From the mind of the one and only Dave Filoni comes a series of Star Wars shorts exploring the lives of two beloved Jedi before they left the Order. From the downfall of Count Dooku to the adventures of Ahsoka Tano, Tales of the Jedi explores what it means to be a Jedi… the good and the bad.
Reviewing this series is going to be a tale of two halves. On one hand, the Dooku-focused episodes were truly phenomenal. Those three episodes beautifully capture a time in his life we haven’t really seen much of. Watching as he slowly slips over to the dark side, gradually being corrupted by Darth Sidious along the way, is completely mesmerising. Not only are the narratives within each of these episode just “cool”, they add extra layers to the prequel films, painting his character in a slightly different light. Sure, we knew in theory that his character takes this path, but actually seeing the key events that lead to his departure play out adds something new that the prequel films didn’t explore.
The first two Dooku episodes are fantastic little Jedi adventures, showing his disdain for the Jedi slowly creeping in, while the climax to his arc is one of the best episodes of animated Star Wars. It’s emotional, exciting and action-packed, and is backed by a couple of returning performances from characters’ live-action counterparts. On the other hand, the Ahsoka content just didn’t hit the same.
Ahsoka Tano is a character whose journey has been explored quite thoroughly throughout The Clone Wars, Rebels and now in the live-action Star Wars series’. As a result, her episodes in here don’t really add much more to her character than we already knew. Her first episode, set when she’s just a baby, is fine. I’m not sure we needed it in here but it’s a cute little insight to her upbringing. The next two episodes that focus on her are very cool, there’s some great action and fun moments that tie in to what we already know of her story, but they aren’t particularly eye-opening.
Don’t get me wrong, she’s a brilliant character who I love seeing in both animated and live-action forms. It’s just that these episodes lack the weight to stand up to what the Dooku episodes accomplish.
Despite the contrast between the Dooku and Ahsoka narratives, one thing is for certain – having Dave Filoni at the helm is what makes this series as strong as it is. No one knows Star Wars like this man. I’d argue not even George Lucas knows Star Wars like he does. Filoni writes every episode and oversees the series, and it shows. No one else could weave in clever cameos and deep-cut references like he does in here. He understands these characters more than anyone, and he’s crafted stories that complement their overall journeys beautifully well.
In the end, Tales of the Jedi is a great concept for a series that I’d love to see continue. Give us more shorts that provide some further insight into the lives of Jedi we know and love. The Dooku episodes are exceptional, ones you absolutely must watch. The Ahsoka episodes may not have hit as hard, but there’s something entertaining in every one.