As fans wait for the release of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, one of the biggest questions surrounding the game is whether Darth Vader will make an appearance. During the finale of the first game in the series, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, the iconic Sith lord makes a visceral appearance after the final boss. Of course, both Darth Vader and Cal Kestis, the game’s protagonist, survived their encounter, as Cal continues to be the protagonist of Jedi: Survivor and Darth Vader goes on to be in a number of other Star Wars properties. However, while Darth Vader is alive when the second game takes place, that doesn’t necessarily mean it would be a fitting place for a rematch.
[Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.]
Jedi: Fallen Order takes place in 14 BBY, around 5 years after the events of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and 14 years before the original Star Wars film. The game’s sequel takes place five years later, and a lot appears to have changed for Cal and his companions, based on the Jedi: Survivor teaser trailer that debuted at Star Wars Celebration last month. None of the side characters from the first game appear in the teaser, and their ship, the Mantis, appears to be severely damaged. By the time of the sequel, Darth Vader’s situation has changed substantially as well, which is part of the reason why he shouldn’t make an appearance in the game.
Jedi: Survivor isn’t the only recent Star Wars property to take place in 9 BBY: the Disney+ show Obi-Wan Kenobi is set in that year, as well. Darth Vader plays a significant role in the show, and it is an extremely personal journey for the character, given his connection to Obi-Wan and drive to seek vengeance against him. If Vader were to appear in Jedi: Survivor in any significant capacity, it would undermine his involvement in Obi-Wan Kenobi by making it seem more routine than personally climactic. While other Kenobi characters could appear in Jedi: Survivor due to their proximity in the Star Wars timeline, it would be unwise for Darth Vader to be one of them.
Besides Darth Vader being occupied elsewhere, he should also be kept away from the Star Wars Jedi franchise because he is far above the level of threat that its characters can reasonably handle. At the end of Jedi: Fallen Order, Darth Vader effortlessly cuts down the Inquisitor Trilla Suduri, the game’s final boss, after Cal defeats her. Granted, she was weakened from her fight with Cal, and she appears to be paralyzed by fear, but that only serves to illustrate how significant of a threat Vader is. Following Vader’s execution of Trilla, he chases Cal through the Fortress Inquisitorius, destroying the environment and fending off Cal’s attacks with ease. Given the darker tone of Jedi: Survivor, Cal facing and surviving such an opponent again would be hard to believe.
For a Darth Vader appearance in Jedi: Survivor to be believable and not weaken other stories, he would have to occupy a similar role to the one he had in Jedi: Fallen Order. Having a brief but terrifying section of Cal narrowly surviving an encounter with Darth Vader two games in a row would be a far less interesting narrative than Respawn is capable of providing, especially given the vast possibilities of the Star Wars universe. In order to do justice to Darth Vader and the Star Wars Jedi series alike, it would be best to avoid intersecting the two, at least for now. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor‘s ominous teaser trailer showed off an intimidating new villain, who appears to be more than capable of posing an original threat to Cal and his allies, proving that the game doesn’t need Darth Vader to instill fear in its heroes and its players.
Next: Jedi: Fallen Order Ruined Cal’s Double-Bladed Lightsaber Moment