On November 15, 2019, Electronic Arts is dropping Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order for consoles and PC. Developed by Respawn Entertainment, many are looking at Fallen Order as EA’s last chance to get a big budget, AAA Star Wars game right. There may be another big game in development, but after a major studio closure and the whole Battlefront fiasco, Star Wars fans ain’t happy. But beyond that, what has my attention is how Fallen Order represents a new addition to the fairly linear Star Wars canon. This game is adding stuff to the lore, the timeline, the IP. As with any property, adding things in transmedia projects… complicates things for fans of all levels of interest. So my question is, what impact will Fallen Jedi have on Star Wars?
Right off the bat, it looks like Fallen Order is attempting the typical IP video game thing of taking place in the background. As far as the bigger picture is concerned, Fallen Order won’t be showing up to make any of the movies messy. Much like the Force Unleashed series, Fallen Order appears to be creating blanks to fill in. The story is set in-between Star Wars episodes three and four, which is largely untouched by anything major, save for Rogue One. But while Rogue One is quite far away from episode three, Fallen Order is on the other end, taking place quite soon after Order 66.
If you don’t remember Order 66, that’s when the Clone Troopers were made to turn on their own people and take down the Jedi,. This resulted in the near-destruction of the entire Jedi structure, including the younger members of the order, the Padawans. Cal Kestis is one such Padawan, one who managed to escape and is now living in hiding. Fallen Order’s plot kicks into gear when Kestis accidentally uses The Force to save a friend, and an Empire droid sees it.
Along the way, now on the run and pursued by an “inquisitor” under Darth Vader, Cal will run into Saw Gerrera. Originally introduced in the Clone Wars series, Gerrera came to be known as an example of extremism on the Rebel side. He’s almost a parallel to Darth Vader, on the side of the good guys but willing to go to great lengths for his cause, including sacrificing his own body. Having Cal run into Gerrera, a character already established to exist on the Star Wars margins, allows the writers to bring in recognizable characters without intersecting with the main scenario a ton.
Of course, we only know so much about Fallen Order’s story at this point. Saw Gererra was only just introduced during E3 2019, for the game’s second trailer. We don’t really know if any other familiar characters will be appearing, or how close Cal will get to events he clearly hasn’t been a part of before. Will there be retcons? Probably not–we don’t want to get too ambitious here, especially as the Skywalker story is about to come to a close. But perhaps we’ll see further adventures of Cal Kestis in other transmedia projects. After all, even the Star Wars Battlefront II story was expanded upon in the form of a tie-in novel.
Much of the focus on Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order during E3 2019 has been on the gameplay itself. It seems like Respawn Entertainment is borrowing a lot from Dark Souls, while still making an accessible game casual fans will be able to enjoy. Only a few bread crumbs have been laid out for the story, including the inclusion of various planets like Kashyyyk, and the creation of brand new locations. But I find myself wondering, with such a big project with such a big budget, what impact Fallen Order will have on Star Wars going forward. Will more space be filled in between the films? Will Cal Kestis become a recurring character, and somehow be worked into the plot long term? We’ll find out which way things might be headed starting in November.