Star Wars Jedi: Survivor continues the story of Cal Kestis and his friends as they set out on a journey to discover a planet hidden from the Empire — one they can utilize to rebuild the Jedi Order after the Jedi persecution brought about by Order 66. While the title effectively develops several characters throughout its narrative, none are more thoroughly developed than Cal, as his tendency toward the Dark Side is further revealed in the sequel’s second half.
For those who have completed Jedi: Survivor‘s story, it is clear by the time the credits roll that Cal’s experimentation with the Dark Side is leading him down a dangerous path, just as it did Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequels. In fact, there are undeniable parallels made between Cal and Anakin during Jedi: Survivor that may hint at his future.
Cal’s Love for Merrin Parallels Anakin’s for Padmé
Attachments of any kind are strictly forbidden in the Jedi Order due to the host of overwhelming emotions that often accompany them, especially when they are broken or lost. It is well-known in the Jedi Code that such emotions can eventually lead to the Dark Side of the Force, and that idea is thoroughly evidenced in the fall of Anakin Skywalker as Palpatine used Anakin’s love for Padmé to lure him to the Dark Side. In Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Cal appears to be treading a similar path with Merrin, as the full extent of their relationship is finally revealed in the game’s narrative.
After their search for Brother Armias at the beginning of Chapter 4, Cal and Merrin eventually reach a dead end as they flee the explosive scene. Merrin conjures a green jump portal, takes Cal by the hand, and says, “Do you trust me?” Cal simply replies, “Yes,” and Merrin kisses him. Cal calmly asks, “Was that for luck?” Merrin’s reply is clearly revealing of the depth of her feelings for Cal as she says, “No. For me.” She then runs toward the jump portal and leaves Cal speechless and starry-eyed to the point that BD-1 has to snap him out of the trance.
Throughout the remainder of Jedi: Survivor‘s story, there is very little effort on Cal’s part to suppress his romantic feelings for Merrin and end his pursuit of her, save for a few comments he makes to Bode about attachments being forbidden for Jedi — a point with which Bode persistently disagrees. Cal and Merrin share even more intimate moments as the story continues (including another kiss), and it appears Cal has simply accepted his feelings for Merrin despite any warnings from his conscience. This level of romantic attachment, when coupled with Cal’s use of the Dark Side toward the end of the game, could severely, negatively impact the young Jedi Knight’s decision-making in any future installments, just as it affected Anakin’s.
Cal’s Vengeful Defeat of Bode Mirrors Anakin’s Fateful Execution of Count Dooku
In what is considered one of the most brilliant character development scenes of the Star Wars saga, Anakin Skywalker delivers a devastating killing blow to an unarmed, defeated Count Dooku during the first act of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. This all but seals his fate as one who would eventually be seduced by the Dark Side of the Force.
At the end of an arduous battle, a helpless Count Dooku kneels before Anakin with two lightsabers, one red and one blue, surrounding his neck like a pair of scissors. Palpatine, observing nearby, then orders Anakin to kill Dooku. Anakin’s inner conflict is clearly visible on his face as he replies, “I shouldn’t.” However, Palpatine gives the order again, and Anakin beheads his defenseless opponent.
In the final act of Jedi: Survivor, Cal and Bode engage in combat. At the end of the battle, Bode’s blaster fails, leaving him wide open for Cal to deliver the killing blow. However, even with Bode now clearly defeated, Cal fires his blaster again to ensure his former ally’s demise. Not only did Cal kill an unarmed enemy just as Anakin did, but the torment of inner conflict then pours from his face as he appears terrified of himself. As this, without a doubt, bears an extreme resemblance to Anakin’s defeat of Dooku, it could very well be the setup the Jedi franchise needs to drive Cal to his darkest place.
Whether by Cal’s romantic pursuit of Merrin or his merciless defeat of a helpless foe, the similarities between him and Anakin Skywalker are impossible to ignore. While Cal turning to the Dark Side is not guaranteed in any way, it is difficult to deny the possibility, especially given the parallels he shares with Darth Vader. Whatever the outcome, the events of Cal’s journey thus far are likely to come to a head soon.
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