The Star Wars franchise is at one of its highest moments, but it's also at somewhat of a crossroads. Tonight is the premiere of Ahsoka on Disney+, the first live-action series starring the Padawan of Anakin Skywalker. Ahsoka Tano's personal arc has unfolded for over a decade. She began as a hot-headed student, grew into a Jedi Knight and a leader of armies, eventually grew disenchanted with the entire Jedi Order, came to fight alongside the Rebel Alliance mostly from behind the scenes, and even came to encounter Luke Skywalker and Din Djarin (The Mandalorian).
For younger fans of the series, they likely identify more with Ahsoka than they do any of the Skywalkers. She's been the face of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and has gone on to appear in dozens of different series projects. However, her live-action series not only represents the culmination of her character arc, it's also signaling its potential conclusion. Where does Star Wars go from here? Does the series have another breakout character in it that could take their story across a multitude of different projects and explore different eras of the Star Wars timeline?
It turns out that Disney and Lucasfilm might have another character with that kind of breakout potential in their back pocket, thanks to Electronic Arts and Respawn Entertainment. His name is Cal Kestis.
Cal Kestis started his story back in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. He was a Padawan just learning the way of the Jedi under Master Jaro Tapal until Order 66 hit. Tapal was killed by his clone entourage, and Cal barely survived. When Cal saw the Jedi Order crumble around him, he gave up. He tried to live a life as a normal scrapper on the distant planet of Bracca, but he couldn't escape the growing Empire. The Force was detected in him by Darth Vader's Inquisitors sending him on the run once more until he was saved by a ragtag crew of Jedi Knight Cere Junda and her expert pilot partner Greez Dritus.
Anybody who has played Fallen Order knows how the story goes from there. Cal is forced into a war he never wanted to fight but ultimately learns the ways of the Force. He discovers that there may be other Force wielders in hiding, their identities, and locations hidden in a lost Jedi Holocron. Eventually, Cal flies too close to the sun and tries to take on Darth Vader to disastrous results.
Even the story of Fallen Order alone sounds like the foundation for a solid adaptation. It's a tale filled with captivating characters, unexplored worlds, and increasingly-rare opportunities to expand on Star Wars lore. Cal's connection to the Force gives him the rare psychometry ability, which allows him to see flashes of the past by tapping into different objects. It's a Force power that both Cal and the player are unfamiliar with going into Fallen Order, but they learn more about it and master it together.
Cal comes to grow much more in the five-year gap between Fallen Order and the 2023 sequel, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. He finds his own crew of hired guns to try and hit various Imperial targets, having had a falling out with his old crew. While Survivor does a decent job in helping fill in the blanks of what happened between the two games, a Disney+ project could further flesh out what happened. It could even help adapt the events of Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars, which is meant to illustrate the exact moment when everybody went their separate ways.
A third game to wrap up the Star Wars Jedi trilogy seems inevitable, especially given the ending of Survivor and how well the game performed in terms of sales. However, Cal's story need not end there. As soon as Star Wars Jedi: Survivor began exploring plot elements that crossed over with the newer High Republic era, players began to see the potential of Cal acting as the bridge across multiple eras of the franchise, just like Ahsoka before him. For example, a new series could see him find even more connections to the past. Like Ahsoka, Cal could find his way into a post-Return of the Jedi universe where he begins exploring new parts of the galaxy and taking the fight to the remnants of the Empire in his own way. He could run into the rising First Order and pick one last fight where he's in over his head. He could meet some of the series' other characters, whether they be big names or lesser-known supporting names.
Speaking of lesser-known supporting names, Respawn gets a lot of credit for making a Cal Kestis series an idea worthy of discussion. The Star Wars Jedi development team helped put together some of the series' most interesting new characters in decades, whether it be Cere and Greez, the lovable droid sidekick BD-1, the last surviving Nightsister Merrin, the whimsical bartender M-6NK (Monk), or the curious Turgle. Taking some time to further flesh out these characters, similar to what HBO's The Last of Us did for Bill and Frank, could lead to some fun and memorable television. It would be a treat for fans, whether they're familiar with the games or not.
Whether it's a straight adaptation of the games in the vein of the aforementioned The Last of Us, a new setting around the same time period, or a jump into the future, there's a lot of potential in a Cal Kestis Disney+ series. It's not like wrangling the right people for it would be a tough task, either. Actor Cameron Monaghan has made no secret how much he has enjoyed his time playing Cal, doing multiple interviews and gleefully appearing at press events leading up to the release of the Star Wars Jedi games.
If this new Disney+ series is the end of the road for Ahsoka Tano, it's time to look to the next big breakout character. Cameron Monaghan's Cal Kestis could and should be it. Where he goes next is anybody's guess, but I hope we get to find out across more than one medium.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Cal Kestis should be Star Wars' next big crossover star
I’d love to see that happen.
Only if he has the mullet and handlebar mustache.