- Matt Wilkins
Star Wars by Era: (Part 1) Dawn of the Jedi
As I continue my YouTube reviews of the Star Wars Expanded Universe I thought I’d take the opportunity of giving my overall assessment of the era’s in which I’ve already covered. These will be short since I’ll try not to repeat myself from previous videos but detailed enough to let you know what I thought of the era overall.
That being said, the first era to talk about is the smallest within the entire EU. Dawn of the Jedi sprang from the mind of John Ostrander, a man who already well known for his excellent work on the Star Wars Republic comic series.
His idea was to thrust the story even FURTHER back in time before the Republic was even created. A very ambitious move to be sure but one that made sense. Years earlier Dark Horse had hit a homerun on their gamble to explore the Old Republic, arguably one of the most popular era’s in Legends overall! Exploring what the Jedi were like during the Old Republic paid off in several ways Dawn of the Jedi planned to as well.
First off, it happens in an era where no other stories have been told. Giving authors free reign over the aspects of the series. Something Disney easily could have decided upon their purchase of Lucasfilm but I’ve already discussed that several times already so I’ll just move on.
But planting an entirely new era within the timeline was a proven success. So very little was known about the time before the Republic that it was the perfect place for Ostrander and friends to use their imagination to create new stories for the fans instead of re-hashing the SAME story line from Episode 4 as Force Awakens did. (ok I said it. Moving on!)
Secondly, by creating this new era we get to see new enemies and new situations that we’ve never seen before. Space travel takes longer, aliens are not as familiar with each other and secrets to the universe are still out there to explore!
But sadly with Dawn of the Jedi, the era as a whole does not hold up. And here is why.
Primarily it boiled down to “time”. Specifically, not enough of it. Dawn of the Jedi had barely taken off until George Lucas decided to sell out to Disney, thus dropping an unceremonial end to an unfished era. I’m sure if knowing what he knows now, Ostrander would’ve hustled to give a more fitting end to the series but he did what he could with the time he was left, which wasn’t that much. Only enough to wrap up a current storyline and that was it.
If more time would have been provided I’m sure Ostrander had all sorts of goodies to share. Yes this would have meant more horrible novels from Tim Lebbon who had signed on to make three books but the comics would have been a saving grace to the era much like the popular “Tales of Jedi” was for the Old Republic.
The second issue is opportunities missed. Right off the bat I think the writers got it wrong with not showing us a more archaic universe. Most species know one another’s language and everyone seems to be familiar already with each species in the room. But there are ancient days! Shouldn’t there be some mystery as to what people know of one another. If I’d never seen Star Wars, I would’ve thought Wookies were the villains! Look at them! They look like monsters. Bith’s seemed friendly enough from the outside or are they sinister and calculating. Why not add a little paranoia in-between species.
Yes I know the story of how they all got to know each other was in Issue #0 of the comic but still if a Rodian smells funny… I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but I believe a big opportunity was lost there for the reader to enjoy.
Next was the Jedi, or Je’daii as they’re called in the era. I was super disappointed no one consider utilizing this chance to make them appear as the old McQuarrie drawings, portraying Jedi’s with power packs on their backs, connected to their lightsaber. I’d always thought that was a missed opportunity for the Old Republic era and when I heard they were going even farther back in the timeline I thought it was a terrible idea….but the chance at seeing a McQuarrie jedi got my hopes up.
Yet it didn’t come to pass.
The final things about what this series failed to do was show us a style. Old Republic had on and so did every era after that. Each one was clearly defined (almost from the very beginning) so why didn’t Danw of the Jedi define itself to us?
We can’t use the excuse about “time” because right off the bat Tales of the Jedi showed us what it was all about. I felt Dawn of the Jedi struggle to find its identity.
As discussed on YouTube several times, I admit there were a lot of questions left to be answered when the series went away but would I ever want to revisit this era again? The answer is not as simple as you may think.
On one hand I’d love to see anything continued within the Legends universe but if I had a choice or eras to explore this would be at the bottom of my list. I don’t feel like there’s any knowledge I couldn’t live without here.
What became of the Rakatan Empire and how did it fall? How did the Jedi order evolve over time and learn to operate lightsabers without the use of the Dark Side? How did their philosophy change? And how did they come to decide on building a Republic and how did those early times come about?
These are all questions that would be nice to know but not necessary. And the answers aren’t worth sorting out because I feel there are way more interesting stories to explore instead.
What are your thoughts on the Dawn of the Jedi Era. Do you agree or disagree with what I said? Comment below. I assure you I won’t mind either way because we’re all friends here.