Julien Neaves, Sci Fi Head Writer
Star Wars fans are just one episode away from the season finale of the gritty and grounded Disney+ series Andor. And our review of that show is on the horizon but there was another series that dropped during its run that not many people are talking about — animated anthology Tales of the Jedi. And that’s unfortunate, because this show is awesome. Featuring the same animation style as the epic Star Wars: The Clone Wars, it is visually gorgeous, and the voice acting is great all around. Telling three tales each of fan favourite Togrutan Ahsoka and future Separatist leader Count Dooku during his days as a disillusioned Jedi, the six-episode series from THE Dave Filoni expands the stories of these ex-Jedi in interesting ways.
With a Death Star-sized SPOILER ALERT let’s dig into each episode and rate them out of five Force Pushes:
#1 Life and Death
Were you interested in seeing Ahsoka as a one-year-old demonstrating her Force abilities for the first time? You were? I guess it’s just me. Unfortunately, I found this introductory episode a little bland. Sure, seeing her mother Pav-ti and exploring a Togrutan village was cool, but it felt more like a footnote to Ahsoka’s tale. And we didn’t even see her being taken by the Jedi order. Kinda meh.
Force Pushes: 2 out of 5
After the tame Life and Death, things get interesting with the first Count Dooku episode. This tale gets point from the jump for showing us Dooku (voiced competently by Corey Burton) with his young Padawan Qui-Gon Jinn (voiced by Liam Neeson’s son Micheál Richardson). I did not recognise Qui-Gon at first (though I should have made the connection) and he was giving me strong young Luke vibes. Anywho, a simple mission to retrieve a kidnapped senator’s son opens Dooku’s eyes to corruption and that the kidnappers were really oppressed people lashing out. He begins his slow decent to the Dark Side by opposing the vile senator and nearly Force choking him to death, an ominous shadow of darker things to come.
In the prequel trilogy we learn that Dooku turned away from the Order, but they never explain why. Now I presume this would’ve been explored in books and comics and so forth, but I was glad that they helped flesh out those reasons here onscreen.
Force Pushes: 3.5 out of 5
While Ahsoka had her story oddly broken up (why is beyond me) we got all three Dooku tales in consecutive order. And I will say that overall, his episodes were a lot stronger than hers.
After the Dooku/Qui-Gon pairing we now have a Dooku/Mace Windu pairing (TC Carson again delivers his strong Samuel L. Jackson impression). The violent Dooku and stolid Windu bounce off each other well. And this tale adds an air of mystery with the death of a Jedi, later revealed to be at the hands (or rather blasters) of a murdered senator’s guard. With some great action and tense moments this is easily one of the best episodes of Season 1.
Force Pushes: 4 out of 5
#4 The Sith Lord
And this is it folks. If you only watch one episode of Tales of the Jedi Season 1, then The Sith Lord IS that episode. Where do I even start? This story is actually set during and after the events of Episode I: The Phanton Menace, and help to explain (retroactively, but we’ll take it) what the heck Dooku was up to during this time. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing older Qui-Gon (voiced by Liam Neeson here) interacting with Dooku. And then we get Dooku and Yaddle (voiced by Bryce Da. Yaddle! The glimpse and you miss out female Jedi Master from Yoda’s race in The Phantom Menace. Through their conversation we learn why Dooku was not at his former Padawan’s funeral. Retconning. Fun for the whole family.
But the pièce de résistance is the final act, where a spying Yaddle discovers Dooku conspiring with Darth Sidious. We know she never revealed their plot so the diminutive, so we all knew she had Yaddled her last Yaddle the moment she was discovered. What follows is a ferocious saber battle between Dooku and Yaddle and one of the most brutal deaths in the franchise’s history. When Dooku crushed her, I felt that in the pit of my stomach. Super dark, lore expanding and just so well done. Sure, I would have liked to know why Yaddle didn’t speak backwards like Yoda or seen when Sidious first turned Dooku to the Dark Side. But those are minor nitpicks to a truly excellent episode.
Force Pushes: 5 out of 5
#5 Practice Makes Perfect
After the excellence of The Sith Lord we return to Ahsoka’s path and the mediocrity of Practice Makes Perfect. Did you ever wonder how Ahsoka was able to block all those blasts from the Order 66-activated Clone Troopers at the end of Star Wars: The Clone Wars? You did? Wow. 0 for 2. Well, this episode answers that question. And it’s okay. More interesting than Life and Death, but like that first episode felt somewhat unnecessary.
Force Pushes: 3 out of 5
Finally, we get a strong Ahsoka episode. While The Sith Lord was sent around The Phantom Menace Resolve takes place during and after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Seasoned voice actor Phil LaMarr channels Jimmy Smits as Senator Bail Organa who helps Ahsoka evade the new Imperial Stormtroopers following Padmé’s funeral. We later see her in hiding on a planet as a farmer. When she inadvertently reveals her Force abilities to save a friend a selfish, snivelling co-worker sells her out to the Empire in the hope of making some credits. But the first rule of dealing with the devil is don’t, and the inquisitor (with the sick design) proceeds to massacre the village. Now I was expecting a grand showdown between Ahsoka and the inquisitor. But the way she deftly took him down with one move had me going…
An awesome moment for an awesome character. And a strong climax to Ahsoka’s best tale.
Force Pushes: 4 out of 5
So that’s my review. Which was your favourite episode of Tales of the Jedi Season 1? What characters would you like to see in a possible Season 2? And you can check out more animated Star Wars content below:
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.