Stream it or skip it?
fans of the star wars franchise have always enjoyed the various anime series under The Clone Wars heading because they fill in a lot of canon that was left out in the 2000s prequel sequels, and it does so with some really great character-driven stories. A new series of animated shorts created by clone wars Vet Dave Filoni shows how two particular Jedi ended up on opposite sides of these clone wars.
Opening shot: We descend from a starry sky to see a small village. A man runs through the village telling everyone « she’s here! »
The essential: Tales of the Jedi is a series of six episodes of animated shorts that show how two Jedi found themselves on opposite sides of the Clone Wars.
In the first episode, a baby named Ashoka is born in a Togruta village; when she is about a year old, her mother Pav-ti (Janina Gavankar) takes her on her first hunt. It’s a rite of passage among the Togrutans, and when Ganitka shoots game, she makes sure to show her toddler what death is like. But, while preparing to take the beast back to the village, a huge tiger-like creature attacks, grabs Ashoka and runs into the woods. As the villagers search for her, they all find out what the baby is capable of.
In the second episode, Jedi Master Dooku (Corey Burton) and his young padawan, Qui-Gon Jinn (Micheál Richardson) travel to an outpost where downtrodden villagers have kidnapped a senator’s son. However, when the Jedi find out how badly the Senator has treated the people he represents, Dooku begins to realize that the Senate is corrupt and that the Jedi may just want peace, but seem to follow the Senate’s orders without ask questions.
What shows will this remind you of? Tales of the Jedi certainly fits into the star wars cannon, just before The Clone Wars; the animation is also similar to other anime series under the star wars banner.
Our opinion : Like most animated shorts on Disney+, episodes of Tales of the Jedi, created by Dave Filoni and written and directed by Filoni and others, may at first seem to tell different stories. But the stories tie together, showing how Dooku and Ashoka arrived at the positions they took on the Galactic Republic.
It’s an interesting way for Filoni, who was so heavily involved in the original clone wars series, to approach these two characters. Dooku’s road to becoming one of the first Sith Lords is illustrated through various stories of disillusionment; a second investigation alongside fellow Jedi Mace Windu (TC Carson) shows a slightly older Dooku realizing that some of the elements that would form an early version of the Empire are onto something.
Due to the connections, the episodes do not have traditional beginnings, middles, and endings; while the stories themselves are pretty fully told within their 11-15 minute lengths, it’s certainly to the viewer’s benefit to watch all six episodes to get the full picture.
What age group is it aimed at? : There’s a lot of laser violence in this series, so we think around 8+ is appropriate.
Farewell shot: Village elder Gantika (Toks Olagundoye) explains to everyone that Ashoka was able to survive with the tiger because she is a Jedi.
Sleeping Star: We’ll give that to the show’s voice actors, who all do a good job of reminding us of the most famous people who played the characters in the prequel trilogy.
The most pilot line: There really isn’t much. Maybe Ashoka’s baby sounds aren’t so realistic, but that’s just a nitpick.
Our call: SPREAD IT. Tales of the Jedi brings familiar characters from the prequel trilogy back to our screens, in stories that further fill out the Clone Wars canon, which is always a plus.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and technology, but he’s not fooling himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.comFast Company and elsewhere.