Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi Vibes More Like The Clone Wars Season 8
When Disney and Lucasfilm announced Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi, the title suggests an opportunity to expand on the various Jedi throughout the franchise's universe. To an extent, it did do that, but upon its release, it was largely another prequel-era exposition focusing on Dooku, played by Christopher Lee in the live-action Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005). The other main focus is Ahsoka Tano, who was already the main focus of the Dave Filoni animated series The Clone Wars and will lead her self-titled live-action series. Given Tales of the Jedi's animated format, it felt like another season of TCW because you can never have too much exposition.
The Clone Wars Favorites Return for Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi
The six-episode miniseries is largely split into two parts. The first provided greater context to a younger Dooku (Corey Burton) in his Jedi days before the ultimate reveal that he was working with Palpatine. The second part expanded Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein) before the events of TCW, picking up from her infant days to her recruitment to the Jedi. The bulk of the cast is retained from TCW with a few exceptions. Aside from the aforementioned actors returning, we also have fan favorites James Arnold Taylor, Matt Lanter, TC Carson, and Dee Bradley Baker reprising their respective roles as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, and Captain Rex/clone troopers.
While TCW often had soundalikes standing in place for their more famous counterparts, Disney went the extra mile bringing back Liam Neeson and Ian McDiarmid to reprise their roles as Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Sidious from the films. For trivia-philes, Neeson's son Micheál Richardson played younger Qui-Gon. Bryce Dallas Howard lent her voice to play Yaddle in the Dooku episodes, doing a far better job than the character was ever expected to do.
How do Tales of the Jedi stack up? It doesn't feel like the quality exposition deserving of its title, rather than just TCW season eight. There's nothing wrong with expanding the show because we've already gotten three "final seasons" out of it. It just seems like with as many stories to tell from the prequel-era Jedi, it might be best to uncancel it. There's no shame in it, Disney. I get we're not going to get standalone series for Dooku or Yaddle, but clearly, you have space and time to fill as well as an endless reservoir of content for Disney+.
There are no major storytelling gaps or obligations, and everything is gravy. If there was a season two, I'm hoping the series takes the opportunity to go to a place Star Wars hasn't ventured into in the live-action or animated formats, the old republic days. Beyond that, we can also take a more focused look at the Dooku-Qui-Gon days or focus on other younger incarnations of Yoda or Mace Windu, who either just got the rank of master or their padawan days. For anyone who's a fan of TCW and the franchise as a whole, Tales of the Jedi is worth checking out. If you're coming in fresh, there might be some awkwardness, as the series was designed with fans in mind.