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There’s a lot to be said about Obi-Wan Kenobi, and not all of it good. The plot lacked real stakes, and some of the action sequences bordered on absurdity, but there’s one thing the series did nail. Obi-Wan Kenobi may not be a pioneer in the Star Wars universe, instead opting to revisit old ground, but in embracing the dark side of Star Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi inched the franchise one step closer to where it so desperately needs to be.
When I say the show embraced the dark side of Star Wars, I’m not talking about Sith Lords. I’m talking about Star Wars’ use of violence, which of course the Sith regime plays into. Star Wars is a family-friendly franchise and I get why it chooses not to deviate from that formula (namely, money). That being said, Star Wars is such a behemoth now that there’s no better time for it to try out something new, something darker. Obi-Wan Kenobi is our first real glimpse at what that could look like. Vader snapped that kid’s neck without a second thought, just as Anakin decimated a group of younglings without so much as batting an eye. It wasn’t exactly gory, but it’s thematically more mature than previous Star Wars fare.
Check out the reveal trailer for Respawn Entertainment’s Star Wars Jedi: Survivor ahead of its release next year.
This is where Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order failed. The advantage of a Lightsaber is that it can cut through just about anything - except for human enemies in Fallen Order it seems. Back when Respawn Entertainment’s title was released, much was said about the toned down combat. Cal Kestis eliminates his fair share of Stormtroopers and Nightbrothers, but don’t expect to see any signs of injury. Instead, foes will simply fall to the ground (oftentimes comically) and may sport the occasional scorch mark on their armour. Strangely, this doesn’t apply to creature enemies who you can hack and slash away at as you please.
Fallen Order’s family-friendly combat is completely at odds with the dark story that the game is trying to tell. No one craves graphic dismemberment in video games, and that’s not what I’m campaigning for but Fallen Order’s shying away from blood and gore is a symptom of Disney’s hindrance on the franchise’s growth. It’s indicative of the fact that they’re afraid to solely cater to an adult audience.
Fallen Order’s narrative is full of scenes that suggest that that is what Respawn hoped to do: both Trilla and Cere were tortured by the Empire, Cal was forced to relive his childhood trauma, and let’s not forget those visions of potential future youngling exterminations. There’s hope woven throughout, but this is a rather bleak tale. This polarity between what we’re being told and how we’re being told it is the game’s most glaring issue. This is undeniably one of the best Star Wars stories in recent years. The world and character building is truly top tier, so it’s a great shame that the gameplay is so disjointed. If I’m watching A New Hope, seeing a Stormtrooper comically fall to the ground has a certain charm that fits within that specific story. Here, not so much.
You’ve probably heard by now that a sequel is officially on the way. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor has a real chance to fix things. The game’s reveal trailer gives very little away but we know that Cal isn’t in a good place. With the Empire hot on his heels, Cal must decide if he can restore the Jedi Order or whether he’s risking the lives of a whole new generation of force-sensitive children. Jedi: Survivor’s director Stig Asmussen has already opened up about the game’s “menacing” tone, saying, “The game is all about survival. That’s why it’s called Jedi: Survivor. They are in dark times, and Cal and the crew are doing whatever it takes to stay alive. That might mean that they are making connections with people that, in other times, might be considered unsavoury.”
Speaking of unsavoury connections, one prominent fan theory suggests that the mystery figure in the bacta tank could be Starkiller. If you’re wondering who that is, let me enlighten you. Born Galen Marek, the force-sensitive Starkiller was taken by Darth Vader during the Galactic Empire era. After Marek’s Jedi parents were both murdered, Vader kidnapped the child to raise as his apprentice and personal assassin. After years of service, Starkiller was eventually betrayed by Vader and left for dead. If Cal is going to have to make connections with people who might be considered “unsavoury,” Starkiller perfectly fits that bill - plus he has every motivation to take on Vader alongside Cal.
Just imagine the potential of such a tale. Star Wars has always explored the fight between good and evil, and what happens when one succumbs to the side of evil yet Jedi: Survivor sounds primed and ready to revolutionise that formula. Given the breadth of this universe, surely occasions exist when good simply can’t win - where perhaps you need to fight fire with fire, and become your enemy to overcome them. Breaking away from Star Wars’ usual recipe, could we see Cal actually utilise the power of the dark side?
If that’s to be the case, then I really do hope that Disney gives Respawn free rein over how they tell this story. Let Lightsabers do what they’re designed to do. If Deadpool can join the family-friendly MCU, there’s no reason why an R-rated Jedi: Survivor cannot exist within the Star Wars universe. The game has so much potential to improve upon Fallen Order, turning a good series into a great one. Perhaps Yoda sums it up best: You must unlearn what you have learned. Star Wars has the capabilities to cater to different audiences. Let Star Wars Jedi: Survivor tell the dark tale it clearly so desperately wants to - and one that we’re so desperately craving.
Featured Image Credit: Electronic Arts
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