Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order's hero is human because non-humans might 'alienate' players

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

The thing about Star Wars that annoys me (one of many things, really) is that despite the Galactic Empire claiming dominion over a million worlds, the focus is always on a tiny number of white people getting up to trouble. Sure, you've got Yoda and Ackbar and the guy with the face, but it's purely window dressing: When the rubber hits the road it's usually Han Solo or Carth Onasi or Jaz Handso or Kyle Katarn who's actually at the center of the action.

Wes took a more nuanced look at the matter earlier this year, calling the selection of Cal Kestis as the lead guy in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order a "wasted opportunity" because he's so bland. "The hood, the clean jaw, the broody face," he wrote. "I can't remember the last time I was this instantly bored looking at a videogame protagonist, and the rest of the Jedi: Fallen Order reveal trailer doesn't do much to bolster its flat lead."

In an interview with Game Informer, game director Stig Asmussen said that Respawn actually talked about "doing an alien creature" in the early stages of development, but decided against it for fear of—wait for it—alienating potential players.

"Ultimately we didn't go with an alien race because we felt like—no pun intended—that would alienate a lot of people," Asmussen said. 

"We wanted to make sure that there was a real human connection to the character that we have in the game, although I personally—I mean, that's more kind of like [a] broader decision why we did it—personally I think it would be really cool to have an alien protagonist."

I think it would be very cool too, and given the breadth of the Star Wars universe (and the fact that you can just make up anything you want) I don't think coming up with a relatable non-human lead would be all that terribly difficult—I'd play the hell out of a Mass Effect spinoff about a Salarian STG agent, for instance. And if it has to be a human, why not opt for something other than another Han Skywalker retread?

Respawn also looked at "different gender" for the lead, Asmussen said, but went with a male "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." I don't understand that at all—how does a woman leading the show in a Star Wars movie cause it to make more or less sense that a man at the helm in Fallen Order? 

Despite the uninspiring protagonist, our E3 hands-on with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was promising, and it will hopefully prove to be the grand Star Wars adventure we've all been waiting for. It's set to come out on November 15.

Thanks, GamesRadar.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.