Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order doesn’t arrive for another few months, but it’s got the Star Wars fandom buzzing. Game-play video from this year’s E3 Conference has gamers lauding the offering from Respawn Entertainment as already better than Battlefront and Battlefront II. Nevertheless, some fans are asking why a video game once again features a male protagonist. Some will find the answer to that query less than satisfying.
Jedi: Fallen Order features the male character of Cal Kestis. Cal is a former Jedi padawan that managed to escape the slaughter of Order 66. The game follows him has he struggles to survive and avoid the Empire’s Inquistors (as seen in Star Wars Rebels). In this day and age of strong, female lead characters (such as Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel, for example), some wonder why Respawn didn’t use a female lead, or perhaps even an alien. According to Respawn’s game director, the reason is Rey.
Rey the reason for male lead in Jedi: Fallen Order
As we learned from gamesradar.com, a fan recently asked Respawn Entertainment game director Stig Asmussen why they didn’t use an alien protagonist. Asmussen’s reply regarding Cal Kestis in Jedi: Fallen Order was an interesting one:
Yes, we talked about doing an alien creature. We talked about different genders. We arrived at where we were because at the time Rey was kind of the thing for Star Wars, and so it made a lot more sense for us to have a male protagonist.”
Asmussen would go on to say that “[u]ltimately we didn’t go with an alien race because we felt like, no pun intended, that would alienate a lot of people. We wanted to make sure that there was a real human connection to the character we have in the game.”
That last point does make sense from a marketing perspective, i.e. having a relatable, human connection in Jedi: Fallen Order. Citing Rey as the reason for having a male lead, however? Call me skeptical. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Rey simply being the central character of the sequel trilogy (including the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) is the driving force behind the choice to feature a male lead in the game. Rey being a woman, however?
Is Respawn Entertainment trying to avoid the “SJW” label?
Among the current Star Wars detractors are those who claim Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy is using the franchise to run her own “social justice warrior” campaign. Central to those fans’ belief is the fact that the Disney Star Wars era has focused on strong, female leads (like Rey, Vice Admiral Holdo, and Battlefront II’s Iden Versio).
Do you think the choice of a male protagonist in Jedi: Fallen Order is born from the desire to avoid the SJW controversy? I’m not generally a gambling man, but…. The gaming industry has historically been male-dominated. I’d be willing to bet that a bit of sexism seeped its way into this decision.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.