(Welcome to The Galaxy-Wide Star Wars Character Guide, where we give proper due to the smaller figures in Star Wars history.)

It’s amazing how brilliant George Lucas’ prequel story appears on paper, versus how little of that particularly brilliance comes through when watching the actual prequel films. The films have their fans for sure, but it’s truly difficult to imagine viewers getting emotionally caught up in the tragedy of young Anakin Skywalker and the fall of a republic as told in those three movies. Obi-Wan’s disappointment in his former Padawan is about the only emotional resonance I’ve ever felt when watching Revenge of the Sith.

But the story is deeply tragic, and a lot of Star Wars media since the prequels has been smart enough to repackage it in a way that does heighten the drama of what Lucas put together. The later Clone Wars episodes get into this in a big way, but really that entire show exists under the shadow of events we know must come to pass. The more we fall for these characters in their animated form, the more we dread their fates. The show can at any moment deliver unadulterated adventure, humor and whimsy, but always within the context of eventual tragedy.

Clone Wars is far from the only source exploiting this general story. The 2019 video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order also takes the events of Revenge of the Sith as a contextual starting point. Though it takes place five years later, the game’s major figures offer a collection of individual stories tied to the dreaded Order 66 and fall of the Jedi. Obviously, this is true of the game’s main character, young Padawan Cal Kestis. But by far the game’s most interesting figure comes in the form of disgraced Jedi Cere Junda.

Who is This Character Again?

Maybe you haven’t played Fallen Order yet. This article will go into detail on one of its main characters, so if you’re worried about spoilers, please turn back now. These aren’t major bombshells, but different people have different sensitivities to that sort of thing. She’s a great character! Go play the game and check her out!

For those still here, a refresher. Fallen Order tells the story of a surviving Force user, Cal Kestis, who is just trying to get by in a scary galaxy by keeping his powers secret. Eventually he must reveal his Jedi abilities to save a friend, and this puts Inquisitors on his path. Luckily, he gets saved by the more seasoned Jedi, Cere Junda.

The story focuses on Cal with Cere as a very important support character. Their goal is to access a list of surviving young Jedi in hopes of starting a new Jedi order. So no, Luke is not the only Jedi out there. There are plenty, though their numbers are not great and always getting smaller.

Cal gets stronger with the Force as his journey progresses. But he also reveals more of Cere Junda’s past, which is where the story’s real emotional weight sits. She provides Star Wars’ with once of its most morally complicated Jedi yet.

The potential for good or evil exists within each Jedi, but it is not typically a struggle portrayed with much conviction. I never believed Luke’s temptation, nor did I feel Anakin’s transformation towards the dark side. It was central aspect of Kylo Ren’s character, however, indicating that we may see more ambiguous Jedi going forward.

Cere Junda certainly counts. While Kylo Ren chose the dark side but fought against his better nature, Cere is a heroic figure, haunted by a darkness she knows exists within her. It’s all about guilt with Cere Junda. After the implementation of Order 66, Junda and some younglings – including her Padawan, Trilla Suduri – went into hiding. Eventually they were discovered, and Junda let herself get captured to ensure their escape. 

But she was tortured into giving the whereabouts of Suduri, who turned to the dark side as a result. The changed Suduri was brought in to mock Junda, triggering her inner darkness in an attack that killed every non-Jedi in the room but also allowed Junda to escape. Following this, Junda severed her connection to the force. The game’s events of course bring her face to face with her former apprentice and reignite dormant feelings from her past. 

Does This Character Warrant A Toy?

Character designs for humans never feel as exciting when it comes to toys, but I do think Junda looks cool enough to immortalize in plastic. She’s a deeply sad character and wears that sadness to an impressive degree, which means any toy made of her would have to be a sad toy, which is kind of a feat. Furthermore, she’s a side character from a video game, making her somewhat niche (if anything Star Wars can be niche) and therefore automatically a bit more interesting to find in a store.

How Important is This Character?

I have great affection for Cere Junda and her story, as presented in Fallen Order. But the key thing about her (and Cal, for that matter), is that they both survive the game. With Star Wars expanding in seemingly every direction, these are figures sure to reappear at some point and probably do great things. This is all to say, right now Cere Junda is not an important Star Wars character, but I have great faith she someday will grow to that level.

Is This a Secretly Great Star Wars Character?

Yes, Cere Junda is a secretly great Star Wars character. Even within the confines of the game in which she appears, she’s just a side figure. Yet so much of what makes the Jedi compelling exists within her story. She’s powerful and righteous. She made it through Order 66 and also went on to survive the absolute horrors that followed. She lost everything but still has hope for the future. 

But coexisting with all that, she also knows the dark side of the Force, a lot more intimately than other force sensitive heroes we’ve seen. With a lot of these characters, the dark side is something of a theoretical fear, or a nagging temptation controlled through training. With Junda, that power has been awoken and utilized for lethal means. She’s like an alcoholic who somehow managed to have that one drink and immediately get back on the wagon. That alone makes her a Jedi of unique complexity, one further Star Wars adventures should not ignore.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: