Jedi Survivor Nails Its Two Biggest Star Wars Cameos

Jedi Survivor features two massive Star Wars cameos, and the game actually does right by those legacy characters.

Star Wars Jedi Survivor Cameos
Photo: EA

This article contains spoilers for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.

It’s not a modern Star Wars adaptation without a little nostalgia, and Jedi: Survivor offers just that in the form of two massive cameos (as well as all the usual franchise sights and sounds). While the fact that Survivor has major Star Wars cameos shouldn’t be a surprise, the nature and quality of those cameos are quite surprising. 

Before we get into all that, I’ll reiterate that we’ll be sharing big spoilers for not only the recently released Star Wars Jedi: Survivor but Jedi: Fallen Order as well. For that matter, we’ll be touching upon various aspects of the greater Star Wars universe to some degree. I assume that you’re here for that, but if you’re not, it’s definitely best to leave now and come back when you’re ready to dive a little deeper into those topics. 

Jedi Survivor’s Darth Vader Cameo Explained

As we discussed in our breakdown of Jedi: Survivor’s ending, Darth Vader does appear in the game. Of course, some of you may recall that Vader also appeared in 2019’s Jedi: Fallen Order.

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In Fallen Order, Vader serves as the Star Wars equivalent of the giant boulder you have to run away from. While initially presented as one of the game’s boss fights, you soon realize that you can’t really beat Vader in Fallen Order. The best you can do is slow him down slightly and run away while he tears down everything around you. 

Cal is clearly no match for Vader at that point. Vader toys with him more than he fights him. However, Cere Junda does eventually pop up and actually manages to stand toe-to-toe with Vader long enough to allow Cal to escape an almost certain death. 

In Survivor, we see Vader invade Junda’s Jedi sanctuary and properly duel the Jedi Master this time around. To be more specific, players are actually able to control Junda during the duel and have a slightly more traditional boss fight with Vader. 

Junda is again able to hold her own and eventually manages to bury Vader under a massive pile of flaming rubble. Unfortunately, her “victory” is short-lived. Vader emerges from the rubble with only a new singe or two to show for Junda’s best efforts. He soon kills Junda like the Terminator he is. 

That’s the great thing about Vader’s Jedi: Survivor cameo. Fallen Order previously established that Vader is a final boss force of nature that Cal can only hope to avoid. However, the game also suggests that Junda is strong enough to at least hold her own against Vader if she had to. Well, Survivor shows that Junda can indeed hold her own against Vader…for a time. Ultimately, she is outmatched.

It’s just such a fantastic use of the character. Like Rogue One, Fallen Order and Survivor portray Vader as this almost unstoppable slasher-like horror movie villain. Unlike Rogue One (and Fallen Order, to a lesser degree), Survivor sees that version of Vader face off against a worthy opponent that at least puts up a reasonable fight against him. Yet, the results are the same. In a matchup that would make pro wrestling bookers jealous, the heel Vader manages to tear through the babyface Junda without making Junda look weak in the process. If anything, Junda’s convincing strength and capabilities make the already intimidating Vader look that much more intimidating. 

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It’s pretty much the best video game boss fight against Vader that we can hope for. You know that your fate is pretty much sealed the moment that Vader walks through the door, but the game lets you maintain your delusions of survival just long enough to break them again.

Modern Star Wars media doesn’t always get legacy characters right, but it’s hard to argue against how Respsawn’s Jedi games have effectively used Vader and respected the things that made the character feel special in the first place. 

Jedi Survivor’s Boba Fett Cameo Explained

While anyone who plays through Jedi: Survivor’s campaign long enough will eventually reach the Vader scene mentioned above, it’s entirely possible that most players will miss the game’s second biggest cameo: Boba Fett.

In order to unlock Survivor’s Boba Fett cameo, you first need to unlock Caij Vanda’s bounty hunter missions. You should unlock that series of sidequests during the main campaign, but completing Vanda’s tasks is another matter entirely. You’ve got to hunt down all of the bounty hunters on Vanda’s list, and some of them are quite difficult to find and beat. 

Manage to do so, though, and you’ll unlock a cutscene in which Vanda betrays Cal. It seems that she is a bounty hunter herself and wanted to eliminate the competition (as well as drive up the price on Cal’s head).

In the fight that follows, Cal is able to hold off Vanda long enough for Boba Fett to swoop in. Vanda is immediately terrified of Fett, and she is right to be scared. It seems that there is now a bounty on Vanda due to her actions and Fett is here to collect. 

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Following a three-way standoff that includes an obvious reference to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Fett and Cal manage to subdue Vanda. Fett isn’t here to collect on Cal’s bounty today, and Cal seems content to just walk away and let this situation be. In the optional dialog that follows, though, Fett makes it clear that he has no love for the Jedi and that Cal should hope that their paths never meet again. 

Fett’s cameo is a classic cameo in the sense that it’s rather brief and not crucial to the plot (at least at this time). However, it’s a great scene that may eventually set up something more important for Fett in a future game. 

The thing that matters most, though, is how Fett is portrayed. Temuera Morrison (who voices Fett in this game and has played the character often in the past), recently lamented Book of Boba Fett’s portrayal of the character. He thinks that version of Boba Fett talked too much and that Star Wars media needed to get back to letting Boba Fett be a slightly more silent badass who speaks loudest through his actions. 

It’s difficult to say if the Survivor team took those specific words to heart, but the results are the same. In Survivor, Fett’s presence is immediately felt through the reactions of those around him. The relatively few words he has to say all serve a clear purpose and only enhance his already considerable aura. When Fett does act, we’re left with no doubt as to why everyone seems so intimidated by him. Even Cal doesn’t seem entirely sure he would survive the fight against Fett if it came down to that. 

Much like they did with Vader, the Survivor team doesn’t really mess with success within it comes to their portrayal of the Boba Fett character. After hunting the best bounty hunters in the galaxy, you come face to face with Boba Fett and immediately understand why he is at the top of that hierarchy.

The game doesn’t try to rewrite the book on Boba Fett for its own purposes, and it doesn’t try to elevate one of its own characters above him. Fett has previously been established as one of the galaxy’s biggest badasses at this time, and the game relies on that reputation to ensure that Fett’s presence is properly felt. It’s not leaning on him so much that you start to worry you’re strapped in for another nostalgia trip, and it doesn’t do something truly stupid like let Cal Kestis easily get the upper hand on Fett. The past of Star Wars is clearly respected and acknowledged but not exploited for cheap gains.

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It’s also nice that Respawn was bold enough to hide such a major cameo behind a part of the game that many players will never see. Anyone who makes it through that bounty hunter sidequest should be properly rewarded, and Fett’s surprise appearance is the exact kind of payoff that makes the already enjoyable process feel all the more worthwhile.