In his film 1994 debut Clerks, Kevin Smith changed the way a legion of Star Wars fans looked at the battle between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire. the Death Star was fully operational, sure, but it was also still under construction. There had to be some workers that were there to simply do a job and provide for their families and were killed for it. As Randal in Clerks says: “This is a government contract, which means all sorts of benefits. All of a sudden these left-wing militants blast you with lasers and wipe out everyone within a three-mile radius. You didn’t ask for that. You have no personal politics. You’re just trying to scrape out a living.”
The subtext of who’s truly good and evil when it comes to the cannon fodder and boots on the ground haven’t always been a subtext of the overarching Star Wars universe until Rogue One started to blur some of the lines. Now, in Star Wars: Battlefront II‘s campaign following an elite Empire soldier, fans are finally going to see another side of the Galactic Civil War.
We discussed the challenges of creating a hero out of what fans have perceived as an enemy over the last four decades and the challenges of delivering such an important tale through the shooter medium with Mark Thompson from Motive Studios.
What does that feel like to add to the lore of Star Wars?
It’s incredible. The stakes more than anything cause they’ve invited us to be part of this franchise. They brought us on board as a new studio and partner company. It’s up to us to make a campaign that feels like it belongs inside the franchise. And that’s as big a part of it. Also the amazing opportunity to do something that is legitimate as Star Wars. It’s kind of two-fold. We want to make sure that we deliver something that is gonna live up to the expectations of all the Battlefront fans and also something that was just positive and fresh in Star Wars. I guess they’re kind of daunting and exciting in equal measure.
Fans have the animated series Rebels ending this season and that’s kind of leading to the creation of the Rebel Alliance and bleeding into Episode IV. And now you have the Battlefront II campaign showing the end of Episode VI leading into Episode VII. Do you consider this a bookend to the original trilogy or would you consider Battlefront 2‘s campaign a prologue to the new trilogy?
When I think in terms of Star Wars I think in terms of the big numbered movies they have because they are obviously the source of everything, right? Like it sets the big events up. It’s brightening or expanding the history of Star Wars either backward or forward through time. But no, we didn’t really think of it in terms of a continuous thing. It’s on a timeline, but it’s a different story. I think that’s kind of the important thing. It doesn’t carry on the same themes or necessarily have the same tone as Episode VI because we wanted to tell a story that was appropriate for Battlefront. Specifically, we wanted to explore the perspective that hadn’t been seen in the movies. So we never even thought of it as a sequel or prequel or tried to necessarily connect the movies. It was more just tell a different story from a different perspective. It’s kind of grounded in the events that people know from the movies but informally shows from a different perspective.
That perspective has been followed previously with Operation Cinder in the Shattered Empire comics and the novel based on Versio, Inferno Squad. So can fans expect a partial adaptation of the Shattered Empire comics or will this be offering purely new material?
Yeah, it’s all new material. When we were first developing the original story concepts, Shattered Empire had just been released and after that, it was still being written so the story team was giving us the heads up where Aftermath was heading in the whole trilogy because that whole trilogy was developed as we were developing the game. So yeah, it’s not an adaptation of that. I think that’s the important thing of our story proof. Lucasfilm doesn’t want anything to be adaptations. They want everything to be expanding. There’s still going to be lots of connective tissue of making sure that everything is consistent and coherent, but more importantly that each story is expanding Star Wars, introducing new characters or taking existing characters in different directions. It’s showing them doing things that they haven’t done before. So we touch on Operation Cinder, but we show parts of Operation Cinder that weren’t in Shattered Empire and when we do cross over with Shattered Empire again we see it more as an exploring state between the panels or we’re showing a completely different side of what was seen in Shattered Empire. The same thing with Aftermath as well.