Cameron Monaghan Talks Cal Kestis’ Story in Jedi Survivor

Cal Kestis in the key art for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.

Image: Respawn/EA/Lucasfilm

During the late 2010s, when it seemed like Star Wars video games would become more notable for their controversies rather than the games themselves, Respawn Entertainment released Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. That game resonated with audiences that it both let EA create more Star Wars games (and other studios take a stab at the property), and guaranteed a sequel in the form of Jedi Survivor.

Ahead of its gameplay trailer at the Game Awards earlier in the week, actor Cameron Monaghan (who plays Fallen Order and Survivor lead Cal Kestis) spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the incoming sequel. Survivor picks up five years after the original game, and as one of the last surviving Jedi in the galaxy, he’s become one of the Empire’s most high-value targets. “We’re putting Cal into circumstances that are challenging to the point of even being hopeless,” said Monaghan. “Trying to find that fight, and how you’re supposed to fight within a seemingly hopeless situation, is an interesting question we wanted to launch into immediately.”

Since Cal’s become more notorious in the five-year gap between the two games, Monaghan indicated that’ll change the way he interacts with the world and his outlook on the galaxy. He admitted to wanting to see “what a number of years of fighting in a desperate situation would look like for the character.” In a separate interview with IGN, he further added that Cal would be affected by being on his own for so long; the Stinger Mantis crew has gone their separate ways, and Cal’s primary companion has been his trusty droid BD-1. “Going from planet to planet and seeing just an increasingly desperate situation must be very, very lonely. […] Desperate times are calling for desperate measures and it becomes very difficult for him to even understand what it is that he is fighting to protect, or where he should go.”

Lonely he may be at the start of the game, Cal won’t be completely on his own during Survivor’s playtime. In addition to reuniting with the Stinger crew—fellow Jedi survivor Cere Junda (Debra Wilson) is seen in the trailer—Cal will also make some new allies during his second journey. Right now, the most important, as shown in the trailer, is Bode Akuna. Played by Horizon Forbidden West’s Noshir Dalal, Monaghan told EW that he and Cal are “like brothers in arms…I think they have a mutual respect and understanding for each other.” Jedi Survivor is a single-player affair like its predecessor, but it looks like Bode will be hanging around for a spell: we see him save Cal from falling to his death, and the two perform a tag-team takedown on a stormtrooper.

Monaghan said to EW that Survivor would be a more “mature…darker” story compared to Fallen Order, but it would still keep the adventurous spirit that made the story of the first game so fun. It was important to find that spirit in the sequel, he added, while also challenging Cal and his views on the galaxy. “You don’t want things to be grim for the sake of being grim… [Cal] will ask some really big questions I think people are going to be surprised by. Hopefully we’re able to hit people with a couple of gut punches along the way.”

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor will release on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on March 17, 2023.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water.

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