Star Wars Battlefront II shows us people rather than helmets

We are currently sitting at seven numbered movies in the franchise of Star Wars, with several animated series and now spin-off movies. Even with the culled extended universe, the Star Wars galaxy is rather large. But, in this massive space for telling stories, almost all of the screen time is dedicated to the good guys, the heroes in the tale. We know the Empire exists and some of its more prominent members, the upper echelons of command. But for the most part, besides characters like Finn (yes he is technically First Order but it is the Empire with a new name), we know almost nothing about the Empire as people, as individuals with homes and families and their convictions. Star Wars Battlefront II changes that. Meet Inferno Squad.

Inferno squad is an Imperial special forces command unit that was founded shortly after the events of Rogue One, with the Death Star plans being stolen marking the first decisive victory of the rebels. Inferno is a squadron of only four, but with their Raider-class corvette, the Corvus and some autonomy, they move quickly and respond to threats against the Empire wherever they are. Their first major mission is to hunt the Partisans, Saw Gerrera’s extremist group. A lot of Inferno Squad’s story falls into a novel called Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Gordon, but we will look at what we see of Inferno Squad in Star Wars Battlefront II.

Commander Iden Versio

Iden Verso reports, sometimes rather reluctantly, to her father Admiral Garrick Versio. Before Inferno Squad Iden was a TIE fighter pilot. During the battle of Yavin, she was a Senior Lieutenant with the callsign TIE Sigma Three. When the Death Star exploded, her TIE crash-landed on Yavin 4.

We first meet Iden when she has been captured by the Alliance to Restore the Republic. She resists interrogation and makes use of her helmet to remotely activate 1D10, Del Meeko’s seeker droid. The droid makes its way to the cell where Iden is captured and the two break out. Iden shows that she is a master of infiltration and can handle herself when outnumbered and outgunned. At this point, it is revealed that Iden wanted to be captured to delete an intercepted encrypted message that would tell the Rebels that the Empire knows of their massed forces near Endor and that the Empire was planning an attack. In a show of daring, Iden launches herself out of an airlock, flies through the vacuum of space and the Corvus appears out of hyperspace just as she falls into an open hangar bay and then leaves the area before the Invincible Faith can hit the Corvus.

Iden is a great leader who is fiercely dedicated to the Empire. Before the events of the game, she infiltrates the Dreamers, the remnants of Saw Gerrera’s partisans after he died at Jedha. Jumping out of an airlock of a ship towards completely empty space shows courage and trust in her squad.

Voiced and portrayed by Janina Gavankar, Iden is the hero of the Empire, a counterpoint to characters like Luke Skywalker and Jyn Erso. Besides Finn (who is technically First Order), this is one of the first good looks we get at the soldiers of the Empire, what lies beneath those anonymous Stormtrooper helmets.

Gideon Hask

Second-in-command of Inferno Squad, Gideon Hask is what the Empire would call the perfect soldier. He lives and breathes Empire and his devotion borders on zealotry. He follows orders without question, believing the Empire to be just and to know what it is doing even if he doesn’t understand it himself. After all, a key doesn’t need to know what is inside a room to unlock the door. Hask was orphaned at a young age and became a cog in the Empire’s machinery. Hask graduated top of his class at the Imperial Academy and is a decorated crack TIE fighter pilot.

Gideon Hask is voiced and portrayed by Paul Blackthorne, who I will always think of as Quentin Lance from Arrow. Hask represents the kind of soldier that Emperor Palpatine wants: unquestioning, unflinching zealots armed with crack skills.

Del Meeko

Del Meeko is the tech guy of Inferno. Meeko grew up on Coruscant, taught about the evil Jedi who massacre wantonly with their amazing mystical powers. Meeko refuses to see things in black and white and often questions the intent of his orders, which causes tension between his and Hask. Meeko has climbed the ranks, starting as a stormtrooper and slowly climbing the ladder beyond TIE pilot to chief engineer. Meeko is fiercely loyal to Iden and his custom seeker droid, 1D10 accompanies Iden into battle, where it helps her by slicing into tech or incapacitating foes.

Meeko’s outlook on everything the Empire has taught him is shaken to the core when his life is saved by a Jedi. When he asks the Jedi why he saved him and helped him after killing stormtroopers that opened fire on him, the Jedi replies: “Because you asked me to.” This simple line, this temporary truce with a Jedi as they work towards the same goal with different reasons, changes Meeko’s entire life. What else was the Empire lying about? This isn’t the evil that he grew up fearing.

Del Meeko is voiced and portrayed by TJ Ramini, who is the recurring character Cross in Prison Break.

Garrick Versio

While not technically a part of Inferno Squad, Admiral Garrick Versio is the head that it takes its orders from. Versio is a hard man with a tough job: he is the head of the Imperial Security Bureau, which is part intelligence agency, part law enforcement. Versio pushes his daughter to her limits time and time again, trying to form her into the perfect tool for the Empire.  Versio firmly believes that without the Empire’s strength the galaxy would devolve into chaos, and he sees himself as an instrument to keep order, no matter the cost.

Garrick is portrayed by Anthony Skordi, who is also the voice of The Dealer in Hand of Fate 2 as well as voices of characters in The Elder Scrolls V. Garrick is the face of blind dedication to a goal, and how the Empire makes use of people who will dedicate everything, and still ask for more.

Disclaimer: This post was paid for. The article was made in-house and we chose the tone and topic for it. 

If it has the letters RPG in it, I am there. Still battling with balancing trying to play every single game that grabs my interest, getting 100% in a JRPG, and devoting time to my second home in Azeroth.

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