The Force is with us this week, Star Wars friends.
On the eve of the latest Star Wars Celebration — which unfolds April 13-16 in Florida — we got an unexpected early look at Star Wars: Battlefront II. We already knew a Celebration reveal was happening, but this makes the wait easier to bear.
As we’ve already discussed, the cinematic trailer’s biggest reveals seem to center on the sequel’s new story mode. The 2015 revival of Battlefront — from Battlefield developer DICE and published by Electronic Arts — was multiplayer-only.
Battlefront II fixes that, but how? Many questions remain, but this trailer tells us quite a lot.
1. Another strong lady kicking ass in a Star Wars
Rey. Ahsoka Tano. Grand Admiral Rae Sloane. Doctor Aphra. Sabine Wren. Hera Syndulla. Really, a whole mess of characters from the books, comics, and TV spin-offs are powerful women in the vein of the series original: Princess MFing Leia (R.I.P.).
We may not have a name yet, but the next Star Wars: Battlefront adventure looks like it focuses on yet another strong lady warrior. This one’s an Imperial — probably a pilot based on her uniform — and we know she served the Empire at the time of the second Death Star’s destruction.
It looks like she managed to escape the forest moon before Rebels rounded her up. The trailer suggests that she’s now on a mission to fulfill her "final orders" and "avenge our Emperor."
2. The story seems to intersect with The Force Awakens
Does the screen capture above — found at the 13-second mark of the trailer — look familiar to you at all?
It should if you’ve seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens. There’s no way to know for sure, but that image looks an awful lot like Starkiller Base, the First Order superweapon/mobile ice planet/stronghold that factored heavily into the events of Episode VII.
Here, just look at this still from the movie:
The resemblance is unmistakable. The star of our "untold soldier’s story" almost certainly hooks up with the First Order — or butts heads with it (or both!) — in the aftermath of Endor.
The biggest difference between the game screen and the movie screen? The First Order insignia. You can see one clearly on the movie still’s red curtain (center frame), but it’s nowhere to be found in the game screenshot. That could tell us something about the game’s timeline.
Is the story set before, during, or after The Force Awakens? Probably some mix of at least two, if not all three. If we’re assuming the Death Star II’s destruction serves as the entry point for the story — which the trailer suggests is the case — then we stand to get a good glimpse of the First Order’s early days as this story’s star reconnects with her Imperial friends.
3. This ship is probably important
Iconic space ships are just as integral to Star Wars as lightsabers and desert planets. From named vessels like the Millennium Falcon and Slave I to attack fighters and cruisers like X-Wings, TIEs, and Imperial Star Destroyers, Star Wars ships have a real sense of identity.
This particular ship pops up a couple of times in the trailer. It’s the very first thing you see after the PlayStation logo. Then, it pops up again in a sequence of shots that suggest it belongs to the unnamed star of the Battlefront II story.
That’s not all. The community around Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures — a tabletop game — seems to believe this ship is an Imperial Raider. Here’s a look at the physical miniature:
Image: Fantasy Flight Games
It’s not an exact replica of what we see in the trailer. Not to my eyes, anyway. The trailer ship does look like Imperial tech, however — note the TIE Fighter-like "wings" on the side and the vaguely Star Destroyer-esque wedge shape.
To be clear: I’m not saying this ship is a key piece of the story (though it might be). But the way the trailer is shot, we’re led to believe that it belongs to the game’s protagonist. In other words, it feels to me like the Millennium Falcon of this story.
4. Don’t read too deeply into all those familiar faces
Roughly halfway through the trailer, a bunch of familiar characters start popping up. Kylo Ren, Rey, Darth Maul, and a hand that looks an awful lot like Yoda’s. This has led some to believe that the game’s story spans a much longer timeline than post-Endor through The Force Awakens (and perhaps beyond).
I disagree, primarily because of the way the shots in the trailer are sequenced. At the exact halfway point in the trailer, we see on-screen text that reads: "Fight multiplayer battles." A few seconds later, more text: "Across all eras."
The first half of the trailer focuses on story, but the second half is all about multiplayer. The voiceover disappears completely and the clips themselves focus on grand-scale battles on the ground and in the skies.
"Heroes" are a big part of Battlefront multiplayer, of course — they’re a power-up, essentially. If you’re lucky enough to collect one, you get to fight briefly in the shoes of a familiar Star Wars character. We can assume that Maul, Rey, Kylo, and (probably) Yoda are going to be heroes in multiplayer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they factor into the story.
They do, however, make one thing clear: Battlefront II’s multiplayer does span multiple eras of Star Wars. That’s a big change after the 2015 Battlefront, which stuck specifically to the Original Trilogy time period.