Fans of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” rejoice!
The magic of everyone’s favorite Star Wars series has once again returned in the form of “Tales of the Jedi,” a new collection of shorts. These episodes highlight various moments within the preexisting timeline that have only been mentioned previously but not shown. But if you want to go into this blind, read this after you’re done.
There are two stories being told here: those of fan favorite characters Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) and Jedi Master Count Dooku (Corey Burton) before his fall to the dark side of the Force. I personally found Dooku’s episodes more interesting because we’ve never really seen this part of his life before.
These shorts often take place during big events in the Star Wars canon, but the focus in “Tales of the Jedi” shifts to different characters and locations that haven’t been highlighted during these pivotal moments, such as the death of Qui-Gon Jinn. I wish there was more of this storytelling and would’ve loved to see two or three more episodes focusing on Dooku.
That being said, it was surprisingly effective for three 10-15 minute episodes. Hopefully we will get another season covering Dooku or other slept-on characters. I found his abandoning of the Jedi order to be more believable and interesting than how we see Anakin Skywalker become Darth Vader in the movies. Instead of just being tricked and being mad he can’t marry someone, Dooku had legitimate qualms with the operation of the Jedi. He understood the system was flawed, and over the course of three shorts, he finally gave up on trying to fix the Jedi Order from the inside. I think this deep dissection of the politics of the prequel trilogy gives Dooku much more backstory, and how he sees Emperor Palpatine as the lesser of two evils.
Ahsoka is the best — we love Ashoka — and it wouldn’t be a Dave Filoni show without Ahsoka finding her way in. Of course, she doesn’t disappoint. I was less excited during her episodes because we have seen her from “Clone Wars” all the way to “The Mandalorian,” so the new shorts served to fill in spots of her life more so than answering burning questions. However, it was still a joy to see her again and it contextualized scenes from “The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars: Rebels” in a really heartfelt way.
The animation is beautiful. It’s in the same style used in the newest season of “Clone Wars” and “The Bad Batch” and wraps up longtime fans in a warm blanket of nostalgia. Just as “Clone Wars” was an anthology show with small arcs happening in three or four episode segments, “Tales of the Jedi” has the same self-contained feeling while still helping foster a greater narrative. I’d recommend watching this collection as one big movie all together, or if you’re already planning on giving “Clone Wars” a rewatch, I’m sure someone much smarter than me has already mapped out the best way to watch both with “Tales of the Jedi” supplementing between episodes.
Yaddle (Bryce Dallas Howard) is in this for some reason, but I’m not complaining. I love Yaddle. My favorite characters in Star Wars are the really dumb ones, and Yaddle has always been the top of my list, so seeing her in something always makes me giddy. Her fight with Dooku was actually pretty cool and mirrored the fight between him and Yoda in “Attack of the Clones.” Also, seeing Dooku mourn Qui-Gon’s death was pretty moving.
Ashoka’s episodes don’t have many spoiler-worthy moments, but the end of episode 5 when her training against the clones blends directly into her final showdown during Order 66 gave me chills. Once again, I hope to see more projects like this because you can never have enough “Clone Wars” content.
Final verdict: I finished the whole thing in a little over an hour, so it's not a huge commitment. If you’re a fan of Star Wars — specifically Dave Filoni and “Clone Wars" — go ahead and watch this.