on-screen look at the years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.
“I've always wanted to see what happens after Return of the Jedi,” co-writer Mitch Dyer told Newsweek. “We immediately hit that point in the storytelling where we said ‘let’s definitely start at what everyone thought was the ending.’ And we continue that story.”
Dyer speaks of the task of adding to the canon with the reverence you'd expect from a lifelong fan. He credits Empire Strikes Back with delivering “the moment I knew I wanted to be a writer” and refuses to take much credit for anything in the Battlefront 2 plot. Collaboration is the heart of the canonical process with Star Wars stories, and Dyer cites a joint partnership with co-writer Walt Williams and a strong team at Lucasfilm.
“We gave Lucasfilm our first outline and I thought deep down maybe we're gonna be looked at as ‘oh this is just a video game’ compared to everything else they're doing. But it was totally not that way. We work with the same people who work with Rian Johnson to make The Last Jedi.” he said. “The thing I’ve noticed working with them is it's one singular story that has all these different chapters. It just feels really tight in appearance, and in the relations you have with them, and in that level of symmetry across the entire universe.”
That universe includes icons like Luke Skywalker. When Mark Hamill appears at the finale of The Force Awakens, it’s the only time we’ve seen him on screen since the events of Return of the Jedi. Once EA Games’ Star Wars Battlefront 2 releases this fall, that will no longer be the case. Dyer confirmed that Luke Skywalker will factor into the Star Wars Battlefront 2 story, not as a main character but as another part of the thread tying the two movie trilogies together. It wasn’t written to be fan service, explained Dyer.
“Lucasfilm would never stand for that because they don't wanna do stuff just because. They don't wanna leverage the heroes and exploit them in a way that cheapens them. If you have a really great story to tell let's tell it, otherwise let’s find the best story to tell right now and then tell that one,” he said. “So we came up with a really great hook for a Luke Skywalker story that we think is pretty interesting and cool, and Lucasfilm did too.”
The main story of Star Wars: Battlefront 2 will follow Iden Versio, an elite forces Imperial soldier whose father, an Admiral, raised her to honor and defend the Empire. Dyer cited the canonical comic book series Shattered Empire as an anchor of sorts for the events in Battlefront 2, including a post-Imperial collapse mission known as Operation Cinder. Iden’s role in Battlefront 2 will be to lead her Inferno Squad to aid and assist the mission anyway she can. But this is not a comic book adaptation, and Luke Skywalker’s story will likely go into much different territory than his mission in Shattered Empire to locate a Force-sensitive tree, once the heart of the Jedi Temple.
“The story is Iden’s,” Dyer said. “We get to see all sorts of different characters and different points of view and how they relate to Iden. So we'll get to see how something like Luke Skywalker's story after Return of the Jedi intersects with Inferno Squad.”
Dyer himself still has trouble processing it, as he spent the bulk of his writing career as a video game journalist not as a screenwriter.
“It’s so weird, man … This is my first game I've ever written,” he said.
Movie fans and gamers alike will have their chance to judge the story for themselves when Star Wars: Battlefront 2 releases on Oct. 27 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
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