As messages of love, admiration, and grief poured out across the internet following Lance Reddick’s sudden passing at 60 years old, Destiny players grappled with losing the cornerstone of their fictional universe. As evidenced by some of his last interactions online, the John Wick 4 and Bosch actor wasn’t just the voice of Destiny 2’s Zavala: he was a big fan and player just like everyone else.
Players quickly spotted that Reddick’s Destiny 2 handle, idontcare789#7678, appeared online the Wednesday night before he passed away from natural causes last week. The actor’s last liked tweet was also from a fan cracking jokes about Zavala, the stoic commander he voices in the game. Reddick had even played through most of the new Lightfall campaign, and only had one mission left: the final boss fight against Calus. A statement on his Twitter account posted by his wife, Stephanie Reddick, even directly mentioned Destiny players. “Lance loved you as much as he loved the game,” she wrote.
Reddick hasn’t been shy about his love of the game and its community in the past. “Although I play Destiny almost every day (I’m even part of a clan now), once I’ve played through each iteration of the game, as time goes on I kind of forget about the story and just focus on powering up and getting cool weapons and grinding through playlists,” he told Polygon last year. “At the end of the day, I’m just a big fan who also happens to voice one of the characters.”
While other Destiny 2 players spent Friday into the weekend crowding around Zavala to pay their respects, some Bungie developers shared personal stories about how Reddick wasn’t like many A-list talents who voice a few lines, collect a paycheck, and then never look back. Product lead Blake Battle recalled the time when he and some other devs helped take Reddick through Destiny 1’s Wrath of the Machine raid just prior to the launch of Destiny 2.
“On the final encounter, going into the last DPS phase, we had an untimely death that caused a little chaos, and Lance ended up needing to jump from the back of the room, glide onto Aksis’ back to stun him before the wipe,” Battle tweeted. “He pulled it off and we cleared the raid. The excitement in his voice after our clear was palpable. The whole run he was kind, sociable, and patient. He talked to us like he was just some guy from LFG looking for a chill group. The kind of person you’d want to add to your friends list to play with again sometime.”
Reddick, a recurring fixture across some of the biggest TV series over two decades, frequently joked with players, engaging not just with his character and the game but with the larger culture around it, memes and all. Long after other big names had departed Destiny, either because their performances were panned or because they had to go star in The Rookie, Reddick remained, a dependable bulwark just like Zavala.
Of the actor’s many virtues, one I and others keep coming back to is how he was able to ground even the most absurd-sounding lines and story beats as if they were the most natural and urgent thing to ever be uttered. For a medium that self-consciously struggles to be taken seriously among the plethora of space marines, magical prophecies, and zombie parasites, Reddick was the perfect fit.
Now Destiny 2 players are wondering how the game he gave so much can honor him back, both in the real world and in the cosmic-scale events currently unfolding within it. There were long-running theories Zavala might eventually have to sacrifice himself to keep impending threats at bay. A sidearm he gave players seasons ago called “Spoiler Alert” came with the ominous flavor text, “Someone is going to die.” Hopefully Bungie can manage Zavala’s conclusion as effortlessly and graciously as Reddick would have.