It seems that we haven’t heard the last of Commander Zavala in Destiny 2: In a tribute to voice actor Lance Reddick, who died unexpectedly last week at age 60, Bungie confirmed there are still “performances yet to come in the game.”
Reddick had an impressive career in movies and television, and he also appeared in a number of high-profile games, including Quantum Break, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Horizon Forbidden West. But it’s fair to say that he’s best known in games as Commander Zavala, the big cheese in Destiny—not just for his stoic, commanding presence in the Tower, but also because he was an enthusiastic player who clearly enjoyed interacting with fans.
“As the voice of Commander Zavala—the stalwart commander of the Vanguard—Lance brought to life a character who has become virtually synonymous with Destiny itself,” Bungie said in the latest This Week at Bungie update. “For nearly a decade, Guardians around the world have found purpose and comfort in Zavala’s presence, bolstered by that unmistakable voice, so full of strength, serenity, and nobility.
“The tributes that have poured in for Lance have been overwhelming; from endless heartfelt messages on social media to impromptu gatherings of respect in Zavala’s corner of the Tower, overlooking the Last City. As an actor, musician, gamer, and family man, the passion Lance brought to the things he loved was reflected in the eyes and hearts of all who loved him.”
One of the big questions left by Reddick’s death is what to do with Zavala. The character, as Bungie said, is a foundational part of Destiny, and Reddick is almost inseparable from it, and that’s led quite a number of calls for a proper departure for Zavala, rather than a replacement voice actor. Bungie has recast leading Destiny 2 characters in the past—Nolan North filled in for Nathan Fillion in Cayde 6’s final appearance, and Mara Junot replaced Gina Torres as Ikora in Season of the Splicer—but in both those cases, the actor in question departed voluntarily. Reddick’s case is unique—and, let’s be honest, so is his voice.
pic.twitter.com/csXjKcMOJyMarch 17, 2023
Zavala is pretty deeply involved in Destiny 2’s current season, and the next big expansion, The Final Shape, will draw the Light and Darkness Saga—basically everything that’s happened over the past 10 years, which is to say the entire history of Destiny so far—to a close. That’s still a long way off, but it makes for a natural ending point for Zavala’s role in the game.
Bungie hasn’t committed to anything at this point, but we will be hearing more from Zavala before any decision is made.
“For now, we will honor his presence through his performances yet to come in the game, and in the memories that will last us a lifetime,” Bungie wrote. “We are deeply saddened by his passing but so thankful for the time we spent together, and our thoughts are with his friends and loved ones.”
Bungie also added a tribute to Reddick in a Destiny 2 login screen, calling him “an iconic presence on screen and in person.”
“His kindness and dedication shone bright throughout his work in films, TV, and games, including his portrayal of Commander Zavala,” it says. “He will be greatly missed.”