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‘Tales of the Jedi’ Is A Brief And Fascinating Look Into The Origins of Beloved Star Wars Heroes & Villains – Review

Star Wars animation has always been a perfect place for storytellers and creators to delve further into beloved characters. The space for multiple seasons and long-running arcs offers an opportunity to explore the Star Wars universe more profoundly. Tales of the Jedi is another endeavour into that exploration, with six episodes dealing with two well-known Jedi: Ahsoka and Dooku. One is the fan-favourite student of Anakin Skywalker (who is getting her live-action spin-off next year), and the other is the disillusioned Jedi who turns to the dark side. Two undoubtedly fascinating characters, but does the shortened time frame allow for enough exploration?

(Courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd./Lucasfilm Ltd. – © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.)

Star Wars fandom is fickle. At one point, it can feel that everyone agrees that a particular movie or series is excellent. The following month, the sentiment flips, claiming that the universally loved film is “Bad, actually.” Thankfully, this flip-flopping was never really felt with the animated shows. Fans had long supported the Star Wars animated series, clamouring for more Rebels and Clone Wars when the shows were at their heights. Bad Batch also experienced this backing from fans, although the casual watchers weren’t as enthused.

The Tales of the Jedi announcement at the Star Wars Celebration was a genuine surprise. This short series seemingly came out of the blue, almost as a substitute for Bad Batch season two, which was on track to premiere around the same time. The difference is that Bad Batch has its own story and characters that develop throughout multiple episodes. Tales of the Jedi tackles some of the most engaging subject matter in animated Star Wars but offers the shortest runtime for each episode.


Tales of the Jedia - Anakin and Ahsoka
(Courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd./Lucasfilm Ltd. – © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.)

Tales of the Jedi is six episodes, (three on Ahsoka and three on Dooku), with runtimes ranging from 12 to 15 minutes. The first one is the simplest of them all, delivering a formulaic entry point to the mini-series. The premiere dives into the birth of Ahsoka, as well as her first adventure ever with her mother; learning the lessons of life and death with a traditional Togruta hunt. The episode delivers the traditional themes of nature and nurture, and working with creatures instead of constantly fearing them. It offers little to the Ahsoka mythology, other than to say that she has always had a connection to the force. The following episode delves into the Dooku arc, when he was a much younger Master Jedi, on a diplomatic hostage mission with his observant apprentice, Qui-Gon Jinn. The Dooku arc was, by far, the more enthralling.

Star Wars fans have started to view Dooku through a different analytical lens over the past few years, and these episodes are an acknowledgment by Dave Filoni and crew that they were listening. Filoni and company were fascinated by Dooku’s fall to the dark side and how his disappointment in the Jedi was later justified by the fall of Anakin Skywalker and the entire galaxy. The arc touches on critical moments that influenced Dooku’s loss of faith in the institutions the Jedi served. It shines a light on how the Jedi become blinded by the etiquette and rules of the Senate and start forgetting about the people they are supposed to serve. Although the arc offered thought-provoking questions and contradictions within the Jedi, the limited timeframe cut back on potential answers or counters. Ultimately, the hook was successful but left a little too much at the table. So much more could’ve been explored with just an extra ten minutes for each episode, but the series seems more concerned with acknowledging the Jedi’s follies than actually discussing them.

(Courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd./Lucasfilm Ltd. – © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.)

The following Ahsoka episodes trodded familiar ground with a story of Ahsoka saving a family under persecution by an Inquisitor and a training montage episode that gave audiences a fun callback but added little substance to the character. Tales of the Jedi attempt to juggle these two arcs simultaneously, with mediocre results. Although the Dooku arc posed some compelling questions, the Ahsoka arc felt like a re-tread of past Clone Wars episodes. There is so much to discover within this universe, and the animated medium offers new tools to dissect certain character decisions, political moves, and galaxy-altering consequences. Tales of the Jedi gives us a glimpse of what could be done with characters like Dooku but leaves much to be desired for such a rich source of the story. The Dooku fall is a complex introspection on the loss of faith in institutions and religion, but the restrictions of a mini-series were too tight to truly examine that. It’s entertaining, nonetheless, with epic lightsaber battles, fun cameos, and a look into a villain that was thought to be forgotten.

Conclusively, Tales of the Jedi tries to do too much in a finite amount of time. I would love to see a spin-off centring the Dooku arc with a much longer format where his story is front and center. That said, I would still recommend the series. Not only because of how quick of a watch it is but also because the questions posed are too good to pass up. The Star Wars universe proves that there is always room for more exploration of certain beloved characters.

Star Wars: Tales Of The Jedi Begins Streaming Exclusively On Disney+ Starting October 26

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