Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is on its’ way to being a franchise in Star Wars gaming with a sequel on the way. This week is Fallen Order’s first anniversary so let’s take a look at some of the canon characters and events that were introduced:
Eno Cordova is the catalyst for the main mission and motivating factor of the heroes and villains in Jedi: Fallen Order. Cordova was a Jedi Master who had a deep knowledge of ancient civilizations and traveled the galaxy on specialized missions for the Jedi Council with his Padawan, Cere Junda.
In the game prequel comic series, Jedi Fallen Order Dark Temple, Cordova, and Junda were sent to the planet Ontotho, which recently joined the Republic to explore an ancient temple, and got caught in the middle of a civil war. The result led Cere to be knighted as a Jedi and Cordova went on exploring and researching. At some point, Cordova had a vision on the planet Bogano of the fall of the Jedi Order and attempted to warn the Jedi, who did not believe him (so ANOTHER warning that the Jedi Council had before Order 66 and did nothing about). To preserve future generations, he created a holocron with the help of the Jedi Librarian and Archivist, Jocasta Nu, of known force-sensitive children throughout the galaxy and locked it in a vault in hopes that another Jedi would rebuild if his vision came to fruition.
Cordova was respectful of different cultures and pressed upon the importance of understanding as a means to peace. He is like a Jedi Master version of Doctor Aphra, except less opportunistic and a perfect exposition tool for lore drop in the game.
Eno Cordova’s former Padawan and Cal Kestis new Master, although she has disconnected herself from the force when we first meet her in the game. In Dark Temple, we get some background with her time as Cordova’s Padawan, trying to bring peace to a planet on the edge, only to find out there are other forces at work. The Fylari, the only faction of Ontotho who do not want to join the Republic occupy land that includes an ancient temple that other factions of Ontotho want to excavate. Cere, an impulsive Padawan who dives into conflict too quickly, picks a side and escalates the situation, but learns to negotiate and let go of betrayals to save the lives of local Fylari. At the end of it all, she gets knighted and Cordova continues his research of who might have built the ancient temple on Ontotho.
In Jedi: Fallen Order, Cere enlists Cal to help track down the holocron containing a list of force-sensitive children to help rebuild the Jedi Order. We get bits and pieces of her past through her conversations with Cal, mainly that she cut herself off from the force when she lost her Padawan to the dark side. When Cal runs into the Second Sister, who reveals herself to be Cere’s former Padawan, Trilla Suduri, he learns that Cere gave Trilla up to the Empire, leading her to join the Inquisitorius. Cal confronts Cere and she admits that she was tortured and gave in to it, revealing Trilla to the Empire and has been living with her guilt ever since. Cere almost gives in to her anger again when her Trilla is struck down in front of her by Vader, but she is saved by Cal. While Jedi: Fallen Order is Cal Kestis’ story, Cere has a wonderful arc of her own that begins with the comics and will, hopefully, continue to the sequel. She is a great addition to the Jedi who have survived Order 66 and have to figure out a way to live in an Imperial-occupied galaxy that is constantly hunting them.
The Zeffo and the Tomb Guardians
We learned from Cordova’s research that the Zeffo were an ancient species that referred to the force as life wind. Those who were force-sensitive were deemed sages and during their time, they built many statues, relics, and temples that were sought after by many archeologists, researched by Cordova, and eventually pilfered by the Empire. Cal Kestis first learns of the Zeffo while trying to access one of their temples on Bogano. He meets Cordova’s old droid, BD-1, who relays a message from Cordova that the vault contains the holocron of force-sensitive children. To get the holocron, Cal has to visit several places, including Zeffo, and a temple guarded by massive automaton Tomb Guardians that bear the likeness of the Zeffo species. You first get a glimpse of these in the comic series Dark Temple but they look even more intimidating in-game. They are beautifully designed and unique addition to Star Wars automatons. The variant cover of Dark Temple # 1, has increased in value since release and is the highest valued variant in the series so there seems to be an interest in these temple guards outside of the game.
Cal Kestis hears a message in the temple from a Zeffo sage, a warning:
“I offer this record of our civilization to those who follow.
Despite our wisdom and technological achievement, we face extinction.
Dogma blinded us to the path of balance and gradually we allowed our pride to corrupt us.
The greater control we sought, the further we fell into ruin.
I lead the remnants of my people into the great unknown, hoping that we will finally find peace.”
It is a mirror held up to the Jedi Order and how they allowed the Sith to corrupt and blind them into their own extinction. It is also possible that, while the Zeffo are believed to be an extinct species within the Star Wars universe, the great unknown might be new settlements in the Unknown Regions. We could see more Zeffo, and more Temple Guardians in the future. Or the unknown is death and they are really extinct. Here’s hoping for the former.
Merrin, Malicos and the exploitation of Dathomir after the Clone Wars.
After The Clone Wars episode “Massacre”, “The Disappeared Part 2” and the novel Dark Disciple, I thought we were done with stories from/revolving around Dathomir so it was nice to see the home of the Nightsister and Nightbrothers be introduced to an even larger audience in Jedi: Fallen Order. After following a lead to Kashyyyk and battling the Ninth Sister, Cal gets a message from Cordova stating the vault needs a Zeffo artifact called the Astrium to open. The Astrium is in a Zeffo tomb on Dathomir. Hearing this in the game, I imagined that we would definitely see Cal battle Nightbrothers and other new creatures from the world. Bringing a Nightsister into the mix was a welcome surprise, adding Dathomir magick and bringing back the Nightsister zombies. And having Merrin be a child survivor of the “Massacre” episode (though I feel like Mother Talzin should have recognized that there was a child still alive) seemed like a formidable and sympathetic opponent. I did not, however, expect someone like Taron Malicos who first appears, looking like a poor man’s Ben Kenobi, presenting himself to Cal as a “traveler studying the nature of distinct cultures and dead philosophies.” At that point, I just cared about Merrin, the Nightsister, thinking that she was going to be the boss fight in this world. My expectations were subverted in the best way. Malicos turned out to be a survivor of Order 66 who had been living, and fighting on Dathomir ever since, and going mad in the process (my fault for not paying attention when a Latin root word, mal, is used so well). Using the force to assert dominance over the Nightbrothers and even lying about the Jedi to Merrin to learn Dathomir magick, Malicos is a true parasite as Merrin called him after entombing him alive. Now, with Merrin out in the galaxy with the rest of the crew, will she learn to be a Jedi from Cal and Cere? Perhaps return to Dathomir at some point? I’m sure we’ll find out but it would be nice to see Dathomir in a better place after all is said and done.
Ilum as Starkiller Base
Starkiller Base itself is nothing interesting or even remotely new to Star Wars (it is essentially the third Death Star). However, one thing that did stand out during The Force Awakens was that, unlike the Death Star in the original trilogy, Starkiller was made from an actual planet. Of course, this brought a ton of speculation and fan guessing the following years on what planet this could be and if we would ever know the answer. And the answer to the origin of this superweapon was hinted at in Fallen Order. Cal must-visit Illum to restore his lightsaber after the Kyber crystal is damaged on Dathomir. Ilum is a sacred place in Star Wars lore as the secret location of The Gathering, a rite of passage for young Jedi Padawans who must undergo internal challenges and find their Kyber crystals. When Cal returns, he must avoid the stormtroopers and mining operations that now occupy the planet and you get a view of the planet upon arriving.
Looks like a Starkiller Base. Of course, this theory had been strong since The Force Awakens and continuing with Rogue One, where it was noted that the Empire used Kyber crystals to power superweapons like the Death Star. It would make sense that the Empire and, eventually The First Order, would strip a planet that was rich with Kyber crystals to make an ultimate superweapon (which STILL got blown up!). This fact would not be officially confirmed until 2020 when Pablo Hildago confirmed in an entry in The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary. It is great to see a strong reveal in a game and hints at the growing importance of gaming within the Star Wars canon and the value of engaging your audience with a single-player story.