In just a little over a month, fans will finally learn what Cal Kestis and the Mantis crew were up to in between the events of Jedi: Fallen Order and the upcoming Jedi: Survivor. And Star Wars just released the first excerpt from Jedi: Battle Scars by Sam Maggs, the new tie-in novel arriving on March 7.
The book has been created in collaboration between the author, Lucasfilm, Electronic Arts (EA), and Respawn Entertainment. On the Star Wars timeline, Battle Scars and Jedi: Survivor are set nearly a decade before the events of A New Hope. The novel follows the Mantis crew as they cross paths with an Imperial deserter, who promises information about a mysterious object that could help take down the Empire.
The deserting stormtrooper and the hunt for the object put Cal and the group on the radar of the Fifth Brother, a fearsome Imperial Inquisitor.
It’s the era of the Empire, and Cal and the ragtag found family have been fighting back in any way they can — including infiltrating and trying to dismantle crime syndicates.
That’s where we find Cal in this excerpt, which comes from the first chapter of Battle Scars.
"“The orbital debris field circling the asteroid was dense; Cal had to make his way, leaping shard by rocky shard, each one a step closer to the main asteroid at its center, a massive excavated rock, home to a Haxion Brood base Cal and his crew were currently attempting to infiltrate. Ironic, considering the last time Cal had been around a Brood base he’d been trying to break out of it. That time, on Ordo Eris, he’d been captured. This time, the better move was to get someone on the rock first in order to disable the security systems so that nothing would pick up the Stinger Mantis, Cal’s ship, entering from orbit.”"
Much of the excerpt shows Cal performing his signature Jedi/Force parkour he’s been known for in the Jedi: Fallen Order game. There are also nods to his former master, Jaro Tapal, and his teachings as well as the physical skills he learned as a scrapper on Bracca.
And, of course, there’s humorous commentary from Merrin and Greez through Cal’s comm as they await a progress report from his mission.
"“Did you live?” Merrin’s voice crackled to life over Cal’s comms. Her accent and often wry way of speaking made the question come off glib, like she didn’t really care about the answer one way or another.“Did you hear something, Beedee?” Cal asked his droid rhetorically, knowing Merrin well enough to know that the sound of his voice over comms would be enough of an answer to satisfy Merrin’s sarcastic but still genuine query. “Sounded almost like . . . someone who was worried about us?” he added in a sing-songy voice."
Because Cal is a Jedi surviving and thriving during an era where Force users are persecuted, the former Padawan reflects on his past — before the horrific tragedy of Order 66.
"“He heard the voices in his head—not voices, really, but more of a feeling, and a memory, and a ghost, all at once.And himself.”Cal had no idea if the Force felt the same to everyone; he’d read and heard all sorts of descriptions since he was a kid. From his first teacher, Jaro Tapal. From his most recent master, Cere. From the other young¬lings, he’d trained with, before—”“…This had been harder, once; he’d had to suppress his abilities for so long that the void had felt stagnant, empty. But now years later, with great practice and focus and peace with the present…Now Cal reached out to the Force, and the Force reached back.”"
Read the full excerpt at StarWars.com.
Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars by Sam Maggs releases on March 7.