Jedi Fallen Order Part 24: Do The Right Thing

By Shamus Posted Thursday Feb 18, 2021

Filed under: Retrospectives 95 comments

Before I can analyze the ending of this game, I need to step back to the point when Cal exited his vision of the Sith conquering his Jedi school. The holocron then appeared and Trilla entered the sceneIf you don’t remember, I covered this back in Part 19 and 20..

This is a very vulnerable moment. He’s finally fulfilled his quest, but his enemy is here to snatch it away from him.

Even if Cal is 99% sure that he can beat TrillaNot that he has any REASON for such confidence at this point in the story, but let’s humor him., that 1% chance of failure is so bad that he can’t possibly afford to risk it. Having an entire generation of Force users rounded up when they’re young, brainwashed through ghastly and ruthless techniques, and then unleashed on the galaxy as a legion of dangerously powerful agents of evil and oppression is an outcome so dire that nothing is worth the risk. Maybe we have a dozen active Sith nowOkay, actually we have “as many as we need to keep the Expanded Universe properties going”, but I think it’s an unspoken rule among SW writers that you should at least pretend the numbers are low to avoid flagrantly contradicting the movies., but what happens if there are hundreds of them? What happens when we effectively have a government of super-powered beings ruling over a helpless galaxy? What happens when their ruthless ideals permeate the galactic culture?

(I mean, aside from the fact that it might make for some really cool “What If?” style spinoff stories.) 

Whenever you Gamble my Friend, Eventually You Lose

C'mon, Cal. Put the holocron in your pocket before she yoinks it away with the force. You putz.
C'mon, Cal. Put the holocron in your pocket before she yoinks it away with the force. You putz.

To the people within the story, that outcome is basically apocalyptic. If anything, I think the game actually downplays how serious this risk is. It would take generations to dislodge such a strong and deeply entrenched power structure.

The moment Trilla walks in, the only responsible move for Cal is to obliterate the holocron. 

The same holds true when he recovers it in the Sith fortress. Yes, he’s just defeated Trilla, but he’s in the heart of the Sith base and a million things could go wrong between here and the exit. And When Vader shows up, destroying the holocron should take precedence over every other concern, including saving his own life. Destroy it by any means necessary. Eat the fucking thing if you have to

Of course, he doesn’t do this, and it’s understandable why: It would make for a stupid and boring story. 

INTERIOR – BOGANO TEMPLE – DAY

Cal has just escaped the strange Force vision that foretold the Sith capturing all of the young future Jedi. Shaking his head, he steps forward into the light to see the long-sought holocron hovering in the air in front of him. 

He reaches out to take it, when he hears a lightsaber IGNITE. He turns to see Trilla, helmet off, glaring at him from the shadows.

CAL:

Had a bad feeling I’d see you here.

TRILLA:

(Mocking tone.) Oh? How uncharacteristically prescient of you.

Cal pulls out his lightsaber, bisects the holocron, and puts it away again before the pieces strike the floor and scatter in all directions.

The two Jedi stare at each other awkwardly for a few seconds, trying to figure out if they still have any reason to bother fighting. 

Trilla lowers her lightsaber. She goes to say something, stops, then shrugs. She figures she should probably murder this Jedi, but her heart really isn’t in it anymore.

That’s what common sense says should have happened, but it makes for a lousyActually I find it sort of awkwardly amusing. Maybe the movie can end here with the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme and “Directed by Larry David”. Star Wars story.

This is something that drama-first stories can get away with much more easily than details first. When a story mostly runs on emotions and we don’t know how the magic or the technology works, then we can give lots of leeway to the characters as long as their decisions make sense to us on an emotional level. The audience doesn’t want to see the holocron destroyed, even though that’s basically the only reasonable thing to do. We want to see the good guys achieve their goal, and we can overlook the unreasonable levels of risk as long as the writer doesn’t make us think about it too hard. This is particularly true if you’re using the “Love and Hope conquer all” angle from the original trilogy.

And now we come to the ending…

The Responsible Thing

I say we sell this thing on E-bay.
I say we sell this thing on E-bay.

Here is the final time the game surprised me. Cal considers the holocron, the names it contains, and the ordeal they’ve all just been through. He realizes that gathering up a bunch of kids would make this new order an easy target for the ever-present Empire. Beyond that, he doesn’t have the right to pull these kids into this dangerous world. This is something that the kids should choose for themselves.

He destroys the holocron, entrusting the kids and the future of the Jedi order to the will of the Force.

I love this. This is perfect. This is exactly what I’m looking for in my Jedi stories. 

I really did expect this game to end the same way Borderlands 2 ended: We open up the magical gizmo and are treated to a fantastical starmap being projected all around us. Little points of light are scattered among the stars, indicating our future adventures. The game designer is telling us, “More adventures await! Endless sequels! Look at all of this cool stuff we’re going to do!” But instead the writer closes that door. No, we’re not going to round up these kids. At least, not all at once, and not guided by this map.

A starmap to the vaults! I mean force-sensitive children. Not vaults. I don't know why I said vaults.
A starmap to the vaults! I mean force-sensitive children. Not vaults. I don't know why I said vaults.

I realize this was probably annoying to a lot of players. We just spent the entire game trying to get this thing. We went through all of this hardship and death to obtain our goal, and now we’re going to throw it all away? Does that mean it was all for nothing?

I would say that it wasn’t “all for nothing”. We didn’t go on this journey to learn the secrets of the map, we went on this journey to learn why the map should be destroyed. This adventure wasn’t to rebuild the Jedi order, but for the wisdom to learn how to rebuild that order. And that process should not start with this map.

The Old Ways

Hey Cal, make sure you're holding that lightsaber the right way around before you turn it on. Yikes.
Hey Cal, make sure you're holding that lightsaber the right way around before you turn it on. Yikes.

Using the map is what the Jedi of the prequel trilogy would do. When confronted with a military threat, they would employ military thinking. “Let’s round up kids and balloon our ranks to become a stronger army!” This is the clumsy, violent, ineffectual, arrogant thinking that not only destroyed the Jedi order, but made it deserving of destructionEr. I’m not suggesting that all the Jedi really deserved to die, and the younglings CERTAINLY didn’t deserve what they got. But the order itself DID deserve to be dissolved or experience some sort of drastic reform.

Cal is showing the sort of mystical thinking that I’ve always wanted to see from the Jedi. He’s not thinking about how many guys we have versus how many guys they have. He’s not thinking of the order as a military force to defeat the enemy. He doesn’t have a plan to beat the Empire, and that’s okay. I faulted Commander Shepard for not having a coherent plan in Mass Effect 3, but the Jedi are a quasi-religious order and it’s not clear that their primary purpose should be the enforcement of law and order. Perhaps their proper purpose is simply to study the Force and defend that fragile knowledge from abuse or corruption.

Yoda’s dialog in Empire Strikes Back always hinted at a wiser, gentler Jedi order that we never got to see in the movies. A Jedi order filled not with warriorsWars not make one great!, but scholars and teachers. One that shied away from politics and positions of power. 

The True Jedi

If you don't want your saber anymore then can I have it?
If you don't want your saber anymore then can I have it?

In Return of the Jedi, Luke’s decision to spare his father and then throw away his lightsaber was the first time I saw a Jedi actually do something that squared with the ideas that Yoda professed. It was a bad move in a tactical senseAre you sure Palpatine isn’t going to take a swing at you? He might call the guards, you know. Are you sure your dad isn’t going to jump up and fight you left-handed? He’s apparently killed a lot of Jedi in his day and this is clearly not the first time the old geezer lost that hand., but it was the correct move as a follower of the Force: Idealistic, trusting, and fearless. To me, this made the Jedi feel more like an actual religion and not just a set of fighting techniques. You could argue that Luke wasn’t just a return of the Jedi as they’d existed 20 years prior, but perhaps Luke was the first true Jedi in centuries

Even Yoda himself was a little too bellicose in his thinking. Despite his disdain for war, his plea to Luke at the end of Empire Strikes Back boiled down to “No, let your friends be tortured to death so you can train hard enough to defeat Vader and the Emperor in martial combat! You must be willing to sacrifice them in order to win!” That’s a reasonable way of thinking for the trillions of muggles trying to run the galaxy and win wars, but maybe that’s not the sort of calculus that should guide an order of incredibly powerful scholars that wield a power they don’t fully understand. Maybe following the Light Side of the Force means more than just avoiding the Dark Side.

Yoda was the wisest of the Old Jedi, but the prequels made it clear that “wisest among Jedi” was an incredibly low bar.

I’ve been wanting to see a return of that idealism and trust that Luke showed at the end of Return of the Jedi. Cal’s decision to destroy the holocron is the first hint of that sort of idealism that Luke showed when he threw away his lightsaber.

But What About Cordova?

I think we could have cut the Astrium out of the plot and had Cal hunting for the holocron directly. The story does not benefit from this extra layer of abstraction.
I think we could have cut the Astrium out of the plot and had Cal hunting for the holocron directly. The story does not benefit from this extra layer of abstraction.

This reading of the material comes with the unfortunate implication that maybe Cordova knew what he was doing. If you gave the holocron to any of the other dimwits in the prequels, they would have announced, “Good news everyone! I have a list of fresh recruits. Let’s round up these kids so we have the numbers to win this war!” Cordova didn’t do that. But perhaps he also sensed that he didn’t have the right to destroy it. That decision should be left to the Jedi who were to face the coming darkness. Cordova didn’t know what the new Jedi would do with the holocron, but he trusted in them. He trusted in the Force.

If this is true, then the scavenger hunt wasn’t a game to amuse an old man who wanted to share his love of archaeology with the younger demo. It was an ordeal to make sure that they had the wisdom to make this decision for themselves by observing the fall of the Zeffo. If Cordova left the holocron in his workshop on Bogano, then the Jedi would have used it the moment they found it. The adventure gave them the wisdom and perspective to understand the magnitude of the decision they were about to make. It would give them the chance to repent from the militaristic thinking of the prequel Jedi.

He didn’t know what they would choose, but he trusted in the Force rather than trying to control everything himself.  

(Although the quest for a series of TikTok videos to obtain an object to open a door to see a vision is still a needlessly convoluted scenario.)

The End.
The End.

The adventure wasn’t all for nothing, because our heroes weren’t fighting to gain the holocron, they were fighting to gain the wisdom to destroy it. I spent most of this game arguing with the author about how the Light Side and Dark Side work. We have irreconcilable differences about the vague hokey space majicks that run this universe. But they won me over with this ending, and I’m here for whatever they do next.  

We’re not quite done with this game. Next time I’m going to look at… uh. It’s hard to explain. You’ll see.

 

Footnotes:

[1] If you don’t remember, I covered this back in Part 19 and 20.

[2] Not that he has any REASON for such confidence at this point in the story, but let’s humor him.

[3] Okay, actually we have “as many as we need to keep the Expanded Universe properties going”, but I think it’s an unspoken rule among SW writers that you should at least pretend the numbers are low to avoid flagrantly contradicting the movies.

[4] Actually I find it sort of awkwardly amusing. Maybe the movie can end here with the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme and “Directed by Larry David”.

[5] Er. I’m not suggesting that all the Jedi really deserved to die, and the younglings CERTAINLY didn’t deserve what they got. But the order itself DID deserve to be dissolved or experience some sort of drastic reform.

[6] Wars not make one great!

[7] Are you sure Palpatine isn’t going to take a swing at you? He might call the guards, you know. Are you sure your dad isn’t going to jump up and fight you left-handed? He’s apparently killed a lot of Jedi in his day and this is clearly not the first time the old geezer lost that hand.



From The Archives:
 

95 thoughts on “Jedi Fallen Order Part 24: Do The Right Thing

  1. Joe says:

    I agree that the Order needed a wakeup call. I agree that it didn’t need to be mass murder. However, the Order, the council especially, has always been stuffy. Individual Jedi can be all right, when they’re on their own. But every depiction I can name that features the Order on the whole, hidebound and dogmatic. Even when they’re at war, outside the fighting they fall back on bad habits. No wonder they keep getting purged.

    It’d be interesting to see an Order that actually moved with the times and let its members be who they are. Some kind of guidance, but not leadership.

    1. John says:

      As an established, hierarchical source of authority the Jedi order is required by the iron laws of narrative to be stuffy, slow, and ineffectual. If it weren’t, the story couldn’t happen and the protagonists wouldn’t have anything to do. In that light, I have a hard time being mad at the Jedi. It’s not their fault. It’s just tropes, man. And, hey, it could be worse. They could be, I dunno, the Council from Mass Effect.

      1. beleester says:

        I’m trying to think of any stories in which the established authority is powerful, present in the protagonist’s story, and non-evil. War stories, I guess – the modern warfare genre usually puts you as a particularly important cog in a massive war machine, and the authority figure is generally present in airstrikes, predator missiles, and other ways of delivering the wrath of god from on high.

        Also certain types of disaster movies, like the CDC in Contagion. (Or the CDC in the Newsflesh books, for that matter. Apparently infectious diseases make for a good organization-scale threat.) If you’re doing Man vs Nature, Nature can be powerful enough that even Man’s best efforts can’t stop it.

        (Or you can just be less obvious about the authority being ineffectual. “The guys in charge can’t help you because they’re busy dealing with bigger problems” is more tolerable than “The guys in charge can’t help you because they don’t believe you when you say there’s a problem.”)

        1. Joe says:

          A lot of the time councils like the Jedi have aren’t evil, they’re just too bound in one way of thinking to see the big picture. They just get underfoot. However, the Jedi order in particular never really changes its ways. In the Legacy comics, around 140 years later, the Sith come back, worm their way into power, and then purge the order once again. Worse, some of the TCW-era councilmembers are still around and want to do things the old-fashioned way. Just refuse to learn. But not actually evil.

          1. John says:

            Poor Jedi. Spinoff writers just won’t give ’em a break.

            To be fair, a spinoff writer’s job isn’t easy. The fans want their spinoffs with Jedi like the Jedi they know and plots like the plots they know. If it’s not the fans, it’s corporate. Might as well re-hash the movies again. Anything else would be risky. So, yeah, the Jedi don’t change, but it’s not because they can’t change or even necessarily because they don’t want to change. It’s because they aren’t allowed to change. It’s not really their fault. It’s just the nature of the Star Wars-industrial complex.

            A wise man on another web site once told me that “all Star Wars lore is fanfiction”. I think he was on to something. Viewed in that light, the Jedi really only have one big failure–i.e., The Revenge of the Sith–instead of the same damn failure over and over again. That other stuff is there for you if you like that sort of thing but thoroughly inessential and ignorable if you don’t.

            1. Geebs says:

              Lore. Lore never changes.

            2. Thomas says:

              This is where story buts against the reality of a franchise. Writers are always going to want to battle Sith, the Jedi will keep making the same mistakes, as long as stories need to be made.

              If the world was in the hands of one writer perhaps they could make the conflict different – the Sith are gone forever the new challenge is something else. And some of the original EU did that, but more did not.

              To be fair it’s not like any real world organisation manages to stay on the good path over a sustained period of time. They rise and fall and rise again.

            3. Olivier FAURE says:

              I think that’s what TvTropes calls “Running the Alsylum”: past a certain point in a franchise, all fiction is fanfiction. All Batman stories for decades have been Batman fanfictions. Same thing for Star Trek, Super Mario Bros, Marvel movies, etc.

        2. Steve C says:

          Oh! I *just* read a story like that this week. It was “Interactive Education” on reddit.com/r/hfy. It was about a pacifist scientific alien society and the consequences of morality in general. It was extremely refreshing to read a story that subverted so many tropes but was not about trope subversion. In so many stories things could be solved if only the heroes could talk to the authority/other characters and everyone just be competent. But they don’t because of ‘reasons’ and tropes. Except in this story that sort thing happened a lot with both good and interesting outcomes.

          For example the protagonists tell the guys in charge something they cannot believe and will up-heave their society if true. So the guys in charge give them the authority, resources and aid to find evidence proving their claims. Which propels the plot forward. Seeing things like that play out in an organic way was very satisfying if for the novelty if nothing else.

          (Also I think the Council of Elrond might qualify, but probably comes under beleester’s disaster exception.)

          1. Gaius Maximus says:

            It probably helps that the Council of Elrond was a one-off event, not an institution. It’s true that in Tolkien you can usually trust the Wise, but even that isn’t an absolute, see Saruman.

            1. Nimrandir says:

              It may also help that Middle-earth doesn’t have a large, overarching authority. As is, half the large power structures we meet turn out to be in need of some rabble-rousin’ to avert their destruction or subjugation, and they don’t have a huge role in the Council.

        3. Joe Informatico says:

          It’s true, but it’s more about the dominance of (post-Richard Nixon) American mass culture worldwide, and thus the propagation of American cultural values through those stories. Especially the distrust of all authorities and institutions who aren’t law enforcement or military, and even with those, the rank-and-file will generally be portrayed as heroic and noble, while the upper leadership often far less so. Even the supposedly utopian future of Star Trek: the Next Generation couldn’t help showing Starfleet admirals constantly trying to rein Picard in when he tried to do the right thing.

          E.g. most TV police procedurals hold their protagonists in high regard. But especially the American ones will imply that Internal Affairs are obstructionist bureaucrats, or that the higher ranks/politicians care more about politics than justice, or that defence attorneys are all corrupt slime who love getting their monstrous clients back onto the streets.

          (Once a friend told me a Canadian cop show he was watching had the internal affairs officer apologize to the protagonist when her suspicions of him proved to be unfounded, and that he’d never seen that in a cop show before. I told him that’s because deep down, no American ever truly trusts The System, while deep down, every Canadian wants to believe they can.)

          Conversely, the modern action blockbusters coming out of China (e.g. Wolf Warrior, The Bravest) are all fundamentally about the rightness and competence of state power and agents of the government working as a unit under the auspices of their superiors to save the day. (This kind of story was also more popular in the US before the late 1960s/early 70s.)

          1. Gareth Wilson says:

            I’ve just been watching the Mission Impossible movies, and one of the clearest example of this is that Ethan Hunt “goes rogue” in four out of six of them.

        4. Tektotherriggen says:

          Traditional cop shows? I know that “the maverick cop who doesn’t play by the rules” is a very common thing, but there must be loads of pro-authority versions.

        5. baud says:

          > established authority is powerful, present in the protagonist’s story, and non-evil

          I’d say Havelock Vetinari in some of the Discworld novels that take place in Ankh-Morpork. Well, he’s not exactly good (ruthless and rahter power-hungry), but I think he clears the non-evil bar. Though his interests, which are the protection of his authority and the welfare of his city usually align with the interests of the main character

          1. Steve C says:

            Mmm, idk. I’d say Vetinari is more an extreme case of Lawful Evil. I cannot see him clearing the non-evil bar. At all. Most I can see is him melting it down and convincing everyone it was someone else’s idea to do so.

            1. Moridin says:

              Eh… He mostly works for the common good(except in case of mimes), even if his motives and methods may not always stand up to scrutiny. Especially in the later books I’d say he probably qualifies as Lawful Neutral.

              1. Boobah says:

                Vetinari has a literal reality bias. He doesn’t do ‘figurative.’ It’s not just a distaste for mimes, or a pork futures warehouse that will, given the time, eventually have the pork present. If you were to tell him that you’d rather crawl across a mile of broken glass than do what he asks, he’d have the broken glass scattered across the ground and a tape measure handy to see how far you’d gotten before you changed your mind.

        6. The+Wind+King says:

          I’d like to say the White Council from the Dresden Files, if only because they are so, so, so much better than the alternatives, but they’re run by 300 – 400+ year old wizards and witches who may still be slightly caught up in the franco-anglaise wars, so they don’t pass the stuffy and hidebound test on most accounts, and we mostly see them when they have to make a hard choice for the sake of politics, or when they butt up against the main character to provide an obstacle that can’t just be blown up with fire or a colt .44.

          Most accounts because the head healer (who is an Native American Medicine Man called Injun Joe) regularly goes to medical college to catch up with new advancements.

    2. Benjamin Hilton says:

      What I find interesting about original trilogy Yoda and Obi-wan is that while they hint at a wiser Jedi order, they still tell luke to not save his friends, and that killing his father is the only way.

      This is interesting because a) it agrees with shamus’ notion that killing is and of itself not dark side as long as its done for the good of the galaxy, and b) that even these versions of the characters were flawed in that they didnt believe in the power of love the way luke did.

      Its also one of the reasons that make luke such and iconic and heroic character and the main reason I hate the idea that luke would’ve even considered killing his student.

  2. Mousazz says:

    If you don’t want your saber anymore then can I have it?

    Hah. Shamus, have you seen those those silly edits of iconic scenes in Star Wars movies where Grievous collects discarded lightsabers?

    1. BlueHorus says:

      I hadn’t. These are great.

  3. Daimbert says:

    Using the map is what the Jedi of the prequel trilogy would do. When confronted with a military threat, they would employ military thinking. “Let’s round up kids and balloon our ranks to become a stronger army!” This is the clumsy, violent, ineffectual, arrogant thinking that not only destroyed the Jedi order, but made it deserving of destruction.

    Cal is showing the sort of mystical thinking that I’ve always wanted to see from the Jedi. He’s not thinking about how many guys we have versus how many guys they have. He’s not thinking of the order as a military force to defeat the enemy.

    This sort of thing is explored more in the EU, mostly through Jacen Solo and his conflicts with Anakin Solo, and also through Luke’s clashes with Kyp. One point that is made there is that while turning them into a military force or turning the Force into a tool are not the ways to go, a completely mystical approach isn’t right either because it leaves them disconnected from people and so they might end up ignoring them and their needs.

    Even Yoda himself was a little too bellicose in his thinking. Despite his disdain for war, his plea to Luke at the end of Empire Strikes Back boiled down to “No, let your friends be tortured to death so you can train hard enough to defeat Vader and the Emperor in martial combat! You must be willing to sacrifice them in order to win!”

    Yoda is far less martially-oriented than you portray here. He starts with the line that wars don’t make someone great, and later at the cave he tells Luke that he won’t need his weapons when he goes in. The line there is less that Luke needs to complete his martial training but that he needs to complete his JEDI training, as only a Jedi will be able to topple the Sith. This is also modified by the context where someone trained in the Force is deliberately using torture to try to get Luke to feel it and be drawn into a trap, with at least one of the purposes being to disrupt his training as a Jedi (so Vader and the Emperor can complete it). So a big part of the reaction is an admonishment to not walk into an obvious trap that will doom the galaxy because of the feelings he has for his friends. As he does put it, in order to achieve the goal that they, in general, are willing to give their lives for Luke may have to let them give their lives for it.

    This idea is kinda explored in “I, Jedi” in the EU. Corran Horn’s wife is kidnapped and then held captive in a way that he can’t feel her in the Force. He waffles, but is convinced that if someone who knows how to block Force powers is hiding her, he will need to train his Jedi powers in order to find her, and so running off without that training will likely just get him killed. He eventually does abandon it, returning to his police officer training instead. At the end, he realizes that he needs to properly combine the two in order to overcome it, and that ignoring the Jedi training he needed was a mistake, but so was abandoning everything else either. But ultimately, to succeed he did need the training and to learn what it meant to be a Jedi.

    Luke’s case is more immediate. But he still has to face the idea that running off might end up dooming the galaxy and not save his friends anyway.

  4. Dreadjaws says:

    If this is true, then the scavenger hunt wasn’t a game to amuse an old man who wanted to share his love of archaeology with the younger demo. It was an ordeal to make sure that they had the wisdom to make this decision for themselves by observing the fall of the Zeffo.

    This reminds me of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The whole story has Harry going through an ordeal at the request of the late Dumbledore, only for the end to reveal the hardship was so Harry would have the time to learn and understand how to take the proper choice at the end. The obvious difference is that throughout the whole book Harry is constantly questioning Dumbledore’s quest and being angry at him for not giving him all the answers right away, right until the point where he understands the reasoning for it all, while Cal at no point questions Cordova’s intentions and just goes along with it.

    So while I do agree that the ending of this game makes the story better, it could have still been improved by having Cal question Cordova’s logic at least a couple of times.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      Wait, IS that what happened in the Deathly Hallows?
      Dumbledore, after all, kept the Ultimate Wand (whatever it was called) for a few decades – he could have destroyed it a long time ago if that’s what he wanted. Harry destroying it was his own decision, as was his sacrifice once he realised he was a Horcrux.

      1. Thomas says:

        Dumbledore wanted Harry to have a shot at coming back, whilst staying a good person who would do the right thing.

        He knew he couldn’t tell Harry how to do the first without spoiling the second.

        He described himself as only worthy of the least of the hallows – to have the wand but not use it – and he hoped Harry would be worthy of all 3.

      2. Dreadjaws says:

        Please ignore the movies, I’m talking about the books.

  5. Dreadjaws says:

    Yoda’s dialog in Empire Strikes Back always hinted at a wiser, gentler Jedi order that we never got to see in the movies. A Jedi order filled not with warriors, but scholars and teachers. One that shied away from politics and positions of power. …

    … Yoda was the wisest of the Old Jedi, but the prequels made it clear that “wisest among Jedi” was an incredibly low bar.

    Isn’t sort of the point, though, that Yoda became wise because of the events of the prequels? Like he said in TLJ (and, leaving aside my feelings towards the film, it’s a pretty good line) “The greatest teacher, failure is”. He didn’t teach Luke to avoid war and be gentler because that’s how he used to be, but because he wasn’t, and realized the other way would lead to failure.

    1. Vladius says:

      Some people think that that’s the point retroactively, which is dumb. Even if you accept the prequels as they are, Yoda and the other Jedi are extremely reluctant to get into a war and Yoda considers it a great tragedy even from the start.

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        Sure, war itself is something no one in the Jedi side would want, but they absolutely have no problem shooting first (or slicing first, whatever) and asking questions later. The problem is not their goals, but their methods.

  6. Asdasd says:

    I know you’ve gotten some pushback for your perspective on the force and the jedi in the original trilogy, Shamus. I just wanted to say that I love it. I really appreciate that it offers a way for these stories, fundamentally in the action/adventure genre, to be about something other than fighting and power levels. Not that I think those things are invalid, far from it, but I always appreciate it when there’s a philosophical foil for the action and setpieces. I also think it’s worthwhile to acknowledge – without getting preachy about it – that in reality, the good guys can’t always punch all their problems into submission.

    For me, the quizzical heart of Star Wars has always been Ben Kenobi saying ‘if you strike me down now, I will become more powerful than you can ever imagine’. I can’t believe that he’s being literal – being a force ghost doesn’t make him literally powerful in the sense that he revives with a bigger health bar and is now immune to lightsabre attacks. So you wonder about what other meaning the words could imply, and you when you start thinking about it, it casts his journey to the Death Star and his confrontation with Vader in a new, curious light: is he fighting to win? Why is he fighting at all? What exactly motivates this enigmatic character?

    Maybe it’s not a line that impresses other people, maybe they’d find it pseudish or say I’m backfilling it with invented significance, but I’ve always liked the quasi-unfathomable mystery in those words.

    “Even Yoda himself was a little too bellicose in his thinking. Despite his disdain for war, his plea to Luke at the end of Empire Strikes Back boiled down to “No, let your friends be tortured to death so you can train hard enough to defeat Vader and the Emperor in martial combat! You must be willing to sacrifice them in order to win!” That’s a reasonable way of thinking for the trillions of muggles trying to run the galaxy and win wars, but maybe that’s not the sort of calculus that should guide an order of incredibly powerful scholars that wield a power they don’t fully understand.”

    Huh. Put in that light, maybe Rose Tico’s famous ‘we win by saving the things we love’ line doesn’t seem so dumb?

    1. Syal says:

      Rose’s line isn’t dumb in a vacuum, but is incredibly dumb in context. “We win by saving the things we love. We save the things we love by crashing high-speed hovercraft into them in the middle of war zones. That will protect them from the Terrible Secret of Space.”

      1. Asdasd says:

        I don’t think that would be lost on anyone who saw TLJ. But it is interesting when compared to Luke’s action vs Yoda’s injunction in ESB, to the point where I could buy it being a deliberate attempt by Johnson to tie the two together thematically, only to make a complete hash of the execution.

      2. Thomas says:

        I still love that he chose to frame that line with a shot of giant laser beam destroying the base where all their friends were that Finn was trying to save.

        It’s perhaps the most baffling bit of cinema I’ve seen.

      3. Vladius says:

        It’s really dumb either way in any context. You can fight things you hate and save things you love at the same time. You’re usually doing both all the time. It’s even worse IN context, because Finn was doing exactly that at the time.

      4. Daimbert says:

        That’s the surface context, and it’s bad enough. It’s even WORSE in the deeper context of Finn’s character arc:

        1) Arguably, Finn was only in the Resistance at all to save someone he at least thought he loved, Rey. A big part of his arc is trying to give him another reason to fight.

        2) There’s no evidence that Finn actually hates the First Order at all.

        3) He certainly wasn’t on that run to destroy something he hated, unless that was himself (which would be an interesting point but no one references it).

        4) Finn is portrayed as pretty cowardly throughout the first two movies, so the natural progression of his arc is to overcome that for some reason other than Rey. Which is what he does when he tries to attack the cannon. While it’s not necessarily bad that she stopped him from doing that, her words then don’t teach him the lesson that he really needed, and nothing acknowledges that he learned what he had needed to learn.

        So her statement there cuts off his character arc and replaces it with nothing and in fact risks dragging him back to the very flaw that he was supposed to be overcoming. In that context, it’s even more stupid.

        1. Sartharina says:

          I think the scene could have worked if Finn had reacted differently. One of the themes of TLJ is “Everybody is wrong and flawed”, and it deconstruct usually-heroic tropes.

          Holdo was flawed and wrong for being obstinate and arrogant in her “leadership”. Luke was wrong for reacting violently to Ben’s inner turmoil., and then for giving up and running away like Yoda.

          Poe was wrong for leading reckless attacks that got good pilots killed.

          And Rose was wrong for trying to save the guy who’s name she knew over everyone else.

          One of the things I liked about the Prequel Trilogy is that its main actors were actually, realistically flawed, and those flaws lead to the rise of the Empire.

    2. SidheKnight says:

      I just want to say, that I completely agree with your (and Shamus) take on the Light Side and the Jedi.

      I have had similar thoughts myself for a while. Particularly in regards to Obi-Wan’s last words, ‘If you strike me down now, I will become more powerful than you can ever imagine’.

      Becoming a Force Ghost may not have given old Ben some new high level OP Light Side powers to fight Vader, but it gave him the ability to become an omnipresent teacher for Luke, unimpeded by constrains of space and time to share his wisdom with his young padawan, even in the middle of a space dogfight (‘Use the Force, Luke..’) and preparing him to finally defeat his father..

      ..which he did, by sparing him. By not letting himself be consumed by his darkest emotions, and thus lighting a little spark of doubt (and perhaps, remorse) in Vader, just enough for him to turn on the Emperor, at the cost of his own life, rather than kill the man who, in addition to being his biological son, just spared his life when he had the means, the opportunity and the justification to kill Vader.

      I see here an echo of Tolkien’s themes of defeating evil with meekness and/or kindness instead of violence. All very idealistic stuff. Worthy of a Jedi.

      1. Daimbert says:

        I wonder if Obi-Wan’s statement might have a more cynical interpretation. Before he says that to, or at least before he lets Vader strike him down, he looks over, sees Luke, and smiles to himself. Given that Luke takes his death pretty hard and Obi-Wan was clearly aware of Luke’s feelings, it’s pretty reasonable to think that Vader striking down Obi-Wan will harden Luke’s resolve to take down Vader, and remove any thoughts of hesitating to do so. So Obi-Wan would be more powerful not as himself, but through the weapon of Luke that Vader killing him would forge. And then Vader blunted that by revealing that he was Luke’s father, opening up that hesitation … but also, to Obi-Wan’s surprise, allowing Luke to redeem Anakin and end the Sith that way.

  7. Gargamel Le Noir says:

    This also goes very well with the eastern inspiration of the Jedi religion. The holocron, and by extension the army of kids, is a great example of material attachment that one obsesses over and that causes suffering. It’s a tool that you want to use to solve all your problems and live in fear that it can be stolen by others. Destroying it is to find enlightenment by yourself and in yourself is indeed the logical Jedi thing to do.

    1. Joe Informatico says:

      Yeah, there’s an anecdote often called the Buddhist parable of the Prodigal Son where a man leaves his father’s house, his father becomes rich and powerful during his absence and so later when he returns to the region looking for work, he applies to his father for a job without recognizing him. The father gives him a low-level menial job, but continues to promote him to positions of greater and greater responsibility as he proves himself, until he finally reveals their relationship and names his son as heir. The moral being that the son would not wisely administer his father’s wealth and power if he’d just been granted it, but that he earned it through hard work and experience. That’s what this interpretation of Cal’s journey sounds like: it’s not the knowledge that’s the goal, it’s developing the wisdom to use it correctly.

  8. RamblePak64 says:

    I also really liked Cal’s decision to destroy the Holocron. It indicates that the writer had a sense of thematic consistency in mind with the story regarding choice. As I noted in the entries regarding Vader’s appearance and Trilla’s demise, I would have preferred if Vader wasn’t present at all. That Trilla was instead enraged by Cere’s decision not to be ruled by past decisions or mistakes, that she’d let go of the past and refuse to fight, and therefore Trilla’s rage – being enslaved to the past, indulging in the bitterness, and refusing to acknowledge she does have a choice after believing with her whole heart that she never had one to begin with – would bring about her own destruction. It would have been more thematically appropriate for where the story goes.

    That entire crew on the ship are haunted by the past, tragedies that were inflicted upon them or choices they made. Each of them is now given a choice. It contrasts to their goals for these force-sensitive children, and when you think about it, though the children aren’t “tortured”, the story of the youngling that gets lost on Ilum due to how hazardous Jedi training is indicates that this fate, too, can be pretty awful.

    Unfortunately, I think the game ends up being a bit messy in its execution of these ideas and themes. Partially because Cordova himself is silly, despite he and his research into ancient lifeforms carrying similar ideas across. Being captured by bounty hunters because Greez had debts plays into this, but feels like this random aside that has nothing to do with the rest of the game. It’s all there, but for one reason or another just doesn’t fit as neatly as it could or should.

    Still, the ending is precisely what it needs to be and confirms these thematic values, and therefore, as flawed as I found the game, elevates it above what it otherwise could have been.

  9. Jaedar says:

    I disagree with destroying the holocron being a reasonable thing to do, based on what I think I know of the scenario.

    In the scenario, the good guys are already on the run and being slowly hunted down by the sith inquisitors. Doomsday already came, and the bad guys are mopping up the survivors. The only thing preventing a complete wipe being obscurity. And given that they have a huge galaxy spanning empire, it is a bit unclear why they can’t screen for force sensitives on their own. It might be slow, and might be costly but that’s nothing compared to the benefits.

    If you are already losing badly this is not the time to play it safe. Holocron or no, the sith will find the children and indoctrinate them, and wipe out all the jedi. The only thing that can stop this would be a huge swing in favor of the jedi/rebels (in canon, this is the death star plans winding up with luke and obi wan, an astronomically unlikely event). But if you are Cal…. that event is finding the holocron, getting to all the force senstivies before they get torture-turned and creating a viable resistance force.

    You can argue that he should trust in the force, but this feels like a major cop out to me. Like a watchman in a fantasy setting abandoning a criminal hunt because “the god of justice will make sure he gets what’s coming”.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      So I get your argument, but there’s a couple of things:

      1: It’s a galaxy (far, far away) – i.e really, really, really, really, big. Bigger than that, even.
      ANY Empire, no matter how powerful or large it is, would struggle to search everywhere. One of the most famous things about running a Kingdom or Empire is that it’s really costly and time-consuming, so the amount of resources that the Emperor can divert to what is – more-or-less – a side project will be limited.
      But if you know that enemies of the Empire are mobilising against you, and they’re gathering Force children in one place, then your ‘side project’ is suddenly both a ‘prority threat’ and ‘golden opportunity’ all in one.

      2: I always got the impression that the Holocron was the ONLY way you could reliably/easily find potential Jedi/Sith, so just by exisiting, it is dangerous. The Empire won’t ever stop trying to get hold of it, and if they do…
      Moreover, a fully-trained Jedi Order is a threat to the Empire. A group of kids training, on the other hand, isn’t. Are you sure you can keep your insurrection secret for the neccesary decade/longer that you need?

      3: Trust in THE FORCE: Yeah, I kind of hate this too, but Star Wars has always featured ill-defined space magic and magical manifest destinies. Maybe the Force is on the side of Good and has a plan. Maybe a Jedi training academy will be much easier to find due to greater Force Ripples or something.
      Belief and trust in the Force is part of being a Jedi, so yeah, that’s what Cal & co do.

  10. Thomas says:

    Oh this bit sounds really nice. I agree that’s a satisfying and thematic resolution that I wasn’t expecting.

    The writers need to drop more clues early on that they were capable of this kind of story. Because after a cliche opening, following that with 10 hours of cliche fetch quest, which you only subvert in the finale, people are going to stop before they reach that part. It lost me.

  11. AzzyGaiden says:

    Something that jumps out about all these screenshots is how weird everyone looks. Shamus noted Cal’s doofus facial expressions way back when, but Cere and Trilla also tend to look bug-eyed and strange in the screenshots shared. Do they look better in motion or something? It’s odd to see such derpy faces in a AAA Star Wars game.

    1. CloverMan-88 says:

      They look just as derpy in the game. I think it’s because they’ve all been modelled based on real-life actors, and imitating something always nets worse results than doing it on your own. That being said, that does make them much more memorable, as there is certain beauty in imperfection.

  12. Steve C says:

    The Cordova screenshot above is hilarious. His eyes are 1)crooked, 2)falling out of his head, and 3)he’s focused on Cal’s crotch. lol. “Wise” jedi indeed.

    1. Mr. Wolf says:

      Religious institutions and sex scandals…

      Let’s not go there.

  13. Misamoto says:

    Feels like you’re overthinking it. I felt that they did it, because rounding up a bunch of kids to start a new academy would mess with the canon in which Luke is the one who does that after the fall of the Empire, that’s it.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Eeeeh, it might be a factor but even if this was the actual reason for why the writers decided to destroy the holocron I think they did it in an elegant way. Consider the following, they could have easily done it so that the heroes have to destroy the holocron right before it falls into Vader’s hands, or it gets destroyed when they forcewrestle for it or something, or it gets somehow lost again signalling that the sequel is going to continue the search for the children… Not to mention that taking EU into account it’s a big galaxy, there are apparently entire planets of untapped Force sensitives just waiting for some Jedi or Sith to stumble upon them and start spreading their ideology, Jedi who somehow survived the purge seem to be hiding in every other star system*… there’s definitely room for some kind of “Jedi school on the run” that is not a proper “academy”, heck they could do a reference by mentioning Cal dropping off a dozen or so new students at the academy at some point in the franchise. But no, the writers decided that this is going to be a conscious decision after the heroes have technically won. They did secure the holocron. They did escape. They’re going to be hunted no matter what they do but they’re clearly hoping they can deal with whatever the Empire sends their way. We can argue about the execution or the corporate reasons for this decision but it is clearly meant to show arriving at Jedi Wisdom over just Jedi Skill.

      *I do acknowledge that this is something of a problem with EU.

  14. Abnaxis says:

    I HATED this ending, though it really isn’t about how the Jedi order is portrayed.

    This whole idea of “everybody is better off if we just let them fumble around in ignorance” is a load of shit that needs to die in a fire. Cal isn’t giving the force-sensitives a choice, he’s deliberately keeping them ignorant so they never have a chance to make their choices at best, and forcing them to make their “choice” blindly at worst.

    In no way would informing the children that they might wind up abducted by the Empire if they happen to pass too close to a Sith be “taking away their choice.” There is, in fact, a middle ground between “indoctrinate our next company of holy force warriors with the Light side propaganda machine,” and “ah, I’m sure these inherently powerful space wizards being systematically sought out for corruption by a galaxy-spanning empire of space Nazis can work it out on their own, right?”

    1. BlueHorus says:

      What’s the middle ground? The Empire knows they have the Holocron; the Empire also expects them to do something with it. If they try to even contact one of the children listed, the Empire is likely to notice.
      It gives them a slim chance for achieving something good (new Jedi, warning force sensitives) and a MASSIVE chance of acheiving something bad (new Sith for the Empire).

      And then there’s the second problem that of course they had to destroy it, because there’s no mention of a Holocron in A New Hope.
      Oh, if only this story hadn’t been attached to the original trilogy like so much other Star Wars material.

      1. Abnaxis says:

        The middle ground would be “tell the children and/or their parents they’re force-sensitive–without any expectation that the child will join a new Jedi crusade–so they can make informed decisions about their future.” Every child on that list is both a ticking time bomb and a high-priority torture victim for the Empire if they’re ever found by chance.

    2. Fizban says:

      I would expect the next step would be to follow the Force. The Force is essentially narrative conceit itself, with a side of the collective unconsciousness concept. If a proper Jedi decides to trust in and follow the Force, the Force should guide them, whether via direct visions, chance encounters, or mere circumstance, to wherever it is that they need to be to best benefit people.

      If the Sith are going to find some of the kids eventually by chance, well that’s not all of them, that’s only some of them by chance. A chance that could be met by the chance of a Jedi showing up in the nick of time, if only they would let the Force guide them. To a child that would happen to be interested in the training.

      Of course, a story where everything just happens because reasons are boring, and you have to mix in a pile of obstacles and other people’s chaotic actions and usually a bit in the middle where the hero doubts themselves and loses the way for a bit and then finding their way back and. . .

      1. Abnaxis says:

        To be clear, because I just realised that it’s not super clear from Shamus’s synopsis, the game very much (as I remember at least) portrays destroying the map as “if we tell the children they are force sensitive, giving that information will draw them into the intergalactic conflict between Jedi and Sith. They’re much better off if they stay ignorant of the conflict so they can live in peace.”

        Like, no, they can find a backwater planet on the edge of the galaxy and hide out so they don’t get abducted by the Empire if they find out they’re force sensitive. Unless, you know, you just leave them ignorant because you have some ass-backwards idea that somehow being too stupid to protect themselves is some sort of virtue of innocence you’re duty-bound to protect, like the game seems to think.

        And don’t give me “if the story says it should happen it will happen.” If the protagonist is taking actions that only make sense if they know they’re the protagonist in a story, that’s very bad writing.

  15. Vladius says:

    “Even Yoda himself was a little too bellicose in his thinking. Despite his disdain for war, his plea to Luke at the end of Empire Strikes Back boiled down to “No, let your friends be tortured to death so you can train hard enough to defeat Vader and the Emperor in martial combat! You must be willing to sacrifice them in order to win!””

    That’s not what he was saying at all. It wasn’t about beating Vader and the Emperor in combat, it was about Luke being able to resist the temptation of the dark side. Luke’s friends were only being tortured to bait Luke into a trap, and the trap worked. Luke just barely escaped with his life by accident, and lost his arm. He was almost captured and if he were captured Yoda knew there was a good chance he would be turned to the dark side.

    Like I said on your last post, Luke confronting Vader and the Emperor was not a strategic or tactical goal, it was a purely spiritual one. Yoda wasn’t telling Luke to go fight them to take out the Empire’s leadership so the Rebel Alliance could win the Battle of Endor. He’s not thinking that way in ESB either.

    If you hate the prequel Jedi so much you should stop taking their depiction as canon and assuming that’s how everything works. Obi-Wan and Yoda in the OT were zealous but they were not the same thing as prequel Jedi.

  16. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    Clearly, I agree. I thought this was very well set up and executed in the game.

  17. Hal says:

    Maybe the real Astrium was the friends we made along the way.

  18. Even Yoda himself was a little too bellicose in his thinking. Despite his disdain for war, his plea to Luke at the end of Empire Strikes Back boiled down to “No, let your friends be tortured to death so you can train hard enough to defeat Vader and the Emperor in martial combat! You must be willing to sacrifice them in order to win!”

    I dunno about you, but my interpretation was that Yoda didn’t think Luke needed MORE training, but that Luke was in ENORMOUS danger of being seduced to the dark side when he went to confront Vader and Palpatine, and that his concern for his friends and desire to save the day were most likely to lead him down that path, which was all 100% true. This is why Yoda was initially reluctant to train Luke AT ALL (He is too old!), and was consistent with the prequels where he didn’t want to train Anakin because Anakin was too old, but Obi-wan trained him anyway and look how THAT turned out. After all, when Luke decides definitely that he’s going to go, Yoda tells him “already know you that which you need”.

    So, Yoda was actually quite consistent throughout the movies.

    1. Daimbert says:

      After all, when Luke decides definitely that he’s going to go, Yoda tells him “already know you that which you need”.

      I was pretty sure that that was in Return of the Jedi after Luke returns, and looked it up and yep, in Return of the Jedi. And we at least suspect that Luke did more studying in the time between Empire and Return because he built a lightsaber, and Vader notes that with that his training is complete.

  19. MelTorefas says:

    I’ve really enjoyed this series (except for the bits where you talked about Trilla’s conversion, because I find that entire part of the story super gross), and I have really enjoyed reading different people’s takes on the Jedi. A lot of the stuff people have talked about is really new to me.1 My star Wars experience is pretty much “three movies made a long time ago, that I thought were pretty good minus the Jabba’s palace stuff”, so reading the series and the comments has been like getting to see a slice of this much larger cultural phenomenon I’m not really part of and don’t know much of anything about. Very fun.

    As for the game, I think I would have liked it better if it weren’t Star Wars, but I suppose that’s not really surprising given my experience. I’m on the fence about the ending… on the one hand, I get/like the whole “wisdom to not use the power” aspect, but on the other hand, as someone pointed out in the comments above, if the Empire can find those kids anyways then this feels like a major abdication of the characters’ responsibilities to try and help them. I guess it depends on the larger interpretation of the Empire and its ability to track down force sensitives who haven’t been trained/aren’t Jedi yet.

    At any rate, I am looking forward to the final entry and to whatever comes next!

    1 I only ever liked the original trilogy, and maybe some bits of the first KotOR game. I never got into the EU at all, I thought the prequels made an absolute mess of the story so I basically ignore them, and I found the pacing on The Force Awakens so bad that by the end of it I didn’t know the characters or care about them at all, so I never kept watching the new movies. I haven’t seen any of the Clone Wars or Rebels stuff, or the spinoff movies, or The Mandelorian, and I don’t really care to.

    1. Nimrandir says:

      I’ve also enjoyed this look at the franchise through the lens of what seems like a pretty good game. Attack of the Clones poisoned the well for me so badly that I’ve had no interest in the cinematic property since. For me, Star Wars consists of the first three films, some video games (X-Wing, TIE Fighter, Dark Forces, and the two KotOR titles), and a Weird Al song.

      1. Mr. Wolf says:

        Just one Weird Al song?

        ’cause even if you didn’t like the film, “The Sage Begins” was, like everything Al touches, pure gold.

        1. Nimrandir says:

          Oops — I wasn’t quite as clear as I intended to be. “The Saga Begins” was the song I meant above; I typically recommend people who haven’t seen the prequels listen to that rather than watch The Phantom Menace, since it’s structured with an actual protagonist and point-of-view character. Did he do other songs that summarize Star Wars plots?

          I’m a big fan of Weird Al’s in general; have you heard his accordion rendition of “Classical Gas”?

          1. Syal says:

            “Yoda” is a fairly good summary of The Empire Strikes Back.

            …if I’m linking Weird Al I’m linking Trapped In The Drive-Thru. Absolutely nothing to do with Star Wars but it’s just perfectly banal melodrama.

          2. Mr. Wolf says:

            Syal’s right, I assumed you meant “Yoda” since it didn’t require acknowledgement of the prequel films.

            And yes, I did see his cover of “Classical Gas”, and I think you should have linked it so everybody else can too.

  20. The Rocketeer says:

    A slug is very nearly a snail, except for lacking the single most important and recognizable characteristic that distinguishes slugs and snails. Similarly, Fallen Order is very nearly a story about the nature and importance of institutions, except for how it lacks any sort of message about why institutions are important or good.

    Let me back up. I generally don’t like doing this, but you could literally spend ten thousand words on this idea alone and rather than do that I’m just going to start this off with a naked ipse dixit: narrative fiction generally and video games in particular tend to be reflexively anti-institutional. Aside from a couple weirdos like Hideo Kojima and Chris Avellone, this isn’t really deliberate, but a side-effect of how we tend to tell stories. Please take this as an explanation of where I’m coming from rather than an argumentative statement that I’d like to defend tooth and nail. Rather than defeating some dread foe or discovering some great and important hidden something-or-other, the entire overarching goal of the game is to rebuild the Jedi Order, so if Fallen Order were a thoughtfully, explicitly pro-institution game, that would make it very unusual, just as Ghost of Tsushima was very unusual for similar reasons.

    Also, I guess I should explain what I mean by “institution.” This is something else you could literally write an entire book about, but for the purposes of this right here, just think of an institution as a form into which people organize themselves for some purpose, which necessitates conceding to that institution some character-formative power over the individuals within it. Institutions are a kind of tradition, just as traditions can be institutions. They tend to carry with them a sort of folk knowledge or internal culture that differentiates it and its members from outsiders.

    I didn’t think very much about Fallen Order after finishing it, and really only started thinking about it along these lines while reading this series. This means I haven’t played the game in several months, and don’t sharply remember every aspect of it. I’m also stuck at home recovering from a stomach virus and sitting up to type makes the room spin a little. So cut me some slack, please.

    Fallen Order has a strong foundation on which to lay a story about the importance of the Jedi Order as an institution within the galaxy and the sole formative institution within the lives of the Jedi themselves. I was thinking about this while Shamus was taking aim at how the game uses Cere’s torture and her giving up Trilla as a muddled, sort of nonsensical element on a character or moral level. But seen as a sort of metaphor for the institution of the Jedi Order and the intergenerational nature of these institutions, it’s a pretty succinct demonstration of the title. You see, the Jedi Order is actually three institutions in one. In fact, it’s the three very oldest and core institutions that a person can have in their life.

    Firstly, the Jedi Order is a Jedi’s family. Given that some fur-faced hack decided that Jedi acquire/kidnap Force sensitive kids straight out of the crib, the Order literally rears its members from infancy, or close enough to it. Most padawans will forget their original home or family. To a padawan, their master is their sole parent. Cere is functionally Trilla’s mother, responsible for Trilla’s well-being and upbringing, sharing a closer and more personal bond than either has with anyone else. Parents are generally expected to put their children’s needs above their own, and when Cere is broken and gives Trilla up to the Sith, this is, to Trilla, distinct from being given up by some dude on the street or being spotted by the Sith during an ill-advised beer run. You can make whatever point you want about a person’s ability to resist torture or the semantics of the word “betrayal” or whatever, but when Cere gives up Trilla, it represents the duty and bond of mother and daughter being broken.

    Second, the Jedi Order is a Jedi’s religion. Or rather, it’s the institutional body that represents and stewards that religion. The Order instructs its charges in a core vision of the world’s nature and values, and how to live according to those values. The Jedi conceive of a purpose for themselves, which its members are expected to serve as greater than themselves or any one person. Jedi are monks, sort of. They’re sort of like Buddhist monks, and frequently go on about things like clearing your mind, self-denial, forgoing attachments, and overcoming worldly things in favor of spiritual things. A padawan’s master is their priest, responsible for their spiritual and philosophical tutelage and instilling a sense of reverence and devotion to these precepts that goes above their own needs or benefit. When the Sith break Cere through torture, it represents the weakness of Cere’s physical body overcoming the strength and primacy of her mind or spirit; the Jedi’s devotion to the otherwordly is laid low by the worldly. To Trilla, their system of values and beliefs is laid low.

    Lastly, the Jedi Order is a state and/or military. They have some degree of independence from the laws and ways of the Republic and administrate their own cloistered society. Their heirarchy is not a suggestion to its members; the masters of the order have the authority to compel things of their subordinates, and to make and keep laws by force. Jedi are trained to fight from a young age. One of the very dumbest characters in the entire Star Wars saga asserted that the Jedi are “keepers of the peace, not soldiers,” but they keep the peace when called to do so by organizing to fight in wars and by killing or arresting those who stand against them. The Jedi operate starfighters and are trained to use them in pitched space battles. A young Jedi’s master is their commander in the martial sense. They take them into battle and may compel them to fight and kill others at risk of their own lives. Every militarized body that has ever existed has had a strict Code of Conduct regarding capture, and are ordered and instructed to keep faith with their brothers and sisters in arms as their very highest duty, one inextricable from their honor and obligations as a soldier. When Cere gives up Trilla, she dishonors herself as a soldier and as Trilla’s commanding officer.

    Nevermind getting your hackles up about Cere’s personal culpability. The effect of these things is that, in one stroke, Trilla sees all of the core, formative institutions of her life laid low in a single stroke. It’s right there in the title: Fallen Order. The Jedi Order is not just defeated by force of arms, but its great and many-splendored significance to its adherents is abnegated, leaving them deracinated and alone. Likewise, the Sith are not merely an opposing military or some race of space-monsters, but represent the opposite of the Jedi in character. In breaking Cere, they demonstrate that their ways and values are ascendant over the Jedi, and they take the Jedi’s place as the arbitrators of the use of the Force and the shaping of all who are ken to it throughout the galaxy.

    The principal characters of the game demonstrate the profound effects of the loss of the Order in their lives, not just in its passing physically from the galaxy but being taken from them as the formative institution core to their life and being. Trilla, of course, who fell to the Sith, but also Cere herself, who loses her connection to the Force entirely as a result of being bested in her every capacity as Jedi. Although not a Jedi, Mirra likewise has her Nightsisters taken away from her by the Sith/Empire/Whatever happened there, coming of age alone and bereft of their culture and tutelage, eventually taken as a sort of tool to be exploited by Malicos.

    Malicos is doubly demonstrative. Malicos himself is a Jedi stranded and in hiding after the fall of the Order, who turns to the Dark Side in the Order’s absence. Malicos may well have been a fine and upstanding Jedi in better times, but robbed of the community of his fellows and the daily reinforcement of his duties and values to their ways, he goes astray and is tempted by dark powers. Tellingly, he is corrupted in the particular manner that one tends be corrupted in the absence of formative institutions: he becomes fixated solely on his own empowerment, and subverts the existing (if only barely) institutions of the society and culture of Dathomir to the end of his own veneration. Just as genuine, healthy institutions demand the right or ability to shape and form the character and lives of its adherents in service of some end held to be greater than any individual, institutions sicken and die when they are bent towards the desires of individuals who seek to exploit them as vehicles only to empower or enrich themselves.

    The Sith in particular seem to embody this. Paradoxically, their entire philosophy is an anti-institutional screed incapable of creating or sustaining any sort of organization. They shun all limitations on their thought or actions; they despise holding to a common cause and regard a duty to or need of anything or anyone else as a sign of weakness; they each seek only their own empowerment at the expense of everyone around them; they keep order solely through force; they constantly lie to and betray each other; the Sith “organization” is ordered entirely around the veneration of the leader, from whom all power in the organization devolves; and they all see as their highest and only end within the organization, and the purpose of the organization itself, as their personal overthrow of the institution. The Sith have never made the slightest degree of sense on their face, much less from the standpoint of the characteristics of healthy and enduring institutions, and every attempt by some Star Wars water carrier to justify their philosophy or continued existence is an embarrassing exercise in self-abasement, but in a game about the goodness and importance of healthy, formative institutions, conceiving of an existential foe that embodies the philosophical opposite makes thematic sense if not logical sense.

    But the problem with all of this supposition is that ALL OF THIS IS COMPLETELY WRONG FOR STAR WARS! And I guess another problem is that NOTHING AT ALL COMES FROM THIS IN THE GAME! Star Wars is a pulp Hero’s Journey fixated on the essential and inherent goodness of the great individual, which can only be fully realized by giving in to their own heart. This is certainly true of Cal in Fallen Order, who apparently learned all that he needed to know about being a Jedi by the time he was a little kid, and whose rise back to heroism simply demands reconnecting with the idealized self already buried within him. Cal can’t carry a narrative with a theme of the critical importance of formative institutions, because he has spent about half his life apart from any kind of institution and hasn’t suffered at all for its lack. He isn’t a dissolute prodigal that needs to reconnect with the values he left behind to fulfill some greater purpose, he’s just a quasi-amnesiac with the goodness inside him all along. The closest thing Cal has to character development is the revelation that some bad thing in the past wasn’t his fault. Hear that everybody? Cal’s blameless! That’s how we know he’s the hero! That’s what a hero is.

    Cal also can’t front a game that extols the value of institutions because he’s a kid, and institutions are necessarily an intergenerational phenomenon necessitating the acceptance and practice of received wisdom. You can’t have Cal, who’s lived on a junk planet apart from the Jedi order for half his life and was only ever a trainee to begin with, serve as the voice validating the necessity of that formative institution’s presence in someone’s life; he hasn’t needed it! He only needed destiny to reach its hand out to him so he could fulfill his inevitable personal greatness.

    I mean, you could do something like this if you rewrote his relationship with his old master, Jaro Tapal. Tapal is a four-armed purple Thanos Jedi with a very strict and uncompromising demeanor. He’s always shouting and is typically very hard on Cal. We only ever get the sense that Cal kind of misses Tapal after he gave his life saving him and sorta holds himself responsible for that, but I don’t recall getting much of a sense of their relationship. But you know what little kids hate? HAVING A LOUD PURPLE GUY SHOUT AT THEM AND MAKE THEM DO HARD WORK! Kids are selfish and irresponsible, and they just want to watch YouTube and eat candy. They generally don’t give a crap about things like discipline, delayed gratification, or serving some kind of cause that doesn’t immediately result in some personal reward or enjoyment, and if you’re a four-armed purple Thanos Jedi or just a regular parent who wants your ugly ginger brat to hop around on some boxes or just generally do anything at all important, it’s generally just fastest to adopt a firm tone of voice and tell them they’ve gotta because you said so, because they won’t listen to or understand a lengthy, philosophical explanation about obligations and ethics. I can easily see Cal remembering Tapal mostly as a loud pushy asshole. But over the course of his journey and his reconnection with his training, maybe Cal begins to understand the importance of the things his master was trying to teach him. Or maybe his memory of his master’s death (which we can instantly surmise from the very beginning of the game but don’t actually see until very late, when Cal is emotionally ready to face it) would actually confirm to Cal that Tapal really loved him, was always concerned for his well-being, and was only tough on him because being a Jedi is dangerous and a big responsibility and Tapal had faith that Cal had it in him? You know, like a father? But his inability to face that memory and his conflicting feelings of abandonment and loneliness prevented that revelation. Or, you know, Cal could just talk with Tapal’s spirit once or twice— at least after healing his connection with the Force— because they’re Jedi and they can just do that shit? Kinda undercuts the loss of institutional memory when you can call people from the afterlife but whatever. Maybe if Cal had lessons to learn about the importance of the Jedi order to his life and the person he’s become, as embodied by his relationship with his master, then maybe at the end of the game when Trilla, full of rage and feelings of abandonment and betrayal, demands to know why Cal is so intent on re-establishing the Order that failed both of them, he could have some response. Like, “so kids like we were don’t grow up to be selfish evil harpies like you,” or something. Maybe put it a nicer way.

    Really, it should be Cere that serves as the face of the Jedi Order, at least if we want the Jedi Order’s face to sport some freaky bug-eyes. It might seem odd since she’s lost her connection with the Force, but hey, Sith have a pretty strong connection with the Force, too, so there’s something more to being a Jedi than fancy psychic powers. Really, Cere’s asset would be her institutional memory, her well-developed knowledge and deeply-felt understanding of the Jedi’s traditions and teachings, their importance to the galaxy, maybe even an acknowledgment of how the Jedi had become unworthy of their purpose before their fall, if they wanna go that route and if the fall of the Jedi had ever amounted to more than “everyone in these movies is stupid as shit and Palpatine’s controlling everything with the Force anyway so they don’t actually have agency in the first place.” Because Cere’s connection to the Force is severed, this puts her in a unique position to demonstrate how much there is to being a Jedi beyond the raw power of the Force, in contrast to the Sith. They’d have to write all of that out of whole cloth, of course, because Star Wars has never had the slightest idea of what the Jedi are supposed to be aside from aesthetically-good, Force-sensitive supersoldiers who wage war on the Sith, and to the extent they’ve ever had any teachings they’ve mostly taken the form of… trust your instincts, rely on your innate power, go with your feelings? Why, those are all the things a person is given to do in the total absence of any outside force’s sway on their life or obligations in the first place! Lucky.

    But Cere also has this baggage with THE DARK SIDE, which the game has no idea what to do with. It’s vague, stupid, pointless nonsense. Just like Star Wars! But this whole “rebuild the Jedi Order” plot is her baby, and if you want to demonstrate a darker side to Cere’s character and how her past trauma has changed her for the worse, it’s not hard to see how to do that. Set aside for the moment that REBUILDING THE JEDI ORDER WITH ONE OLD LADY UNDER THE NOSE OF THE EMPIRE IS FUCKING CRAZY. Just assume that they maybe could, even though when Cal gets the Holocron his vision basically confirms that they can’t. If a big yellow space schoolbus drops off a bunch of Force-sensitive kids (or young adults in their late teens/twenties? the fuck is happening in this plot) at the newly-founded School for Force-Talented Youngsters, Cere, herself, is basically put into position as the sole Grandmaster of all the Jedi. Her guidance and leadership will be the primary foundation in which all the Jedi to come will be rooted. Partly, this demonstrates the difficulty of establishing institutions, and the tragedy of their loss. You actually kind of can’t have a new institution, for the same reason you can’t have a new tradition, or a new old friend. Institutions are defined by an internal culture, by received wisdom and heritage greater than any of the individuals within it. It’s this culture that safeguards the institutions somewhat, granting it an identity and purpose that cannot be easily bent or redefined from day to day and compelling obeisance and duty even from the individuals putatively at the top. But even if Cere herself carries this folkloric Jedi memory, everyone else that comes into the organization can only look askance at her on any question regarding their nature as an organization, as a religion and creed. Her character would be under an intense and unique pressure, and any flaws in that character become critically important as grave threats to the formation of the new Jedi Order.

    For instance, let’s say Cal’s gotten on board with the idea of providing a home and a community for Force-sensitives like himself, the kind of shelter and purpose he didn’t appreciate until long after he’d lost it. Maybe Cal would be concerned by those times he’s caught Cere muttering about, “Soon. Soon I’ll have a new Order. A whole new generation of Jedi trained and ready. Then those Sith bastards will get what they deserve. They’ll know the kind of pain I’ve known.” Maybe Cal could interject, “Uh, Ma’am? Ms. Cere, ma’am? You’re not nursing the obvious ulterior motive of subverting a new Jedi Order effectively into an army of super-powered child soldiers who answer only to your vengeful whims, right?” And she could purse her lips and narrow her eyes to the extent that she’s physically capable of doing so and whisper, “Of course, Cal. Of course.” Cere’s corruption should really be less about her giving into THE DAAAARK SIIIIIDE in some dumb way we can’t understand and more about her worthiness to carry out our mission in the first place, without her ambitions and anger getting the better of her. You know, like kind of a Star Wars thing? Like we see elsewhere in the game with Malicos? I mean, Malicos could always have been some chill guy who found Merrin and was like, “D’aww, this gray Russian space baby needs a papa, I won’t go mad with power and just try to restore some peace and community on this harsh world where the forms and structures of ordinary life have been stolen away, just like mine were.” Clearly, character matters, especially in Star Wars, where INSTITUTIONS DON’T FUCKING MATTER AND VIRTUE AND HEROISM ARE JUST ABOUT CONNECTING WITH THE INNATE GOODNESS WITHIN YOURSELF.

    Wait. WAIT! I have a better idea than all this. Let’s not found the Jedi Order. After all, we’ve known since the start of this fucking game that we aren’t gonna found a new Jedi Order and that all this was a waste of fucking time, because there’s not a new Jedi Order in the sequel era, or at least not one separate from Luke’s shortlived school. So that would be awkward. Why, yes, let’s just fry this flash drive and try to find somewhere to lay low now that the entire Empire is going to try to hunt us down and fucking kill us all for the rest of our brief, harried lives. I’ve suddenly realized that formative institutions aren’t important, and that all these Force sensitive people scattered about everywhere will probably be fine on their own, because they can just commune with the Force or whatever, like you typically have to be extensively trained to do even with considerable innate talent. At least this way, they’ll be safe from the Empire, which has an extensive Force-sensitive hunting operation that they’ll have no forewarning or defense against, at least as long as they consciously suppress their own bizarre, unfamiliar powers in that way that they don’t know how to do, living lives in constant fear of bogeymen reaching out from the shadows to cast them into torture and slavery.

    So fine. Despite the presence of at least some raw materials from which to construct one, Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order is not a game about institutions. But then, what is the game about?

    Ooooooh.

    1. Shamus says:

      Actual word count: 3733

      If I’d written this, I’d cut it in half and make two posts out of it. But here you go putting this in the comments where it won’t get a tenth of the attention it deserves.

      Serves you right for upstaging me like this.

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          Real talk though, I’d read your blog.

    2. Thomas says:

      It does my heat good to read a proper Rocketeer post. How relieved Film Hulk Critic must be that you haven’t yet decided to subsume his moonlighting career

    3. John says:

      Rocketeer! I love this. I haven’t played the game myself or devoted any thought whatsoever to its themes, so I have no idea whether I agree with it or not, but I absolutely love this.

    4. Sartharina says:

      Of course you’re not going to get a Star Wars game about the virtue of institutions when the entire point of Star Wars is that institutions become incompetent or evil. We are the Empire. And a lot of people miss that – especially the EU fanatic writers that write things like “Trying to ready the galaxy and protect it from an incoming evil”, and trying to write it as actually justified, while accidentally demonstrating the “even good intentioned institutions fall to evil in pursuit of their goals” theme.

      So you really shouldn’t be expecting an “institutions are good” theme in a Star Wars story, because that stands against everything Star Wars is about.

      1. John says:

        Star Wars has almost nothing at all to say about institutions. They barely exist in the original trilogy. The Empire is only there to be big and bad and the Rebel Alliance to be good and to provide X-wings for space-dogfights. Neither organization gets even the slightest scrutiny. Similarly, in the prequels, the only institution worth mentioning is the Jedi Order, which exists to frown, to look serious, and ultimately to fail. In six plus hours of prequel films, we spend, I’d guess, less than twenty minutes with Jedi who aren’t Qui-Gonn, Obi-Wan, or Anakin. The reason that people have such divergent views on the prequel Jedi is that the prequels provide us with so little information about them. Everything we know–or think we know, because some people have some very weird ideas–is extrapolated from a scant handful of short scenes.

        In short, the point of Star Wars is very much not that institutions become incompetent or evil. The Rocketeer is essentially correct when he says “Star Wars is a pulp Hero’s Journey fixated on the essential and inherent goodness of the great individual, which can only be fully realized by giving in to their own heart.” The original trilogy is about Luke, Han, and Leia. The prequels are about Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Padme. Everything else is secondary.

        1. Sartharina says:

          This is only true if you ignore the political motive George Lucas wrote the story with, and see only the packaging Stephan Spielberg trimmed and wrapped it in. The Fallen Republic that became the Empire was strongly inspired by the Cold War United States of the 60s and 70s. But you can’t put that on the Silver Screen in the 70s.

          George’s passion was world-building, not Character interaction- as we saw in the Prequel Trilogy, where he could write what he wanted.

          1. John says:

            If it’s not on the screen or addressed in the scripts–and it isn’t–then I’d say that it’s not in the movies and thus the movies can’t be about that.

            Also, I’m not sure why you’re trying to drag Stephen Spielberg into it. Spielberg and Lucas are, as far as I know, friends, but Star Wars is Lucas’ baby, not Spielberg’s. You may be confusing Star Wars with Indiana Jones, which Lucas created but Spielberg directed.

        2. Syal says:

          Yeah, if the originals had been trying to take a shot at institutions, the Rebel Alliance would have needed to be paralyzed by bureaucracy or something similar. Instead they’re shown as being fully competent to the extent of their abilities at all times. It’s not institutions that are evil, it’s specifically the Empire.

          EDIT: And by abilities I mean resources. They don’t take heavy casualties because of bad tactics, they take heavy casualties because of overwhelming numerical and technological disadvantages.

    5. Henson says:

      Wait. This seems confused. Earlier, you say that Cal clearly doesn’t need a Jedi institution, because he’s done just fine on his own. But then later, you indicate that the galaxy does need a Jedi institution, because otherwise a bunch of force-sensitive kids who don’t know how to hide their affinities are likely going to be hunted down by the Empire. Wouldn’t the latter indicate that Cal actually did need the Jedi Order, to sufficiently train his mind and abilities so that he could survive on his own?

      Additionally, is the story telling us that the galaxy ‘needs’ the Jedi Order? Or simply that it would be significantly improved by it? If the latter, then Cal not ‘needing’ the order is a bit of a non-sequitur, right?

      And if Cal isn’t the right person to extol the virtues of restoring the Jedi Order because he only spent half his life among them and still didn’t ‘need’ them to become a good person, wouldn’t that preclude anyone creating an institution, because the person who built it didn’t ‘need’ that institution to become good?

  21. The Rocketeer says:

    Shamus, I left a long comment which was marked as spam and disappeared after making a minor edit. Please consider greenlighting it if you don’t mind your blog being defaced by fifty billion words about nothing.

    1. Shamus says:

      “if you don’t mind your blog being defaced by fifty billion words about nothing.”

      Based on this alone, it would be deeply hypocritical for me to not approve your comment.

      Also, I wish I could punch my spam filter in its stupid inadequate malfunctioning face.

      Anyway. Comment restored.

  22. Philadelphus says:

    If this is true, then the scavenger hunt wasn’t a game to amuse an old man who wanted to share his love of archaeology with the younger demo.

    I’m assuming that’s slang for “demographic”, and not, like, “demolition man” or something.

    It was interesting reading this latest post, and I liked your discussion of the purpose of the journey/game being more about finding the wisdom to destroy the MacGuffin rather than the MacGuffin itself. It almost sounds like a different version of the Lord of Rings where the Ring is just chilling somewhere along the way—perhaps in Mt. Doom itself—and the fellowship only decides to destroy it at the end of their journey after having seen what the unfettered pursuit of its power has wrought along the way, rather than establishing it as the only logical course of action at the Council of Elrond. Very interesting.

  23. Kincajou says:

    I feel like i’m missing something… How does the empire know the holocron has been destroyed?
    Presumably unless they are certain that that is the ultimate outcome, they will still seek the holocron and the force sensitives, no?

    1. Syal says:

      Sure, but that just means they’re wasting resources on a snipe hunt. And they were seeking the Force sensitives the whole time, that’s no change.

  24. Decius says:

    The thing about probabilities is that they can be multiplied by how bad things are to get expected values.

    If Cal has a 1% belief that he will lose the fight and the Holocron and children fall into the hands of the Sith, that outcome has to be 100 times more worse than “I die and the Holocron is destroyed” than “I win and the Holocron is destroyed” is worse than “I win and the holocron is intact”.

    Since the Jedi routinely did’t hide and suppress force-sensitive kids, even though more than 1% of recruits into the Jedi Order become Sith, clearly the official position of the Jedi is that those odds are acceptable.

    1. The+Puzzler says:

      The majority of Sith converts end up murdering each other if they’re not killed by the good guys first, so the risk kind of balances out.

  25. Syal says:

    even though more than 1% of recruits into the Jedi Order become Sith,

    …you know, now I kind of want to see the story about the Sith Academy having to deal with its members spontaneously falling to the Light Side. They drill selfishness and drill selfishness, but their students still end up getting a taste for charity and reject the Sith’s teachings to become do-gooders.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      That’s what the torture machine is for. If your Sith apprentices start to become good, just stick them in the torture-o-matic for a few hours. Hey presto, magical conversion!

      There were Jedi temples in the past that tried a similar ‘Preventative Therapy’ approach using kindness/fun, though the results were mixed…
      The Puppy Chamber was fairly sucessful, but if a truly evil Sith went in, the resulting cleanup was too distressing for most Jedi. The Hug Machine was disastrous when it malfunctioned. And the Orgy Room turned out to introduce a whole load of other problems…

      1. Vernal_ancient says:

        That Puppy Chamber bit makes me think of Dwarf Fortress’ infamous “tantrum spirals” where one dwarf losing it and turning violent sets off another dwarf, who sets off another, and so on until everyone is dead and the fortress is filled with blood and gore… I’m just seeing jedi trying to clean up the mess, then freaking out bad enough to throw force lightning at each other instead, and next thing you know everyone’s a backstabbing Sith

        1. RFS-81 says:

          I haven’t played Dwarf Fortress, but from what I heard, that’s just the game working as intended, right?

        2. Philadelphus says:

          And now I have a vision of a Dwarf Fortress clone called Jedi Temple…oh man.

        3. Mr. Wolf says:

          For some reason I am now imagining a Star Wars slasher film. One where a Jedi goes all dark side by the end because of the stress and emotional trauma inflicted by the antagonist. He uses this newfound power to escape the antagonist, but has to struggle with the possibility that this was the antagonist’s plan all along.

          Then he becomes the antagonist for twelve the seventeen sequels, dies nine times, if resurrected four times, exists as a ghost in one, is reborn as a rancor monster in another and has at least three crossovers of which two are “definitely not canon”.

  26. James says:

    Funny, I started reading your series without playing Jedi Order, but have since finished the game by the time you’ve done this latest post.

    I will say that the nitpicks (torture, Cordova being a spaz, Dathomir trespassing) was not as overt as your series made it seem. But they certainly are fun to think about.

    I agree with Darth Cameo, and thought the ending worked in terms of the Jedi being more religious and less militant.

    Most importantly, it also squares with canon Star Wars. We already know that there can’t be any real Jedi aside from Kenobi and Yoda at the start of A New Hope. So if you wanted Cal to keep the holocron and finding the kids, you know that that definitely leads to a bunch of dead children (which is something no video game designer, or Star Wars custodian wants to have as a thing)

  27. Mersadeon says:

    As much as I also like the end of the Holocron because of how much it fits, I immediately got the sense that it happened not because it would be a fitting thing in the narrative that illustrates the Jedi, but because Disney said “we aren’t sure yet if this videogame stuff is going to work out or how much we want to commit to its canonicity, so make damn sure nothing chas to come of it” and that’s why the Holocron had to go: because otherwise, you’d need a reason why Cal drops out the canon and nobody ever rounds up those kids until much later, when Luke does it after the war.

    Anyway, one thing about the Inquisitors: on the one hand, because Star Wars is too big, there will always be “too many” writers writing Star Warsa novels and thus I will always have the feeling that anything that was implied to be rare in the original trilogy has been watered down to be available anywhere, like Jedi surviving the puge, Inquisitors/Sith in the Empire, Lightsabres etc., but: I really like the *idea* of Inquisitors. Like any fascist empire, the Star Wars Empire does not want to throw away those scared, opportunistic or beaten down enough to throw in with them despite being conceptually incapable of finding a “happy end” in the empire, and so, some kind of place has to be made for them. Inquisitors aren’t just fallen or press-ganged Jedi, but also pretty much all force users too useful to throw away, but since you can’t teach them the way of the Sith because that’s a real way to power, you basically put an ideological and environmental collar on them and point them at threats, standardizing them just enough to make them effective. The comic books have some neet moments between them (though, as always, Star Wars media is far too interested in showing Badass Vader Murders Fifty Dudes to actually give us much in terms of Slice of Life).

    I just hope other Star Wars media don’t look at Fallen Order’s popularity and go “oh that means people liked the torture makes sith narrative”.

  28. WWWebb says:

    I’m more than a little disappointed that no one is giving Merrin any credit here. She absolutely called BS on the “let’s kidnap a bunch of kids” and “let’s take the McGuffin out of the tomb no one can open on the planet no one knows about” parts of the plan. Yes, she only joined the crew at the last minute and no one really trusted her yet, but she did an excellent job of voicing the outsider perspective that I had been yelling at the protagonists for hours.

    It seemed to me that Cal briefly agreed, but then realized “Wait! When I look at Merrin, I have feelings, and I know from my training that feelings are from the Dark Side. Therefore, she must be wrong, and I should do the opposite of what she suggests.”

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