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First, there was The Clone Wars. Then, we were (and still are) graced with The Bad Batch. But after that, there was a little-known installment known as Tales of the Jedi. It follows very specific circumstances in the life of two Jedi: Ahsoka and Dooku.
Yes, it’s only a miniseries. Six episodes of up to twenty minutes each, and that’s it. But if you have yet to watch them, get on your Disney+ and do it now. I promise it’s worth it! Does the presence of a baby in the trailer and first episode fool you into thinking this show is for kids? Don’t let it! Some of these are bru-tal!
While you might wonder why this series is necessary, let me put your mind at ease. In its comparatively short run time, Tales of the Jedi does an incredible yet succinct job of highlighting the ultimate failure of the Jedi at the time of the Grand Republic and the Senate: its politics.
Interested in what I mean by that? Read this Tales of the Jedi synopsis to fully grasp it!
Tales of the Jedi Synopsis and Overview
Tales of the Jedi is made up of six episodes. Each one is either about Dooku or Ahsoka.
- Life and Death – Ahsoka
- Justice – Dooku
- Choices – Dooku
- The Sith Lord – Dooku
- Practice Makes Perfect – Ahsoka
- Resolve – Ahsoka
The Tales of the Jedi episodes focusing on Dooku are chronologically and thematically close. The three about Ahsoka span from birth to Jedi exile, with Practice Makes Perfect examining her time as a Padawan during the Clone Wars. It’s more spread out. The two don’t particularly overlap in any way aside from the overarching themes (more on that below).
As such, I’ll divide these synopses into ‘Dooku’ and ‘Ahsoka’.
Tales of the Jedi: Dooku’s Synopsis
In Justice, Dooku and his Padawan, Qui-Gon Jinn, head to a remote planet in the galaxy. This episode is set approximately forty or forty-five years before the Clone Wars. It’s under the command of Senator Dagonet, a man who lives comfortably on Coruscant while allowing his people to suffer. In response, the desperate villagers kidnap his son.
The villagers bring the two Jedi, people they immediately trust because of their positions, to the kidnapped son. He claims to have been treated well for a prisoner. Surprisingly, he sympathizes with his captors, having seen the squalor in which they live.
Dooku’s rage at the narcissistic and merciless Senator begins to form just as Dagonet himself arrives at the village with a squad of his guards. Although the Jedi are accused of trickery, Dooku explains that the Senator has no idea of their presence.
When he and Qui-Gon attempt to step in and defuse the situation to establish the truth and execute ‘justice’, Dagonet simply opens fire on them, too. The Jedi defend themselves and the villagers with their lightsabers. During this attack, where many villagers are shot, gives in to his anger and mercilessly wipes out most of the Senator’s troops. He Force chokes Dagonet, and only Qui-Gon’s quick thinking in releasing the son to save his father prevents the Jedi Master from killing him.
As the episode concludes, Dooku doubts that any good will come from the day’s events. In other words, Dagonet will continue oppressing his people, and the Republic will allow him to get away with it. Despite Qui-Gon’s youth, he also shows how much he admires him and thanks him for his intercession.
Choices are set between ten and twenty years later. Dooku and Mace Windu head to Raxus Secundus and land in the capital, Raxulon. They’re investigating the death of Jedi Master Katri. It’s claimed that she and Senator Larik landed alone in a remote wooded location when an unknown group opened fire at him, killing her. Dooku doubts these claims, finding it unlikely that a Jedi Master would succumb to such a simple ambush. Windu, on the other hand, is reluctant to get involved in what he calls “local political skirmishes” without authorization from the Council.
It doesn’t take Dooku long to pick holes in the story at the claimed ambush site. Senator Larik reveals that his guards killed her before he was shot in the back and killed by them.
Dooku and Windu defeat the rebel guards with relative ease. Hanel, the guard who initially greeted the Jedi, accuses them of being pawns of the Senate before opening fire again. Mace deflects the bolts back at him, killing him. Semage, the last survivor, admits to being part of a group that learned Larik was selling off Raxus Secundus’s land to wealthy investors, destroying the people’s planet and livelihoods to make himself rich. Like Hanel, he describes the Jedi as “lapdogs of the Senate”.
In custody, Dooku admits admiration for Semage’s devotion to his people while decrying his tactics, surprising the imprisoned man. He doesn’t expect a Jedi to talk this way. Mace calls his fellow Master as they return to Coruscant with Katri’s body. He warns Dooku that the Council “will have questions”, to which Dooku responds he is more than happy to explain himself.
Do you think the Jedi will truly keep peace if they continue to take everything the Senate says as law?
Mace responds that the Jedi are guided by the Council, not politics or ego. After the funeral, Dooku learns that Windu has been given Katri’s place on the Jedi Council. Denying that he knew about this before the mission, Mace says he will speak in Dooku’s defense. This obviously patronizing comment shuts the Jedi down, and he turns to the horizon – seeking answers elsewhere, away from the corrupted Order. Never have the words “Master Jedi” been laden with such contempt or betrayal.
The Sith Lord
This episode is set in 32 BBY and runs side-by-side with The Phantom Menace. The episode begins by showing us that Dooku is already a traitor. We see him deleting the archive records about Kamino using Sifo-Dyas’s clearance code – the incident referenced in Attack of the Clones and Clone Wars.
As he mingles with the Jedi, librarian Jocasta Nu tells him of Qui-Gon’s report of fighting a Sith Lord. She makes it clear that she doesn’t believe him and that he shares Dooku’s “active imagination”.
After his report to the Council, Qui-Gon walks through the Jedi Temple with Master Yaddle. Dooku finds his old apprentice, of whom he still shows an awful lot of respect.
I gather the Council was not eager to validate that conclusion.
No, they were not, Master.
I’ve been warning them about the coming darkness for years, never to be taken seriously.
Dooku tells Qui-Gon he won’t be there to protect him if he has to face a Sith Lord again. Jinn smiles and says that Obi-Wan has taken on that job, to which Dooku replies that he would very much like to meet him.
There’s then a jump in time to after Qui-Gon’s death, with Dooku mourning his friend. Yaddle invites him to come to Naboo with the Council for the funeral, but Dooku refuses. He blames the Council for Qui-Gon’s death and for not taking the threat seriously.
Yaddle then follows Dooku as he meets with the mysterious Sith Lord. We learn at this point that he has been working against the Jedi for some time. He’s angry about Jinn’s death, but Palpatine replies that they have both lost apprentices.
Yaddle confronts the two, trying to persuade Dooku back to the light. She reveals she has left the Council, objecting over their failures, but the former Jedi is left with no choice but to attack and essentially execute her. In doing so, he finally fully commits to Darth Sidious.
Tales of the Jedi: Ahsoka’s Synopsis
Life and Death
Set about 35 BBY, Life and Death is about the birth of Ahsoka to her Togruta parents, Nak-il and Pav-ti. Gantika, the village elder, smiles on.
After her birth, her father rejoices as the child is named. A year later, as per tradition, Pav-ti takes the infant with her hunting. She shoots and kills a kybuck, finishing it off with her knife, forcing Ahsoka to come face to face with death.
A raxshir (a large sabretooth) watches them from the grass and attacks when Pav-ti’s back is turned. She fights it off, but it grabs Ahsoka and takes her back to its tree-root nest, intending to eat her. Instead, she reaches out and connects to it through the Force.
While her parents and the villagers mourn Ahsoka’s apparent death, they see the silhouette of the raxshir appearing in the distance. Preparing to shoot, Gantika tells them to stop. The young girl is riding the beast, who kneels before the Togruta and allows Pav-ti to take her. It then disappears into the forest as the village elder declares, “Ahsoka is Jedi.”
Practice Makes Perfect
As Anakin’s Padawan, Ahsoka takes a series of training remotes in a dojo overseen by Master Sinube. Other Jedi are watching, including Mace Windu, Plo Koon, Yoda, and Obi-Wan.
Ahsoka completes the test with flying colors, even against the newer models designed to accurately represent battle droids. She’s frustrated that Anakin isn’t pleased (and also that he was late!). When pushed, her Master responds that, no, he doesn’t find it impressive. He claims the test is too easy.
Instead, he sets up a new challenge, inviting Rex, Jesse, and other 501st troopers to set their blasters to stun and stand around her in a circle. She is to continue with this test as long as she can.
At first, Ahsoka is hit quickly, time and time again. She complains that none of the battle droids “aren’t half as good as Rex and his men”. Anakin tells her that’s the point – he wants her to be ready for anything.
Eventually, Ahsoka manages to last five minutes of constant fire but still insists she can do better.
We jump forward a few years to Order 66 and the final episode of The Clone Wars when Ahsoka and Rex face off against the brainwashed 501st as they escape.
“Let’s hope all that training pays off,” says Rex.
Set in 19 BBY, Resolve opens with Padme’s funeral, as seen in Revenge of the Sith. Bail is there, watching, as is a hooded, disguised Ahsoka. When he confronts her, she tells him she risked coming because the Senator was her friend. Remember, she has yet to learn about Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side. She believes him to have been killed in Order 66.
Bail tries to get her back into the fight, and although she refuses, he gives her a comlink for when she wants to contact him. Two clone troopers corner them, and she hides as Organa returns to the funeral procession.
Ahsoka returns to Rex and the Y-Wing bomber they used to escape Order 66 themselves. She goes into hiding, working on a secluded farm to bring in the harvest. A brother and sister work together under the supervision of a gentle, older fellow.
After piling up a repulsor lift cart too high, it breaks and almost falls on the sister. Ahsoka uses the Force to save her instinctively, which is noted by the girl. Later that night, she confronts her and tells her she knows she’s a Jedi in hiding.
However, her brother hears, having declared at supper a couple of hours earlier, that the Empire makes the galaxy a safer place and that only rebels who aren’t loyal are in any danger.
The following day, Ahsoka and the sister take the harvest along the path to Mon-Hella. Ominously, the brother watches them go at first light, shouting, “May the Force be with you!” after them.
That night, Ahsoka and the sister return to the village on fire. The brother has called the Empire, and they’ve sent an Inquisitor who has torched the place to the ground. He expected a reward but instead was threatened with death. Ahsoka saves his life and then easily defeats the Inquisitor, taking his lightsaber and decapitating him.
To allow the survivors to escape, Ahsoka calls Bail, who arrives on the Tantive IV. She’s “ready to get back in the fight”.
And thus, Fulcrum was born.
Tales of the Jedi Key Quotes
Justice, 3:42 – Dooku and the village woman –
We are here to help resolve the situation.
For the Senator.
Justice, 8:07 – Dooku and Senator Dagonet –
Step aside, Jedi.
You serve the Senate.
No. We serve the people of this Republic.
So be it.
Practice Makes Perfect, 10:40 – Dooku to Dagonet after giving in to his rage –
Corruption like yours must be eradicated.
Practice Makes Perfect, 12:31 – Dooku to Qui-Gon –
These words represent Dooku’s frustration with his realization that the Senate and the Republic are entirely corrupt and that the Jedi do nothing about it –
I wonder if any meaningful change will come of this.
Is that why you took action into your own hands?
Choices, 1:07 – Mace Windu to Dooku –
This exchange shows Mace Windu’s blindness to the Jedi’s involvement in galactic politics –
Since we are not members of the Council, we cannot involve ourselves in local political skirmishes unless requested by the Jedi High Council or the Senate.
My friend, your devotion to rules is sometimes inspiring and sometimes maddening.
Choices, 7:18 – Hanel to Windu –
This is evidence that most of the galaxy sees the Jedi as personal soldiers for Senators –
You and all of the Senate puppets will see a reckoning.
Choices, 8:34 – Semage to Mace and Dooku –
Jedi are lapdogs of the Senate. Their bidding always comes first. It’s evident throughout the galaxy. Jedi claim peace but mostly keep law and order for the rich and powerful.
Choices, 10:21 – Dooku to Mace Windu –
Dooku questions the Jedi’s position in relation to the Senate while Mace refuses to see that the Order has already fallen to politics and egos –
Do you think the Jedi will truly keep peace if they continue to take everything the Senate says as law?
Luckily, we are guided by our Council and not by politics nor ego.
The Sith Lord, 10:13 – Sidious to Dooku –
Remember what you told me. The Jedi blindly serve a corrupt Senate that fails the Republic it represents.
Practice Makes Perfect, 5:13 – Anakin, Ahsoka, Rex, and Jesse –
This exchange highlights the tragedy of when Jesse’s chip forces him to obey Order 66, removing his free will and resulting in his death –
How long was I out?
Yeah, Jesse really tagged you.
The Central Themes of Tales of the Jedi
The Failures of the Jedi Council
The politics involved with the Jedi Council is a fascinating subject. It’s shown well in the Prequels and The Clone Wars. Of course, their ultimate failure was the lack of compassion for Anakin. By not helping him through his attachment to his mother and wife, he turned to the Dark Side and wiped almost all of them out.
Tales of the Jedi sounds like it should be a story of how great the Jedi were. In fact, it’s exceptionally clever – it’s the opposite. These episodes combine to show how the Jedi Order was corrupted and consumed by confusion and politics.
Consider Dooku first. In Justice and Choices, he recognizes that he is being used as a pawn by the Senate and the Council (perceptively described as the Senate’s “lapdogs”). He sees the corruption emerging into the Order, but his fellow Jedi are blind to it. Consider Mace Windu’s words: “We are guided by our Council and not by politics or ego.” He cannot see that the Council is under the spell of the Senate, something orchestrated by Sidious.
Again, Justice and Choices shows Dooku being assigned not a peacekeeping mission but one that serves the Senate’s interests. In both cases, he goes against those mandates, much to the dismay of the other Jedi. In fact, Dooku stands up for the poor and needy, whereas Mace, for example, is reluctant to.
The point here is that Dooku, Qui-Gon, and eventually Yaddle and Obi-Wan, to some extent, aren’t wise because they think in a new way. They’re the ones staying true to the Jedi values while the others around them (specifically, the Council) are consumed with politics. However, their very different reactions to the huge mistakes and egos of others determines their paths.
Other failures are highlighted by Ahsoka’s episodes, although in less obvious ways. Specifically, the training sequence she completes in Practice Makes Perfect forces Anakin to step in and develop a more thorough test with the clone troopers firing at her. These are far more skilled than the battle droids. It means she’s prepared to withstand Order 66 much better than all the other thinly-spread Jedi, rushed through their training, and spread throughout the galaxy.
Tales of the Jedi also deals with the themes of destiny and balance and how the Force moves and guides all things.
This is most obvious in the first episode, Life and Death. An infant Ahsoka is saved through her connection to the Force. All around her, the village lives a simple life. Pav-ti, her mother, encourages her daughter to embrace both life and death, joy and pain, for they are all part of existence.
Another key example is what Qui-Gon Jinn says to Dooku at the end of Justice:
You’re a much wiser man than I, Qui-Gon Jinn.
Thanks to your teachings.
Qui-Gon is different from the other Jedi. He’s wise enough to study the prophecy of the Chosen One instead of blindly following the Senate without informing anyone that their ability to use the Force has decreased. He means to mentor Anakin and discovers the secret to immortality in the Force.
And so, in a roundabout way, Dooku’s teachings and ideologies passed onto Qui-Gon, and this approach could have guided the Chosen One along a very different path. As it was, despite picking up many of the free-thinking traits, Obi-Wan never had time to thoroughly learn from or be guided by Qui-Gon beyond his young years, so he could never quite replicate this. Despite this, Dooku’s wisdom – flawed though his response was – eventually led to the fulfilment of the Chosen One prophecy.
One last quick thought on this theme. In Resolve, Ahsoka goes into hiding. She’s betrayed by a young man who makes a grave mistake by trusting the Empire. Still, she joins the Rebellion through this mistake, becoming one of their most crucial assets.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Is there a Tales of the Jedi Season 2?
Answer: Dave Filoni has announced Tales of the Jedi Season 2. The exact release date isn’t set yet, but it’s likely to be sometime in 2024 and on Disney+, of course.
Question: Why haven’t I heard of Tales of the Jedi?
Answer: Tales of the Jedi wasn’t released to much fanfare. All six episodes were released on Disney+ on the same day (October 26, 2022) rather than on the standard one-per-week basis. As shorts, perhaps they were never intended to be something big.
If you haven’t seen them, they’re still there on Disney+. Why not check them out now?
Question: Is Tales of the Jedi based on the comics?
Answer: No. The Tales of the Jedi series on Disney+ shares very little with the Dark Horse Comics productions. The Disney+ episodes comprise six shorts, three focusing on Dooku and the others on Ahsoka. The comic books are all about the ancient Jedi wars with the Sith.
Conclusion: Much More Powerful Than One Might Believe
Tales of the Jedi doesn’t sound like much. I certainly didn’t give the Disney+ thumbnail much attention for a while. But I was truly intrigued when I watched it for the first time – especially Justice (Episode 2). This is an angle to Star Wars we’ve never seen before. I find Dooku’s arc and how it intertwines with Qui-Gon’s (and, through that, Obi-Wan’s and Anakin’s) particularly fascinating.
The plot points are simple yet highly effective, with surprisingly brutal moments like the kybuck kill and Yaddle’s execution. My only complaint is the order of episodes could be clearer. I hope the following series groups different arcs together instead of mixing them like this one. If there’s a reason for this order, I didn’t understand it.
In summary, I can’t wait for Season Two! It’s The Clone Wars all over again, but it brings some genuinely fascinating space politics with it. Who knew?