Actor Lance Reddick had an impressive career in film and television, but to gamers he’s likely best known as Commander Zavala, the Titan Vanguard in the Destiny games. It was a role he embraced, and not just within the development studio: He was known for his appreciation of both the game (he played himself) and its fans, and made an awful lot of them very happy in 2021 when they asked him to read Destiny 2 memes in Zavala’s voice—and he said “yes.”
Here’s a clip of “Lance talking to Lance” from a Destiny 2 play session in 2022:
Playing Destiny 2 w/ @WacoOGuin! #Farzar out on @netflix July 15th pic.twitter.com/UNHjfSegLGJune 30, 2022
Reddick’s devotion to Destiny 2 and its community made him a fan favorite, and following the report of his death earlier today, players have been gathering in the tower to pay their respects to the man and the character he portrayed: Zavala, the taciturn father figure of the Tower.
Tim Clark, perhaps PC Gamer’s most ardent Destiny 2 player, captured a clip of Destiny 2 players surrounding and saluting Zavala high on the Tower overlook. Clark told me whatever instance he loaded into it was filled with players gathering around Zavala, often kneeling or popping the appropriate emotes they could find.
(The sad swing appeared to be a favourite.)
Bungie community manager Liana Rupper shared an image of Zavala at his post shortly after Reddick’s death was reported.
Destiny fans are also paying tribute to Reddick and his portrayal of Zavala in the Destiny subreddit. Several said they expected Reddick to stay in the role forever, because he was so clearly attached to it; others express hope that the Zavala character will be given a proper ending in Destiny, rather than a new voice actor.
“The story’s at a spot where Zavala dying is plausible,” redditor AssassinAragorn wrote. “It would be an extremely impactful change in game, and I think that’s how it should be.
“Lance was integral to Destiny, played the game itself, memed along with us, and just generally loved interacting with the players. It’s a huge gut punch for the game, and it would be fitting and poetic for that to also be true in game. Just like we grieve for him, the characters in game grieve for him, because Lance/Zavala was such a critical part of Destiny/Guardians.”
Bungie itself shared a statement on Twitter this afternoon:
“Lance Reddick was an iconic presence on screen, in Destiny, and most importantly, in person,” wrote the studio. “His love for our community shined through in Commander Zavala, in his uncompromising dedication to his craft, and out of the radiating kindness that touched those around him. To say he will be missed is a profound understatement, yet no less true. Rest in peace, Lance.”
Below are more images of players paying tribute to Reddick and Zavala being shared by the Destiny 2 community.