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Cal Kestis

SW Jedi: Fallen Order
by yo go re

An unexpected pattern: on the first Force Friday, I bought one figure; on the second, I got two; and this year I ended up with three.

A Jedi Padawan during the Clone Wars, Cal Kestis narrowly escaped the horrors of Order 66 and was forced into hiding. Together with explorer droid BD-1, he embarks on a journey to rebuild the Jedi Order while evading the terrifying Imperial Inquisitorius.

You know, the more stories are set between the end of Revenge of the Sith and the beginning of A New Hope, the more it seems like the only Jedi who were killed by Order 66 were the ones specifically shown on-screen. Every new tale involves some escaped Jedi-in-hiding who has to decide whether or not to reveal themselves to help innocents in need, and spoiler, they do. Cal, the player character in the new Jedi: Fallen Order game, is one of those escapees. Trying to live a quiet life as a rigger in the Scrapper Guild on Bracca, Cal's connection to the Force was eventually discovered by the Empire, so he had to go on the run.

Cal is played in the game by Cameron Monaghan, best known for playing Jerome (and then Jeremiah) Valeska on Gotham, which is 75% of the reason I wanted this figure. The game definitely seems to be copying his face, though this toy isn't as close as a lot of the "real" characters have been. The creators considered making the main character an alien or a woman, but didn't want to 1) unnecessarily create distance between the (human) player and their (digital) stand-in, or 2) draw attention away from Star Wars' other major female lead.

Unlike some fugitives we could name, Cal does not keep wearing his Jedi robes when he's trying to go undercover. He's dressed in an outfit that's very utilitarian, either for a workman or an adventurer: sturdy boots, rugged black pants with reinforced knees, a blue tunic, and a padded white vest-thing on the shoulders with a leather bib above it. He wears a single thick glove on his left hand, and a band on his right wrist. His belt has various rings where tools or safety lines could be attached, and a pair of pouches (one with a tool tucked into a loop on it) hang above his butt. Wait... blue-white-and-brown colorscheme, padding on his shoulders, red hair... does Cal Kestis grow up and change his name to Dash Rendar?!

This figure is as articulated as any Black Series toy, with joints at the head, neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, chest, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. Although it looks like the strap that runs from his belt up under his vest would limit the articulation, it doesn't: it doesn't actually connect at the top, so the chest can move all around without bothering it.

Cal's only accessory is his lightsaber, a blue-bladed weapon with a very distinctive hilt. It's larger than an average lightsaber, and has two long guards pointing forward around the emitter.

Like Rey (both from the first movie and this new one), Cal has a droid companion as a pack-in. Anothe 15% of why I got this figure. His is BD-1, the adorable little research droid that was designed to accompany explorers and keep them from getting lonely. It's bipedal, and looks like a baby AT-ST with a head made from macrobinoculars. It's white with a few red stripes, and two thin antennae point off the back of the head.

BD has a balljointed head, balljointed hips, and hinged knees. You can come up with a lot of cute and endearing poses for him, but there are no holes or anything on Cal's vest to accommodate the most familiar feature from the game, the way BD clings to your back when you're running around. You can fake it well enough, though, by tucking his foot between the straps that hang under Cal's right arm.

Jedi: Fallen Order was part of the big push of "Triple Force Friday," but hopefully we'll see more videogame characters in the future - after all, we could really use a Black Series Galen Marek at some point.

-- 11/17/19

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