Fallen Order 2 Can Improve Cal Kestis' Character

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order introduced new and beloved designs and concepts to the iconic franchise, many of which innovated on elegant lightsaber combat. Moreover, any good modern Star Wars entry seeks to add an adorable new alien or droid to its line of merchandise, and that is achieved with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s BD-1. However, the truest test of a new Star Wars entry or IP installment is its protagonist character, who must carry the game on their back and lay a foundation for it to be experienced.

When Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order first released, the only talking point with regard to protagonist Cal Kestis was the physics engine that caused his signature, voluminous red hair to flow naturally in open air. Cameron Monaghan’s performance as the Padawan-turned-refugee was not poor itself, but Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order failed to give him many opportunities where his character needed to make decisions that were truly impactful. If Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s sequel reprises Cal, there are a few ways it can improve upon his character.

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Cal Kestis - Interacting with Other Characters in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s Sequel

An easy, if not tired, way for Respawn to develop Cal’s character would be to invite more light and dark side influences from the Force. Unfortunately, every Jedi character’s moral complexities are commonly easy to boil down to binary choices between being morally agreeable or egregious. This does not ensure one way or another whether a character will improve, or be adequately challenged based on these decisions, and it can be tremendously reductive to comprehend them in such a narrow-minded manner.

In every practical sense, Cal’s origin story in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order should have spelled the introduction to him becoming more malicious or depressed. However, when players meet Cal in the game’s Treasure Planet-esque opening on Bracca, Cal is a light-hearted, sarcastic character. This personality hardly wavers thereafter, and though it has been a while since Order 66’s purge of the Jedi, Cal is rarely ever seen as downtrodden or distraught. One probable reason for this may be due to the friendly companions Cal soon meets.

If the company one keeps is any indication of the character they are, then Prauf, an Abednedo male, does a lot for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s initial environmental storytelling. Prauf establishes a tone demonstrating Cal’s kinship with compassionate, kind individuals. Prauf then stands up for Cal and the Scrappers Guild in the face of the Inquisitor’s omnipotent threat, and has his life taken as a result. Being rescued by Cere Junda and Greez Dritus is a fortunate happenstance for Cal, but it is still a circumstance that allows Cal to express himself and hone his severed connection to the Force.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order concluded with the perfect blueprint for its sequel: Journeying to diverse planets and picking up new NPC companions to accompany the crew on the Stinger Mantis. Cal’s interactions with these characters, good or bad, could offer an interesting way to show his character developments and perhaps give him conflicting and contentious choices to make in the sequel’s narrative. ​​​​​​

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The Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Sequel Should Resist Bringing Cal to the Dark Side

Indeed, one of the more interesting parts of Cal Kestis’ character in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is his shattered connection to the Force. This fractured link helped service the game’s skill tree progression with new Force abilities learned throughout the narrative. It also depicted how the Jedi purge and the death of Cal’s Master, Jaro Tapal, had ultimately impacted Cal. Represented in gameplay first and foremost, Cal’s abilities are recovered gradually as he reconciles with his past.

Force abilities are necessary for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s numerous Metroid-like environmental puzzles and area obstructions. If players currently have an ability that can be used on an interactable environmental object, the associable piece will glow blue. If not, it will glow red. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order supplemented these gradual Force abilities with many creative lightsaber attacks players could unlock, and with any luck, there will be more Force-related abilities not yet implemented that can be used in the sequel.

If Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s sequel does intend to introduce more dark side influences, players might see unlockable skill tree access to abilities such as Force lightning or Force choke. However, Respawn would run the risk of making Cal too similar to Star Wars: The Force Unleashed’s Starkiller, who is perpetually stretched between the light and dark side. If Cal is going to be wholly unique as his own character and improved to be even more interesting, it will not be achieved by thoughtlessly pulling him to the dark side in order to justify a darker array of Force abilities for the player.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s Sequel Should Add More Customization

Another minor way the sequel could improve on Cal’s character is to feature more customization for Cal himself. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s cosmetic lightsaber customization was exceptionally popular because of the opportunity it gave players to swap the blade’s color and several hilt components to create a personalized weapon, even if those tiny details might only be seen at the workbench. Color palette swaps were also available for the Stinger Mantis, BD-1, and Cal’s ponchos.

If Respawn wishes to move forward with cosmetic customization for the sequel, it will need more than simple palette swaps. Cal’s personal customization in particular needs to be improved upon. Ponchos may or may not return in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s sequel, but this feature could be innovated on through full cosmetic reworks and dynamic outfits.

For example, Cal should be able to obtain an outfit that pertains specifically to a planet he embarks on, such as a white, fur-lined parka if the crew travel to Hoth. This would of course only be a simple improvement to the original game’s customization, but it could benefit the sequel to include treasure chests with loot that awarded more than a re-colored poncho.

Cal Kestis May Be Less Important than the Sequel's Soulslike Gameplay

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order sold over 10 million copies, but it is highly unlikely that its success was the result of Cal Kestis’ unassuming and conservative protagonist choice. Instead, the game was marketed with trendy key phrases at the time such as “single-player only” and “no microtransactions.” In a refreshing change of pace for the franchise, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was also compared closely to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice for its parry-heavy combat, and Uncharted for its simplistic parkour platforming.

As such, the way that Respawn improves upon lightsaber combat and its Souls-like elements may be what sets it apart. Nonetheless, Cal Kestis’ character will hopefully improve from being a standard protagonist reassembling his connection to the Force. Even if Cal is the most underwhelming or stagnant part of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s sequel, he will still be a competent avatar through whom players experience a solid foundation in gameplay and narrative.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, Playstation 5, Stadia, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

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