Disney and Lucasfilm has created a short series that chronicles six important milestones in the lives of some iconic Jedi warriors.
Star Wars has been turning a bit of a new leaf as of late. The Disney+ series have been a major step up on the majority of the theatrical releases, with the final season of The Clone Wars, The Mandalorian, and the ongoing Andor being highlights. While we're waiting to see how the first season of that latter show will end, Lucasfilm, under the watchful eye of Dave Filoni, has released another animated series, one that can almost be described as The Clone Wars meets Visions.
And I say this, as this series has the narrative beats and animation style of The Clone Wars, but takes an anthological and shorter format more akin to Visions. In this show, we get six episodes tailored around important points in specific Jedi's lives over the Prequel Era, and while there are many returning faces, such as the likes of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu, even The Emperor, the majority of the narrative is centred around two characters: Count Dooku and Ahsoka Tano.
In fact, the show itself can almost be split into two, three-part stories revolving around that duo. We see Dooku earlier in his life alongside a Padawan Qui-Gon Jinn, where we see semblances of the Sith Lord he will ultimately become, all before jumping forward a bunch of years to seeing him teaming up with Windu, before leaping forward again to a point where he has fully embraced the Dark Side. As for Ahsoka, we see her infantile life, before her years as a Jedi in training (around The Clone Wars period), and then finally a while after the Empire has taken full control and seemingly around Star Wars Rebels. The time jumps are where the episodes set themselves apart from one another, and where each chapter of the show meets its conclusion.
Anyone who loves Star Wars lore and has been hoping that Lucasfilm would explore the grey areas that are often glossed over, this is the perfect show for you. We get to meet certain characters that are rarely seen otherwise, get to see how important figures grew to become the characters we know and love them as today, and do so all in an interesting way that doesn't feel it overstays its welcome. If anything, it makes you wish that the series would've been longer, so that we could get further chapters and see extra important milestones and developments in the character's lives. But then again, you can appreciate the tighter nature, as the last thing Star Wars needs right now is an overweight, stretched out series that simply exists and floats because of its nostalgic beats and fan service.
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Don't get me wrong, Tales of the Jedi has heaps and heaps of both of these points. This is a show made for those who keep up to date with the wider Star Wars universe, and have seen The Clone Wars, Rebels, The Bad Batch, the mainline films, and know where each episode slots itself into the extended Star Wars timeline. It's just presented in such a way that it doesn't come across as too cheesy or anything of the likes. And this partly down to the fact that the show prides itself on its engaging and thrilling narrative and plot points, but also its fantastic animation style.
Tales of the Jedi looks very similar to the final season of The Clone Wars in animation style, and anyone who has seen that will know that it means a beautifully animated product that both captures the wonder and serenity of A Galaxy, Far, Far Away, but also its more destructive and harsh nature. It doesn't matter whether you're watching Ahsoka's mother crawling through a clearing of verdant tall grass, or seeing a Sith Inquisitor (with a mask resembling Darth Revan or Darth Nihilus) dragging it's dual-bladed red Lightsaber through the dirt against a backdrop of a flaming village, it's all very striking.
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Sure this series is over in a flash, with a runtime that's barely 80 minutes long when you take away the credits, but it's also a series that will stick with you long after those credits roll. It's interesting, well-paced, brilliantly animated, and easy to digest. Disney and Lucasfilm has continued their run of engaging Star Wars projects over 2022.