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Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi (2022) Review

Star Wars has utilized the medium of animation to share stories that have proven that they cannot be limited to live-action alone, with such titles as Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels reassuring skeptics that these series are just as important as their cinematic counterparts. Tales of the Jedi revisits the prequel era of the Star Wars franchise, setting the stage for significant icons in the series to explore more of their own backstory before they are given a chance to build upon their own identity. This six-episode first season comprised of shorts calls upon screenwriter Dave Filoni to touch back on his animation roots, which span back to his time as a director of nine Avatar: The Last Airbender episodes in 2005, and continue to upkeep his esteemed reputation beheld by Star Wars fans.

While short in runtime, these condensed snapshots illustrate cornerstone moments in the prequel era that emphasizes the importance of tending to individual characters. Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi contrasts the Light and Dark Sides of the Force as it follows Ahsoka Tano's youth as a Jedi Padawan and Count Dooku's impending fall to the Dark Side. The supporting voice cast nearly all harmonizes with headling Ashley Eckstein and Corey Burton, with Bryce Dallas Howard's role of Yaddle surprising audiences. Micheál Richardson, son of Qui-Gon Jinn actor Liam Neeson, cannot par his father's interpretation of the sage Jedi Master. His voice plainly feels miscast for a younger Jinn.

While it can be suggested that Star Wars may overuse its prequel era in later media and lean heavily into its most popular characters to keep itself afloat, Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi challenges the notion that it exists simply to exist. The anthology optimizes its atmosphere and taps into the lore that promises the endlessness of the franchise. No character has one story to tell alone, and their complexities have been feasted on throughout Star Wars canon (or elsewhere). Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi revisits the prequel era with purpose and studies the conflict of characters who have lost their faith in the Jedi. Strong thematic linking backs the notion that a shared conflict's resolution depends on ethics. Two strained relationships with the Jedi Order do not reach a parallel; Tano's crusade against oppression vastly differs from Dooku's commitment to the Sith. Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi aims to make up for what was left out of Dooku's elegant-yet-intimidating presence in the prequel trilogy and attempts to reconcile for underdeveloped screenwriting.

This easily binge-able companion to Star Wars: The Clone Wars supplements the impact of the animated series though feels as if it's apologizing for previously excluding important developmental moments in Dooku's story in live-action. The anthology actively picks up the pieces and mends the gaps left before it in order to impress upon how in tune Star Wars is with moral and ethical self-conflict. As a whole Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi stitches together unlikely commonalities while displaying stark differences through a mature, compelling narrative. 7.5/10

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