|“|| But the things you are capable of doing, and the things you want to do... You should be the one who is most aware of the answers to those.
—Gilbert Durandal to Athrun Zala., Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny
Gilbert Durandal (ギルバート・デュランダル Girubāto Deyurandaru?) is a character in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. Gilbert is the chairman of the PLANT Supreme Council. Durandal seems to have the agenda of ending all conflicts between humans, especially the chasm between the Naturals and the Coordinators, i.e. the Earth and the PLANTs.
Personality & Traits
Above all, Durandal seeks peace and does not follow the genocidal intentions of Patrick Zala and his followers. His words are meant to inspire people to follow his ideals of a perfect world without war. Durandal is seen as a cunning strategist who always thinks ahead of his adversaries. However, Durandal is also willing to eliminate those who are not committed to his cause or have not been swayed to his side, such as Athrun Zala. Durandal's personal goal for a world without war comes in the form of his mysterious Destiny Plan.
Although not much about Durandal’s past is revealed, it is known that he was once working as a geneticist. He was also a friend of Rau Le Creuset, and appears to be the person who gave Creuset the pills to stop the pain from his genetic malfunctions. In the past, he also had a relationship with later Minerva captain Talia Gladys, but Gladys left him because she wanted a child. Nevertheless, it appears that in C.E. 73, they are still sleeping together (which is once shown when they were sharing quarters on the Minerva).
Second Alliance-PLANT War
In October C.E. 73, Durandal met with Orb’s representative Cagalli Yula Athha to discuss the rearmament of ZAFT at the Armory One colony, but this meeting was interrupted when three prototype mobile suits of ZAFT were stolen by three Extended pilots of the Phantom Pain. Durandal later stayed on the Minerva while the ships is chasing the Girty Lue of the EA. When the Minerva tries to prevent the pieces of Junius Seven fall on Earth, he returns to PLANT and after the colony drop, immediately organizes aids, bringing medical supplies and food on Earth. Nevertheless PLANT is blamed for the colony drop and although Durandal tries to negotiate PLANT is attacked by nuclear missiles and so the Second Alliance-PLANT War starts.
To calm the people Durandal calls for help from Lacus Clyne look-alike Meer Campbell to act as the true Lacus and so calm down the anger of the people of the PLANTS so that genocidal intentions would not escalate. Also during a meeting with Athrun Zala, who expressed his desire to do something to repair the damage created by his father's ideals, he is able to make him come back to ZAFT and also makes him a member of FAITH. He also follows the path of the Minerva while he is on PLANT. He saves Shinn Asuka from being punished after he violated military orders, since his skills are needed in order to fight the disastrous attacks of the GFAS-X1 Destroy (from which he holds plans although it is unknown how he got them). He makes a speech to the entire world where he reveals the existence of Logos and that this organization is behind the whole war and Blue Cosmos. Any footage of Archangel and the Freedom Gundam fighting against the Destroy were omitted from his speech, propaganda to further spread the image that the ZAFT military alone was responsible for the victory. Casting further doubt on his intentions is his attempt to eliminate Athrun Zala shortly after Zala's refusal to pilot the new ZGMF-X666S Legend, who has trouble trying to accept the death of his friend Kira Yamato (although Kira actually survived). It is also heavily implied that the Armory One Theft, the Junius 7 drop and the failed assassination attempt on the real Lacus Clyne are all his works or authorized by him. Adding to this controversy is the fact that he was fully aware of the existence of the GFAS-X1 Destroy giant mobile suit as well as the Moon-based Requiem energy cannon but no direct evidence in the episodes links Chairman Durandal to the aforementioned events, although interviews with a Destiny scenarist tend to confirm that assumption. It should be noted that at a point in the series (Destiny, phase 39), the profile of the terrorist behind the 'Break the World' incident (the Junius 7 drop on Earth) is shown right after Durandal's. Although it is easy to assume that there is a causality link between the two pictures (the terrorist's profile was mysteriously erased, bringing other questions about the matter), the scene nevertheless spouted a series of theories according to which Durandal actually compelled the EAF to steal the three Millenium-series Gundams and ordered a loyal faction of Coordinators (former Patrick Zala followers) to throw J7 off its normal orbit onto Earth so that he could create a climate of terror and war on Earth, paving the way to ZAFT's return on Earth and its portraying the good side. The ultimate goal of this maneuver, according to those theories, is to enable Durandal to implement the Destiny Plan on the entire human population with minimal opposition, by gaining its trust first - thanks to the climate of insecurity caused by the return of hostilities and the damaged caused by the J7 asteroids.
A research notebook recovered by DaCosta on the abandoned Mendel space colony revealed that Durandal has something in his mind called the Destiny Plan, and it is related to his passionate speech to the entire world about defeating the warmongering LOGOS, and creating a new world where war no longer exists. The Archangel's crew think his plan would be to implement a new world order where every human is given the role for which they are best genetically suited at birth, and this would fulfill Durandal's ideal of perfect genetic determinism, as this should be the ultimate goal of all Coordinators. Under this theory humans will no longer fight against others for things that they wish, since each person's destiny are predetermined at birth. In this New World, genes would be the King, and Durandal would be the High Priest (in terms of chess).
After Lord Djibril's death, Durandal revealed the Destiny Plan to the world. However, the only opposition towards it was Orb, the Kingdom of Scandinavia and the Atlantic Federation. Durandal authorized the use of a rebuilt Requiem to eliminate President Copland at the Arzachel base. But as he turned his eyes on Orb, the Terminal forces, along with dissident ZAFT ships and remnants Alliance forces gathered to destroy the Requiem. Durandal branded them, "enemies" of mankind, generally as remnants of Logos.
However, the tide of battle turned when the Minerva was sunk, the Requiem and the Strike Freedom equipped with its METEOR units torn Messiah apart. The resulting explosions damaged the fortress, killing many aboard, though Durandal was the sole survivor on the bridge. He soon came face-to-face with Kira Yamato, guns drawn, and engaged in a debate of ideals. Durandal believed that without him, humanity will descend into war and chaos. Kira, however, believed in a world where they could choose.
But before either to shoot, Durandal is shot by Rey Za Burrel, formerly his most faithful follower. His lover, Minerva's captain Talia Gladys, stayed behind in the crumbling fortress to accompany him right till the end. The three of them are later crushed to death by falling debris.
Notes & Trivia
- The official English spelling of Gilbert's surname stems from that of the sword Durandal, as has been confirmed by noted Gundam source Mark Simmons. However, various merchandise from Japan instead uses the spelling "Dullindal". Some speculate his name may also possibly be a reference to French philosopher and anthropologist Gilbert Durand.
- In the original Japanese version, Durandal was voiced by Shūichi Ikeda, who famously voiced Char Aznable from the original Mobile Suit Gundam. Ikeda's role as Durandal marks his first role in a Gundam series after the originals. On SD Gundam G Generation Wars, he was available as a pilot, and his speeches are in similar fashion to Char's, although keeping the style and the characteristics of the character.
- During the early days of Gundam SEED Destiny's broadcast, some Gundam fans humorously speculated that Durandal would be piloting a red Gundam with a mask-like helmet in the finale because of his voice actor Shūichi Ikeda's former role as Char Aznable. Needless to say, they were disappointed when Durandal never showed any piloting capabilities in the series. Although, given the fact that he had a conversation (and even a chess game) with the ghost of Rau Le Creuset, it is quite likely that like he too is an apparent Newtype like Rau (and Char Aznable).
- Coincidentaly, Shuichi Ikeda would work with Rey/Rau's voice actor again in Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin where he voiced the real Char Aznable from whom Casval took the name.
- Durandal appears in any Super Robot Wars game that features the GSD story prominently, but with the exception of one route in the first SRW Z game and SRW K, the circumstances of his death are greatly altered, as are his motivations and portrayal.
- SRW Z1 mostly follows the series canon with some changes, most of little consequence to his portrayal until the player has a chance to pick the ZAFT route, which is the default route and follows GSD canon, or the player unlock the ZEUTH route, which is the "true" route used by later games. In this route, Talia Gladys elects to remain with the heroic coalition ZEUTH instead of following GSD canon, and thus she and Rey Za Burrel do not die with Durandal at the end of that plotline, though they do get to exchange farewells with him as he is dying. Earlier in the game both Quattro and Durandal meet each other when the game brings the Argamma and and Minerva forces together, not only to highlight how similar the two are, this also results in the AEUG teaming up with the Minerva's pilots to prevent "Break The World" from occurring at Junius Seven.
- SRW L dramatically alters the reasons for his descent into being an antagonist, which is the result of being coerced and partially brainwashed into helping the antagonists of the Linebarrels of Iron anime series. This among other changes results in the Minerva and her forces fighting against him in the final battle of the GSD plotline, though as he dies, Durandal dies as a hero, crashing the Messiah into the villain of the Iczer anime, as a means of using his own death to foil the alliance that series villain had with the other game villains, including the ones who had forced him to help them.
- His throne and the associated window behind it in the Messiah's control room resembles the same background elements found in Emperor Palpatine's throne room on the Death Star in the Star Wars movie Return of the Jedi. This visual reference is appropriate, as both Durandal and Le Creuset exhibit motivations and worldviews, albeit radically differing ones, and characteristics that have become associated with Sith Lords.
- Additionally, Durandal manipulated the falling hero, Shinn Asuka into one of his most trusted follower, similarly to how Palpatine manipulated Darth Vader. Durandal was also killed by another one of his most trusted follower, Rey Za Burrel similarly to Emperor Palpatine's death at the hands of Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi.
- He has a number of striking similarities with the character of Treize Khushrenada in Gundam Wing . Both are considered messianic characters, are skilled strategists, not directly battle unless absolutely necessary, both pacifist ideology advocating contradictory with the means they use to achieve their goals and they have a romantic relationship with a subordinate officer, Gilbert Durandal to the Captain Talia Gladys and Treize Khushrenada with Lady Une .
- In at least one staff interview has suggested that during the time of the first SEED series Gilbert was involved in PLANT-funded experiments to deal with the reproduction problems appearing in later generation Coordinators.[Citation Needed]
- In X Astray, a mysterious black-haired man wearing sunglasses and having some resemblance to Gilbert Durandal appeared to the then-escaped young Canard Pars and instigated him against Kira Yamato. Some fans speculated that this man could be Gilbert, but so far the identity of this mysterious man was never revealed.