Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Follows Changing Cal Kestis

Last night, we had the first proper gameplay trailer for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor at The Game Awards, along with the release date of March 17, 2023. Along with that comes a proper long look at Jedi hero Cal Kestis, a young man who has clearly gone through some pretty big changes since the end of Fallen Order.

First, he gets a new look – Cal ditched the poncho in Fallen Order and now has a more adventurous, almost Han Solo-like look to him. He has grown some facial beard and his lightsaber is growing as he is becoming stronger and more resourceful.

But the changes aren’t just deep within the skin. IGN spoke with Cal actor Cameron Monaghan prior to the release of the trailer about how his character has been affected during the five-year period between Fallen Order and Survivor. And while he still had a lot of the Cal Kestis we knew then, the Jedi’s plight and his own precarious position in trying to save the order were starting to take their toll.

“Cal’s worldview is also starting to change,” Monaghan said. “Desperate times are calling for desperate measures and it is difficult for him even to understand what he is fighting to protect, or where he should go.

“You have an Empire that is expanding rapidly, and doing so is very active, and extends to even the smallest and most distant regions of this galaxy. And I think, from his perspective, going from planet to planet and just seeing an increasingly desperate situation must have been very, very lonely. I can imagine that would definitely weigh on someone.

Although Monaghan denied that the visual comparison we drew between Cal and Han Solo was more than just the costumes (“No one is Harrison Ford but Harrison Ford,” he said), he adds that both The two have some unintentional similarities.

“[Cal’s] more mature, he’s tougher, and he’s been weathered by time and circumstances,” Monaghan said. “He is still a beautiful young man. But I really think he’ll look a bit older than his actual age, because he’s been through a lot. And that’s also what I wanted to be reflected in the performance, that you see he’s still a young soul, but also has a weight beyond his age. And there is a wisdom and self-awareness to him that I think is interesting, but sometimes you also have to be a bit of a scoundrel to survive in the world. You have to be a bit of a rogue, and you have to know when to hit back and how.”

Given the galactic situation and the audience’s perception of how it develops further ahead of A New Hope, we asked Monaghan if there was any hope for Cal personally getting a happy ending to his story. I don’t.

“It depends on what you define as a happy ending, right?” he answered. “If you effect meaningful change, and if you can accomplish the things that you set out to do, then I think that in some way is satisfying or meaningful.

“One of the exciting things we’re doing with Jedi exploration, is what it means to be on the side of the light of the force. Especially when you’re in situations that are getting more and more desperate and more difficult, and you don’t necessarily have the right answer.”

All of this sounds grim for Cal, but the Cal Kestis we know can be fun, too. Especially around his friend, BD-1. BD-1 remains with Cal in Survivor, although his other teammates like Cere don’t do their own thing. And Monaghan also has a good time with the robot.

Yaddle and Cal, exploring the universe, together forever.

“We have a great actor named Gideon Emery on set, and we have a 3D movie. [life-sized] print version of BD. [Emery] has a nose flute, or a nose whistle that he wears on his face. It’s like a little piece of plastic that he moves… And so he’s going to make expressive noises and things to mimic BD, and he’s messing with him, and kind of moving him and take him with you.

“Gideon was there from the beginning. We had a shot where we didn’t have BD, and I was basically like, ‘We’re missing a character in the shot.’ So I’m very grateful that we brought Gideon in, because it really gives a great momentum and energy.”

While Cal and BD-1 are still a dream team, there’s another character that Monaghan said would be a dream team for him as Cal, and that’s a bit unusual: The Master Jedi Yaddle.

“Yaddle and Cal, explore the universe together forever,” Monaghan said wistfully, then laughed and added, “No, I don’t know. I think we’ll see a few… Midway through the first game, this, I can’t really say for sure except that there’s some really cool stuff. And I’m excited to see what we have to do.”

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is scheduled to release on March 17, 2023 on Xbox, PC, and PS5. There’s still plenty of time for Fallen Order updates before it’s released, and judge our “Awesome” reviewwe recommend you do.

Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.


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