The Rise of Skywalker isn’t the only Star Wars story hitting the masses this year. With Star Wars: Resistance covering the franchise’s TV base, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, the latest videogame from EA Games in the galaxy far, far away, takes us to a different point in the universe’s timeline.
Cameron Monaghan of Shameless and Gotham fame voices and performs a motion-captured role as Cal Kestis, a surviving padawan of the Jedi Order who escaped the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. After he’s exposed and targeted by the Empire, he’s rescued by two Rebels: former Jedi Knight Cere Junda (Debra Wilson), pilot Greez Dritus (Daniel Roebuck), and your new adorable droid obsession BD-1. Together, they uncover a lost civilization and take on a new mission: to track down and protect Force-sensitives before the Empire gets a hold of them.
Jedi: Fallen Order comes equipped with a third-person RPG format that takes you through never-before-seen parts of the Star Wars universe, while also filling in some of the gaps between Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: A New Hope. Here’s a guide to how it all fits into cinematic universe.
First, we have to go back to George Lucas‘ prequel trilogy.
In Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine wrangles the Senate into approving the creation of a clone army to serve the Republic. Jedi masters are promoted to generals of this military force, as they continue training younger padawans to rise through the ranks. Thus, begins the era chronicled in Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. In Revenge of the Sith, after Palpatine is revealed to be the infamous and shadowy Darth Sidious, Anakin Skywalker, apprentice to Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi, turns to the Dark Side to become the right hand of Palpatine. Order 66 was their plan to wipe out the Jedi Order.
Palpatine sends a command to all of his clone troopers: “Execute Order 66.” Without hesitation, the soldiers turn on their Jedi commanders and kill them. Palpatine plays it off as the Jedi attempting to overthrow him in order to gain power. Using this fear, Palpatine reorganizes the Republic into the Galactic Empire.
Cal was a young padawan when it happened, serving under Jedi master Jaro Tapal on a ship above the planet Bracca. Following a training session, the clones attack and the pair flee in an escape pod to the world below. Unfortunately, Tapal dies from blast wounds suffered on the ship. Taking his master’s lightsaber as his own, Cal is forced into hiding and he finds work at a shipyard. Before receding into the shadows himself, Obi-Wan sends out a distress signal (as shown in the game) to remaining Jedi, some of which were also able to escape.
Marvel and Respawn Entertainment (the producers behind Jedi: Fallen Order) released a comic book miniseries from writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Paolo Villanelli to act as a prequel for the videogame. The story follows Cere and her Jedi master, Eno Cordova, who is drawn in the likeness of Tony Amendola (The Curse of La Llorona). Amendola also voices the character in Jedi: Fallen Order.
Eno and Cere were tasked with the excavation of a Jedi temple on the planet Ontotho, but they are drawn into a conflict involving a rebel group Fylar Freedom Fighters. Eno, fascinated by ancient civilizations, was investigating an old vault from the Zeffo when he experienced a vision of the fall of the Jedi Order. Within the vault, he then hid a holocron containing the identities of Force-sensitive children and entrusted his droid, BD-1, with his knowledge. He hoped this would ensure the survival of the Jedi in the future.
Cere was separated from Eno on Ontotho and fought alongside the Fylar Freedom Fighters. When her own padawan, Trilla Suduri, turns to the Dark Side, Cere cuts herself off from the Force.
Five years after Order 66, Cal’s connection to the Force isn’t as strong as it once was, though he’s able to use his abilities to save a friend from falling to his death. Then, the Inquisitors arrive, forcing him to go on the run once again.
One of Palpatine’s first mandates as leader of this new Empire is the creation of the Inquisitorius Program. The Inquisitors, led by The Grand Inquisitor (as seen in the Star Wars Rebels animated series), were mostly former Jedi who turned to the Dark Side. Their main task was to hunt down surviving Jedi. Darth Vader, a.k.a. Anakin, eventually assumed control over the program.
The Second Sister, who once went by Trilla, is one of the most dangerous in the program. An expert lightsaber duelist, she’s one of the Inquisitors tracking down Cal after he’s exposed on Bracca. She’s accompanied by the Ninth Sister, a hulking Dowutin who was also once a Jedi apprentice. When she joined the Dark Side, her ability to read emotions graduated to reading minds.
Other Inquisitors we’ve met in Star Wars canon include the Seventh Sister in Star Wars Rebels, the Tenth Brother in the Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith Marvel comics from writer Charles Soule and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli, and the Sixth Brother, who was killed by Jedi Knight Ahsoka Tano in the events of author E. K. Johnston’s Star Wars: Ahsoka novel.
The Nightsisters, first introduced in season 3 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, were a coven of witches who reside on the planet Dathomir and use the Force to practice magic, including illusion and necromancy. The Nightbrothers, Dathomirian males, are more subservient to the Nightsisters and dwell separately.
The Nightsisters largely kept themselves out of the affairs of the Empire and the Jedi. But, Talzin, clan mother to the Nightsisters and biological mother to Darth Maul, hated the Sith for kidnapping her son. Talzin later tried to assassinate Count Dooku after he refused Asajj Ventress as his apprentice and tried to kill her. During the era of The Clone Wars, Count Dooku sent General Grievous and his Separatist droid soldiers to attack Dathomir and exterminate the Nightsisters, as shown in season 4.
In Jedi: Fallen Order, one of Cal’s first missions in following Eno’s footsteps leads him to Dathomir, where he encounters Merrin. She refers to herself as the last of her kind and holds a particular hatred toward Jedi because, as she recalls, an “armored warrior” wielding a lightsaber descended upon her planet when she was just a child and “cut down” her people. That certainly sounds like Greivous.
She was left alone “with the dead,” which allowed for her to eventually be manipulated by a nefarious figure.
Taron Malicos (voiced by Spartacus actor Liam McIntyre) was a former Jedi who escaped to Dathomir amid Order 66. Taron succumbed to the Dark Side when he used the Force to conquer the Nightbrothers and become their leader. He promised Merrin revenge on the Jedi if she shared the secrets of the Nightsisters’ magic with him.
Forest Whitaker first appeared as war-hardened Rebel warrior/borderline terrorist Saw Gerrera in the 2016 movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but his exploits across the galaxy are far-reaching. Jedi: Fallen Order sheds more light on his battles against the Empire.
In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, we see the character’s younger self fighting in a civil war on the planet Onderon that claimed the life of his sister, Steela. Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka had been sent to Onderon to train the rebels when the city capital Iziz was taken over by Count Dooku’s forces. We find Saw now on the Wookie home world of Kashyyyk in Jedi: Fallen Order.
The planet played host to the Battle of Kashyyyk in Revenge of the Sith, wherein Yoda aided the Wookie forces against the Separatists. Tarfful, the Wookie chieftain, helped Yoda escape Kashyyyk when the clones turned on the Jedi. Tarfful, too, makes an appearance in the videogame when Cal arrives.
During a fight between rebels and the Empire, Cal sneaks his way onto the planet and meets Resistance leader Saw, who needs help freeing some of the captured Wookie, including Tarfful. Saw will go on to appear in Star Wars Rebels and Rogue One.
A familiar face and familiar name
Now for some super spoilers
After facing Taron on Dathomir, Cal’s lightsaber is heavily damaged and requires repairing. He travels to Ilum, an ice planet that appeared previously in The Clone Wars series. It’s a sacred space for Jedi. As Cal mentions in the game, he went there with Yoda as a boy. It’s the site for the padawan rite of passage called The Gathering, wherein these Jedi hopefuls use their instincts and training to find the Ilum crystals (kyber crystals) in order to build their own lightsabers.
But, there’s a much bigger cameo that appears at the end of Jedi: Fallen Order. As Cal faces off with the Second Sister once again, her master emerges: Darth Vader presents himself as the final boss when his pupil fails to overcome Cal.
The previously mentioned comic run of Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith, which began with the first issue in 2017, chronicles some of Vader’s dealings with the Inquisitors and Palpatine’s orders to train and use these converted Jedi to hunt down their own kind.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is currently available to play on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC.