Interview: How Bungie's Destiny 2 Comic Shines a Human Light on Destiny's Most Godlike Figures

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Yesterday Bungie launched its highly-anticipated Destiny 2 comic series. Issue 1, "Fall of Osiris" shines an audaciously human light on two of the most god-like figures in Destiny lore: the exiled Vanguard leader Osiris, and The Speaker.

You can read the first issue for yourself right here, and don't miss this hidden code which unlocks a special in-game emblem! We think you'll be shocked by the threads of discord sewn between Osiris, his devoted student Ikora (who we of course all know), and the Traveler's speaker, who is shrouded in mystery in the game; seemingly without fault. I wanted to learn more about how Bungie will be developing this legendary characters throughout the comic, and what implications those developments might have in Destiny's universal lore. Destiny 2 Narrative Director Margaret Stohl and Senior Narrative Lead Christine Thompson gracious took the time to discuss that very subject with me, and this is what they had to say:

Before we get into it, give me a "from the gut," personal answer, here: Is Osiris a hero or a villain?

Christine: It depends on who you ask. Osiris does everything he does with a single-minded drive to defeat the Vex, which he considers to be the greatest threat to humanity's survival. That makes him a hero. But the way he goes about it? It can be disruptive to the social order. That makes him an antagonist to The Speaker.

Margaret: Osiris is a study in extremes; he was Ikora's mentor, but he broke Ikora's heart. He was the greatest leader of the Vanguard but then a Vanguard exile. Like most of us, his strengths and his weaknesses are tied together, and ​that’s what makes him a great character. But what makes him a great hero is how he never hesitates to make massive personal sacrifices for the greater good. That and the depth of his relationship with the other "woman" in his life, Sagira, his ghost. She's where you see his heart come out...

Margaret, you've helped shape and speak through some incredible characters, in some incredible worlds in the past. Coming into this project, into the Destiny universe, what has been the greatest boon and the greatest challenge?

Margaret: To me, it’s the passion of the fandom that can be both. The challenge of giving our players what they want is immense, but when you have a community as committed as Destiny's, you have to bring your A-game every time you go to write a new line or break a new story.

Can you tell us a little bit about the creative process behind bringing these characters to life? I have to say, the characterization is pretty bold. We're seeing very human sides to Osiris and The Speaker. Were there any hard conversations about just how human either of these character should be?

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Christine: There always are (hard conversations),​ but one of the amazing things about working with Ryan [North] is the amount of humanity he brings to his work. So this became an opportunity to show a different side of these characters that we might not be able to do in the game, where most of your interactions with them involve dealing with immediate threats to survival.

Margaret: There isn't much that Christine doesn't know about the Destiny universe. She's written for Destiny 2, Rise of Iron, and Curse of Osiris now. And Ryan North -- who is so humble and so easy to work with that sometimes we forget he's the multiple-Eisner-winning, New York Times bestselling Ryan North -- really brought that same level of expertise on the comics side. So while there might have been -- let's say spirited debates -- it was honestly just a pleasure to watch them collaborate. And between them, I think they've come up with not just something really special, but something that sets up the larger Destiny comics line in a wonderful way.

Ikora seems to act as a prism. She herself remains somewhat transparent, wearing her devotion to Osiris on her sleeve, while still willing to question his vision. She also brings out the true colors of those who interact with her. Through Ikora's eyes Osiris can be seen more like a mad scientist, and The Speaker can come across as an intolerant dictator. How do you see her role in Fall of Osiris?

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Christine: Fall of Osiris gives us a chance to show Ikora as she was, and use that to help map how Ikora became the Vanguard she is today. Osiris was a great influence on her, but she's a strong woman in her own right. In the first Destiny game, Ikora was very guarded and reserved. She was the Vanguard you knew the least about. Was that because she'd protected herself after Osiris was exiled? And in D2, she's starting to open up, to become a friend of the Guardian, something that continues in Curse of Osiris. By showing Ikora early in her path, in Fall of Osiris, we give some insights into where she's going.

Margaret: Really, Ikora is every bit as complex as Osiris is, and has been on an equally difficult journey. She's changed so much - both as a character and as a member of the Vanguard - in every release. And we have big plans for Ikora in the future, as well; you'll be seeing more of her journey as Destiny continues.

What kind of scope can we expect from this project? Do you know how many issues this first run of comics will run? Could this become a primary storytelling conduit for Destiny? It's no secret that fans resented the fact that lore, for years, had been locked behind obscure cards and unlocks. Are we reading the premiere issue of what could eventually become an essential world-building tool?

Christine: I'd love to see Fall of Osiris become the first of a wide-array of storytelling channels for Destiny fans. Who knows what could happen in the future?

Margaret: Comics are a flexible way to dig in and explore deeply character-driven stories. Jason Jones, Bungie's Chief Creative Officer, likes to say that characters are the handles players use to hold on to game worlds, and I think he's absolutely right. Humans care about humans who care about humans. In other words, characters are how we make things matter, even in game worlds. Obviously, it's no secret that I'm a huge fan of storytelling through comics; I wouldn't juggle working for both Marvel and Bungie, otherwise. But even so, the Destiny franchise is a particularly deep universe full of all sorts of unique characters, and there's no reason to not let them step forward and speak for themselves.

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We're excited to see where this goes. Even now, Destiny 2's main storyline takes on a new light as we get a more intimate glimpse of The Speaker's zealous devotion to The Traveler and its message. Likewise, Osiris devotees are starting to see that he may not be the obsessive cult-leading warrior-king we've been making him out to be. Hopefully the next issue breathes as much new life into Destiny's lore as this premiere issue managed to breathe. Stay tuned!