As if we haven’t been spoiled enough at the moment with a weekly episode of Andor, last week saw the release of Tales of the Jedi: a series of 6 shorts, each 10-20 minutes long and showing a moment from the life of either Ahsoka Tano or Count Dooku.
This was a fun little series, which I would definitely love to see continued with more Jedi in the future. And while I will be giving my thoughts on each episode below, I thought that I may as well get some of my general thoughts out of the way first as they apply to every episode.
First off, The animation just continues to get better, and it’s incredible to see just how far the quality has improved from the early seasons of The Clone Wars. And as always, it is partnered with the stunning scores from Kevin Kiner, which takes the episodes to another level. The episodes are ordered chronologically, which does feel a little odd as it means that we open with Ahsoka but don’t see her again until episode 5, so I can’t help but think that it would have been better to put all episodes following a specific Jedi together, and then ordered chronologically within that, as this would then be an easy way to continue the series in the future with new Jedi. Will they continue the series? I certainly hope so! And keep an eye out once Andor is over for my thoughts on other Jedi who could feature if this series continues.
SPOILER WARNING: While I don’t intend to go spoiler-heavy, I will allude to some moments to give context to my thoughts, while trying to leave the details rather vague. I will also be including the Disney + runtimes (though bare in mind this includes credits for foreign dubs), summary (which can be seen on Disney +), which Jedi the short is about, and an image from each episode.
Life and Death
Ahsoka Tano, 19 mins
A child goes through a rite of passage with unexpected results.
My absolute favourite episode of the Ahsoka Tano trio. It’s wonderful seeing a time of her life that we have never seen before, with her as a child before joining the Jedi Order. And as such, we are treated to seeing a new side of Togrutan culture, as well as getting to meet Ahsoka’s parents (Janina Gavankar does a great job as Pav-ti, her mother). Some people may not like that we see Pav-ti hunting in this episode, but I think that it is done in a very tasteful manner, while showing how the people do this for survival not fun, and respect nature and life. Finally, the ending of the episode may be guessed ahead of time, but it still left me surprisingly emotional.
Count Dooku, 16 mins
Two Jedi are dispatched to resolve a hostage situation on a distant planet.
A great first look into Dooku during his time as Qui-Gon’s master. I loved the decision to cast Micheál Richardson (Liam Neeson’s son) as a younger Qui-Gon, and while there were moments that I thought Corey Burton’s younger Dooku sounded a little too like some of his other previous characters, I felt that even this got better as the episode went on, or maybe I just stopped noticing it! Even in such a short episode, we really see the difference in the quality of life that the senator and his troops are used to compared to the people he is meant to be serving, making that senator’s corruption clear even though we have never met him before, while I was tense throughout the climax of this episode as we see Dooku’s righteous anger push him down a dark path.
Count Dooku, 16 mins
Jedi Knights investigate the mysterious death of one of their own.
Another great episode, and I love how this one really ties into the previous episode, with another corrupt senator and Dooku being reminded how the Jedi Order is now basically just doing the bidding of the Senate rather than looking after the people, which will just push him further from the order and into the hands of Darth Sidious. While I was disappointed that we did not get any episodes pairing Dooku with his own master, Yoda, I came to appreciate the decision to use Windu in this episode, as we see how Windu just blindly sticks to the orders given by the Jedi Council (the Senate), which earns him promotion to the Council, while Dooku looks to do what is actually right.
The Sith Lord
Count Dooku, 18 mins
A Jedi master makes a troubling discovery.
My absolute favourite episode of the bunch, but also one of the hardest to discuss without spoilers! Set during The Phantom Menace, we get answers to 2 of the mysteries of the Prequel Trilogy: why did Kamino not appear inthe Archive records and what happened to Yaddle? Bryce Dallas Howard does a great job as Yaddle, who is arguably as big a character in this episode as Dooku. The main climax of this episode is an incredible duel between the pair, which was so well choreographed.
But now, I can’t move away from this episode without discussing my favourite scene from the whole series in more detail! And that is the moment with Yaddle and the door. Having had it dropped on her, we think that she is dead, only for her to use the Force to lift it in one final act of defiance before collapsing with weakness due to her injuries. Visually, it was perfect in the way that he rising door let the light flood what had been a dark room, forcing both Doooku and especially Sidious to flinch away from the light, which was itself a beautiful symbolism, while Kevin Kiner used such a triumphant rendition of the Force Theme as Yaddle lifted the door, which ended in a sombre fade away at the end as Yaddle’s strength left her and she collapsed. No dialogue. Just the visuals and score making a perfect moment.
Practice Makes Perfect
Ahsoka Tano, 13 mins
A Jedi Padawan is given a seemingly impossible exercise.
Perhaps the least necessary of the episodes, this still has some real great moments to note on, especially for fans of The Clone Wars. We see Anakin not happy with the basic tests we see the Jedi having Ahsoka do, so has her learning to defend herself against the best of the 501ˢᵗ, which as the episode reminds us in the final moments actually allows her to survive when so many more experienced Jedi fell during Order 66. I also loved (but felt a gut-punch) at how the first time she is stunned, they have Jesse apologise for doing so and play it as a humorous moment, when we know that Jesse will be the one leading the attempts to capture her when Order 66 happens.
Ahsoka Tano, 17 mins
A former Jedi is faced with the truth that they cannot be something they are not.
Sadly, this series didn’t save the best until last, and in fact, it ended on a serious negative for me, though I can also understand why many would love the episode. For those who only watch the shows and movies, this is a great story of Ahsoka finding her place in the world post-Order 66, while the Inquisitor looks awesome and the score for her fight with him was my favourite musical moment on a par with the moment that I discussed in “The Sith Lord”. The issue with this episode is the matter of canon. With Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm and the rebranding of the old Expanded Universe as Legends, we were promised one canon across all media. However, this is the third time that a series has decided to show a different version of events to that which has already been explored. And it is the second time that the novel Ahsoka by E.K.Johnston has been affected. Previously it was just a few details in the flashback sections that were changed by the last arc of The Clone Wars season 7, but now this short has tried to condense the rest of the book into a couple of minutes, and has come nowhere near doing it justice. But worse than that, they have then chosen to make changes for no apparent reason. 2 of the main characters in that book were sisters Kaeden and Miara Larte, who have now been replaced by a nameless brother and sister, and this is made even worse when you consider that Kaeden was one of the early LGBTQIA+ characters in canon. And while the Inquisitor looks cool, he looks nothing like the Sixth Brother’s previous portrayals, while it doesn’t even show the true importance of that fight: Ahsoka purifying the lightsaber crystals to use in her new lightsabers. Some will think that I am making a fuss over nothing—in fact I’ve already seen plenty of comments on Twitter saying that people who claim about this because of “canon” are just haters and have no real excuse, and while I agree that some retcons can be done well, the erasure of a novel that someone worked hard on and that many people love is going too far and goes against what we were promised 10 years ago. As the name of this site suggests, canon is important to me, as I love the lore and mythology of franchises like this, so one overarching canon starting again just as I was getting back into Star Wars was perfect for me, but events of recent years that have seen movies and series ignore the canon of the books and comments has seriously affected my love of the series and my enjoyment of reading the books.
What did you think of the series?
Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you….