With the debut of a new trailer for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, the actor speaks with StarWars.com about his return to the galaxy far, far away.
Note: Following publication of this article, the release date of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor was moved to April 28, 2023. This has been reflected below.
When Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order arrived in November 2019, Cameron Monaghan had an easy holiday gift for family and friends. Monaghan had played the game’s protagonist, Cal Kestis, a Padawan survivor of Order 66, so it made for something of a perfect present. But while seeing himself in a game didn’t faze the actor, the same can’t be said for his loved ones.
“I’d go over [to] their house and they’d be playing it, and it would be really weird,” he tells StarWars.com, laughing. As a joke, Monaghan would sit near friends, echoing the game’s dialogue or Cal’s grunts and screams as they happened on-screen. “I remember my friends being really tripped out. ‘What’s happening?!’”
In Jedi: Fallen Order, set during the age of the Empire and Jedi-hunting Inquisitors, Cal was just looking to lay low and exist until fate intervened. Though his training was incomplete, he was thrust back into the fight and the ways of the Jedi; the rest is gaming history. Jedi: Fallen Order went on to become one of the most beloved Star Wars games, and Cal a modern fan favorite -- so much so that you can currently purchase Cal’s Legacy Lightsaber Hilt from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in the Disneyland Park in California and the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, the result of a fan vote.
A sequel, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, was announced in January, and last night at The Game Awards, Respawn Entertainment, Electronic Arts, and Lucasfilm Games confirmed the release date — April 28, 2023, on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and Windows PC — and dropped the first full trailer. It's a stirring trailer, showcasing new enemies, allies, and abilities, while ending with some powerful words from Cal: “As long as we fight, hope survives.” For Monaghan, the trailer represents what the game experience will be.
“I think it’s a great introduction into the scope and the size of this new game. This game is really ambitious in how much it is furthering and progressing not only the gameplay elements from Jedi: Fallen Order, but also furthering the story and the characters as well,” Monaghan says. “We’re starting to see hints as to where that’s going to branch off and what options you’re going to be given as a player.”
He's quick to note, however, that the trailer is really just a small preview. “As much as the trailer does reveal some really cool and exciting things, it doesn’t give away the whole gist of what we’re going for with this one,” Monaghan says. “I think people are going to be really pleasantly surprised by just how this game progresses and where it goes as you get deeper into it.”
There’s a five-year time jump between Jedi: Fallen Order and Jedi: Survivor, and the Empire has been expanding. As the Imperials tighten their grip, rebels and outlaws feel the squeeze. “We have a really dire situation that we find Cal in at the beginning of the game, where he is searching for ways to rebel that are becoming increasingly difficult and perhaps even hopeless. But we have a character that was given meaning and a goal by this resistance, and he was given this hope, and that hope is very hard to extinguish,” Monaghan says. “But what happens when you have hope in a situation that becomes increasingly hopeless? Different people have different ideas about what is the best way to resist.”
Monaghan is perhaps alluding to conflicts like one glimpsed in the trailer, in which Cere Junda (played by Debra Wilson), a former Jedi who trained Cal in Jedi: Fallen Order, seems to take issue with Cal’s methods. “Cere and Cal have this interesting dynamic, where she’s not his formal master, but she is his mentor,” he says. “And, frankly, they have different ideas of how to deal with imperialism and the Empire. In the first game, it was about finding family and what it means to create a family. With this story, a lot of it is to do with 'What happens when there’s stress on a family?'” With elements like this, and others that Monaghan can’t talk about yet, he sees Cal’s journey in the game as especially rich.
“What we end up finding in the story is a really complicated and exciting development to how we want to approach the character, and I think it is not only exciting, but it’s also emotional and beautiful and treats its audience with a level of respect that I think a lot of people are going to really appreciate.”
A gamer himself, Monaghan understands the legacy of Star Wars games, which stretches back to the early ‘80s. He sees Jedi: Survivor as playing a potentially significant role in the current generation of consoles. “It’s an honor to be a part of a title releasing now in this generation of consoles with the Jedi series. I think that people have been looking for the titles that really excite them to make the leap on to the next generation,” he says. “Speaking personally, having seen how this game looks and how it runs on the next generation [of consoles], I think it’s going to have people very excited.”
Still, the actor seems most excited about the story. While he won’t go into specifics, it sounds like Jedi: Survivor will make an impact. “This is going to be an emotional rollercoaster for people,” he says. “I think that you’d have to be made of stone for it to not hit you in the heart.”
Check out more screenshots below.