ac4-black-flag-4.jpg

The Assassin's Creed Community are raising

money for Ocean Conservancy.

Donate today

Community 

Articles

Shaun and Rebecca: A Retrospective

unknown.png

Save 10% on officially licensed Assassin's

Creed Origins merchandise with the code "TOWCB"

Top Stories

19/01/20                               By  Lauren Harris                     Edited by Ashlea Buckley

button.png

Assassin’s Creed is an ever evolving and everchanging franchise. The games often jump from one protagonist to another, always giving us new characters to follow and new places to call home. For many years, though, one story gave us the same heroes across multiple games. I am not talking about Ezio Auditore, who starred in three games. I am not even talking about Desmond Miles, who starred in five games. I am talking about Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane who were our modern day companions throughout seven and six games respectively. The last time we saw them was in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, where Rebecca was shot by Violet da Costa. Rebecca later appeared in the Last Descendants novel Tomb of the Khan, where we discovered she had recovered from her injury and that she and Shaun had recently been in Madrid – where the Abstergo facility from the Assassin’s Creed Movie is located. For a while, it seemed that may be the last we would hear of Shaun ‘Danger’ Hastings and Gadget Witch – but with Danny Wallace appearing in the cast list for an upcoming Assassin’s Creed audio drama, could Shaun be returning to the franchise? 

Whether that turns out to be the case or not, now feels like the perfect time to look back at the lives of Shaun and Rebecca and everything they have brought to the series in the 10 years since their introduction in Assassin’s Creed II. We will look at their history, their impact on the modern Brotherhood and some interesting facts we have learned about them, as well as speculating on some theories about them. 

As the older of the two, we will look at Rebecca first. 

Rebecca Crane was born on the 3rd April 1984. This wasn’t revealed until Syndicate, but it was actually apparent in game since AC2 that she was born in 84, due to her onscreen username. This would make her 35 years old currently.

Get 15% off with the code 'TOWCB'

Rebecca was raised by her parents. Very little is known about her childhood, not even what part of America she is from, but we do know that she was an adrenaline junkie. She was into extreme sports such as snowboarding and skydiving. She could have become an Olympian, except she severely broke her leg and spent months recovering. It was during that time she learned to code and became a successful hacker.

The timeline of Rebecca’s life is murky. She states that she was not born into the Brotherhood, she was approached by the Assassins. However, we have no idea when this was. During AC Initiates, Rebecca comments that the outernet created by the moles reminded her of “what we had before The Great Purge”. The Great Purge happened in 2000 when Rebecca was 16. Is it possible she really was approached for her hacking skills at only 16? Did her extreme sporting accident happen when she was in her early teens?

In any case, Rebecca was definitely an Assassin by 2005, when she was 21 years old. We know this because in 2012 she says it has been seven years since she last saw Lucy.

What Rebecca did during her early days as an Assassin is unclear. Her dialogue makes it seem as though she was close friends with Lucy before Lucy left to become an undercover agent – or at least until she went to university. We also know that in 2010, Rebecca was sent to Italy and Clay was assigned to her team. From there, she worked with Bill and Clay on the project to infiltrate Abstergo through Lucy. How much communication Rebecca had with Lucy during this time is also unknown, but their reactions upon meeting again in AC2 make it look like they always considered each other friends.

In December 2010, Rebecca rescued Shaun from Abstergo and drafted him into the Assassins. Rebecca had become aware of a person who was posting conspiracy theories about Abstergo online, and she knew this was dangerous. She reached out to him and warned him to stop, but he didn’t listen. As a result, Shaun was kidnapped and Rebecca took it upon herself to rescue him.

This is the point where Shaun and Rebecca met. From then on, they were ‘inseparable’ in the words of Otso Berg. For that reason, we will look at Shaun’s early life before moving onto their joint time with the Assassins.

 

Source: Ubisoft

Shaun Hastings was born on the 16th November 1985, presumably in the United Kingdom. He is English and proud of it, although ironically his voice actor Danny Wallace is Scottish and quite indignant about it. Shaun has parents, and his mother was still alive as of 2015. Little is known about his father, other than that he considers England vs. Hungary in 1953 to be the worst sporting disaster in history, though Shaun disagrees. Shaun also has an Uncle Rory who allegedly had a notable growth on his foot at one point.

Shaun does not talk much about his childhood. He was generally a typical kid, though one who loved conspiracies and the unexplained. He attended public school, which he considers to be a lot like life in the Grand Chatelet prison. During his school years, Shaun convinced someone that the Phrygian Cap was a form of birth control. He is proud of it. He also mentions that his headmaster pardoned every criminal sent before him. After he finished secondary school, he attended university with the plan to eventually become a history professor. That was cut short when he attracted the attention of Abstergo.

At least, that’s one version of the story. Strangely, Shaun has two separate backstories that do not match up. The first was told through ACII-ACIII, whilst the second appeared through transmedia and made its way into the narrative of the games. 

According to ACII, II, Shaun became obsessed with Abstergo at age 14-15. He posted on WikiLeaks type sites under the name Guy Fawkes. When Desmond remarks that Shaun must have gotten Abstergo’s attention, Shaun replies that he got Rebecca’s first – “otherwise [he] might have ended up at the bottom of a river”. This makes it sound like these events all happened when Shaun was about 15 years old – which would match up with Rebecca’s timeline if she really did join the Assassins in 2000 at age 16. Shaun himself also states in ACIII that he joined the Assassins as a teenager. The other evidence supporting this is that Shaun does not introduce himself to Lucy on her arrival, he simply says “Indeed. Welcome back.” – the “indeed” being him agreeing with Rebecca’s assessment that it has been seven years since she last saw Lucy. If Shaun had joined the Assassins any later than 2005, he would not have met Lucy at all and would, realistically, have needed to introduce himself. He also wouldn’t really know how long it had been since Rebecca saw her. The fact Shaun speaks to Lucy as if he has known her for years makes it highly unlikely that they haven’t met – but that’s exactly what the revised backstory implies. 

The revised backstory appeared through James Morse’s email on the old Abstergo website, now shut down. These emails told the story of Shaun’s kidnap and rescue by Rebecca – but placed the date as being in December 2010, when Shaun would be 25 – a full ten years later than his dialogue in ACII implied.

The kidnap and rescue is described in detail. Alan Rikkin, CEO of Abstergo and Templar Grand Master, emailed Caroline Grey, an Abstergo security analyst, to say that someone under the pseudonym Guy Fawkes had been posting on WikiLeaks about Abstergo. The post apparently listed “several of Abstergo’s secret divisions, names the heads of confidential programs and links us to several dangerous experiments”. Rikkin said he wanted a full investigation launched into the author. Caroline came back to say the most likely suspect was a junior professor named Shaun Hastings who taught a module on the Gunpowder Plot. Rikkin says he wants Shaun in his office for three hours under guard in order to “make him regret whatever act of anarchy he believed he was perpetrating”.

That was on the 9th December. The next day, Rikkin received an email stating that Shaun escaped from the guards during the transfer, but they did not know how. The van’s onboard computer gave an alert stating it needed refuelled – but the tank was already full. When the guards returned, Shaun was gone. Unbeknownst to them, this was Rebecca’s hacking handiwork.

This once again acknowledges Shaun as a history academic, and Shaun goes on to talk about his time at university a fair amount in both Unity and Syndicate – but the timeframe simply doesn’t add up. It also creates a huge shift in the relationship between Shaun and Rebecca. As of 2019, they have either known each other 9 years or 19 years. That is a massive difference.

Regardless, the second version seems to be the canon story now so we will follow on from there. At some point, Shaun graduated university. He notes that he travelled Europe for a month after leaving university and fell for a Spanish girl named Catalina who used him for his money. Once drafted into the Assassins, he joined William, Clay and Rebecca’s cell in Italy and completed his Assassin training in “a leaky shed in Wolverhampton”. Within his team, Shaun became the liaison for other Assassin cells around the world. Shaun would have been part of the Subject 16 project from December 2010 until Clay’s death in February 2011. After that, he and Rebecca moved on to work on securing Subject 17 – Desmond Miles.

 

Source: Ubisoft

This brings us to September 2012 and the start of the Assassin’s Creed game series.

Shaun and Rebecca worked with Desmond for the remainder of 2012, aiding him in working through Ezio Auditore and Ratonhnhaké:ton’s genetic memories in order to track down the Pieces of Eden and stop Abstergo’s satellite launch. At first, Shaun was resistant to Desmond’s involvement, feeling that he did not grasp the severity of the situation. He was also unsettled by the rising number of deaths within the Brotherhood and feared for their lives. Rebecca was more understanding and welcomed Desmond to the team. When the location of their hideout was discovered by Abstergo, Shaun and Rebecca alongside Desmond and Lucy fled to the Villa Auditore – the last Assassin safehouse in Italy. During their time there, Shaun warmed up to Desmond and the two seemed to form an uneasy friendship. The bond between the cell members grew, with each taking turn to do the cooking for the team dinner and occasionally venturing into the town for entertainment. However, Lucy’s death on 10th October shocked Shaun and Rebecca and left them both grieving. Rebecca travelled with William and Desmond whilst Shaun stayed behind in Rome to arrange and attend Lucy’s funeral. Shaun was uncomfortable with keeping Desmond around due to him seemingly being responsible for Lucy’s death – but he became understanding when he discovered the truth. Once the team moved to the Isu Temple, Shaun became focussed on American history whilst Rebecca grew increasingly troubled by the deaths of her friends and colleagues. This reached a peak when Desmond scarified himself to save the world, freeing Juno in the process.

Following Desmond’s death, Shaun, Rebecca, and William went “dark” shutting off all electronic communication and cutting contact with the Assassins. They had planned to stay dark for six months, but resurfaced early in May when they contacted Gavin Banks.

Shaun and Rebecca were in Peru when Gavin’s ship, Altair II, came to pick them up – but whether they had been there the entire time or whether they had travelled about is a mystery. They were sent onto Gavin’s ship to repair their Hephaestus email network. They stayed on board for nine days before being dropped off in California.

The next time Rebecca checked in with Gavin was in June, at which point she and Shaun were in Texas. They checked in again in August, this time from Oklahoma City. Rebecca said that she and Shaun were going to find out what happened to Desmond’s body, in the hopes of bringing William some peace. In September, Rebecca text Gavin to let him know she had seen an advert from Abstergo looking for new employees. A few days later, Shaun and Rebecca visited The Farm in Black Hills, South Dakota, which was Desmond’s childhood home.

In October 2013, Shaun and Rebecca arrived in Montreal and informed Gavin that they had a plan and they were in position. This plan was, of course, to infiltrate Abstergo entertainment. They stayed there until early December, but left after John from IT died. They pretty much went dark again after that and didn’t resurface until May 2014 – but they had apparently been in a secret bunker in Norway with Bill during this time. As of June 2014, they were still in Norway, and Bill Miles had put them in charge of the Initiates project.

That brings us to October 2014 during the events of Assassin’s Creed Rogue and Unity. Rebecca’s whereabouts during this time is a total mystery – though convention would suggest she was in the same place as Shaun. Perhaps she just wasn’t feeling chatty on those days. Shaun reveals, and this is confirmed in Syndicate, that he and Gavin’s team infiltrated an Abstergo lab in Paris only for it to blow up around them. After that, Shaun worked alongside Bishop on Arno’s memories in a building which, Shaun claims, had a “fat French bloke” working downstairs who he referred to as “The Belly of Paris”.  

In October 2015, Shaun and Rebecca were in London hunting down the Shroud of Eden. A lot had happened in the interim. Both had trained to become field Assassins and fight Templars, though Bishop pointed out that this still was not their job. Shaun also revealed that Bishop had been given control of the Initiates project despite what Bill had said in 2014. Neither Shaun nor Rebecca seemed happy about this. Later, they broke into Templar Inner Sanctum member Isabelle Ardent’s office, and escaped through a window when Otso Berg and Violet da Costa showed up. Galina Voronina turned up and they all ventured into the vault under Buckingham Palace to retrieve the Shroud. Shaun killed Isabelle Ardent, but Rebecca was shot protecting Shaun from da Costa. Shaun forced Galina to fall back and they left without the Shroud. Shortly after, Gavin’s team collected Shaun, Rebecca, and Galina and they fled the UK.

That was the last we saw of Shaun and Rebecca, though, as mentioned earlier, we know a few details about what they have done since. At some point during 2016, Shaun infiltrated Abstergo’s Madrid facility. Later, Rebecca, in a rare Shaun-less mission, aided Monroe’s cell of teenage Animi users, but left quickly saying that the Assassins are already understaffed and she was needed elsewhere. They have not been heard of within any canon media since – though that may change soon with the audio drama.

 

Source: Scott Cohn Art

That was the last we saw of Shaun and Rebecca, though, as mentioned earlier, we know a few details about what they have done since. At some point during 2016, Shaun infiltrated Abstergo’s Madrid facility. Later, Rebecca, in a rare Shaun-less mission, aided Monroe’s cell of teenage Animi users, but left quickly saying that the Assassins are already understaffed and she was needed elsewhere. They have not been heard of within any canon media since – though that may change soon with the audio drama.

Whilst Shaun and Rebecca might not have the most detailed backstories, we do know a lot about them – mostly from the details Shaun gives in his database entries. For example: Shaun hates builders, nomadic thespians, choirs, and the French. He considers poetry, music, dance and costumes to be his “literal definition of hell”. He doesn’t like that there is a direct train from London to Paris and says Canadians make him shudder. He has a particular hatred for Les Miserables, saying it is “GODAWFUL” and made by someone who hates him personally and was dead set on making his life a “living breathing HELL”. Apparently, he prefers Cats – but he said that in 2014 before the new movie version was released... Despite all this, Shaun does like things too. He is a fan of Winston Churchill, Antiques Roadshow, and the Queen, claiming that he would immediately retire should she ever Knight him. He also likes the Scots, seeing them as people made mainly of whisky and umbrellas. He says Louis VI the Fat is his favourite historical nickname of all time.

 

He also has a lot of political opinions such as hating the taxman. He hates America, thinks American history is a mess, and believes they have taken a step backwards in the 2000s. He also considers escaping the guillotine but being sent to America to be “a fate worse than death”. Shaun calls the British government “the finest in the world” but considering he is talking about their “streamlined system of corruption”, he is probably joking. There are a few other things we know about his personal life, such as that he has visited the Ledoyen Restaurant in Paris and frequents The Lamb pub in Marlborough, where he knows a barmaid named Jackie. Shaun possesses a paperweight from Germain’s factory, which he thinks he should get rid of knowing Germain’s Templar status. He once had his face shoved into a public toilet in Kettering and was thrown out of a pub. The reason is unknown. Shaun chews his nails, can speak basic French, and claims to have a friend from Cork who burst into flames. Shaun does not trust any man named Stuart, believes he would make a good Minister of Fashion, wants to name his autobiography “From Apes to Apex”, and is incapable of installing garden decking.

Rebecca, on the other hand, has far less information – but there are a few facts we know. In 2012, she had a dog who she had to leave behind when she went to Italy for their mission. She knows Bishop’s true identity, but will not reveal it as she “pinky swore” not to. She is bitter about losing control of the Initiates, saying “finders keepers” should be a tenet of the Creed. Her cousin Mark who lives in Vancouver has heterochromia and Rebecca fears he may be a Sage. Rebecca thinks Assassin’s “Brotherhood” is an outdated and sexist term which does not reflect the women in the organisation. She is repulsed by Otso Berg, still possesses the Animus 3.0, and apparently speaks into the side of Shaun’s head when he tries to drown her out. 

Shaun and Rebecca have had a significant impact on the Brotherhood and have always been considered important central members. In 2014, they made it onto Sigma Team’s Most Wanted list. Having been trained by William Miles, and been part of his cell for many years, they are highly trusted. William even trusted them with the life and welfare of his son. When William cut himself off from the rest of the Brotherhood, Shaun and Rebecca were the only ones who knew his whereabouts. Even Gavin, William’s second-in-command, was not given this information. Despite this, Shaun and Rebecca are still seen as desk rather than field Assassins – though they have branched out into more physical work in Desmond’s memory. Otso Berg and Violet da Costa have a particular hatred of the pair, which shows their importance in the eyes of the Templars. It is unsurprising though. For two people who were not born into the Brotherhood, they are incredibly resilient. After everything they have been through and all that they have seen, they are still fighting the good fight. However, what truly makes them formidable is their bond.

Shaun and Rebecca’s relationship has always been something of a mystery. Are they colleagues? Friends? Lovers? Perhaps all of the above at different points in time. What we do know is that they are inseparable – even Otso Berg acknowledges that. From the day Rebecca saved Shaun’s life and drafted him into the Brotherhood, the pair have rarely been seen apart. Shaun describes Rebecca as his “very best friend in the world” and his “partner in crime”. At the end of AC: Syndicate, Rebecca jumped in front of a bullet for Shaun and was wounded in the process. Shaun then demanded that they forget The Shroud of Eden and focus on getting Rebecca to safety. To them, keeping each other alive is more important than any mission. It is their devotion to each other that scares the Templars. For an organisation with very little loyalty or empathy, seeing two people so willing to die for each other is completely bewildering. They do not know how to fight that, which is why, in spite of everything, Shaun and Rebecca are still standing.

From a curious teenager and a tech nerd with a broken leg to two of the most highly respected Assassins in the Brotherhood, Shaun and Rebecca have proven time and time again that they are a force to be reckoned with.

Wherever they are right now, we can almost guarantee that they are together and they are kicking ass.

 

About the Author

Lauren is a online article writer who loves the Assassin's Creed franchise. 

As a member of the AC Partnership Program, she will be writing regular articles for the AC community, and her work can now be found in the Community Hub.

 

Lauren is especially interested in Assassin's Creed lore, and will be exploring this more in future articles.

Lauren Harris

ac4-black-flag-4.jpg

The Assassin's Creed Community are raising

money for Ocean Conservancy.

                           Donate today

unknown.png

Save 10% on officially licensed Assassin's

Creed Origins merchandise with the code "TOWCB"

button.png