Review – The Apprentice Rises in Marvel’s Jedi Fallen: Order Dark Temple #5
The conclusion of Jedi: Fallen Order – Dark Temple is upon us. Now that the game has been released, we have a little better idea of how this series ties into Jedi: Fallen Order. In the previous issue, padawan Cere Junda fought alongside the Fylari to protect their sovereignty and a sacred temple they guard. The Daa Corporation and the planetary government of Onotho have arrived on the Fylari land and wage a campaign to discover the secrets of the temple. As Master Cordova descends into the enigma which has caused so much conflict, Cere Junda tries to contain the bloodshed. SPOILERS AHEAD….
Cere Junda has thrown herself in the middle of the conflict, trying to protect the Fylari from the Daa Corporation’s security forces. When she overhears some of their forces double-backing to protect the Daa mobile command center, Cere makes that her new target. Cere’s story began with her initiating “aggressive negotiations” with a group of Trandoshans she believed to be hostile, but actually turned out to be the ones being wronged, and she ended up being censured by the Jedi Council. Here, Cere has little choice to weave between protecting the Fylari and trying to find a solution which doesn’t leave many dead or wounded – on both sides.
Though this cell suggests Cere enters the command center lightsabers blazing, she’s learned from her past mistakes. Once she’s been able to confront the Daa Corporations head and owner, Dylanto Daa, she suggests the best way to end this conflict is to try and trust one another. Cere extinguishes her lightsaber and tries to understand Dylanto Dal’s intentions with the temple. He still claims his only wish is to study it and gain whatever knowledge it offers, so Cere makes Dylanto a pretty huge offer: access to the Jedi Archives in the temple. Daa doubts the Jedi Council will give him access, so Cere offers to try and convince the Fylari’s leader, Neralli, grant them access to the dark temple. Though I’m glad Cere has learned from past mistakes, these two offers really come out of left field and Dylanto’s eventual acceptance of them seemed very uncharacteristic with what’s been established in previous issues. Both offers are mutually agreed on, but then Dylanto makes a revelation which changes everything.
It turns out both the Jedi and the Daa Corporation are in the middle of a conflict they don’t completely understand. It turns out Daa has been working with both sides and has an even more complicated relationship with them than Cere and Master Cordova were aware of. Daa reveals the Fylari were actually the ones who attacked the caravan in the first issue, setting this conflict in motion. According to Dylanto, both the Onothons and Fylari have been ready for a fight for a while, and both sides wanted to use this dispute over the Fylari sovereignty and access to the sacred temple as a catalyst to a war which would decide the issue. Furthermore, the Onothon government voted not to recognize the sovereignty of the Fylari, which makes the entire planet now part of the Republic. Confused? Yeah, I am too. What this does demonstrate is that there were most likely several cultures who suffered the same fate as the Fylari around the galaxy, planting seeds for the Separatist uprising years down the road. This is certainly a “deep cut” way of showing that, but I’m guessing that’s what we as readers and fans are going to take away from this plot point. Back to the story, right after Daa claims the Republic has dispatched its own forces to help contain the fighting, he’s shot to death from a blast by Neralli.
Neralli and the Fylari are finished having any ambiguity about what they are fighting for. The cause to fight for their sovereignty in the face of being assimilated by the Onothon government and eventually the Republic is certainly a noble one, but it’s unfortunate the conflict and animosity have taken Neralli to a place where she won’t even try to let the Jedi broker a peace deal. Again, the more we learn about the kind of “good intention” moves from both the Jedi and the Republic we see how problematic they were and what they contributed on the road to the Clone Wars. Cere tries to get between the two sides, but she and the Ontothon and Daa forces are overwhelmed and on the verge of slaughter. Fortunately, some envoys from the Republic have just arrived.
Mace Windu leads a contingent of Jedi who’ve come to intervene in the conflict. Windu is determined for the Jedi to act as protectors against the contingent of Fylari aggression, swooping in to help lead those wishing to avoid the fighting behind the Republic security forces. The Fylari fighters did a great job of hiding their numbers and they’ve unleashed a force much greater than the Onothon, Daa Corporation, or Jedi expected. They aren’t going to make anything easy for the Jedi Masters who’ve come to try and end the conflict. Cere realizes Neralli has headed for the temple, so she and Master Odu go to warn Master Cordova, who’s been inside during this entire conflict.
It’s a trap! Cere and Odu find Master Cordova wounded from falling debris, then Neralli springs the trap. Neralli reveals the Fylari intend to seize control of Onotho so they can breakaway from the Republic…which doesn’t sound so sinister to me. Don’t get me wrong, the violent methods they’ve gone to are not good, but their intention to remain sovereign in a forced assimilation of their culture is not. The secret of this temple appears to be these mysterious spheres, which Nellari has used to capture the Jedi. Nellari says they are only interested in protecting their land and apologizes to Cere for taking these measures, but vows to keep fighting. She starts to fill the sphere with some sort of gas, which we are never quite sure if it’s meant to harm or simply disable the Jedi. Once outside the temple, Neralli shows little intention of letting up and actually shoots down a Republic vessel. Things are getting out of control.
Cere is able to use the force to manipulate the guardian sentinels into smashing the sphere keeping them confined. They run out of the temple just as it explodes and kills Master Odu. Cordova and Cere use the Force to keep the debris from killing the rest of the Fylari. Neralli is stunned the Jedi would try to protect the Fylari. Cere and Cordova lead an evacuation of the Fylari with what’s left of the Republic cruisers.
Neralli and her forces have stayed behind as the rest of the Fylari are evacuated. The mood on the cruiser is one of failure, both for Cere and for the Fylari survivors. Cere feels like they failed the Fylari. Though I don’t think the Jedi and Republic did, it’s clearly a problem they didn’t take the time to understand the diverse world of Onotho and just assumed that government spoke for all cultures and beings. As the nuance of this pre-Clone War era continues to expland, stories like these, as well as Master & Apprentice and Dooku: Jedi Lost, elaborate how simplistic the views of the Republic and the Jedi can be. I’m not pro-Separatist, but I can understand why so many planets rallied to Count Dooku, who no doubt took advantage of the skepticism many had against both galactic forces who claimed to be fighting for a greater good.
Back on Coruscant, Cere prepares to be disciplined by the Jedi Council again. Only, Cere learns the aftermath of the conflict has actually brought about the greater good. Mace explains that even though it wasn’t a victory, Cere’s actions prevented a much bigger conflict. The Daa Corporation has been stopped from exploiting the temple and the Onothon government has been indicted for misleading the Republic about the Fylari. The Jedi have been able to convince some of the Fylari to help establish a joint government between them and the Onothon. There’s no word whether Neralli and her forces survived, but we know they do because of the flash forwards we’ve been treated to with Second Sister (whose name I shall withhold for those of you who haven’t played Jedi: Fallen Order). The council grant Cere the rank of Jedi and she goes to say goodbye to her own master, who has now chosen to devote his service to the Jedi in a more scholarly fashion by studying in the Jedi Archives. We know what eventually becomes of both of these characters, so it’s nice to see them have one last goodbye.
Back to present day, Second Sister has made her way into the temple and finds a data recorder buried under the rubble, left behind by Master Cordova in his hasty escape. She vows to use this to track down Cere Junda and Cal Kestis. If you want to know what happens, Jedi: Fallen Order has your answers!
Well, I’ve really enjoyed this limited series by writer Matthew Rosenberg, but this issue is very confusing and rushed. I feel like they skirted over a lot of things and I found myself going back through the issue several times because I felt like I missed something. I hadn’t missed anything, there was just a lot of details left out. This issue wasn’t bad, but it didn’t really give me a satisfying ending (just my opinion) and I have watched all the cut scenes in the game. I’d hoped for a little more, but at its best, Jedi: Fallen Order – Dark Temple did a great job of giving us insight into a major character of the game. I really enjoyed getting to know Cere Junda and look forward to more stories featuring her. The art in every issue by artists Paolo Villenelli, Ruairí Coleman, and colorist Arif Prianto was very good throughout the series. Whether you are planning on playing the game or not, and despite it’s rocky ending, I still think Jedi: Fallen Order – Dark Temple is well worth your time.