Cal Kestis’ journey is officially continuing in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, set for a PS5, Xbox Series, and PC release in 2023. The sequel is coming nearly four years after Jedi: Fallen Order introduced us to new Jedi, new Inquisitors, and one of the cutest droids in the galaxy. But it’s actually been an even longer stretch of time in between the stories of both games: EA confirmed Survivor is set five years after the events of Fallen Order, and our first look at Survivor shows Cal and BD-1 in some serious trouble.
Now, one big component of Cal’s life, as far as players know, is his found family and crew of the Stinger Mantis, Cal’s starbound home throughout the events of Fallen Order. We don’t really see the crew – Cere, Greez, and Merrin – in the Survivor reveal, but we can surmise things haven’t gone all that well for them. The trailer shows the Mantis downed on a desert planet, with a slow pan through its main hull spelling nothing but trouble. Looking out the cockpit window, you can see a singular set of footprints trailing off into the distance, suggesting either Cal or another member of the crew escaped this crash alone. But the rest of the team’s fate remains a mystery.
As for the first desert planet we see, well, Star Wars is home to no shortage of sandy shores, and it’s equally likely that this could be a new planet as it is potentially a familiar one, given Fallen Order brought us to several lesser-seen worlds. If it’s an existing one, it’s natural to assume Tatooine given its prevalence. Plus, Survivor would essentially take place around the same time as the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, and we know the Inquisitors will have a presence in both. It could even be the sequel trilogy’s prominent desert planet Jakku. But it could also potentially be the desert moon Jedha. Not only is the moon spiritually and historically significant spot for the Jedi, and as we see later in the trailer Cal at some point needs a lightsaber, but we also know the planet eventually becomes the base of operations for someone Cal has already had ties to: Saw Gerrera, who Cal met during Fallen Order.
Wherever this planet is, it’s only one brief glimpse of the dire state of things for Cal. Several threads run throughout the trailer – slow pans of a character in a bacta tank, a voiceover questioning Cal, and a battle between Cal and another figure. Let’s start with the latter first, and how it sets up the other lingering threads.
A Jedi Without a Lightsaber… Again
Spoiler warning! Spoilers for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s ending follow – if you haven’t beaten that adventure yet, this isn’t the article you’re looking for.
Tying into the lack of the crew’s presence in the trailer, we mostly see Cal going it alone in the reveal. At one point, Cal comes to blows with a masked figure wielding a red lightsaber, and seemingly loses his lightsaber in the process.
Anyway, the Survivor reveal gives us a strong sense that Cal is on the backfoot, but for a series that has already delivered such great lightsaber combat and EA’s promise of expanding on those mechanics, presumably he won’t be without such a signature weapon for long. That could lead to a theoretical trip to Jedha or another location known for its kyber crystal supplies, as he visited Ilum in the first game to forge his lightsaber with a new kyber crystal.
As for that lightsaber? Well, it ends up in the hands of someone of power working for the Empire. Though Cal loses his lightsaber in the midst of the trailer, the reveal actually opens with a shot of Stormtroopers carrying a suitcase to a secure location, and we later see that suitcase open, in the mitts of this figure.
The pointy teeth and skin suggest this is a pau’an, and it’s natural to assume this would be the Grand Inquisitor hunting Cal down, his appearance is different enough from that character’s live-action and animated appearances to signal it isn’t him, and in fact StarWars.com labels him as an imperial senator. Still, this antagonistic force is clearly interested in hunting down Cal Kestis. And that’s no surprise, given Cal has been outrunning the Empire for years as a known Jedi, and in particular his run-in with some powerful foes in Jedi: Fallen Order. This imposing figure’s voiceover intones the entire trailer, saying “Tell me Cal Kestis, why lead when they won’t follow,” questioning what Cal’s next move will be as he creepily ogles Cal’s lightsaber.
Here, we may get another hint at Cal and the rest of the Mantis’ current plight, if the crew is indeed the “they” this figure is referring to. He could be alluding to some sort of division of purpose among the group amidst the increasing, imposing force of the Empire. As we know from the end of Fallen Order, rather than choose to pursue the locations of other potential Jedi in the galaxy, Cal destroyed the Holocron containing that information to keep those children safer, allowing them to choose their own paths. That information would have been valuable to the Empire, but also left the Mantis crew on their own – it’s possible not everyone in the ensuing years agreed with Cal’s call, or there may be other issues brewing during such an oppressive time in the galaxy.
As we see from this figure’s brief scenes, whether he’s working directly with the Inquisitors who have previously hunted Cal, he’s not at the Fortress Inquisitorious. We know that he’s somewhere on Coruscant, as that city skyline looks like the perfect place to fly through while barely hanging onto a droid. Either way, the Inquisitorious is undoubtedly also going to continue to be an antagonistic force against Cal.
As we mentioned earlier, it seems Cal is quite alone for the moment. But the last remaining mystery of the trailer could indicate one potential ally in Cal’s continuing quest.
Who’s in the Tank?
Throughout the trailer, slow pans of a character in a bacta tank are interspersed along with the rest of Cal’s tribulations, before ultimately ending with Cal standing before said person in the tank, amidst an otherwise spare and desolate room overgrown with flora. Cal is looking up at this white-haired character, seemingly otherwise alone in this room. It’s also worth noting he does have his trademark lightsaber (that he loses at some point in the trailer) on him in this moment. He’s also seemingly sporting a blaster in a holster, which is not something Cal typically carried on him in Fallen Order. Maybe Respawn is pulling from some of its expertise with shooters like Apex Legends and Titanfall and giving Cal some more ranged options.
We only get brief glimpses of a close-up at them, and while they give off some major Cloud Strife vibes, it’s quite possible this is a brand new character, though someone Cal may be turning to for help at his darkest moments, whether he wants to or not. After all, Cal’s antagonist asks, “What is your next move, Jedi?” just before the trailer pans to this mysterious new figure, and the ominous room, coupled with Cal’s seeming dismay on his face as he observes the figure, could mean it’s not someone he’s particularly happy to turn to. Respawn game director Stig Asmussen did tell https://www.starwars.com/news/swca-2022-star-wars-jedi-survivor-interview that Cal will be “making connections with people that, in other times, might be considered unsavory.”
This figure has mysterious, inky black veins running across their shoulder, potentially signaling some sort of corruption or injury that required them to be inside this bacta tank. They may be someone essential to Cal, well, surviving, in Jedi: Survivor, and could very well be a survivor of some kind themselves, but perhaps they’re someone who tests Cal’s commitment to his survival – this could potentially be a Sith or someone else who follows the Dark Side, resulting in the grim look on Cal’s face.
Unfortunately, the breathing mask, lighting, and flowing hair obscures the character’s face a bit, so it’s hard to guess their exact identity, but the scene and trailer overall convey the dark moment Cal finds himself in, leaving mysteries about what’s happened to the Stinger Mantis crew, how he plans to keep outrunning the Empire, and more. We’ll have to wait to find out what returning faces join Cal along the way, which new ones prove to be true allies, and how he plans to continue surviving against the Empire closer toward Jedi: Survivor’s launch next year.
Jonathon Dornbush is IGN’s Senior Features Editor, PlayStation Lead, and host of Podcast Beyond! He’s the proud dog father of a BOY named Loki. Talk to him on Twitter @jmdornbush.