‘Jedi: Fallen Order’ Adds A New Character To ‘Star Wars’ Canon; What The Creators Had To Say About Cal Kestis

Star Wars has a long history with so many stories already woven into it. Adding characters to canon isn’t new, thanks to the shows Clone Wars and Rebels, and spin-offs such as Rogue One. With the latest Star Wars video game, Jedi: Fallen Order — set to come out Nov. 15 — the universe will introduce fans to Cal Kestis.

Showbiz Cheat Sheet spoke with Jedi: Fallen Order writer Megan Fausti and producer Kasumi Shishido at a preview event for the game last month. They touched on what went into creating Cal Kestis, his story, and what Star Wars fans can expect from the game. 

Cal Kestis ready to strike with his blue lightsaber.
Cal Kestis in ‘Jedi: Fallen Order’ | Star Wars/Respawn/EA

‘Jedi: Fallen Order’ takes place in a less-explored time in ‘Star Wars’

Jedi: Fallen Order’s story starts five years after Palpatine implemented Order 66 in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which made all Jedi virtually extinct. The game’s protagonist, Cal, escaped the purge as a Padawan and went into hiding. Players meet Cal as a scrap worker on the planet Bracca. 

When asked why this was the part of the Star Wars timeline the Jedi: Fallen Order team wanted to focus on, Fausti said the dark era was new and intriguing. Plus, she added there “hasn’t been a ton of canon content for this particular time frame.” This tragic era is pointed out by Forbes, too; it adds an aura of horror and mystery to the story. “I think we just really wanted to explore the dark times of Star Wars,” Fausti said. “[It’s] quite exciting, and we really wanted to see what that would look like to be a Jedi when the Jedi are being hunted.”

The show Star Wars: Rebels has a character in a similar situation. Kanan Jarrus escaped Order 66 as a Padawan as well, and went on to train Ezra. Matt Michnovetz, a writer on Clone Wars and Rebels, was on this writing team, too, so fans might see some of that influence from the shows, also. The difference between Kanan and Cal’s stories is that Jedi: Fallen Order covers the time right after Revenge of the Sith. There are Inquisitors in both, but Cal’s journey is shrouded in a bit more darkness.

‘Shameless’ and ‘Gotham’ star Cameron Monaghan plays Cal Kestis

If Cal looked familiar, it’s because he’s portrayed by Cameron Monaghan, who plays Ian Gallagher in Shameless and Jerome and Jeremiah Valeska (a version of the Joker) in Gotham. Cal is living in a rough situation and has a lot of pain tied to the fallout of Order 66. “Cal was tough,” Fausti said about creating this character. “Of course, that would be true of anybody who has this sort of background that he does… For someone who’s experienced all that trauma, getting them back to a place where they’re confident, where they’re hopeful is a challenge.”

Fausti said they had to balance Cal’s troubling and sad past with a storyline that’s also fun for players. They kept Cal “grounded in kindness and empathy,” and he ends up being someone you root for as you play.

Cal has a unique, rare ability that’s new for fans to play with 

One way Cal is a unique Jedi is with his rare ability of Psychometry. This power allows him to glimpse into the history of an object by touching it and feeling its Force echoes. As Fausti pointed out, Quinlan Vos is one of the only other Jedi in Star Wars canon who has his power. 

“We wanted to give him something special and something that we could kind of translate into gameplay as well,” Fausti explained to Showbiz Cheat Sheet. She also said it was helpful with world-building; players are prompted to use this power throughout Cal’s journey to learn more of the story organically. 

“We wanted to make sure that what we were doing was unique and interesting and told its own story that could stand alone if you had not experienced a lot of additional Star Wars content,” she said.

There’s a new droid you’re going to love

BD-1 looks at a map of planets in the galaxy.
BD-1 with the galaxy map in ‘Jedi: Fallen Order’ | Star Wars/Respawn/EA

Droids are to Star Wars stories as lightsabers are to Jedi; they’re essential. So, fans will be happy to know that Cal has his companion known as BD-1, a little droid who scampers about and sits on Cal’s shoulder, ready to give him health boosts when needed. 

Shishido told us that the team looked at different household appliances as well as famous robots like BB-8 and R2-D2. “We worked with Doug Chiang [Vice President and Creative Director for Lucasfilm] who really helped us build a concept medium from scratch,” she said.

And, of course, the little droid is your best friend, according to Fausti. “We really wanted to make sure that we gave BD-1 a lot of personality and make him a great companion, but also make sure that it’s clear that he has agency of his own, that he is his own character outside of Cal as well,” she said. 

This game is for ‘Star Wars’ fans, new and old

Cal uses BD-1 to zipline to get to a Jedi temple.
Cal and BD-1 in ‘Jedi: Fallen Order’ | Star Wars/Respawn/EA

Whether you’re just starting with Star Wars content, or you’ve been with the franchise since Yoda was riding on Luke’s back, Jedi: Fallen Order will give you something to enjoy. Fausti hopes that fans will “see something that resonates with them” and see themselves in these stories. 

Shishido is ready for the surprise elements to hit fans hard. “There are so many different parts of the game that you can explore and find out… I would say that it will change what you have in mind; there’s a lot of unexpected elements in the game. It will be a big surprise, I think. I think it will blow people’s minds.”