More to Explore | The Evolution of Inferno Squad
Iden Versio and Del Meeko’s story might have ended in the Star Wars Battlefront II DLC, but the evolution of the Inferno Squad should continue in canon, in stories from the past and in the present.
Early in 2017, EA released the first-look trailer for Star Wars Battlefront II and promised that the game would bring a new canonical story to the Star Wars universe. The trailer revealed that the single-player mode would revolve around an Imperial special force unit named Inferno Squad led by Commander Iden Versio, the daughter of Admiral Garrick Versio, during the Galactic Civil War. Agents Gideon Hask and Del Meeko made up the rest of the squad, and the story would take place post- Return of the Jedi.
The story mode starts with Iden Versio working under her father, Admiral Versio’s orders to infiltrate a Rebel cruiser to delete an Imperial message regarding a trap on Endor. While fighting during The Battle of Endor, Commander Versio and her team, Inferno Squad, witness the destruction of the second Death Star and have to battle Rebel forces to escape. But when Garrick orders Operation: Cinder on their homeworld of Vardos, Iden and her crew member, Del Meeko, disobey orders and help Vardos citizens escape the planet on their Imperial ship.
From there, the two meet with Lando Calrissian and take their first steps toward becoming Rebellion leaders. And they bring the Inferno Squad namesake to the Rebel Alliance and replace the third member with Shriv Suur, a Duros rebel pilot. Iden and Del continue to fight for the Rebellion and take part in The Battle of Jakku, where Iden sees her father one last time before he goes down with his Star Destroyer. The story ends on a cliffhanger 30 years later when Del is captured by Kylo Ren and killed by Hask while investigating the mass disappearance of children.
The DLC, Battlefront II: Resurrection, concluded both Iden and Del’s story and introduced their daughter, Zay Versio. When Iden, Shriv, and Zay look for Del, they stumble onto Project Resurrection and the existence of The First Order, who destroy Hosnian Prime. Iden is mortally wounded fighting Hask, and Shriv and Zay are sent by General Leia Organa Solo into the Outer Rim to gather more allies.
That is the last we see of Zay and Shriv. They appear briefly in Star Wars: Resistance Reborn for a mission, and Zay has two lines in the Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition. We know that at least Zay is still alive by the time of the Battle of Exegol. But the evolution of Inferno Squad as a group and what they fight for could use some more story. And there are a few avenues for this to become a reality.
Star Wars Battlefront III
The Star Wars Battlefront franchise started with the first entry in 2004 under the original LucasArts. The sequel, Star Wars Battlefront 2, released in 2005 was a massive success critically and financially. Part of this had to do with the game being more narrative-based through the POV of a veteran clone Stormtrooper. However, Battlefront 3 never made it to production and was officially canceled in 2008 when the developer, Free Radical Design, lost the rights to develop the game.
The popularity of the original franchise no doubt played a part in EA rebooting the series in 2015 with its development studio, DICE. The reboot adapted the original games’ mechanics and gameplay. While the game could not have gotten off to a more disastrous start on the multiplayer side, the single-player story was a bright spot.
Unfortunately, the rebooted franchise has seemingly followed in the footsteps of the original with no third entry. There is no official announcement that Star Wars Battlefront III is dead, but the reshuffling at EA with Respawn picking up the narrative-driven Jedi: Fallen Order franchise points to a poor outlook for release.
Unless there are some specific contract/legal restrictions, could Lucasfilm give Star Wars Battlefront III to another developer not owned by EA? Gaming franchises moving through different developers is hardly new: Donkey Kong, Halo, Gears of War, and Tomb Raider are a few popular franchises that have swapped developers through the years (and often for the better). Continuing either Iden Versio’s story after The Battle of Jakku or Zay’s story during The Sequel Trilogy would be a good option, although the former is more likely than the latter.
Quite frankly, it would give Lucasfilm another generational story within a popular game franchise that would not involve the Skywalkers directly, but still have those beloved characters appear in the story.
Continuing with a Novel Trilogy
Star Wars Battlefront II came with a companion novel, Star Wars Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden that acted as a prequel to the events of the game. It chronicles the birth of Inferno Squad as a response to the destruction of the first Death Star. The elite group of four: Iden Versio, Del Meeko, Gideon Hask, and Seyn Marana, would execute sensitive missions against the Rebel Alliance.
The novel covers some of their earlier missions, including infiltrating Saw Gerrera’s former faction (overused as a common antagonist of Imperial POV stories) that have renamed themselves the Dreamers. Most of the members come to empathize in some way with the group while they are undercover. Iden even spares the life of the leader, known as the “Mentor” but later revealed to be Lux Bonteri. Given that the novel ends before the destruction of the second Death Star and the beginning of the game story, a second novel could cover a part of the 30-year time jump between the original story mode and Resurrection.
We know that the Rebel Alliance is transitioning into the New Republic after the Galactic Civil War. Therefore, it is more than possible that Inferno Squad continued to run missions for the New Republic. And a proper sequel to Battlefront II: Inferno Squad could detail one of those missions that ties in neatly to the DLC. The third novel could follow Zay and Shriv at some point during the events of The Rise of Skywalker, effectively covering three generations of the Versio Family (Iden Versio’s father is a part of the game, and both her father and mother appear in the first novel).
Finally, since Lucasfilm is not likely to tell post-Sequel Trilogy stories for a while, we could see Inferno Squad in live-action. Like Cameron Monaghan, actress Janina Gavankar performed motion capture for the game and could easily translate to live-action (she is also a friend of one of the Mandoverse architects, Dave Filoni). And five years after Return of the Jedi would require no de-aging or aging-up of Gavankar.
It is still unclear how many seasons of The Mandalorian are left but The Mandoverse has expanded with The Book of Boba Fett and the upcoming Ahsoka, as well as The Skeleton Crew all taking place within the same time. Iden Versio and the Inferno Squad making an appearance in one of these shows would not only fill in some story between the game and DLC, but also renew interest in Star Wars Battlefront II for new fans that have been brought in because of The Mandalorian (Del already had an encounter with a post- Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker in the game).
While it would be nice to have more stories about Zay and Shriv, Lucasfilm is not prioritizing Sequel Trilogy content. But the story of Inferno Squad is a story about a family that was fiercely loyal to the Empire, until one member started to see the flaws (and that “family” could apply to both the Versio family and Inferno Squad). Iden Versio chose to save lives even though it meant treason and put in the work to turn things around, for the Inferno Squad and the galaxy. And canon should show more of that journey.
Originally published at https://creditsandcanon.com on July 3, 2022.