By Chris Karenbauer
I have waited a long time for “Tales of the Jedi” to drop, and let’s just say Dave Filoni has been exceeding my expectations since “The Clone Wars. “Tales of the Jedi” has six 15-minute episodes, and although I wish Filoni gave us more, it’s so well made that we don’t need more.
“Tales of the Jedi” follows two main characters: Count Dooku and Ahsoka Tano. But I think the most interesting arc is Count Dooku. Yes, Ahsoka is a great character, and I have loved her since her introduction in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” But until now, Count Dooku’s fall to the Dark Side has been a mystery.
We are introduced to Count Dooku in the second episode “Justice” with his Padawan Qui-Gon Jinn. In this episode, Dooku still adheres to the Jedi Code, but he becomes disillusioned when the people he’s trying to help claim that the Jedi serve a corrupt Senate. And in a way, they do.
Dooku and Qui-Gon are on an unnamed barren planet where the people kidnap the senator’s son in protest of the senator’s corruption. When the Jedi arrive, the senator’s son – though still a prisoner – sympathizes with the people.
I could see the conflict on Dooku’s face. He’s disgusted by how much the people suffer under the senator’s policies. Dooku even goes as far as Force choking the senator when he arrives on the planet. If it wasn’t for Qui-Gon’s quick thinking, Dooku probably would have completely given into the Dark Side.
The next two episodes, “Choice” and “The Sith Lord,” focus more on Dooku’s slip to the Dark Side. These two episodes are set long after “Justice” and mention Qui-Gon and his apprentice Obi-Wan facing a Sith Lord on the planet Tatooine, a callback to the events of “The Phantom Menace.”
In “Choice,” Count Dooku and Mace Windu (who isn’t part of the Jedi Council yet) travel to the planet Raxus Secundus to investigate the death of Jedi Master Katri. Windu comments to Dooku to follow what the Council instructs them to do regarding their mission. Dooku, growing more disillusioned with the Jedi, remarks on his distrust in the Jedi Code. “Your devotion to rules is sometimes inspiring and sometimes maddening,” he says to Windu. Later on, we see Dooku in the Jedi Temple library erasing Kamino in the archives, giving Obi-Wan a headache 10 years later in “Attack of the Clones.”
In “The Sith Lord,” Dooku’s loyalties to the Jedi completely shatter after news of Qui-Gon’s death. He confronts his master, Darth Sidious, about his former Padawan’s death. Unbeknownst to both of them, Yoda’s female counterpart Yaddle follows them and tries to convince Dooku to turn back from the Dark Side. Their epic fight is Dooku’s test to prove his worthiness to become Darth Sidious’s new apprentice.
Though we don’t get to see a lot of Yaddle in the “Star Wars” series, her death is tragic, and I may have shed a few tears. Dooku’s descent to the Dark Side is equally tragic because he wants to bring order to the galaxy but is led astray by Sidious.
The second arc is all about Ahsoka, her birth and her training. The first episode of the series “Life and Death,” introduces us to Ahsoka’s mom and dad, Pav-ti and Nak-il. When Ahsoka is a year old, Pav-ti takes her hunting when a creature similar to a sabertooth tiger attacks and takes Ahsoka.
The village rallies and searches for the baby, and when they begin to lose hope, the creature brings Ahsoka back. Baby Ahsoka uses the Force to connect with the creature, and the elder declares Ahsoka a Jedi.
After an interruption with Dooku’s arc, we see Ahsoka once again in “Practice Makes Perfect” when she’s in the middle of a training session. Ahsoka’s master Anakin Skywalker complains that the training is too easy for her and designs a new training program for her.
Anakin’s rigorous training teaches Ahsoka to protect herself when he can’t do it himself. And we see her utilizing her master’s training when she’s surviving Order 66. Filoni broke my heart once again when he reused a scene from “Clone Wars” season 7 when Ahsoka and Rex meet the 501st in the hangar bay. They survive thanks to Anakin’s training.
The last episode “Resolve,” shows Ahsoka as a fugitive, and though she’s in hiding, she still helps people when she can. She even fights her first Inquisitor – the show doesn’t mention which one – and kills him. At the end, she contacts Bail Organa and begins her journey as the rebel spy “Fulcrum.”
Overall, “Tales of the Jedi” is excellent. The music is phenomenal with “Dual of the Fates” playing in the background when Dooku contemplates Qui-Gon’s death and later “Ahsoka’s Theme” playing when she faces the Inquisitor in “Resolve.”
The returning voice actors made my heart race, with James Arnold Taylor and Matt Lanter returning as Obi-Wan and Anakin respectively, but especially Corey Burton returning to voice Count Dooku. Even as a Jedi, Dooku still had a tone of authority and sinisterness, and Burton does a great job of capturing a young Dooku.
Both Dooku and Ahsoka experience hardships in their lives that shape them, but their reactions to those experiences build them to become a tragic villain or beloved hero.
I give “Tales of the Jedi” a 10/10
“Tales of the Jedi” is now streaming on Disney+
Chris Karenbauer is a senior Journalism major and the Editor-in-Chief for Cedars. She enjoys reading and writing, hanging out with friends and listening to music.
Images courtesy of Lucasfilm