Obi-Wan Kenobi could offer Star Wars Jedi: Survivor a proper seat at the table

Cal Kestis and BD-1 standing in front of a strange lab in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
(Image credit: EA)

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor finds itself in an odd spot when it comes to Star Wars' sprawling canon. Despite Fallen Order and its recently announced sequel technically being a legitimate part of a galaxy far, far away, the absence of Cal Kestis from the rest of the series makes his story a peculiar outlier. Other high-profile outings from the period between the prequels and the original trilogy – namely Solo and Rogue One – tie directly into A New Hope and beyond, but Cal is yet to find himself properly pulled into the wider universe.

If Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order had been placed in the 'Legends' category of content – the name for all of the expanded universe stories that were purged from canon back, like the Knights of the Old Republic Remake – then that would be fine. But Cal and the crew of the Stinger Mantis are supposed to be canon, and as such their absence from the wider Star Wars story being told right now is oddly conspicuous. Now, however, with the release of the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor's particular narrative has taken on an increased relevance within the Star Wars universe.

Warning – this article contains minor spoilers for episode one and two of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Origin stories

Ewan McGregor in Obi-Wan Kenobi

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Obi-Wan Kenobi opens with the titular hero lying low on a backwater planet, working a menial job while repressing his connection to the Force in an attempt to hide from the Inquisitors who are hunting down Jedi across the galaxy. Memories of the Republic and grinding poverty wear him down, but he has to ignore the empathy ingrained in him by the Jedi, even as the people around him suffer.

If that sounds familiar, it's because Obi-Wan's fate is almost identical to that of Cal Kestis at the beginning of Fallen Order. Working as a scrapper in a dangerous Imperial ship-breaking yard, Cal has rarely, if ever, even considered using the Force, damaging his connection with it. An industrial accident causes the inexperienced padawan to act impulsively to save a friend, drawing the Inquisitors down on him with terrifying speed.

The two plots aren't completely identical, but there's an obvious parallel to be drawn, especially when you consider that, indirectly, it's the use of the Force that brings the Inquisitors to Tatooine, even if it's not Obi-Wan who's using it. Later, both characters are witness to the violence the Inquisitors are prepared to commit against a largely innocent local populace, and Obi-Wan, like Cal, must strain to use the force to protect a falling ally.

This is where the fun begins

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review

(Image credit: EA Games)

The Obi-Wan series has a long way to go, but there's a substantial narrative connection here already. That parallel – between one character missing from the broader story they're supposed to be contributing to and another that's integral to the entire arc – offers the Star Wars Jedi games a sense of legitimacy that Cal's absence has otherwise distracted from. Suddenly, one of the freshest faces in the galaxy is very much on par with one of its most established and best known figures.

And with Star Wars Jedi: Survivor on the near horizon, the pair could be brought even closer together. We don't know much about the Fallen Order sequel, but we do know that it's set five years after the first game. That means that not only is there a five-year gap in Cal's story to fill in, but that Survivor is set at the same time as the Obi-Wan series, nine years before the events of A New Hope.

A crossover is far from guaranteed, but Star Wars has been pulling lesser-known characters into its limelight pretty often in recent years; notable Clone Wars antagonist Cad Bane arrived in The Book of Boba Fett; Obi-Wan's Grand Inquisitor is a recurring star of Rebels; Ahsoka Tano is set to get her own series starting next year. With the threatening Sisters showing up in both Fallen Order and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Cal's appearance would be far from the most unlikely crossover the showrunners could think up.

Star Wars Jedi Survivor

(Image credit: EA)
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But even if Cal never makes an appearance elsewhere in the galaxy, tying his experience so closely to Obi-Wan is key to grounding not only Survivor, but also whatever the next generation of Star Wars games end up being, into the broader canon. Dozens of beloved older titles – the Jedi Knight series, KOTOR, Republic Commando, and many more – were purged from the narrative with the death of the Expanded Universe. That left very little canonical interactive media beyond Fallen Order, DICE's Battlefront games, and Star Wars Squadrons. 

Now though, the glut of more narrative-heavy Star Wars games on the horizon, like Star Wars Eclipse, Amy Hennig's Star Wars game, Respawn's FPS and strategy titles, or Ubisoft's Star Wars game, have a precedent to draw from. Each now has a far better chance than before to tie more directly into the entire franchise, rather than existing in the spin-off territory that past games have felt as though they occupied.

There's a chance, of course, that Cal and Obi-Wan's parallel stories are merely a coincidence. After all, in a galaxy where normal people are often ruled over by the dual iron fists of the Empire and local crime lords, plenty of its heroes are forced to keep their heads down and their noses to the grindstone just to survive. But why specifically set Survivor five years after Fallen Order if not to take advantage of the Obi-Wan timeline? Why not leverage both characters' proximity to Order 66, or encourage Kenobi to fix the mistake he made with the naive former Jedi he meets on Tatooine? Star Wars games don't need the canon to matter, but there's a chance here to marry games and live-action relatively seamlessly, in a way that could elevate Star Wars' interactive side for years to come.

Line break

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is set to release in 2023, but we hope to see more of it at one of the big showcases as part of the E3 2022 schedule. In the meantime, why not check out one of the best Star Wars games.