Edge of Tomorrow: why is Rita (Emily Blunt) nicknamed “The Angel of Verdun”?

In 2014, Emily Blunt shines as an elite fighter in “Edge of Tomorrow”, Sergeant Rita Vrataski, on the front line of the fights against the “mimics”. She is called “the Angel of Verdun”, and this nickname was not attributed to her by chance…

Tom Cruise’s Neverending Day

In Edge of Tomorrow, science fiction film with Tom Cruise released in 2014, the actor plays Major William Cage. This is a soldier in charge of public relations who, guilty of a pathetic attempt at blackmail to avoid ending up at the front, is sent there by force. In this near future, seventeen nations have formed a coalition to defend against an invasion of terrible aliens, the “mimics”. These seem to have the ability to anticipate the actions of the military, and therefore win victory after victory. But one day, in Verdun, the humans win a great battle, led by Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt). Therefore, it is nicknamed “the Angel of Verdun“.

Major William Cage and Sergeant Rita Vrataski share one thing in common. Indeed, both died a first time, in contact with a particular extra-terrestrial. This death opened a time loop which, each time they are killed, systematically brings them back to the beginning of the day. So, his first day in battle, William Cage will live it many times, before finally surviving it and moving on to the next day. It is on the same principle that Rita became “the Angel of Verdun”, fighting there many times before succeeding in gaining the upper hand over the “mimics”.

A nickname with historical inspiration

Science fiction film but perhaps above all about war, so full of references to historical battles like movies of the genreFor example We have to save the soldier Ryan for its opening sequence, Edge of Tomorrow did not build his universe at random. And while Rita’s nickname “the Angel of Verdun” is largely justified by the character’s actions in the film, it does indeed refer to a “legend” of the First World War.

On August 23, 1914, a major battle began between British forces and Imperial German forces in Mons, Belgium. The fighting was so intense and the soldiers so exhausted that at the height of the clashes, British soldiers reported seeing a group of warrior-angels intervened to help them against the Germans. A purely fictional account, written by fantasy writer Arthur Machen and published on September 29, 2014, is the primary source for the great popularity of this legend. Titled “archers“, this story participated in naming those who will henceforth be called “the Angels of Mons“.

The surname “the Angel of Verdun” In Edge of Tomorrow is thus a double reference to the First World War, borrowing on the one hand from this legend about the intervention of a supernatural force, the famous “warrior-angels”, and on the other hand at the Battle of Verdun. This is the longest and most devastating battle of the First World War, and is nicknamed “the mother of battles”.

A nickname not easy to wear for Rita Vrataski as for her interpreter Emily Blunt, but who is doing wonderfully in this role of fighter… necessarily legendary.

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