The Jedi's Downfall Was Foreshadowed in a Surprising Piece of Star Wars Lore (2024)

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The Jedi's Downfall Was Foreshadowed in a Surprising Piece of Star Wars Lore (1)

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The Jedi's Downfall Was Foreshadowed in a Surprising Piece of Star Wars Lore (2)

Jedi: Fallen Order fleshes out many varying aspects of the Star Wars galaxy. It shows the harsh realities of living as a Jedi in the aftermath of Order 66 and gives players a firsthand experience of how terrifying it is to be targeted by the Inquisitors and have to conceal your every move in fear of being destroyed. Cal Kestis is the epitome of what it means to be a Jedi in such a troublesome era and strives to do good despite everything falling to pieces around him.

In addition to letting players have a hands-on experience of being a Jedi during this perilous time, it builds out all sorts of civilizations that had either been hinted at in previous entries to the saga or didn't exist at all before the game. The Nightsisters, who were destroyed during the Clone Wars, get a bit more depth. Kashyyyk, one of the most interesting planets in the galaxy, becomes fully explorable, allowing those who want a better view of Wookiee culture to fulfill their deepest desires. However, the most notable new group is the Zeffo, who were created for Fallen Order and provided the information Cal and the crew of the Stinger Mantis seek. They are a direct mirror to the Jedi Order - especially when considering their eventual destruction.

Who Were the Zeffo?

The Jedi's Downfall Was Foreshadowed in a Surprising Piece of Star Wars Lore (3)

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Zeffo Sage

Burial Location

What protected them?

Eilram

Zeffo

Tomb Guardians and puzzles

Miktrull

Zeffo

Tomb Guardians and puzzles

Kujet

Dathomir

Darkness that corrupted most who dared to enter

At their core, the Zeffonians (often shortened to simply the Zeffo), sought peace above all else. They took up residence on the planet that shared their name, and many had very little desire to venture out into the galaxy. After all, Zeffo was rich with resources. What reason would they have to leave? Many of them were Force-sensitive, though, like so many other groups, they didn't view their power as stemming from the same Force the Jedi used. Rather, they referred to it as the Life Wind. Those who could bend it to their will were known as sages, and highly regarded by the rest of the Zeffo. The sages garnered respect even in their deaths. Those who outlived them built them large, elaborate tombs guarded by the fearsome Tomb Guardians and protected by a series of near-impossible puzzles that would prevent all but the most determined from reaching their core.

Though they may have preferred to keep to themselves, this didn't stop Zeffo from establishing ties with the rest of the galaxy. They fostered a close relationship with the Wookiees of Kashyyyk. Fallen Order underscores this. Cal Kestis and the crew of the Mantis must voyage to Kashyyyk after they visit the Tomb of Eilram, as Eno Cordova, whose path they're following, went there in hopes of determining more information about the mysterious astrium that would give them a chance to find the Holocron they seek. They constructed a vault on Bogano (where, it's worth noting, the Holocron was hidden) suggesting that their culture became prevalent there as well, and had ties to the world of Ontotho as well. Jedi other than Eno Cordova took a shine to their teachings. Cal senses numerous echoes throughout his voyage that suggest that certain Jedi, such as Master Illaga of the High Republic era, taught their ways to groups of Padawans in hopes of heightening their understanding of the Force.

Perhaps the greatest example of their influence over the rest of the galaxy was revealed in Ahsoka. Runes like the ones adorning the walls of the Tomb of Kujet on Dathomir appeared in the background of a shot on Peridea. They blessed his reign - which is interesting, considering that he's the one who ultimately led the Zeffo to their untimely demise. His fortress became the home of the Nightsisters who took up residence on Peridea and may have even been the ruling seat of the kingdom they established on the planet.

What Happened to the Zeffo?

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As happens to so many groups, the Zeffo grew more corrupt as time went on and they grew more and more powerful in the Force. The rule of Kujet, the last of the great Zeffo sages as outlined in Fallen Order, marked the end of this beautiful civilization. He destroyed the astriums that were central to the group's religious practices, thus preventing their traditions from carrying on after his death, and migrated to Dathomir (which is a wellspring of the dark side of the Force and makes everyone there more susceptible to falling into its traps no matter how inherently good they may be). The dark side tempted him, promising him power the likes of which he had never seen before. In his eyes, he was the only path for the Zeffo to obtain true power. Therefore, anyone who wanted to know anything about their religion and the Life Wind would have to learn from him, and he would have total influence over nearly every aspect of their civilization. He promised his followers total control over the Life Wind in return for their loyalty. It worked. Kujet was the most powerful sage in the group's history.

However, his desire for power came at a massive cost. Kujet lost sight of himself. Cruelty marred his legacy. Some of the Zeffo tried to stand up to his violence and aggression, believing his behavior to be inconsistent with everything their civilization stood for up to that point. He didn't take this well. Kujet orchestrated a massacre in the halls of his palace on Dathomir, striking down everyone who dared to resist his bid for power. Those who remained were too afraid of him to try to stage another coup against his tyranny, and he ruled over the Zeffo on Dathomir with an iron fist. Anyone with any desire to free themselves from him and his rule fled into the Unknown Regions - perhaps even to Peridea, where the vestiges of their civilization rested. Nobody ever heard from them again, and even Eno Cordova, who dedicated his life to learning about the Zeffo, didn't get nearly as much information as he wanted.

How Does This Mirror the Fall of the Jedi?

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Five Saddest Depictions of Order 66 (via CBR)

#5

The Bad Batch

#4

Obi-Wan Kenobi

#3

Revenge of the Sith

#2

Jedi: Fallen Order

#1

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

The downfall of the Jedi heavily mirrors that of the Zeffo. During a vision in the vault on Bogano, one of the Zeffo sages admits to Cal that despite their technological superiority and immense wisdom, the Zeffo were on the verge of fading from existence. He claims that "dogma blinded [them] to the path of balance and gradually [they] allowed their pride to corrupt [them]." This very statement establishes the similarities between the Zeffo and the Jedi Order. Toward the end of their time, the Jedi Order became far too rigid. Too many things governed them (in part because of their heavy involvement with the Senate), and they no longer had the freedom to do good through whatever means suited them. The Jedi Council grew more rigid, which led certain Jedi, such as Anakin Skywalker, to grow resentful of them and begin listening to those who wished them harm.

On this note, Anakin Skywalker could be considered an analogous figure to Kujet. He rose from within the ranks of the Jedi just as Kujet rose from within the Zeffo. Ambition ruined them both. The dark side called out too much to each of them. The people surrounding them were too blind to see that destruction was upon them whether they were prepared or not. Their rage led them to play a major role in the loss of their entire culture, and any survivors were forced to flee or risk persecution.

It's entirely possible that, had the Zeffo not fled into the Unknown Regions (and had Kujet not worked to erase pieces of their history), they would have been able to help prevent the downfall of the Order. It's not clear when Eno Cordova first began studying them, but since Cere was still traveling with him when he did, it may have been when even she was just a Padawan - many years before the seeds of the Order's destruction were planted. Whether the Jedi would have listened to the warnings presented in the Zeffo's story remains undetermined, since they were so blind to the darkness threatening them from every side in the first place. Regardless, it would have given them a fighting chance. In the end, both civilizations fell, and they were both cautionary tales for their survivors.

The Jedi's Downfall Was Foreshadowed in a Surprising Piece of Star Wars Lore (7)
Star Wars

The original trilogy depictsthe heroic development of Luke Skywalker as a Jedi and his fight against Palpatine's Galactic Empire alongside his sister, Leia. The prequels tell the tragic backstory of their father, Anakin, who is corrupted by Palpatine and becomes Darth Vader.

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George Lucas
First Film
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

Latest Film
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Spin-offs (Movies)
Rogue One , Solo: A Star Wars Story
TV Show(s)
Star Wars: The Clone Wars , The Mandalorian , Ahsoka , Andor , Obi-Wan Kenobi , The Book of Boba Fett , Star Wars: The Bad Batch
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Luke Skywalker , Han Solo , Princess Leia Organa , Din Djarin , Yoda , Grogu , Darth Vader , Emperor Palpatine , Rey Skywalker
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