Jedi Fallen Order Part 12: Heart of Dark Side

By Shamus Posted Thursday Nov 5, 2020

Filed under: Retrospectives 99 comments

After a lot of distractions, mishaps, and Gorgara’s multi-stage boss fight / chase scene / action sequence / second boss fight, Cal finally crawls back out of the hole and approaches the temple of Dathomir for the third time. Spoiler: He’s still not going to get in.

This time he reaches the front door and finds it can’t be opened.

As the player turns around, they see a meditation circle on the floor. Instead of simply saving the game, interacting with this particular circle will actually launch a flashback. Every single time I go through the game, I automatically click on the circle and get sucked into the next huge block of cutscenes. When it happens, I make a mental note to NOT use the circle in the next game, and instead see how the game responds if you try to leave the temple without meditating.

This was my third trip through the game, and I still forgot. My save reflex is too strong.

Anyway, before we join Cal in his flashback, we need to back up a bit and talk about Jaro Tapal.

Training Day

In five years this child is supposedly going to look the 20-something Cal we're familiar with. Like I said earlier, the timeline is a little wonky and I suspect it was changed during development.
In five years this child is supposedly going to look the 20-something Cal we're familiar with. Like I said earlier, the timeline is a little wonky and I suspect it was changed during development.

Tapal was Cal’s instructor back when Cal was a padawanWell, technically he still is. His teachers were genocided and his school was blown up, which makes graduation difficult. I hope he never needs a transcript of his grades for a job interview.. Throughout the game, we’ve been having flashbacks to Cal’s training days. Whenever we come to some major obstacle – like Cal needs to be able to shove something with the Force to progress the plot – the story jumps back in time and we play through a bit of Cal’s childhood where he learned that particular trick.

Once the flashback is over, we jump back to the present and Cal has regained this power just in time to keep the plot rolling.

However, in all of these sequences the audience has the knowledge that we’re essentially waiting for the other shoe to drop. Anyone with a casual understanding of Star Wars lore knows that eventually Emperor Palpatine is going to issue Order 66, which will make the troopers turn on the Jedi. And even if you’re not familiar with Star Wars, the game has already made it clear that Tapal somehow died when the Jedi were wiped out a few years ago. So every time we revisit Cal’s childhood, we do so with the knowledge that eventually both Tapal and Cal’s Jedi training are going to come to a violent end.

Well, the time has come…

Order 66

A tiny monk!
A tiny monk!

Cal meditates at the temple, and when that happens we get the flashback we’ve been dreading / waiting for. Today is the day of Order 66.

Cal looks to be about 10 years old in these scenes. We get to run around this Republic ship and greet the friendly Troopers. They all know Cal and give off a kind of “Cool Cop” vibe. Cal reaches Master Tapal, but Order 66 arrives before the day’s lesson can begin. Like many of the surviving Jedi, Tapal was helped by random luck. Some Jedi were in a room full of troopers when the order came in, while others were in more defensible positions. Tapal only has a lone trooper in the room with him, which gives the two Jedi a fighting chance.

While he doesn’t ever understand why, Tapal quickly figures out that the troopers are trying to kill them. There are a lot of troopers on this ship, so the Jedi can’t hope to stand their ground.

The next section is a very on-rails escape where you play as young Cal. They make it to the escape pods, but Tapal is cut down before they can launch. The RepublicNow suddenly Imperial, I suppose. ship explodes thanks to Tapal’s sabotage.

Cal finds himself alone in an escape pod, looking at the fireball of his former home. Nobody knows he survived, which presumably allows him to make it to Bracca and become a scrapper.

Shallow Cal

I LOVE this moment of dramatic irony. Tapal thinks the Jedi Order still exists. He doesn't realize just how big Order 66 is or how bad things are going to get.
I LOVE this moment of dramatic irony. Tapal thinks the Jedi Order still exists. He doesn't realize just how big Order 66 is or how bad things are going to get.

Previous conversations with Cere hinted at this, but now we see that Cal has a dire case of survivor’s guilt.

This is all great stuff. My only gripe is that it feels like it took way too long to get here. I spent the first 2/3 of the game being bored and uninterested in Cal. Given the magnitude of becoming an orphan and a fugitive at the same time, and of being betrayed at such a young age by those he trusted, I felt like Cal was too stable, too normal, and too lacking in visible conflict. It isn’t until now that his personal problems finally bubble to the surface and create some tension.

Still, credit where it’s due. This entire conflict serves the character, it makes emotional sense, it makes Cal more relatable, and it fits nicely with extant lore. The whole flashback was great drama, and the cutscenes worked well as action scenes. It’s not usually fun to watch NPCs do the fighting and not be allowed to join in, but in this scene I really enjoyed watching Jaro Tapal go to town on the troopers.

Man, this new version of Beat Saber looks badass!
Man, this new version of Beat Saber looks badass!

I normally disapprove of cutting away from player action so the game designer can amuse themselves, but I like this scene where we see Master Tapal fight. It’s just a few seconds long, so we’re not sitting passively for extended periods of time.  Even better, there aren’t any stupid quicktime events to clutter up the scene with placebo input.  In fact, I’m not even sure this part is mandatory. Maybe you can jog away from this window without watching the show. I never triedI just looked up a speedrun to see if you can walk away from the window, but it turns out you can clip out of the level and skip this entire sequence. So I dunno..

We return to the present and Cal has to confront his inner demons in the form of a very angry and accusational apparition of Jaro Tapal. It’s very reminiscent of the scene where Luke confronts a vision of Vader in Empire Strikes Back. Like Luke, Cal doesn’t handle it well. He tries to duel his dead master, freaks out, and ends up breaking his lightsaber.

Defenseless, Cal decides to return to the ship and regain his composure.

Heart of Dark Side

You know how you're at a family / high school / college reunion talking to someone who seems fine and then they casually say something shockingly racist? This is the Star Wars equivalent of that moment.
You know how you're at a family / high school / college reunion talking to someone who seems fine and then they casually say something shockingly racist? This is the Star Wars equivalent of that moment.

Outside the temple, Cal finds the mystery Sith Hobo from earlier. He reveals himself to be former Jedi Master Taron Malicos. He was evidently a big deal during the clone wars, but once the Republic fell he turned to the Dark Side. He took over this village / culture, pulling a Kurtz from Heart of Darkness kinda deal. He’s such an obvious bad guy that Google Docs relentlessly auto-corrected his name to “Malicious” the entire time I worked on this series.

Dude! If a spell checker can tell you’re a bad guy, then you’re being too obvious about it. 

Anyway, I really love this character concept. It’s a cool story for a fallen Jedi, and it makes a lot of sense that this sort of thing would happen with the collapse of the Jedi order. The Jedi are ridiculously powerful in Nu Star Wars, and there are all kinds of stories you could tell about how surviving Jedi behaved after their entire government, culture, family, and religion was wiped out in a single day.

Malicos also has a pretty good plan. He’s not just being evil for laughs. He’s found this remote world of powerful Force users who have a strong warrior culture. He’s deceived and bullied his way into power. These people can support him, defend him, teach him their Force secrets, and mask his presence from the Empire. Honestly, his only mistake is that he reveals himself to Cal. I’m not sure why. Maybe he wanted a little help in controlling the locals? If he had just remained hidden, then Cal might have come and gone without there being a confrontation.

But no. Malicos tries to tempt Cal into joining, and that’s where things start to unravel. To control Cal, Malicos needs to lie about what he’s been doing here. To control Merrin, he needs to lie about what’s been going on in the rest of the galaxy and with the Jedi in particular. These lies are incompatible.

I feel like the story these people are hinting at is way more interesting than the story I'm taking part in.
I feel like the story these people are hinting at is way more interesting than the story I'm taking part in.

Merrin overhears the Jedi talking, which exposes Malicos’s lies to her. She appearsShe can use the Force to teleport apparently? I feel like the Jedi ought to be trying to figure out how THAT trick works. That would be super effective! and confronts Malicos, which exposes his lies to Cal. The dude is now thoroughly screwed.

Or he would be, if the Night Brothers were still around. I don’t know. Maybe Cal killed them all? All three of these people are at odds and if Cal had a functioning lightsaber this could easily become a three-way battle. However, Merrin makes the first move and summons a sithload of zombies. Cal makes a run for it.

Like I said, I love this setup. Personality-wise, Malicos is just another evil nutter. But in terms of having a coherent plan and long-term goals, he’s vastly more interesting than any of our main villains. He’s also here of his own volition and not a slave brainwashed through torture, so he feels more like an active character and less like a plot device. Like, the fact that he’s here, doing this, tells us a lot about who he is.

This story arc is actually very brief, but you could have expanded this idea into an entire game.

Cal makes it back to the others and they escape before the ship is covered in zombies. He and Cere do some mutual confessions regarding their Order 66 emotional baggage, and then Cal turns to the difficult task of fixing his lightsaber.

Damn it. It looks like the game is going to pull a lightsaber tease on us after all.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Well, technically he still is. His teachers were genocided and his school was blown up, which makes graduation difficult. I hope he never needs a transcript of his grades for a job interview.

[2] Now suddenly Imperial, I suppose.

[3] I just looked up a speedrun to see if you can walk away from the window, but it turns out you can clip out of the level and skip this entire sequence. So I dunno.

[4] She can use the Force to teleport apparently? I feel like the Jedi ought to be trying to figure out how THAT trick works. That would be super effective!



From The Archives:
 

99 thoughts on “Jedi Fallen Order Part 12: Heart of Dark Side

  1. Chiller says:

    You can’t leave the temple without using the save circle. Door’s locked. You’re welcome!

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      I can confirm this is correct. I actually entered the temple but instantly tried to leave because I wanted to check an alternate route for secrets and sadly realized that I was locked in, and the only way was forward.

  2. Bubble181 says:

    Man, that’s a long intro displayed on the front page. There’s hardly any article left that you have to click through for!
    In fact, just the “From the Archives” bit. Hmmmm.

  3. Joe says:

    “Dude! If a spell checker can tell you’re a bad guy, then you’re being too obvious about it.”

    That’s actually a really helpful note for writers who don’t want to give the game away too early. Some villains dress all in black, with faceless minions. Some live in nastily named locations, with minions ugly enough you *wish* were faceless. But look at the real world. There’s nothing inherently evil about the names of assorted conquerers of Europe and Asia. Gaius Octavius (Augustus Caesar). Temujin. Napoleon Bonaparte. I’m very much in this camp.

    OTOH, Star Wars gave it away five minutes in. All in black, faceless minions, and so on. Names like Malicos, Tyrannus, and Sidious are par for the course.

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      They follow DC comics villain naming convention (Sinestro, Atrocitus, Vandal Savage, Darkseid, etc.).

      1. Geebs says:

        Also less well known DC villains, like Mina Feloni and J. Walker.

        1. CloverMan-88 says:

          You, sir, just made my day. Thank you.

      2. Alex says:

        Vandal Savage is actually an interesting counter-example: the word “vandal” was actually the name of a people first, who by sacking Rome made their name a byword for senseless destruction. As an immortal caveman, Vandal Savage might have picked up the label (“Wanderer of the Woods”) during the Roman period and kept it through to the modern day.

      3. Smith says:

        Sinestro has actually been retconned as left-handed. Sinestro. Sinister. Get it?

        Also, Sinestro is his surname.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      “But master, I don’t want to be evil!”
      “Quiet! You drew the short straw, you get no choice. Now go to the desk and get issued your red lightsaber, put on your black robes and go murder some children. From now on your name is Darth Tortura.”

    3. Henson says:

      “Hey, Master Kenobi, I’m worried about the recent erratic behavior from my pupil, Traumatus Vengeus. Do you think he might do something bad?”

      “Nah, he’ll be fine. I’m sure it’s nothing.”

      1. Fizban says:

        Hahahaha, “Traumatus Vengeus.” Actual lol, that’s a good one. Looks like it might not be so bad until you say it out loud then it’s like wow, you didn’t even say it out loud did you?

    4. Kylroy says:

      I’ve seen different settings get around this by making the “obviously evil” title a modification of their original name made after they turn evil. Goreshade from Warmachine was originally an elf named Ghyrshild, for example.

      And FWIW, Lucas Star Wars had people keep the “obviously evil” names on the down-low. Palpatine was concealing the whole “Darth Sidious” persona, and Anakin didn’t become Vader until he joined the Dark Side.

      1. evileeyore says:

        Sure, but then he has Elan Sleazebaggano selling deathsticks, so…

      2. Moridin says:

        Darth Vader isn’t even such an obviously evil name, really. Especially since Darth is really just a honorific.

        1. Decius says:

          Which is why he had to overcompensate with the wardrobe.

        2. The Puzzler says:

          If Sidious is insidious, Vader is an invader.

          On the other hand, Vader is Dutch for father, so maybe Palpatine cruelly gave him the name to remind him of the family he doesn’t have.

          Although this would imply that there are people in the Star Wars universe who speak Dutch.

          1. BlueHorus says:

            this would imply that there are people in the Star Wars universe who speak Dutch.

            Hard to imagine Dutch a thing…

            1. RFS-81 says:

              It’s not impossible that Lucas looked up “father” in an etymological dictionary. Father, Vater, Vader all have the same root.

    5. GoStu says:

      Given their history and how Palpatine rose to power, you’d think they’d remember a lesson about “looking like a Good Guy help you not get stabbed by actual Good Guys”.

      Also, in the real world, the bad guys don’t usually think of themselves as bad guys. They have their reasons, and that’s why I think this Mr. Malicos here is more interesting. He would probably have a LOT of baggage about how useless the Jedi were and couldn’t even see Order 66 coming, so rejecting all their teachings and just using his powers to dupe/control some people for a place to hide out makes sense.

      (Also, Order 66 has always bothered me. The nascent Empire sent out a list of numbered orders to EVERY trooper EVERYWHERE there might be Jedi and nobody wondered what else is on that list? No trooper anywhere considered that between Order 65 – Sith Pizza Party for All and Order 67 – Sweep the Floors there was this weird Order 66 – Kill All Jedi and that maybe they should stop being a trooper and tell their Jedi friend about this?)

      1. Namti Milon says:

        I always interpreted it as if the “Order 66” was activating some sort of mental programming. That’s why the Jedi don’t sense it coming, because the troopers don’t even know it’s there.

        1. MerryWeathers says:

          That’s basically the explanation the Clone Wars show gives for Order 66. One of the best and most emotional story arcs in the show is about a lone clone trooper learning about it and trying to warn the main characters.

      2. MerryWeathers says:

        (Also, Order 66 has always bothered me. The nascent Empire sent out a list of numbered orders to EVERY trooper EVERYWHERE there might be Jedi and nobody wondered what else is on that list? No trooper anywhere considered that between Order 65 – Sith Pizza Party for All and Order 67 – Sweep the Floors there was this weird Order 66 – Kill All Jedi and that maybe they should stop being a trooper and tell their Jedi friend about this?)

        Order 66 wasn’t an actual contingency order that could be seen by any official in the Republic or the Jedi, rather a secret trigger phrase that were only known to the Sith and the Kaminoans.

        1. ElementalAlchemist says:

          I mean this should have all be painfully obvious since it was spelled out in the Prequels. Sidious had the Clones created and programmed to be loyal to him. That’s their entire plot point. They are basically flesh droids, mindless automatons that do what they are told (of course the Clone Wars cartoons tried to humanise them, since they needed to pad out a few years worth of episodes). Then Sidious engineered the war against the Trade Federation (using his own planet as the key) in order to elevate himself to Chancellor and grant himself emergency powers, got the Jedi involved and finally used his trained monkeys to off them. A somewhat torturous and convoluted plan, but I guess when you are one bloke trying to take over the galaxy you do what you have to in order to get the job done.

          1. BlueHorus says:

            It also helps when everyone(!) else in a galactic Senate (and order of psychic peacekeeping knights whose job it is to protect the Republic!) managed to approve the army’s production and use without thinking about how and why they’re being made…

            ( I’m reminded of one bit in the Mr Plinkett review of Revenge of the Sith, where Plinkett is shouting over footage of members the Jedi Council looking confused: “Palpatine’s behind it all! It’s Palpatine! Why don’t you look at the one guy who’s directly benefiting from everything that’s happening!?” )

            Still, a secret mind-control trigger phrase is a good idea, and a fun trope.

            1. Joshua says:

              I think the overall plot gist of the prequels was pretty sound, even if the execution was lacking, especially detailing how Palpatine rose to power (I’m on record for not caring for the Anakin story). However, the “Jedi unquestioningly accept and make use of strange army being created for unknown reasons” was always mind-boggling to me.

              1. Fizban says:

                Depending on how often Jedi do mysterious secret things based on their visions (like this very game here), it could be lampshaded as a thing that just happens every so often, or even something they expect. Nothing will ever get too bad, because something will turn up in the nick of time prepared by their past brethren for just that occasion (not that the movies actually go as far as saying that of course). Some uknown Jedi ordered a secret clone army which revealed just as impending galactic war happens? Huzzah, the Force provides!

                But instead they have people being all suspicious of the mystery, then failing to respond accordingly.

              2. Veylon says:

                I always felt they should’ve put some distance between the Jedi and the Republic. That way the Jedi could be suspicious, but find themselves ignored by short-sighted politicians who see the clone army as an easy way to square the circle with a decadent populace eager for the spectacle of war but fearful of actually fighting in it.

      3. Retsam says:

        In the new canon, it’s a mind-control chip or whatever as other’s have mentioned.

        but the original explanation was that Order 66 was just one of 150 “emergency directives” and there were enough of them covering a wide-enough variety of “what-if” situations that it didn’t arouse much suspicion:

        Order 66: In the event of Jedi officers acting against the interests of the Republic, and after receiving specific orders verified as coming directly from the Supreme Commander (Chancellor), GAR commanders will remove those officers by lethal force, and command of the GAR will revert to the Supreme Commander (Chancellor) until a new command structure is established.

        There’s enough qualifiers and conditions on it that, even assuming a Jedi did happen to read all 150 emergency directives, I don’t think it’s going to stand out, unless they were already suspicious of Palpatine.

        And in fact, Order 65 is not “Sith Pizza Party”, but an order dealing with the circumstances under which the Clone Troops would be required to remove the Chancellor, perhaps with lethal force, which is really good camouflage. It just seems like… well, contingency plans.

        They retconned this to be the mind control chips in the Clone Wars, because they had to make the clones more human and sympathetic.

        But I think I actually like the original, “Maguffinless” explanation better; I think “the Jedi were betrayed because of their reliance on a shady, bootleg army that showed up on their doorstep, but nobody remembers ordering” is a slightly better story than “the Jedi were betrayed because they didn’t account for SECRET MIND CONTROL”.

        1. bobbert says:

          I assumed the Order-66 stuff was an allegory for the downfall of Knights Templar. It has been ages since I have seen the new star wars movies, how much time did they spend on the Jedi money-lending and interstellar banking subplot?

          1. Mousazz says:

            Unfortunately, the analogy doesn’t hold, since in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the Jedi wage battle against the Trade Federation of bankers and merchant guilds. That same Trade Federation then bankrolls the CIS rebels in Episodes II and III.

        2. John says:

          In the new canon, it’s a mind-control chip or whatever as other’s have mentioned . . . but the original explanation was that Order 66 was just one of 150 “emergency directives” and there were enough of them covering a wide-enough variety of “what-if” situations that it didn’t arouse much suspicion.

          The “original explanation”, is it? I didn’t know that there was an original explanation. (Incidentally, your link doesn’t work for me.) As best as I can remember Revenge of the Sith never bothered to explain the exact mechanics of Order 66. It didn’t need to. The exact mechanics aren’t important to the story in the film at all. It’s enough that there are one or more plausible explanations. It doesn’t matter which of the plausible explanations is the so-called official one.

          In any case, I struggle to care when when one spinoff retcons another. Spinoffs are always going to do what best suits their own stories without regard for what other spinoffs have done or are doing unless forced to do otherwise by some kind of hyper-vigilant editorial control. And maybe that’s as it should be. I’d rather that Spinoff B be a really solid, self-contained piece of work than one forced to awkwardly incorporate the unfortunate precedents set by Spinoff A. Alternatively, if Spinoff A is really good and Spinoff B introduces some kind of stupid retcon, I can always just ignore Spinoff B. It’s only a spinoff, after all. They’re all bound to be retconned and re-retconned eventually.

          1. MerryWeathers says:

            The original explanation or the one used by the EU was that the clones followed the order on their own accord. I find both explanations interesting in the context of characterizing the clones, the EU one puts their loyalties to the test (the Republic they were made to serve or the Jedi they fought with throughout the war?) and the canon explanation makes them tragic victims of the Sith grand plan as much as everyone else.

            1. Thomas says:

              I can see the upsides to both, but I like it just being an order. There’s something tragic in itself that the clones have been so shaped for obedience that they’ll betray their own allied in an instant if asked.

        3. Decius says:

          It has to be a cybernetic thing, because no human would reliably remember 150 different detailed contingencies.

          1. Mr. Wolf says:

            There was a scene where Commander Cody looked up his Clone Trooper Handbook, but it was cut for time.

        4. Joshua says:

          the Jedi were betrayed because of their reliance on a shady, bootleg army that showed up on their doorstep, but nobody remembers ordering

          Off-topic, but this reminds me of what I thought one of the weirder parts of TLJ was: The whole theme of the Military-Industrial complex (or whatever you want to call it) being evil.

          The prequels seem to show that the Republic was just awful at maintaining any kind of military. You have forces of the Trade Federation which are able to be an active threat to a planet because the Republic is impotent, rather than sending some ships to clear the blockade while “politely” asking the Trade Federation to take it’s “beef” to the Senate if they have an issue with Naboo. Count Dooku does his whole separatist thing (the details are fuzzy to me because I haven’t re-watched that film since it was released 18 years ago), and the good guys are wringing their hands because they don’t have any army to deal with this threat until they just luckily find that someone mysteriously placed an order for an army that no one knew about but sure is convenient.

          And then in TFA we have an insurrectionist force that has a superior military presence against the existing Republic again, where the people fighting against it are a counter-insurrectionist “Resistance” rather than an official army? (I’m sure it’s explained somewhere in the novelization, but was confusing on-screen).

          So, I wasn’t quite sure why the main characters in TLJ were supposed to be OUTRAGED that the third-party arms dealers that they had to use also sold enemies to their enemies. There are plenty of stories where military arms dealers profiting off of conflict could rightfully be looked as the *true* threat, but I don’t think it was this one.

          1. MerryWeathers says:

            So, I wasn’t quite sure why the main characters in TLJ were supposed to be OUTRAGED that the third-party arms dealers that they had to use also sold enemies to their enemies. There are plenty of stories where military arms dealers profiting off of conflict could rightfully be looked as the *true* threat, but I don’t think it was this one.

            I don’t think they were outraged, the point of the scene was to tempt Finn (whose arc was about growing to join a cause and becoming a hero) into leaving the Resistance vs First Order war as DJ shows that it’s all seemingly just part of the war machine. The movie lambasts being apathetic to and profiting of a conflict as that’s how the First Order managed to take over the galaxy so easily in the first place.

            1. Joshua says:

              The movie lambasts being apathetic to and profiting of a conflict as that’s how the First Order managed to take over the galaxy so easily in the first place.

              Citation needed for the second half of this sentence. I simply saw how the movie was extremely critical of war profiteering with the two-part revelation of 1. “You see how cool-looking these rich people are? They could only get that way from profiting off war” (My thought at the time: You know this how?) and 2. DJ saying that “You know those arms merchants who sold you the military weapons you’re using? Guess what, they sell to whomever pays them money!”.

              It might have meant something if there was some revelation that the people profiting were the forces driving the conflict, but that’s not what was said or even implied. There was simply a sentiment of “these people suck” (hence my OUTRAGE comment) without any suggestion for an alternative course of action.

              1. MerryWeathers says:

                They weren’t necessarily driving the conflict, rather enabling it. Everyone but the Resistance aren’t doing anything about the First Order and the Canto Bight locals exemplifies the worst of these people in that they’re exploiting the situation but not actually doing anything about it. DJ was essentially reaching into Finn’s selfish cowardice by saying “these guys are flourishing by not directly joining the conflict, you should too because it all doesn’t matter anyway”. The alternative course is demonstrated with Finn, don’t be self-serving and actually rise up against the oppressors.

          2. Zekiel says:

            My understanding is that the First Order were essentially a separate nation from the Republic. And the resistance is a faction within the First Order- controlled space. The Republic doesn’t want to directly support them for fear of triggering war with First Order.

            This may be wrong and it is not AT ALL explained in any of the sequel films, but it does make sense of what we see.

            1. MerryWeathers says:

              The only thing you got wrong is that the Resistance is in First Order controlled space but it’s the opposite, the FO is encroaching on New Republic territory (which is basically the entire galaxy) at the start of the Force Awakens and then straight up launches an invasion once Starkiller Base fires.

              Most of this stuff is found in the side material, there was supposed to be a scene in TFA that explained some of this stuff but it got deleted.

    6. Smosh says:

      And if you stray into modern villains, most of them look ridiculous than evil. They have weird mustaches, look like giant chubby toddlers, dress in oversized suits with comically large ties or ruffle their own hair whenever a camera shows up. Some have pictures taken of themselves bare-breasted riding horses as if it was the middle ages and steal the candy of children during photo ops. It’s a wild time. If you put all the modern war criminals, election cheaters, child traffickers and so on into a room, the people who look like clowns have the longest list of sins.

      None of them wear black and red and have names that are one typo away from “malicious”.

      1. Veylon says:

        During World War II, they called the Fascist leaders “Comic Opera” villains. They looked ridiculous even back then.

      2. Khwarezm says:

        Would it though? We have certain associations with people like Hitler and Mussolini, but there are far more people who just seem like your average boring Joe who was complicit in horrible atrocities.

        It comes back to Hannah Arendt’s ‘Banality of Evil’ when she noted how somebody like Eichmann did not look or play the part of baby eating, theatrical monstrosity, he seemed to be just a dull, grey civil servant and yet he was instrumental in some of the worst atrocities of the 20th century. Heck, if you ever look at the people responsible for the conduct of Imperial Japan in and around the Second World War they really did not look or act like movie villains as opposed to the kinds of administrators and military men you’d find in any country.

    7. Honorsharpe says:

      Well….I gotta be fair here. Considering how many of these names are chosen by generally evil/violent people in both the DC and Star Wars universe its understandable.

      I mean….how many people would be afraid of “Darth Bob” or “Bob the Destroyer”?

    8. Joe Informatico says:

      Almost straight from the Jenny Nicholson guide to Star Wars names.

    9. Raven's Cry says:

      That’s the kind of world Star Wars is. It’s Buck Rogers the way George Lucas’s kid imagination upscaled them, at least the best they could do at the time, with ‘the time’ being whatever version you are watching.
      Sometimes it can be refreshing to have pretty clear and obvious baddies.

  4. Olivier FAURE says:

    The massacre they hint at is a story arc of, you guessed it, The Clone Wars.

    The short version is that Dooku takes two successive apprentices from the planet (Asaj Ventress and a Darth Maul expy); Sidious bullies him into backstabbing the first, and the second turns on him almost immediately because Dooku is kind of an asshole.

    Ventress finds shelter with the Nightsisters, so Dooku sends Grievious to genocide them all. They put up a fight and summon a zombie army, but are eventually overwhelmed through sheer numbers.

    1. MerryWeathers says:

      It was also the only time Grievous has ever lived up to his reputation as a genuine threat in the series, he actually manages to eradicate the entire Nightsister clan. Usually he just runs away and does the “we’ll see each other again and I swear you will be destroyed next time!” shtick.

      1. Henson says:

        Don’t forget “bwah ha ha ha!!!!”.

      2. Olivier FAURE says:

        Nah, he loses his duel with Ventress like a wimp and sends his army at her to escape. He does kill the zombie invocator lady though.

        Grievious in TCW was kind of lame. They should have given him more clones and nameless jedi to kill.

        1. MerryWeathers says:

          The difference is that Grievous actually participated in the killings this time, usually he just leaves it to the droids while he goes after the main protagonists (and subsequently loses).

          Where Grievous was really deadly was in the Son of Dathomir comic where he kills several Mandalorians and Mother Talzin

  5. Dreadjaws says:

    I normally disapprove of cutting away from player action so the game designer can amuse themselves, but I like this scene where we see Master Tapal fight.

    It probably helps that it’s not the player character doing all the awesome fighting. Control is never wrestled from you because it wasn’t yours in the first place. You’re as much a spectator inside the game as you are outside, and when the character eventually makes a mistake and gets killed, you don’t get the nagging certainty that you could have done better if you were in control.

    I am speaking strictly about Jaro Tapal’s actions, of course. There are a couple of dumb things Cal does in these cutscenes that get on my nerves, but I can at least excuse them a bit with him being a child and all.

    Fun fact: Jaro Tapal’s species is based on one of the original designs for Chewbacca. It’s always neat to see them recycle discarded ideas in interesting new ways (like the use of the Starkiller name in The Force Unleashed).

    1. Boobah says:

      I thought Tapal looked like the same species as what’s-his-name from Rebels. They even refer to him as a “hairless Wookie” in an attempted bamboozlement of some storm troopers.

    2. Mr. Wolf says:

      I was wondering why you’d have a a hairless design for a character based on a Malamute, but after seeing those concepts it kinda makes sense now.

      Although now you’ve got me imagining sled dogs in space. “Hike up, Chewie!”

  6. BlueHorus says:

    It’s sad…a lot of this does sound pretty awesome. Stupid name aside, Darth Malicos’s storyline makes sense, Cal’s backstory sounds interesting and both are kind of emotionally resonant.

    Far more so than the cliched and contradictory Macguffin quest of the main plot, anyway…

  7. Joshua says:

    so the game designer can amuse themselves

    So, I follow the link and find out that it’s a 2016 article updated with a 2019 reference to What We Do In The Shadows (television). I was just curious what the YouTube link for Social Vampire was, saw the show, and went “I remember reading this article YEARS ago, and I thought this show was new?”

    Well played.

    1. Baron Tanks says:

      I had no idea Shamus does this to his articles after the fact. Now I’m curious about all of them, there should* totally be a tv tropes page with twenty sided after the fact Easter eggs xD

      *or maybe I’m just overly amused since I love the show and said social vampire definitely is one of the best parts of it :)

  8. Matt says:

    Here’s my big problem with Order 66. As Shamus notes, some Jedi were luckier than others when the order came in and had a chance to defend themselves. This seems inexcusably sloppy for the grand decades-long plan of a Sith Lord, particularly when it comes to key figures like Yoda. Killing Yoda should be the primary purpose of Order 66 – he’s the leader of the Jedi Council, a general rebels can rally behind, and the only personal match for Palpatine in terms of power. Instead, it seems like it was left to a pair of troopers that are instantly killed. Palpatine shouldn’t be leaving anything to chance, particularly when it comes to people as resourceful as Jedi.

    Perhaps Palpatine didn’t have good intelligence about Yoda’s whereabouts, or he was forced to execute the Order ahead of schedule? From what I recall, he deliberately reveals his true nature to Anakin at the opera, setting into motion the attempted arrest and his issuing the Order. So he did it on purpose.

    1. Kylroy says:

      I’d argue that there’s so damn many Jedi that Order 66 can’t flawlessly execute all of them instantly. But that doesn’t excuse messing up on members of the High Council.

      1. Matt says:

        Sure, I agree that he couldn’t guarantee them all. It makes sense that someone like Cal could slip through and be essentially written off as not a threat. Other nobodies on isolated planets can be ignored, which would be in keeping with Palpatine’s hubris and is good from a narrative perspective because it gives us possible survivors to work with.

        But, as you say, every effort should be made to kill Jedi leaders. They’re the biggest threats to his new Empire and Yoda should only have escaped because Palpatine believed him dead or by extraordinary luck.

        1. MerryWeathers says:

          Well Yoda did flee to a backwater planet and in the lore, Dagobah was also very strong in the dark side which made it the last place people would think to look when hunting the ultimate Jedi master. He also never returned so while he may have been a constant thought in Palpatine’s mind that produced dread, he had more present matters to attend to.

          One of the comics, Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith, should interest you about the subject since it’s set immediately after ROTS and is about Vader and the Inquisitors hunting remaining Jedi in the aftermath of Order 66. One arc explains the Jedi whom Palpatine considered the biggest threat and priority wasn’t Yoda but rather the librarian Jocasta Nu as she had preserved archives of Jedi lore, artifacts, and teachings that could be used to resurrect the Order.

          1. Decius says:

            The lore of Star Wars isn’t quite consistent; The Child in The Mandalorian could be tracked to backwater villages on backwater planets by nameless randos years after the Empire fell, using small devices cheap enough to give to everybody.

            1. MerryWeathers says:

              Those planets had civilization, Dagobah had none. It’s like the difference between a third world country and a completely untamed wilderness. Hunting someone in the latter as an entire planet would be significantly more difficult.

              That said, I too don’t know how the tracking fobs work but drama first, details later right?

              1. guy says:

                The tracking fob is the one thing that I really don’t like in the Mandalorian. You can just make a handheld widget that tracks a particular target across interstellar distances? Without an implanted tracker? How do they work and how can anyone ever possibly hide?

                1. MerryWeathers says:

                  There are theories that the tracking fobs use the biometric scans of a person to specifically track them but they don’t actually track as much as they just detect them in the vicinity of a planet.

                  They don’t actually detect across interstellar distances, that’s what the guys who run the Bounty Hunters Guild like Greef Karga are for, redirecting their members to the planet where the bounty is currently in.

        2. Syal says:

          Seems more like his priority is turning Anakin, who is an enormous hothead and likely won’t wait for a more tactical move.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      Palpatine shouldn’t be leaving anything to chance, particularly when it comes to people as resourceful as Jedi.

      Jedi? You mean that order of warrior monks so resourceful that they failed to spot a predictable coup and gave law-enforcement powers and a lethal laser sword to an obviously unstable teenager?
      (As well as giving said swords to blindfolded prepubescent kids, in one scene)
      The same resourceful Jedi that – when they hear that the Sith Lord they’ve been hunting is actually the Repiblic’s Chancellor – decide to just grab the two nearest guys and go and confront him alone in his office so they can all die hilariously easily? And NOT report their finding to everyone else?

      …I jest, mostly. I’m mocking the Jedi’s portrayal in the prequels rather than what you’re saying.
      More seriously, I’ll echo Kylroy and say there were just too many Jedi around to wipe out in one stroke, regardless of your genius or Force powers. Plus, once you’ve seized control, there’s time to hunt down the others later.

      Meanwhile, Yoda survived because he had triple-layered ablative Plot Armor, naturally. Poor old Palpatine never had a chance a killing him since he was a fan favorite/character from the OT.

    3. Gethsemani says:

      The thing with a coup like that is that you don’t need to kill everyone in the opposing party, you just need to kill enough of them and take away enough of their powerbase that they can’t pose a threat to you. If you kill 9 out of every 10 Jedi and take away their temples, their training grounds, their meditation groves and the public faith in them, what can the remaining Jedi do? You’ve got a massive army, a fearsome disciple and the public thinks you’ve just saved them from an insidious threat to the very Republic. It isn’t great from a storytelling perspective, but from a realistic point of view it is actually how you imagine a worldwide kill order would look like. A lot of people will slip through the cracks, through luck or skill, but they will be separated and without all the things that gave them temporal power. It is essentially a mopping up action to find the remaining isolated survivors, because who are they going to rally against you?

    4. Moridin says:

      I would imagine that Dark Side can only do so much to cloud the vision of someone like Yoda. Palpatine was probably already pressing his luck – making preparations to make sure that Yoda will die might have been too much to conceal.

      And, as others have pointed out, with the jedi order essentially gone, Yoda stopped being much of a threat. After taking a shot at Palpatine(a rather weak shot, at that), he slunk away defeated.

    5. ChrisANG says:

      Order 66 fails on Yoda in the film because he’s not relying on the clone army to the same extent the other Jedi were (he’s surrounded mainly by Wookiees instead of clones). Not sure if the writers meant to imply that he was suspicious of the clones/Palpatine.

      The novelization also says that Windu and Yoda were suspicious of Palpatine and his inner circle, and had been staying on Coruscant to keep an eye on things, though I don’t remember them saying anything like that in the film. If that’s true, though, Palpatine never really had a good opportunity to kill him with Order 66 since he was always surrounded by other Jedi or troops that were actually loyal to him instead of Palpatine.

      It was still a pretty sloppy attempted murder, though.

      (I think the Clone Wars cartoon shows Yoda wandering all over the galaxy completely surrounded by clones, of course)

      1. Thomas says:

        The Jedi Council ask Anakin to spy on Palpatine, which is confirmation that they were suspicious of him and trying to keep an eye on him.

        I like the idea that Yoda was deliberately making distance between himself and his clone army, but if he was suspicious it was a bit of a dick move not warning the other Jedi!

    6. Mr. Wolf says:

      I was under the impression Order 66 was only as successful as it was because it’s execution was unplanned. The longer they take to set it up, the longer the Jedi have to realise there’s something wrong. To quote an expert:

      “Explanation: Statistically, overplanning the assassination of a Jedi seems to backfire. Extrapolation: There are many theorists who claim Jedi can see the future, and I do not know if that is true, but it seems impulsive acts are more common to succeed than planned incidents.”

      Although it probably would have worked better if Palps had sent the order to everyone at once rather than personally calling all the commanders.

    7. Preciousgollum says:

      Perhaps Palpatine wanted to see Yoda suffer. Yoda isn’t that important.

      The Jedi are a self-contained bunch of people who happen to share similar ideologies, whereas the Jedi Order relies on large numbers of recruits to do their Jedi stuff.

      Imagine it being like Jedi Downton Abbey – once the downstairs staff are gone, the house will fall into disarray. The reason why Downton Abbey carries on is because the establishment support it externally, and that estabishment dwindles over time. But if the establishment & the staff were both hostile, then Downton Abbey would cease to function.

  9. Baron Tanks says:

    *looks at screenshot* I suppose it’s a moot point considering he’s dead by now, but Michael Morbius didn’t look all that great in his last days. He sure is a lot more purple than I remember him. I do wonder if Cal also knows how to suck blood (excuse me, consume plasma) and if he gets grumpy if he hasn’t eaten for too long. Turning into a bat would have at the very least been helpful with all the lame jumping puzzles…

  10. ccesarano says:

    In hindsight, I actually like a lot of what they do regarding the lightsaber. I’ll hold my comments until then, but having recently rewatched Attack of the Clones and heard the “This weapon is your life!”, Fallen Order does a far, far better job of trying to convey the spiritual and emotional importance of the lightsaber to a Jedi than the prequels did.

    Which just caused me to hate lightsabers.

    Discovering that these Nightsisters and the semi-Sith under Vader came from The Clone Wars, it feels like the writers in charge of that show struggled a lot with the decisions Lucas made in the prequels. They have a line somewhere that addresses how Jango and Boba Fett aren’t real Mandalorians, they just use their armor, and here you see them working as hard as they can to explore the Dark Side beyond “there are only/always two…” I still think doing all of this stuff in the time between the prequels and original trilogy is silly and begs questions (such as why are the only Dark Side users Palpatine and Vader in the Original if you had all these semi-Sith hunting down Jedi), but seeks to explore and expand on the setting in interesting ways.

    From my understanding, everything in Fallen Order had to run through a team at LucasFilm responsible for controlling continuity. From what I can gather, this team is made up of or has a lot of involvement from those that worked on the Clone Wars animation, who also have a hand in consultation with The Mandalorian. It has me curious as to what we’ll see in terms of the non-film media.

    As you said, though, this character was probably the most interesting aspect of Jedi: Fallen Order, though since I could see his heel turn coming a mile away I just kind of found him forgettable. Nightsister went from a “meh” inclusion to the best NPC of the game around here, though.

    1. Olivier FAURE says:

      I think it’s mostly accepted that The Clone Wars was basically Lucas’s “second take” on the prequel trilogy (though a lot of the things that the show nailed can also be attributed to Pablo Hidalgo).

      In particular, Anakin’s fall to the dark side, his relationship with the Jedi Order and their growing hypocrisy, the apathy and populism of the Senate, Palpatine’s orchestrating of the war, the increasing militarization and centralization of the Republic, and the jedi’s increasing inability to reconcile their philosophy as neutral peacekeepers with their new role as military leaders, are all themes that are hinted at in the prequels and fully explored in the series.

      1. MerryWeathers says:

        The credit should be given to Dave Filoni, Pablo Hidalgo was just the guy who kept tabs on the lore.

        I do agree, whenever people praise the “worldbuilding” of the prequels, they’re actually referring to the Clone Wars which fleshed out the Republic era and the eponymous war of the same name. Like in the movies, the flaws of the Jedi Order aren’t acknowledged at all and they’re played completely straight as the flawless good guys whose only mistake was that they died against Palpatine and his forces but in the show, they actually acknowledge the council’s hubris and demonstrate how the Jedi’s involvement in the war has affected it’s members. We also see how exactly Palpatine gained so much of power throughout the Clone Wars to just easily turn the Republic into the Empire overnight..

        1. Syal says:

          Having recently rewatched the first six movies, there’s a short acknowledgment the Jedi are falling off; Yoda and Windu have a conversation about how the Force has stopped guiding them, and decide the best thing to do is hide that from the Republic.

        2. ccesarano says:

          What you’re telling me is that I really ought to be watching The Clone Wars since it sounds like it addresses issues I have with the prequel movies.

          1. MerryWeathers says:

            Pretty much if you have the time however I recommend getting a watching guide as the series wasn’t aired in chronological order (which makes it confusing to watch sometimes as a character can die in one episode and then is alive in the next) and to know which arcs are great and essential and which ones are essentially just filler.

            Also you’ll have to read the Son of Dathomir comic in between watching seasons 6 and 7 as it sets up the final arc of the show.

          2. Radkatsu says:

            It fixes basically all the prequels’ problems, yes. Anakin actually being the good and honourable man old Obi-wan mentions to Luke in Ep4? Yep. Filling in things like the nest of gundarks so that actually makes sense in the Ep3 elevator scene? Yep. Making everything generally make a lot more sense overall? Big yep.

            It’s quite incredible what competent people can do with an incompetent set of scripts that nevertheless had a lot of good/interesting ideas in them.

    2. MerryWeathers says:

      It has me curious as to what we’ll see in terms of the non-film media.

      They’re becoming more interconnected now, originally it was just “blink and you’ll miss it” easter eggs but now storylines are starting to directly affect each other.

      In The Mandalorian, the purge constantly referenced that’s responsible for the current state of the Mandalorians is implied to be the result of the mandalorian rebellion that got started in Rebels, Moff Gideon has the Darksaber which implies he may have killed a recurring character who has only appeared in the cartoons so far, Djin Djarin was rescued by Death Watch as a child which was a major faction in Clone Wars, Cobb Vanth first appeared in a novel, and now Ahsoka is apparently going to appear in the show.

  11. RFS-81 says:

    “A tiny monk!” — I don’t quite know why, but that made me laugh out loud.

    1. Elmeri says:

      It’s a reference to a classic meme.

  12. This is pretty much word-for-word my take on this part of the game, although Young Cal bugged the crap out of me because his arms are too long for his body size (or, his legs are too short, take your pick)–he doesn’t look young, he looks like he’s afflicted with dwarfism or auditioning to be a chimpanzee. It’s particularly prominent when he does climbing and acrobatic moves. They just look off to me. The only people I can think of that I’ve met who have that kind of body configuration are either broad and chunky like my housemate or are, like, Chinese. Sometimes both. I can’t recall meeting any fair-skinned gingers who look like that (although I’m sure there are some SOMEWHERE). The ginger dudes I’ve met tend to look like someone put them in a stretching machine and forgot to turn it off. They are some LONG dudes.

    I’ve seen kids as old as 13, especially boys–who COULD be mistaken for Young Cal–it depends on when the puberty hormones kick in and they start to shoot up. Extreme training, exercise, and specialized diet (which you need if you’re going to be that kind of athlete) tend to delay the onset of puberty substantially. IIRC 100 years ago when that kind of lifestyle was more common generally, girls often didn’t enter puberty until they were 14 or sometimes even 16, and boys often didn’t enter puberty until they were 15 to 17, in which case, yes, they could still be about that size and pushing 15 years old. If Cal is 13 at this time, five years later he could be 18 and the timing works out pretty okay. Even as an adult, Cal is not a particularly big dude. IIRC most of the human-sized enemies you meet are taller than he is.

    1. Shamus says:

      Conjecture:

      I’m willing to bet his odd proportions are there to make the existing adult animations work. If his arms were shorter, he might not be able to reach platforming ledges, or maybe his saber would pass through his body.

      And the only way to fix that would be to make all-different animations for Young Cal.

      1. Philadelphus says:

        I know this is actually a really difficult problem, but it feels like it should be a solved problem by now (or at least an area of active development): like, have a generic animation skeleton which you can tie models to, which you can scale up or down and change the proportions of and have the animation engine do the heavy lifting of figuring out how to make it work by using constraints. Like when walking, the feet have to touch the ground (so adjust a scaled-down model’s vertical position until that’s the case), when jumping and catching a ledge the hands have to reach to the ledge while starting with the feet on the ground (so a kid has to jump slightly higher to make the same jump)…OK, I’m starting to see why it’s such a difficult problem. But still, how useful would that be? It’d make adding animation for non-humans (or humans with different proportions, like kids and adults) so much easier.

        1. Decius says:

          If you can describe a transform that allows for climbing a ladder and horizontally traversing a rock face (with fixed handhold locations) without dynamically altering the skeleton size, I’ll eat my hat.

          It’s easy when it’s just “the jump is higher”, less easy when it’s “the distance from feet to hands is the same”.

          1. Philadelphus says:

            Both seem fine to me, as long as the distance between rungs/handholds isn’t actually greater than the greatest extent of your skeleton (so like, a person who’s literally shorter than two rungs on the ladder). Though the way horizontal handholds are defined could be a problem—if it’s a continuous ledge it should be fine (in fact, that’d be easy as you could just define a “natural-looking maximum-extent arm spread” to follow no matter the skeleton size based on various proportions of it), whereas it’d be possible to have discrete handholds which are further apart than the arm-span of your skeleton, which would break it. Then you’re need to define some sort of alternate “jump across the horizontal gap” animation and switch between the two based on the skeleton and the size of the gap (which could be a useful feature all on its own even if you only ever use one skeleton size).

            Of course, “in theory there’s no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is;” for all that it’s theoretically possible in my head, I’ve no doubt at all that actually doing the procedural animation necessary to make it work (let along look good/realistic) in 3D would be very, very, difficult. And obviously, it’s trivial to construct pathological cases where it would break; I’m mostly envisioning it used for “slightly differently-proportioned/sized humans/humanoids”, not humanoids with legs a centimeter long and 50-meter-long arms, or something. That’d definitely still require custom animations.

      2. Well, considering that Young Cal and Cal are never in the same areas together (which would be weird), they could simply have made the platforms etc. in the Young Cal section have smaller dimensions.

        Having a few sections of custom platforms and ledges would be a lot easier than doing a second full animation set.

        1. It’s also interesting to me that if you met someone in real life with Young Cal’s body proportions, you’d think nothing of it. I have, in fact. It’s only in the context of art that proportions a little off from some hypothetical average look “weird”.

  13. Misamoto says:

    Since Merrin joins us on the ship later, especially because of her dialogue during that time, it felt like this part of the game was supposed to happen much earlier in the plot. I guess something went wrong with that and they had to restructure everything

    Ok, so spoiler didn’t work as a tag, and it’s not the in the hint, so sorry for the apoiler

    1. Syal says:

      Spoilers are [strike] [/strike], with the greater-than brackets.

      1. Misamoto says:

        Oh, geez, I read “strike” and assumed it would stand for “strikethrough”, didn’t even read through explanation

        1. Syal says:

          Strikethrough is [del] [/del], for some reason.

  14. Niven says:

    I just looked up a speedrun to see if you can walk away from the window, but it turns out you can clip out of the level and skip this entire sequence. So I dunno.

    I see I’m not the only one who’s wondered how a speedrun did a section and left with more questions than answers.

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