Star Wars Jedi Survivor Sets Cal up To Be a Gray Jedi

Cal and Merrin in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor places players back into the story of Jedi Knight Cal Kestis. Five years after the events of the first game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, players rejoin Cal alone after the crew of the Mantis has split up, and he has been taking the fight to the Empire. Of course, during this time, Cal has been devoting himself to the way of the Jedi.

Yet, the journey of the game deals with many concepts that have Cal poised to become more distanced from the Jedi than players may have thought. If Fallen Order was the story of Cal striving to become the Jedi he thought he needed to be, then Survivor is the realization of a different path. He comes to realize that there is more to being a Jedi than fighting the Empire, to accept his feelings for Merrin, and he even experiences his Dark Side. This is how Survivor sets up Cal to follow a surprising path straddling the line between light and dark.


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A Jedi Is More Than a Warrior

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A major point of growth that Cal is introduced to during the story of Survivor is coming to terms with how he views his life’s mission: fighting the Empire. Upon reuniting with Greez, the player is made to understand that while Cal has been fighting this war non-stop, the other members of the Mantis’ crew have been living their own lives. In fact, Greez specifically asks Cal to slow down his efforts upon reuniting. Here, Cal is faced with a reality that he is unable to accept at first. This reality is simply that, despite his best efforts, he is only one person.

The war Cal has been waging feels slightly futile because he has been putting it all on his own shoulders. The fight has been consuming him. Cal, like many Jedi, fought in the Clone Wars when he was just a child. War is all he knows, and now it’s all he thinks about. From references in conversations with Greez and Merrin to his discussion and fight with Dagan Gera, it’s clear that to Cal, being a Jedi is synonymous with fighting a war.

It isn’t until Cal reunites with his friends and has discussions about where their own paths have taken them (most specifically, a conversation with Merrin comparing his passion for justice to an all-consuming fire), that his mindset begins to shift. It’s here that Jedi: Survivor begins to show Cal’s hesitation with his own path, seeing where it may lead him. It’s also of importance that it’s Merrin who begins to change of mind.

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Cal’s Relationship With Merrin Changes Things

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Merrin and Cal talking in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Perhaps the most major way Survivor sets Cal up for a much different path is through his romantic attachment to Merrin. His admission of feelings for Merrin — and his acting upon those — is a major departure from his previously Stoic and detached Jedi mindset. Cal goes from doubling down on detachment in a conversation with Bode to accepting what he wants with Merrin. Yet, this shift is not just of emotional importance. In reality, this change in Cal’s mentality is him accepting a new place in the galaxy. It is a way for him to grow beyond the scope of the Jedi and feel whole without the Order.

Furthermore, the fact that Cal is willing to give in to these positive emotions steers him out of the darkness that he uses later in the game. Despite surrendering to darker impulses and anger, his love for Merrin brings him back to toeing the line between light and dark. Fans could compare Cal’s experience with love to Anakin’s. Whereas Anakin was forced to hide his feelings for Padme, thus making him a prime target for Dark Side manipulation, Cal doesn’t need to hide. His path is forged from this acceptance instead of repression. In a way, it is Cal deviating from the ways of the past.

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Cal Lets Go of the Past and Recognizes the Dark

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Star Wars Jedi: Survivor - Cal holding lightsaber up to an Imperial's neck

Perhaps the most essential part of Cal’s journey in Survivor is coming to terms with the fact that the Jedi Order is gone. He himself even recognizes this when speaking to Merrin about accepting that she is what he wants. This understanding is especially important when considering Cal’s new path. It opens him up to use the darkness he experienced in this game for good. He will walk between Light and Dark, existing in the gray.

By truly letting go of the Jedi ideals of the failed Republic, Cal is able to look at the past objectively and follow a new path. He is able to both understand the values that the Jedi stood for while also understanding why some need to be left behind. It is in this understanding that Star Wars Jedi: Survivor sets Cal Kestis up to walk a path away from the Jedi. Though players may not have expected it, the game shows Cal that he is strong because of his attachments, his understanding of himself, and his resolution, not in spite of these things.


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