Now Star Wars: Battlefront II is Over, What Comes Next?

The chance to tell a story in official Star Wars canon is one many would commit bloody, bloody murder for. This is a world we’ve come to know inside and out over 40 years, so fiddling about in such a beloved toybox is one hell of an opportunity. It’s also a setting that can carry a range of narratives without buckling; basically, the sky’s the limit.

Star Wars: Battlefront II made the most of this with a tale from the Empire’s perspective. What should the series do next, though? Although it’s very likely that Battlefront III will follow the adventures of Zay (daughter of Iden Versio, our last playable character), there’s a whole universe of possibility to choose from within that.

AWOOGA! AWOOGA! Spoilers for Star Wars: Battlefront II ahead.

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Looks like we’re heading for the Outer Rim next time around – concept art for Star Wars: Battlefront II

The Resurrection DLC sets up a current-trilogy campaign to perfection. After watching her mother die, Zay leaves for the lawless Outer Rim under orders of Leia… moments before The Last Jedi begins. It’s a real statement of intent/flare shot into the sky accompanied by an orchestral band that shrieks, ‘all aboard for Kylo Ren and Porgs in the next game’. This is a fab idea for more than brand synergy. While Battlefront III will probably hit at the same time Episode IX does, it’s an era we know precious little about; what we’ve cobbled together can basically be recounted in an elevator ride. As such, there’s plenty of scope to plug those gaps.

What better subject than the First Order? The Force Awakens waved vaguely in the direction of military loyalists left behind after Return of the Jedi, but we’ve got very little to go on beyond that. Specifically, we’re told that:

  1. They established themselves through the help of sympathisers.
  2. Were seen as a pocket of nutters without any real manpower (whoops).

What does life look like for the average First Order citizen? It makes you wonder if they buy into the bigotry of these Empire-wannabes or if they’re simply brainwashed. The Last Jedi tells us via Rose that they occupy planets and force the inhabitants to work for them, but just that’s the tip of the iceberg; how do they find enough children to abduct for their Stormtrooper program, for instance? Are kids willingly given over by fanatics within First Order space? Let us find out by going behind enemy lines, messing with the bad guys’ s***, and generally throwing a spanner in the works.

Failing that, lifting the curtain on the New Republic (which is now in disarray after Starkiller Base’s attack) would be a good call. After all, we’ve only been to the outskirts of modern galactic society in the last two films. I’d love to see how things have changed since the Empire’s day.

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More, please – concept art for Star Wars: Battlefront II

Moreover, it’d be fun to find out whether criminal outfits like Jabba the Hutt’s have been snuffed out after peace was restored by Leia and co. (spoilers – I’m guessing not). This at least is a strong contender; I’d say Zay going to the Outer Rim guarantees bounty hunters, Tattooine, and scruffy lookin’ nerf herders. Which is wonderful, obviously.

Of course, there’s no reason why the developers have to limit themselves to this new era. In fact, I’d almost prefer them to take a leaf out of Battlefield I’s book and give us a range of missions from throughout the series. The latter provided a collection of war stories from various points across WW1, and Battlefront is ideally positioned to do the same. We could have the harrowing story of a clone in the trenches of the Clone War, culminating with that massive space-battle in Revenge of the Sith/Order 66. We might then step into a Rebellion fighter’s boots as they struggle past the biggest conflicts of the original trilogy, leaving us to finish up with Zay’s narrative post-The Last Jedi.

Regardless of where the story goes, it’s wonderful to see the developers given such a position of trust within Star Wars’ story. Lucky sods.

Check back each Friday for more as I go into the weeds on pop-culture story, lore, and settings.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Yeah, This is Why the Jedi Need to End

I boot up the internet and Star Wars is everywhere. With Star Wars Celebration 2017 coming to an end last weekend, the aftereffects of the event are still reverberating through the web like an infamous cry of a million souls before they were extinguished by a dirty great space laser. More to the point, everyone’s still recovering from The Last Jedi teaser and Battlefront II’s trailer. Suffice to say, that kind of reveal leaves a lasting impression.

However, one of the biggest takeaways from the event was Luke Skywalker’s claim that the Jedi must end in The Force Awakens’ sequel. As a former beacon of hope for the Jedi order, his disillusionment has caused quite a stir. The obvious question is ‘why’, but a better one should probably be ‘why not?’.

Perhaps it IS time for the Jedi to end – they’ve caused enough trouble. Concept art by Ryan Church

If you stop and think about it, the Jedi have been nothing but trouble. Besides appointing themselves as galactic police who stick their noses where it may not be wanted, they seem to rely on violence more often than diplomacy. Moreover, they bulled their way through the Clone Wars as generals and warriors when that’s precisely the opposite of what they were built for: I thought a Jedi’s lightsaber training is meant to be used in defence of the innocent and as a last resort, not a first response. Aren’t they primarily diplomats and monks?

Then there are all the amusing gaffs they’ve made throughout the original/prequel trilogies. Most egregious of these would be Obi-Wan’s flagrant dickery in lying to Luke’s face about his father. ‘True from a certain point of view’? Shove off, that’s ridiculous. It’s a somewhat limp attempt to justify a retcon and makes Obi-Wan look negligent. Then there’s Qui-Gon Jinn’s hilariously bad attempt at babysitting, where he takes a young child into the heat of battle when he could have left him literally anywhere else. Finally, the books reveal that the prequels’ Jedi temple was built on a super-evil Sith shrine that apparently corrupted them over millennia (it was apparently capped, but would you take that chance?). I mean, come on. I adore these films, but the characters do make some bizarre decisions.

Then there’s an aspect that, in contrast, the prequels handled rather well. The Jedi are essentially a cult: you follow their strict rules or you hit the road. Additionally, these rules can seem needlessly cruel. Take their refusal for Jedi to form attachments, for instance. This has never ended well, as demonstrated by Anakin’s fall and the fact that those same attachments let Luke save the whole damn galaxy.

Most damning of all would be when you read between the lines. As explained by Tor, a reason for Obi-Wan lying to Luke about his father could be that they needed an assassin who’d take out the Emperor’s greatest asset without querying why. Knowing about his head-in-the-clouds demeanour and daydream to be a hero, Kenobi fed him a suitably clichéd story about his father that’d set him on a collision course with Vader, no questions asked. It’s a calculated, manipulative move.

Similarly, Luke was given the surname ‘Skywalker’ and left with his family – surely a giant red flag to Vader – because he could also serve as bait as an added bonus. If Vader found him, Obi-Wan would emerge and take him down.

It’s a fascinating way of looking at the old Jedi order, and it doesn’t paint them in a very good light. As such, I’m not surprised that Luke wants to shut things down now he’s older and wiser.