Originally published on Set The Tape
‘The Galactic Civil War rages. On multiple worlds legions of stormtroopers are waging brutal combat against an armada of freedom fighters. The Rebel Alliance are taking the fight to the enemy, pushing deeper into Imperial territory. Leading the charge are the soldiers of the Sixty-First Mobile Infantry, known as Twilight Company.
‘The members of this renegade outfit survive where others perish, and defiance is their most powerful weapon against the deadliest odds. Alone and outgunned, Twilight Company locks, loads, and prepares to make its boldest maneuver, to strike at the very heart of the Empire’s military machine.’
Timed with the release of the first Star Wars Battlefront game, Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company tells the story that should have been included in the game, the story that should have been it’s single player campaign. The story of the regular front line troops in the Galactic Civil War.
Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company isn’t about senators, generals, or Jedi. There are no lightsaber duels or medal ceremonies. This book is about war, more so than the films have ever been. The heroes of the main Star Wars saga are spoken about here as myths, figures that inspire the regular troops, and villains like Darth Vader as whispered about like nightmare bogeymen. The story of Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company follows a regular company in the Rebel army, the titular Twilight Company, as they find themselves in a desperate fight not just to hurt the Empire, but for their very own survival.
The Star Wars films keep talking about hope. Hope built the Rebellion, hope gives them something to fight for, and hope helps them to win. Hope is in very short supply in this story, however, as the grim reality of fight against the Empire is brutally laid out. Twilight Company are sent into some of the worst fighting, losing soliders again and again. They are often left to fend for themselves, sometimes unsure if their superiors are still around, and are given little to no information about the larger fight.
This book takes the fun and adventure of the rest of the saga and throws it out of the window, giving us instead a story of regular people worn down to breaking point. There are soldiers with post traumatic stress, horrific wounds, drug addiction, and more. The characters aren’t wide eyed farm boys who go on to become saviours of the galaxy, they’re just regular men and women in impossible situations; and like regular people, they can break.
The characters of Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company is where the book really shines, and it creates some of the better defined and well rounded characters in the new expanded universe. Whether it’s the main protagonist, a war wear sergeant names Namir, or the recent Imperial defector and former governor Everi Chalis, each character feels real in their own way.
Namir is a lifelong soldier, fighting and war is all he knows, but he’s come to the point where he’s becoming tired of seeing those around him die for a fight they may very well be losing. Chalis is a woman used to being in a position of power and respect, unused to not being the centre of attention, who must learn to control her arrogance and lead people who wanted her dead not long before.
There’s a brilliant moment for Chalis when she and Namir are called to the Rebel base on Hoth to be debriefed by the Rebel leaders shortly before the Imperial assualt on the base that happens in The Empire Strikes Back. Once the attack begins Chalis, so arrogant, believes that it’s because she’s there, that the Empire want her back. The realisation that the leaders of the attack don’t even know who she is or care about her alters her path drastically, as she has to come to terms with the fact that she’s not as important as she thinks she is, resolving to hurt the Empire even more for this insult.
The characters of the book are flawed and weak, they doubt themselves, they question their mission, and they have delusions of grandeur. They’re incredibly real and more well rounded and realised in these few hundred pages than many of the characters that are given hours of film time, or seasons of episodes. Whilst the characters are a highlight, the action in Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company is incredible too, managing to pack in a variety of locations in its pages, ranging from base infiltration, starship battles, trench warfare, city assults, spaceship boarding, and desperate last stands.
Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company is different from any other Star Wars story in the new cannon. It shows war as brutal and tough, it’s characters aren’t heroes, just regular people, and there’s more despair than hope within its pages. Despite this, it feels so at home in the Star Wars universe, and shows a very different side to a fight we’ve seen on the big screen.
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