In a franchise filled with them, Emperor Palpatine's command to "execute Order-66" might be one of Star Wars' most iconic lines. In a moment, the mythology that George Lucas had spent decades creating was brought low, the only apparent survivors sent to live in hiding in the backwaters of Tatooine and Dagobah.
Except as it turns out, Yoda and Obi-Wan were far from the only survivors. Stories of the characters that managed to avoid the Purge are filling up the galaxy, and now, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor finds itself at the center of the most damning narrative roadblock in cinematic history.
This article contains story spoilers for both Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.
Before the events of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, padawan Cal Kestis escapes Order-66 because of the sacrifice of his master. Falling from space in an escape pod, his flight covered by the destruction of his ship, Cal is forced to spend years in hiding. He only succeeds for so long by all-but severing his connection with the Force and starting a new life in a forgotten scrapyard. According to Wookiepedia, that series of sacrifices and lucky breaks is what allows Cal to be one of the "few" Jedi that survive Order-66, a
But within 30 minutes of the start of Fallen Order, he meets another Jedi. It doesn't take too long before he meets another in Taron Malicos, as well as another Force-sensitive in Merrin. By the end of Survivor, he'll have personally met three more. That's without touching on the ex-Jedi Inquisitors, or the names of the Force-sensitive children on the holodisc that forms that bulk of Fallen Order's narrative. In just two games, the list of Jedi survivors is getting pretty crowded.
And Respawn's roster is just the start, as Star Wars' TV efforts are also obsessed with putting the survivors of the purge back into the spotlight. Obi-Wan Kenobi got his own show last year, where he both clashed with the Inquisitors and ran into fleeing Jedi. Ahsoka Tano made it through the Purge and Star Wars Rebels to get her own show, too. The Mandalorian showed Grogu and Kelleran Beq making it out of the Jedi Temple. Even The Bad Batch revealed the successful flight of another minor Jedi, this time from The Clone Wars.
It's clear why this is happening. Collectively, the Jedi are the most exciting part of the Star Wars universe, the entity that sets the franchise apart from any other Space Western. At the same time, the years after the Purge constitute the galaxy's most interesting era, a period that establishes Star Wars' thematic roots and shapes its key antagonists. A time of desperation, anger, hope, and fear – all excellent emotions for driving a massive multimedia franchise – the years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope are also shrouded in mystery. While not entirely a blank slate, there's two decades of uncertainty to play with, and it's obvious that the Jedi would need to be a key part of those stories. Few other figures have the sway to hold down an entire narrative venture – even the extremely cool Mandalorians lean on a survivor of Order-66 as a pillar of their story.
Jedi: Survivor isn't the first time Star Wars has focused on the remaining Jedi; many of Darth Vader's comicbook ventures tackle his pursuit of those who somehow dodged the Purge. But those stories are of Jedi on the run, of a crippled order and the last desperate days of its final survivors. With every new face who lasts long enough to not only survive Order-66 and take the fight to the Empire, but to also be a part of their own major story, the magic of that moment and everything that it would come to represent in the original trilogy is diluted. The Jedi will always be at the heart of Star Wars, but Disney's push towards the future (and past) of the franchise can't come soon enough.