For those who have played Star Wars Battlefront II the character of Iden Versio is well known, for everyone else who isn’t a gamer, she is probably a nobody. This week I’m going to highlight Iden and her various deeds and her accomplishments to show just how much of a badass female character she is. As I previously said, Iden is from Star Wars Battlefront II where she is the main playable character in the single player campaign, she is portrayed via motion capture and voice work by Janina Gavankar.
To date, Iden Versio has been included in both Star Wars Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden as well as the popular game, Star Wars Battlefront II.
Iden Versio was born on the planet of Vardos to Admiral Garrick Versio of the Imperial Security Bureau and Zeehay Versio an artist responsible for much of the enlistment propaganda used by the Empire throughout the galaxy. Due to the nature of her mother’s work, Iden was raised primarily by her father and thus took after him in many aspects of her personality and life. She decided to become a soldier of the Empire and enlisted in the Future Imperial Leaders Military Preparatory School on Vardos, she was the only female in her class. Following her graduation from prep school she enlisted in the Imperial Academy on Coruscant where she excelled in her studies graduating with honours at the top of her class.
Attaining the rank of Senior Lieutenant, Iden was assigned to the Death Star as part of the TIE fighter defence squadron. Iden was present at the destruction of Jedha in Rogue One as well as the destruction of Scariff. Both instances demonstrated the destructive power of the station she was charged with protecting. Iden was also present at the destruction of Alderaan during the events of A New Hope. Though she did object morally to the destruction of the entire planet because of the actions of a few she never mentioned it out loud. Iden was part of the TIE defence squadron that attempted to repel the rebels as they attacked the Death star at the conclusion of A New Hope. She, along with Darth Vader and a couple of others, are the only ones known to have survived the destruction of the Death Star, something that stuck with her throughout her life.
” The Death Star had destroyed an entire planet. Yes, it had been a rebel hotbed, a positive nest of treason. But surely not everyone who had died had hated the Empire. The destruction of the Death Star hit closer to home, as she had lost people she knew, but at least there had been no civilians on it. No children. ” – Battlefront II: Inferno Squad, Del Rey Books, 2017.
Following the destruction of the Death Star Iden was stranded on Yavin where she evaded Rebel patrols until she could steal an FTL capable ship and escape back to Imperial space.
She along with 3 others: Gideon Hask, Del Meeko and Seyn Marana were recruited to form Inferno Squad. Inferno Squad operated with complete autonomy in order to achieve their goals. They were tasked with taking down an extremely violent splinter group of Saw Garera’s Partisan movement; an undercover mission which all members of Inferno Squad took part in. Through an extensive infiltration campaign, they managed to dismantle the group and find their Imperial informant with only one casualty to the Squad.
During the Battle of Endor from Return of the Jedi, Iden and Inferno Squad were tasked with infiltrating the Shield bunker and restarting the shield to protect the second Death Star. As they were about to enter the shield bunker, Lando and his strike force destroyed the second Death star with the Emperor on board. Iden and Inferno Squad commandeered some TIE fighters and rendezvoused with their Raider-class Corvette, The Corvus. From there they escaped the battle and met up with the remains of the Imperial fleet where Iden was briefed with her father on Operation: Cinder. As part of the operation, Inferno Squad was tasked with extracting Gleb, Iden’s instructor from her childhood at the academy, off of Vardos. During the evacuation, Operation Cinder is enacted. Cinder’s main focus was to decimate the enemies and allies of the Empire. Palpatine believed that if the Empire failed to keep him alive then the Empire had failed outright and must be destroyed. Cinder worked by placing dozens of satellites in geosynchronous orbit around planets and using them to create massive natural phenomenon to destroy the planet and devastate the population; one of the first targets was Vardos, Iden’s home. As Inferno Squad maneuvered through the populace and arrived at the academy to extract Gleb, the attack on the planet began and Iden refused to doom all the innocent people on the planet. This action splintered the Squad with Hask remaining loyal to the Empire and Meeko siding with Iden.
Iden and Meeko fought their way through Imperial Troops and extracted as many civilians as they could on the Corvus. After they let the refugees off at a planet that was out of the way of Operation Cinder, they surrendered themselves in to Lando Calrissian and Shriv Suurgav. Lando and Shriv gave them a chance to prove themselves when Operation Cinder arrived at Naboo. Iden and Del partnered with Shriv and took out all of the satellites in orbit to stop the destruction of the planet, they then joined in the battle on the ground to repel the Imperial invasion. After assisting with the battle they met with General Leia Organa to formally request to join the Rebellion/Alliance.
“We’ve been fighting our whole lives. It’s taken us too long to realize that we were fighting for the wrong side….We would like to help you if you’ll let us.” – Iden Versio to Leia Organa.
WORK WITH THE REBELLION
One of the first things they were tasked with doing was rescuing the wayward Han Solo from Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana. Han was getting some information to help himself and Chewbacca in their liberation of Kashyyk. Iden and Del then traveled to Chinook Station on Bespin to attempt to capture Gideon Hask and stop the refueling of Admiral Versio’s fleet. Hask, anticipating their arrival, left the facility and set an ambush for them. Iden and Del were forced to fight their way out of the ambush and across the platform to the landing pad where they commandeered a cloud car and used it to blow up the refueling stations so the Star Destroyers couldn’t use them.
Admiral Ackbar informed Iden and Del that the Imperial Navy was waiting in the Jakku system and that the Rebellion would be heading there to finally put an end to their ways. She confronted Gideon in a dog fight and emerged victorious before landing on her father’s flagship and trying to get him to abandon the ship and leave with her. He refused, knowing that if he escaped he would still be a slave to the Empire and what it was trying to accomplish.
Garrick: “You saw the Empire’s weakness and refused to let it consume you. It made you stronger. That’s why you’re leaving here without me!“
Iden: ” You deserve better than this!”
Garrick: ” No, I don’t. But you do, Iden. You deserve to live in peace. Go. Survive. Live.”
Iden and Del became enamoured with each other and married. They had a daughter they named Zay, in honour of Iden’s mother. Gideon who managed to somehow survive the defeat of the Empire at Jakku and his crashing TIE tracked Del and the Corvus to Pillio. Del was rumoured to have the information that would lead the First Order to Skywalker and Kylo Ren was dispatched to retrieve it. After Ren got the information, he ordered Hask to kill Meeko. Hask left the Corvus for Iden to find and come searching for him on Vardos.
Iden, Zay and longtime friend Shriv found the Corvus and after stopping some kidnappings found their way to Gleb on Vardos who was holding Del hostage. When they arrived at the Academy they found Gleb dead on the floor having been executed by Hask. Hask told Iden he had executed Del as well and would do the same to their daughter. As they fled the academy, Iden witnessed the firing of Starkiller base and the destruction of the new Republic at the hands of the First Order. Hask and his Star Destroyer appeared in the sky over the academy and shot down the Corvus with Zay still on board. Iden and Shriv managed to get to her escape pod before the First Order could and reunite with her while fighting off enemy troopers. The trio resolved to board Hask’s ship and transmit all the information they could to General Organa and the Resistance. They boarded the ship. Zay and Iden moved to shut down the hyperdrive to drop the ship out of hyperspace. Which would allow them to transmit the plans they found for the First Order Dreadnought to the Resistance and escape the ship. Hask arrived and attempted to kill both Zay and Iden. As Hask threw Zay from a platform he fired wildly at Iden. Iden dove and caught her daughter on the edge of the platform. Zay passed her a blaster she had concealed on her person without Hask seeing. Iden used the blaster to shoot Hask multiple times saving herself and her daughter while also avenging Del.
Iden and Zay retreated to the hyperdrive control room and detonated the explosives they had been placing around the hyperdrive before Hask had ambushed them. As the hyperdive was destroyed, the ship dropped out of hyperspace near Starkiller base. One of Hask’s stray shots on the platform had hit Iden in the abdomen critically injuring her. She collapsed on the ground and told Zay she needed to get the droid back to the Resistance because of the Dreadnought blueprints it had on it. Zay refused to leave her mom but Iden succumbed to her injuries, dying on the floor of the control room. Zay and Shriv managed to get off the ship and were redirected to the outer rim by General Organa to search for allies of the Resistance.
PERSONALITY & LEGACY
Iden was a fiercely loyal and gifted soldier. She was firmly dedicated to the Empire and viewed the Emperor himself as a great leader who was trying to make the galaxy a better place. She even accepted the destruction of Alderaan as necessary in the war against the rebels. She did not agree with the tactics used, but she relents that there would be no way to rout the rebels out of the populace. Following the destruction of both Death Stars she began to question the resolve of the Empire, especially once operation Cinder was activated. The slaughter of thousands of innocent people all because the Emperor was bitter that he had died? That didn’t sit right with her. As the Empire continued their cleansing she began to realize that the Empire had turned from the benevolent force she believed it was and became this evil and cruel entity. It had turned away from the values it had upheld and indoctrinated into it’s citizens becoming something that needed to be destroyed.
Iden stood as a symbol that even someone who had grown up and bled for the Empire could see the light. She had worked her entire life in service of an Empire that she believed in but no longer existed. She realized that the Empire she once believed in was a sham and the real Empire was far from righteous. When she allied with the Rebels she became not only a symbol to the other members of the Empire but one to the free people of the galaxy that even someone who lived and breathe Imperial honour could join the Rebellion’s cause.
Iden Versio is one of my new favourite characters to come out the sequel trilogy and the new Expanded Universe. Iden and Captain Phasma are my favourite with Poe taking a close third. Disney has made some great female characters like Iden and Phasma and they’ve made some pretty terrible ones like Holdo and Rose… If you like strong female characters I would highly recommend that you read Star Wars: Battlefront II Inferno Squad by Christie Golden and play the Star Wars: Battlefront II main campaign along with the Resistance DLC.
That’s all for this week! See you next week!
“She was a complicated woman but the galaxy was far better with her in it.” – General Leia Organa on Iden Versio