Tales of Star Wars’ greatest good guys — Han, Luke, Leia and the rest — are now legend, but there were heroes on the other side as well.
The new novel Star Wars Battlefront II: Inferno Squad (Del Rey Books, out July 25) focuses on Iden Versio and other Imperial soldiers whose nobility depends on if you’re a part of the Rebel Alliance or fancy yourself a devotee of Darth Vader.
“It was wonderful to be able to explore the Empire’s side of things through the eyes of someone who is a strong, likable person who firmly believes in what she’s been taught the Empire espouses,” says author Christie Golden (Star Wars: Dark Disciple). “Best of all, Iden is a deep, complex character who is faced with decisions and choices that are often harsh and sometimes downright brutal.”
The Battlefront II game (out Nov. 14) centers on Iden as the Inferno commander who set out to avenge the Emperor after the fall of the Empire and the second Death Star at the end of Return of the Jedi. However, the prequel novel takes the TIE fighter pilot back to the aftermath of the recent spinoff film Rogue One, where the secret plans for the Empire’s first Death Star are stolen by Rebels and then are used by Luke Skywalker and the rest to blow up the deadly battle station.
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens character Finn (John Boyega), fans were able to see what those folks wearing Stormtrooper helmets were actually like, and Inferno Squad similarly focuses on the Imperial soldiers on a mission to infiltrate a small group of Rebel extremists called the Partisans.
“Like so many things in life, once you’re in the situation you realize things aren’t simple at all,” Golden says. “How far do you go? What do you really believe? Is there any line you won’t cross for the cause you champion? What are the consequences if you do and if you don’t? The whole idea of gray, rather than black and white, fascinates me.”
The exclusive excerpt below takes fans back to a seminal movie moment — Luke and the Rebel flyboys on their trench run to take down the Death Star in the climax of 1977’s Star Wars — but from the point of view of an Imperial pilot who cared about the people onboard that space station and saw it as “a symbol of beliefs you cherished,” Golden says. “Iden is in her TIE fighter, taking aim at the Rebel pilots who for some insane reason are directly attacking the Death Star at close range. At this moment, she’s full of confidence that her side is going to win. The Empire can finally start bringing order and peace to the galaxy. Except that isn’t what happened.”
Click below to read the excerpt.