Weeks before Star Wars Celebration 2022, word broke of a new animated anthology series called Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi. That series shares its name with one of the earliest and most influential comics in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. But now that the series has been officially unveiled, we know the new Tales of the Jedi is a very different project, one that focuses on multiple Jedi Knights during the Prequel era.
Tales of the Jedi is a name with deep significance to the Star Wars mythos. The original Dark Horse Comics series was among the first Star Wars stories to flesh out the ancient history of the Jedi Order and their war with the Sith. It doesn’t appear that the new animated series shares much more in common than the title, but there’s always a chance the connection runs deeper. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the original Tales of the Jedi comics and why they’re so different from the newest Star Wars cartoon.
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Tales of the Jedi: What We Know About the Animated Series
Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi is an animated anthology series set at different points during the Prequel era. The series consists of six episodes, half focused on Ahsoka Tano (voiced, as usual, by Ashley Eckstein) and the other half on Count Dooku before his descent into the Dark Side. Dooku’s Padawan Qui-Gon Jin will also play a heavy role in the series, and he’ll be voiced by both Liam Neeson and Neeson’s son, Michael, depending on the time period.
The series will shed light on three distinct points in Ahsoka’s career, including her early childhood. Janina Gavankar (who played Iden Verso in Star Wars: Battlefront II) will voice Ahsoka’s mother in that first episode. The second will showcase Ahsoka during the Clone Wars, while the third reveals a battle between an older Ahsoka and an Inquisitor.
It’s unclear whether Tales of the Jedi is a standalone project or if writer Dave Filoni is planning multiple seasons. If the latter, it’s possible the series could branch out beyond the confines of the Prequels to explore other characters and time periods. Perhaps even the heroes and villains of the Tales of the Jedi comics? Let’s shift focus to them.
Essential Ahsoka Tano Stories to Watch (and Read)
Tales of the Jedi: The Comic Books
The original Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi is a series of comic book story arcs published by Dark Horse between 1993 and 1998. The series was originally conceived by writer Tom Veitch, who is considered to be one of the core architects of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. While Veitch’s first Star Wars project, Dark Empire, was a sequel set six years after the events of Return of the Jedi, Veitch included references to ancient Jedi Knights and Sith Lords in that series. Those references became the foundation on which Tales of the Jedi was built.
Tales of the Jedi is largely set 4000 years before the era of the movies, in a time when the ancient Jedi Order is at war with the Sith (who at that point were depicted as a singular race of Force-sensitive aliens rather than the secretive order they would later become). Later Tales of the Jedi arcs delved even further back in the Star Wars timeline, exploring a period 5000 years before the movies.
Together with co-writer Kevin J. Anderson (who also penned the Jedi Academy Trilogy of novels around the same time), Veitch fleshed out an era of Star Wars history that fans knew almost nothing about at the time. And even though Tales of the Jedi has been rendered non-canon like most of the Expanded Universe, it’s a series that continues to exert a strong influence on contemporary stories.
The Plot of the Tales of the Jedi Comics
While Tales of the Jedi is ostensibly an anthology series focused on different characters and conflicts in the Old Republic era, the various stories do connect to form an overarching narrative. The series is largely about the rise and fall of Ulic Qel-Droma, a Jedi Knight from Alderaan who becomes corrupted by the Dark Side. Over the course of the series, Qel-Droma battles the Sith Empire and falls in love with fellow Jedi Nomi Sunrider, only to succumb to the temptation of darkness himself.
Qel-Droma’s story is deeply intertwined with that of Exar Kun, another former Jedi who turns to the Dark Side. Kun was originally created by Anderson for the Jedi Academy Trilogy, which reveals that his spirit was tethered to the abandoned temple on Yavin IV that briefly served as the base of the Rebel Alliance. Working together, Anderson and Veitch integrated Kun into the overarching Tales of the Jedi storyline, and the comics showcase the Sith Lord at the height of his power and reveal how he met his eventual end.
Tales of the Jedi proved to be hugely influential for the franchise, establishing key pieces of the Jedi/Sith mythology in a time before the Star Wars prequels began to cover that ground. Among other things, these comics cover pivotal conflicts like the Freedon Nadd Uprising and the Great Hyperspace War and introduce the ancient Sith Empire and the warriors of Mandalore. Above all, Tales of the Jedi proved that even thousands of years before the time of Luke And Anakin Skywalker, some of the galaxy’s most powerful Jedi battled the influence of the Dark Side.
You may be wondering where the Knights of the Old Republic games fit in. The KOTOR name actually originated in the comic, as it’s the subtitle of one of the major Tales of the Jedi story arcs. The games themselves are also essentially direct sequels to the comic. The original Knights of the Old Republic is set roughly 40 years after the conclusion of Tales of the Jedi.
KOTOR builds on the Jedi/Mandalorian conflict introduced in the comic, introducing Sith Lord Darth Revan and their apprentice Darth Malak. Like Exar Kun and Ulic-Qel Droma before them, Revan and Malak were distinguished Jedi Knights who fell to the temptation of the Dark Side. The exact reasons for their shared downfall weren’t revealed until the release of The Old Republic, an MMORPG set several centuries later. In the process, The Old Republic ties back to the Sith Empire mythology introduced in Tales of the Jedi.
KOTOR puts players in the shoes of an amnesic main character and a ragtag band of Jedi, smugglers, Mandalorians and one extremely cranky droid as they seek to prevent Malak from unleashing one of the galaxy’s deadliest super-weapons. The sequel, set a decade later, shifts focus to a disgraced Jedi known as the Jedi Exile as they battle a triumvirate of upstart Sith Lords.
While the KOTOR games are sequels to Tales of the Jedi, there are some storytelling discrepancies between the two. Tales of the Jedi was released before the Star Wars prequels materialized, whereas KOTOR arrived a year after Episode II hit theaters. When Tales of the Jedi was being published, George Lucas hadn’t established basic details like the idea that “Darth” is an honorific adopted by all Sith Lords, not just Vader. The technology and architecture of KOTOR is also wildly different from Tales of the Jedi. The latter showcases the Star Wars universe in a much more primal and less technologically advanced state, one where the influence of Westerns and samurai movies is even more apparent.
Do you think the Tales of the Jedi animated series is borrowing more than just the name from the original comics? Let us know your theories in the comments below. And be sure to vote in our poll to let us know which time period you most want to see explored in Tales of the Jedi.
Note: this story was originally published on April 29, 2022 and updated on May 28 with the latest news from Star Wars Celebration.
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.