Let me just start this out by saying that I am a huge Rooster Teeth fanboy. I remember in high school when the first episode of the series Red vs. Blue debuted. That was a good time; I was immediately hooked by the fact that the people at a fledgling company called Rooster Teeth were using a science fiction action game to tell a story where the big point is that nothing happens. I hadn’t seen anything like it before. The humor was amazing, the characters were amazingly memorable, and the story very quickly drew me into the world these people were creating. Now Rooster Teeth is a massive company that is involved in many different projects and even foster an amazing online community the likes of which I have rarely seen. But it’s always Red vs. Blue that brings me back.
Red out with a series of ragtag soldiers on opposing armies in conflict over a box canyon with no value. Conflict is a strong term for what they did because they mostly stood around talking, and that’s what made the series hilarious and unique. It didn’t revolve around the action, it revolved around the characters. However, as any good series must do, the story progressed and evolved. The universe that these characters inhabited became so large and detailed it is a marvel to see. These characters who were terrible soldiers all of a sudden were thrust into a conflict much larger than themselves. They were forced to become heroes; terrible, reluctant heroes, but heroes nonetheless.
However, one thing that always intrigued me about the series as it progressed was the shadowy organization in the background known as Project Freelancer. We’d met a few characters from the organization by the time Season Eight had wrapped up. In fact, some of the characters from Project Freelancer served as the series villains. All of these characters came out of Project Freelancer, an organization that we had only heard about second-hand. We hear about some of the shady things they had done but had never seen it.
That’s why I was excited when Rooster Teeth announced they would be exploring Project Freelancer with seasons of the show that would take place before the main series. To show the audience what and who exactly Project Freelancer was. Once these seasons were over I couldn’t help but feel just a little disappointed. Sure there was a lot of flashy new animation but I felt as if the focus of the series shifted away from the story and the characters to these crazy action scenes. Don’t get me wrong, the new animation made those action scenes an absolute spectacle to see, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing.
That is what brings us here. While I still enjoyed the Freelancer Saga there were things that were missing or just seemed off to me. These following articles will explain what I would have liked to see and why. This is how I would have done the Freelancer Saga. I don’t want to say I’d do it better because I still enjoyed these seasons, I just think that these points will address the shortcomings I felt these seasons had. The points will range from how characters are presented and how they interact with each other, how the seasons are structured, and even change some of the core elements of the story, not too much, but enough to address what I feel needs to be addressed. Again, not saying my ideas are better, this is just how I would have liked to see it go.
Part One: Saga Structure
For those who may not be familiar the Freelancer Saga was divided across two seasons. What made these unique was the fact that the seasons were further split between Project Freelancer in the past and the present day stories. As a result each season was split in half between two different timelines. While this did show some interesting parallels between the plots it also took away time from each that could have been used to further develop characters and story, as a result the first thing we are going to do is do away with the divided seasons. This will keep the focus on the new characters and stories that are being introduced for the first time. Next, we address the number of seasons. I know this would be somewhat implausible given how the series is made but we are going to dedicate three entire seasons to the Freelancer Saga solely as it takes place before the present events of Red vs. Blue. As the saga stands now it is really only about one season’s worth of content. While it did do a good job regarding some characters and plot points it felt rushed or under-developed in others. The three complete seasons will allow us as the audience to connect with these new characters on the same level as we did with the originals. We will see them and all their strengths and faults as they develop more over time. This will also allow some of the original plot points to be expanded upon and new to be introduced (more on those later).
Now an important question that needs to be asked is “what happens to the present day material involving Agent Carolina with the Reds and Blues. The answer is simple; we give that story its own season as well. However, there is another story that needs to be told, that of how Carolina found the Reds and Blues, and how they broke out Epsilon at a later date. We give this story its own season as well. Again, I know this is a damn near ludicrous thing to say given the crazy amount of time, effort, and money that would be needed to pull this off, but trust me, it’ll be worth it (again, more later).
Besides the number of seasons, the next big change would be to eliminate the story of following the Epsilon A.I into the failing memory unit. For those unfamiliar, Season eight ended with the character of Church/Epsilon, an A.I fragment, plunging into a memory unit in order to try and rescue another A.I character. He does not get out in time and is stuck in the memory unit. What follows in season nine is Epsilon’s own version of how the events of the early season played out. While this is a humorous idea it does little to advance the overall plot of the series. This effectively creates an extra half season worth of time that can be dedicated to the first full season of the Freelancer Saga. Now, in the memory unit plot the only significant character development is made by Church/Epsilon as he is the only “real” character present, all the other characters in this particular part of the season or figments of his imagination. These versions of Sarge, Grif, Simons, Donut, Tucker, and Caboose aren’t the real versions. As a result this makes any interaction between these characters meaningless. While their slightly altered characters are funny at times it doesn’t mean anything by the end. The events that take place in the memory unit also aren’t real and as such could be done without. The only plot point of substance is Epsilon’s growing sense of acceptance of his own “mortality” and the fact that he has to let go of his memories of Tex, the character he came in after.
Now, as these points are somewhat important to the character of Epsilon and his journey we can’t get rid of them entirely. So what do we do? We take the important events of the memory unit and we condense them into a mini-series. This will be much along the lines of previous mini-series in the Red vs. Blue universe like Out of Mind, Recovery One, or Relocated. I’ll admit I had concerns with making it a mini-series as it seems to be a big development point for one of the series main characters. I quickly realised that there have been bigger developments in the various mini-series as well. The character of Agent Washington is introduced in Out of Mind; anyone familiar with the series will know that Washington is a major character now. The character of York is introduced and then killed within the same mini-series Out of Mind; he is another character who plays a large part in the Freelancer saga. As a result, it shouldn’t be a huge stretch to imagine condensing the memory unit plot down to the essential bits and fitting it in as a six episode mini-series.
That is just the beginning of how I would have liked to see the saga go. I know it’s pretty much insane of me to damn near triple the size of the saga, but for me, if we are really going to connect with these characters we need the extra time. If we are going to watch these characters grow, if we are going to laugh and cry with them as they try and find their way through the storm of bullshit coming at them we need the extra time. If we want to hold them up to the same level as characters like Sarge, Grif, Simons, Donut, Church, Tucker, Caboose, or Tex, we need time to understand these people and what’s happening around them. The Freelancer Saga is really the first introduction we get to a great deal of characters that inhabit this saga, if we want to get to know them; we need the time to do so.
Stay tuned as next time I delve further into The Freelancer Saga and how I would have done it.