Features and Columns · Movies

A New Galaxy’s Edge Lightsaber Carries Tremendous Franchise Potential

As Disney+ introduces more and more expanded universe characters into live-action, we look to the theme parks for clues.
Star Wars Fallen Order Lightsaber
Disney Parks
By  · Published on March 25th, 2022

Star Wars Explained is our ongoing series where we delve into the latest Star Wars shows, movies, trailers, and news stories to divine the franchise’s future. This entry examines why a broken lightsaber’s introduction at Galaxy’s Edge means something mighty for Fallen Order fans.

With The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, Disney+ has directed serious respect toward the Star Wars expanded universe fanbase. Characters like Ahsoka Tano, Black Krrsantan, and Cad Bane were previously relegated to cartoons and comics. Now, they walk proudly in live-action (well, two of them still do; please pour one out for the cowboy), and their enthusiasts can be heard chanting, “See, I told you so.”

Star Wars‘ best-kept secrets won’t remain so for much longer, and their 3D arrival offers tremendous hope to other characters still stuck along the fringes. On the video game front, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, developed by Respawn Entertainment for Electronic Arts, absorbed an absurd amount of attention when it initially hit the market in November 2019. Since release, momentum has built throughout the fandom, and there’s an intense desire to see its protagonist, Cal Kestis, join “the real world” alongside Ahsoka.

This week, such possibility grew even more reasonable when Galaxys Edge unveiled its latest lightsaber available for purchase at Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities in Walt Disney World and Disneyland. In costume as Cal Kestis, voice actor Cameron Monaghan stepped before cameras and lifted the character’s Fallen Order legacy lightsaber. Are we months or years from seeing it slashed across streaming screens? The answer seems sooner rather than later.

The Disney theme parks did not come to this decision on their own. They asked the fans to vote online, picking Cal’s blade amongst laser swords once wielded by Anakin Skywalker, Qui-Gon Jinn, Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus, and Lord Corvax. Cal nabbed 40 percent of the vote, 29 percent more than second-place loser Qui-Gon Jinn. Liam Neeson can’t compete with Cameron Monaghan’s on-the-run Jedi.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is set a few years after Revenge of the Sith. Order 66 saw most Force wielders executed. What few remained kept a low profile in deserts, swamps, and worse. Cal Kestis is an escaped Padawan living as a scrapper on Bracca. An Imperial probe droid spies him using his Force abilities, and two Sith Inquisitors are sent to round him up. Similar to Luke Skywalker’s flight from Tatooine after his Stormtrooper scuffle, Cal is propelled on a galaxy skipping quest where he crosses swords with numerous baddies, including the darkest lord of the Sith, Darth Vader.

What’s nifty about Cal’s particular lightsaber from Fallen Order is how it embraces the past as much as it does the present and the future. Cal’s lightsaber once belonged to his Master Jaro Tapal. Originally constructed as a dual blade somewhat like Darth Maul’s, the sword was broken during the Great Purge. As sold at Galaxy’s Edge, the weapon is bungled, bandaged, and rejiggered. The modified lightsaber Cal wields exudes strength and durability.

As busted and as janky as it appears, Cal’s blade has seen some serious stuff. The imperfections suggest a rich character to the sword. It’s been through the wringer, and each crack in its hilt reveals immense history. It’s not the Darksaber, but it’s on its way.

And speaking of the Darksaber, Star Wars needs more legendary lightsabers with backstories. Everyone knows Geroge Lucas’ infatuation with Akira Kurosawa. A New Hope borrows more than character archetypes from The Hidden Fortress. Its whole vibe extends from the samurai classic. And what’s rad about so many samurai stories are the histories and the names that come with their bone-cutting instruments.

If we’re going to fetishize these weapons, we should show them kindness and respect by giving them a title. Miyamoto Usagi briefly claimed “The Grasscutter.” Shaman King‘s Yoh Asakura grips tightly onto “Harusame.” Final Fantasy features the iconic “Masamune.” And yeah, Din Djarin struggles under the Darksaber’s weight.

The Mandalorian blade is another expanded universe gem given new life in live-action. It first appeared in The Clone Wars‘ second season, in the episode “The Mandalore Plot.” We learned that it was constructed by the first Mandalorian Jedi, Tarre Vizsla, an ancestor of Pre Vizsla, who used the sword’s status to steal his homeworld’s throne. Through numerous battles, the Darksaber was wrestled away from the Vizsla family, briefly owned by Maul, and eventually rescued by Star Wars: Rebels‘ Sabine Wren. She gave it to Bo-Katan Kryze, who reclaimed Mandalore for her people.

We don’t know how she lost the Darksaber; we just know that as Jaro Tapal’s dual-blade was damaged during the Great Purge, the Darksaber fell into Moff Gideon’s hands. The Imperial scum is the one who ultimately brought it onto Disney+ when he sawed himself out of his crashed Tie Fighter during The Mandalorian‘s Season 1 climax. He then lost it when he squared off with Din Djarin during the second season’s finale.

In The Book of Boba Fett, we witnessed Djarin clumsily swing the Darksaber. It’s a powerful instrument, tearing through goons like butter, but its true might rests in the prestigious weight the Mandalorian people give it. Undoubtedly, the lightsaber will feature prominently in the plot of The Mandalorian Season 3.

Din Djarin resists its significance, but Bo-Katan and others most definitely do not. They will come for it, and Djarin will have to make a choice. Keep it and ascend to a political seat, or toss it away and watch another sit atop Mandalore.

So far, every Disney+ Star Wars series has used its space to re-introduce an expanded universe character or two. Whom can we expect to arrive in The Mandalorian‘s third season? Cal Kestis is not a bad choice.

He’s a Jedi who’s also grappled with his place in the universe. He’s morally gray, forced to do dirty deeds to survive. He’s more Han Solo than Luke Skywalker. That is probably a big reason why we love him so much. He’s got the savage Force skills but not the farm boy naïveté of Luke nor the whiny sinister streak his pops carried with him when he was young.

And Cal Kestis has a blade to match Din Djarin’s sword. But not a name. We got to get that busted scrap metal a moniker.

With kids and adult-kids flocking to Disney parks to score Cal’s lightsaber from Fallen Order, a hunger for a live-action appearance will only increase. Disney+ loves satiating fandom’s desire. Our squeals tend to cut through the social media noise and grab the attention of others. We sell as much as we buy. And we buy a lot.

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)