[Spoiler-Free Review] When Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order arrived in 2019, it upped the ante for Star Wars gaming. It also introduced us to a slew of new and intriguing characters, including the game’s focal hero, Cal Kestis. Fans became immediately enamored with the character, some even calling for Cameron Monaghan (Clueless) to reprise the role in live-action. While that didn’t happen, fans will get their wish with more Cal in video-game action in a little over a month’s time. But what happened to Cal during the time in between Fallen Order and Jedi: Survivor? The new novel Jedi: Battle Scars fills us in.

Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars
Image: Penguin Random House

As Del Rey/Penguin Random House did with Star Wars: Battlefront (with the tie-in novels Twilight Company and Inferno Squadron), they now bring us a Jedi tie-in from author Same Maggs. Yes, Cal Kestis and crew are back! Spanning the five year-period between the video games, Battle Scars follows the crew of the Stinger Mantis on a new and dangerous mission. Thankfully so…. The novel dives far deeper into each character than the games’ cut scenes will ever be able to go. From Cal, to Merrin, to even Greez, we are able see each character with whole new perspective.

Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars brings depth to video game series

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor; Battle Scars
Merrin as she appears in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. (Image: Electronic Arts)

Here’s the official synopsis for Jedi: Battle Scars:

Together, Cal’s crew has brought down bounty hunters, defeated Inquisitors, and even evaded Darth Vader himself. On what should be a routine mission, they meet a stormtrooper determined to chart her own course with the help of Cal and the crew. In exchange for help starting a new life, the Imperial deserter brings word of a powerful, potentially invaluable tool for their fight against the Empire. And even better, she can help them get to it. The only catch — pursuing it will bring them into the path of one of the Empire’s most dangerous servants, the Inquisitor known as the Fifth Brother. Can the Imperial deserter truly be trusted? And while Cal and his friends have survived run-ins with the Inquisitors before, how many times can they evade the Empire before their luck runs out?

Maggs does a nice job with Jedi: Battle Scars of expressing the main characters’ inner thoughts and emotions. Merrin, for example, holds within her a complexity we didn’t see in Fallen Order. Greez’s cynicism is on far greater display, as well. Even the enigmatic Cere gets her time to shine…. But all eyes are, as expected, on Cal. The struggles he faces both from his own, inherent self-doubt and from outside factors allows the character to grow far more than we’ll ever see on Xbox or PS5.

Jedi: Survivor
Image: Electronic Arts

Admittedly, though, the story does fall a little flat in some places, and over indulges in others. Still, all in all, Battle Scars provides a fun and exciting, new adventure for Cal & Co. If there was a proper way to bridge the gap between Fallen Order and Jedi: Survivor, Magg’s novel was it.

Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars arrives at booksellers everywhere March 7. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor hits game platforms in April.