Star Wars: Stories of Jedi and Sith Takeaways and Throwaways

credit Lucasfilm Publishing
Illustrated by Jake Bartok

1. What A Jedi Makes by Michael Kogge

Rating: 2.5 Credits

Canon Era: The High Republic

“For though the Jedi and the Force are one, the Force is not what a Jedi makes.”

What A Jedi Makes

Summary:

Lohim Nara (who is unnamed for most of the story) is from the lower levels of Coruscant and dreams of becoming a Jedi and training in the Jedi Temple. After briefly meeting Yoda he is more determined than ever, but the words of a young Jedi Padawan and the law enforcement of Coruscant keep telling him he cannot be anything other than what he is. He proves them wrong through skill and observation and saves the young Jedi Padawan from an underground gang, earning a place at the Jedi Temple.

The Promise of the Premise:

“What A Jedi Makes” is not a tale of Jedi and Sith as it is of someone on the outside looking in. But the reference Yoda gives to a Jedi who was not a Force-user who still contributed some of the most meaningful Jedi text suggests that the Jedi were not always as closed off as they appear during the Fall of the Jedi era. And perhaps that is the point, that tales about the Jedi and Sith rarely operate in a vacuum containing those two, but the struggle of light and dark involves everyone.

Canon Contributions:

Speaking of that non-Force user, Lyr Farseeker was first mentioned in the Junior novel The Rise of Skywalker. Rey reads a text from the Jedi Master’s Poetics of a Jedi, but he gets more context here. While Lyr was presented as a Jedi Master, Yoda reveals to Lohim that he was not a Force-user. I expect Lyr to continue to be mentioned in various canon materials as we continue to learn more about the history of the Jedi Order.

Illustrated by Jake Bartok

2. Resolve by Alex Segura

Rating: 3 Credits

Canon Era: Between The High Republic and the Fall of the Jedi

“We are all flawed Lizel. We all make errors of judgment. It’s how we recover from them that defines us.”

Resolve

Summary:

Qui-Gon Jinn is sent to the planet of Destina to retrieve a Padawan who has run away. While searching for the lost Padawan, Qui-Gon is still feeling the loss of his old Master Dooku, although he is optimistic about his apprentice Obi-Wan. To bring Lizel back safely, Qui-Gon finds he has to navigate the politics of war within Destina between the power-hungry Prefect Aminar and factions working against her. Qui-Gon connects with Lizet over the uncertainty of her place within the Jedi Order.

The Promise of the Premise:

Qui-Gon is wrestling with a decision that someone else made to walk away from the light. His former Master Dooku was one of the few Jedi in history to decide to leave the Jedi Order and Qui-Gon struggles with not feeling resentment but resolve. It is a direct battle between light and dark and Qui-Gon and Dooku end up on opposite sides. However, Dooku is never mentioned by name in this story so you have to know your canon to pick that up.

Canon Contributions:

I doubt we will learn more about Lizel as she is more of a device for Qui-Gon to work out his feelings about Dooku leaving and the Jedi Order. Similarly, I am not sure we will hear from Prefect Aminar or the various factions on Destina again.

Illustrated by Jake Bartok

3. The Eye of the Beholder by Sarwat Chadda

Rating: 2 Credits

Canon Era: Fall of the Jedi

Summary:

Siblings Zohra and Dumuz are waiting for their parents to return home after they have been gone for five days. Their homeworld of Devalok has been recently invaded by Separatist forces and the children are hiding out in their home. Zohra keeps telling her brother that their parents will be back soon while trying to distract him with stories about the Jedi. After a bomb hits their area and battle droids find them and almost execute the children, they are saved by Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. Amazed at getting to meet the Jedi, Zohra tells them how long they have been alone, and the Jedi offer to help look for their parents if the children can help them navigate the city.

The Promise of the Premise:

Very similar to the premise of What A Jedi Makes, but with two children who are got in the middle of the Clone Wars, The Eye of the Beholder is not a sharp commentary on war or class like the former. It is the least engaging of the ten stories in the novella and, because this takes place during the Clone Wars and the planet of Devalok never appeared in the series, I doubt it will play any importance in future content within this era. But it could in other periods of the canon timeline.

Canon Contributions:

Devalok could appear again in a story about Uma Kalidi, the Jedi Master who is the subject of Zohra’s stories. Uma’s stories are told as tales, but given that Zohra meets Anakin and Obi-Wan, there is a chance that Uma was a real Jedi who lived many years prior. And there is existing lore surrounding her time as a Jedi on her homeworld. It is not clear what period she lived in so there is a chance it could be during The High Republic. It is a planet of gardeners, so perhaps during a time when the Drengir were active.

Illustrated by Jake Bartok

4. A Jedi’s Duty by Karen Strong

Rating: 4 Credits

Canon Era: Fall of the Jedi

Summary:

Sometime shortly after the Battle of Geonosis, Barriss Offee is fighting the dark side. She is suffering from trauma and no longer feels the protection within the Jedi Temple on Coruscant that she wants did. While her master, Jedi Luminara Unduli, is a general in the Clone Wars, Barriss opted to stay behind and volunteer in the medical clinic to help injured Jedi. But the medical clinic has triggered her own wounds. As she is wandering the temple grounds and observing Jedi Tutso Mara train Younglings, she gets a call from Luminara to meet her in the situation room for a briefing. Luminara tells Barriss it is time for her to return to the war, to return to Geonosis to help destroy a weapons factory (The Clone Wars: season two, episode six “Weapons Factory”). Barriss naturally has fear and anger at being asked to return to the place where so many Jedi were lost, but Tutso Mara tells her that the Jedi are protectors of peace and it is their duty to maintain peace at all costs. Mara helps Barriss meditate by the Uneti Tree and she can focus enough to help with the upcoming mission. Looking forward to meeting Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan, Ahsoka, Barriss is hopeful that she can help end this war and fight back against the darkness.

The Promise of the Premise:

This is a perfect example of the theme encompassing the struggles of a single person suffering from PTSD. Barriss Offee is reaching out in different ways to others and is not truly getting what she needs. She leans toward the knowledge-seeking part of the Jedi Order and is not a fighter, but she has a master who she looks up to and wants to please. No one is validating her fears of the Jedi Order losing their way (even though we know there are Jedi who share her concerns). And so, she keeps these thoughts to herself.

Canon Contributions:

The Uneti Tree outside the Jedi Temple (shown in The Clone Wars) gets more backstory. The tree has a strong connection to the Force and it is why the Jedi Order brought it to the temple. The uneti tree has lurked in the background of some key Star Wars stories involving characters from all eras of the timeline.

Illustrated by Jake Bartok

5. Worthless by Delilah Dawson

Rating: 3 Credits

Canon Era: Fall of the Jedi

“Shielding her eyes, she stared out at the raging battle, hunting for the familiar brown-clad form of Kenobi, but all she saw were droids and clones, seemingly infinite re-creations of the same two forms, a writhing pit of useless killing.”

Worthless

Summary:

Asajj Ventress is on an unknown planet ordered by Count Dooku to take back an ancient stronghold from the Republic. However, she gets distracted chasing Obi-Wan Kenobi and lets herself be led into a trap, falling into a massive pit and breaking her leg. Asajj’s connection to the Force is hindered by pain, but she soon finds that she is not alone. A clone trooper named Doc is also trapped in the pit. Naturally, Asajj is rude to the clone, insulting his identity, and Doc and Asajj trade barbs but realize that they need each other to make it out of their situation. The two try and find their way out of the pit, which is a giant maze, uncovering Jedi artifacts and traps along the way as they debate with each other on which side is on the right side of the war.

The Promise of the Premise:

Delilah Dawson specializes in writing women who have overcome immense battle scars, figuratively and literally (Phasma, Vi Moradi, and now Asajj Ventress). Asajj is a character, like Ahsoka, that got a compelling arc from The Clone Wars and ended up in a very different place from where she started (physically and mentally) by the end of season six. Asajj had to overcome significant loss and never fully left the dark side behind, which is refreshing. The tendency for redemption stories is for characters to turn from the dark side to the light, but Asajj never did but still made a positive difference near the end of the Clone Wars. Like Reva from Obi-Wan Kenobi, she started the process of healing from being encased in the dark side for so long, and this story hints at that encroaching battle.

Canon Contributions:

Asajj is gone by the time season seven of The Clone Wars takes place (although I would not put it past Lucasfilm to retcon that). All hints point to her love interest Quinlan Vos leaping into live-action, so Asajj may too (be it in present or flashback form). And there are some foreshadowing elements to the events in Dark Disciple in “Worthless.” Asajj having a run-in with a clone and not killing him adds to the ultimate framing of her being an anti-hero but less likely to see the clone trooper, Doc, who makes his first appearance here.

Illustrated by Jake Bartok

6. The Ghost of Maul by Michael Moreci

Rating: 3 Credits

Canon Era: Fall of the Jedi

“You didn’t ask for this, that much is true,” Grievous says, “but you never leave it behind.”

The Ghost of Maul

Summary:

Darth Maul, reeling from the loss of his brother, mother and rightful place in the Sith hierarchy is in search of…something. He is not sure what exactly, but something is calling him, something from the dark side. He arrives at a Sith Castle on an unknown planet, hidden from the galaxy and, more importantly, the Jedi.

The Promise of the Premise:

This is it. This is the main reason to read this novella. In all honesty, I never understood the appeal of Darth Maul. The character design was great and sold a lot of toys, but the character himself was severely lacking in The Phantom Menace. Then, for reasons best known to himself, Dave Filoni brought him back in a ridiculous manner in The Clone Wars. It still did nothing for the character, other than provide a convenient Force-user for Ahsoka to fight who wasn’t Anakin in The Clone Wars and who wasn’t Vader for Obi-Wan in Rebels.

Canon Contributions:

And those Sith, the Sith Castle, and the planet (which remains a mystery) are all waiting for more context. There have been many references throughout canon (more recently in The High Republic) of the age of many Siths. So it is time to get some more background to that time and some Sith Lords.

Illustrated by Jake Bartok

7. Blood Moon Rising by Vera Strange

Rating: 3 Credits

Canon Era: Age of Rebellion

Summary:

On the jungle moon of Tsukimitsurin in the mid-rim is an Imperial refinery quietly being sabotaged by Rebel forces. Commander Das Erdol is relieved of her duties by Darth Vader who heads into the perilous jungle of the planet to hunt the Rebels. However, the predatory Vader soon meets his match in a Rebel wookiee leader, Kataarynnna, who has just as much determination to do good as Vader’s thirst for vengeance.

The Promise of the Premise:

The whole story is just a series of people who think they are on top of the food chain getting a rude awakening. From Erdol to a chimeraleon (native to the planet) to Vader, there is a level of arrogance that ultimately defeats each. The last third is more of a traditional battle of light and dark, though the ending does not quite live up to the rest of the story. Still, seeing Vader go through some adversity is so rare that it is always welcomed.

Canon Contributions:

We have a new planet, a new animal species, and a suggested Force-sensitive Rebel leader. The description of the chimeraleon is a half-dragon, half-jungle cat. I cannot imagine what that would look like off of the page. Maybe one day we will see both the dragon/cat hybrid and their native planet, but more likely we could see Kataarynna. She is an orphan like Vader, and he is impressed with her during their initial encounter as he tries to probe her mind for information. A wookiee, who is probably Force-sensitive, getting the better of Vader and living to tell the tale makes me think we might see her again. Especially since Vader is now obsessed with destroying her.

Illustrated by Jake Bartok

8. Luke on the Bright Side by Sam Maggs

Rating: 1.5 Credits

Canon Era: Age of Rebellion

Summary:

In this first-person short story, Luke Skywalker insists that he is not afraid of the dark. He is unfamiliar with the dark, thinking of his homeworld of Tatooine, where the darkness is a relief, and you have more to fear from the hot sand dunes during the day. Which is the opposite of his current situation: Stuck in the dark, trapped in an ice cave-in under Echo Base with a Rebel sergeant who does not like him. The sergeant, Reyé Hollis, blames the Jedi for their current situation and thinks that Jedi overall are pointless and useless at best, harmful and dangerous at worst. In the end, things work out because Luke Skywalker is involved, and both men have a good laugh at what most would consider a traumatizing, near-death experience.

The Promise of the Premise:

I supposed there had to be a light side story after three straight dark-side stories, but this story is also light-hearted. Too light-hearted that it veers towards silly. It is probably the worst story in the entire novella, but only because the situation is presented as low-stakes and the character not named Luke Skywalker is not memorable.

Canon Contributions:

Nothing to see here. Carry on.

Illustrated by Jake Bartok

9. Masters by Tessa Gratton

Rating: 4 Credits

Canon Era: Age of Rebellion

The weak call him Emperor. It is only those nearly as strong as him in the dark side who know his best name.

Masters

Summary:

The Death Star Mark 2 is finishing being built around the forest moon of Endor. And Palpatine sits in his tower and thinks about his triumph over the Jedi while anticipating a new apprentice. Noting that he has not felt this level of anticipation since the birth of his Empire and his apprentice Darth Vader. But he can also sense Vader’s conflict is waning and will not let his apprentice get to the moment of realizing he is more powerful than Palpatine. Then his mind wanders to the only other Master he knows is still alive in the galaxy, and recalls his last encounter with the Jedi Master Yoda. Meanwhile, Yoda is occupied having an important conversation with Luke Skywalker before he joins the Cosmic Force.

The Promise of the Premise:

Two Masters who are nearing the end of their life: One knows it and accepts it, ready to join the Cosmic Force. The other has foreseen nothing but victory. Like Maul, I have trouble finding anything compelling about Emperor Palpatine, so the decision to contrast his POV with Yoda, leaning on the fact that Yoda is the last prominent Jedi Master alive is clever. Palpatine says he fears no one, but he does have a fear: He fears death as all Sith do (do the Sith even believe in the Cosmic Force?).
And when he senses Yoda’s death, Palpatine feels victorious because he views death as the ultimate failure. It is the best-written distinction in this novella between light and dark conveyed through these two Masters.

Canon Contributions:

There are some potentially significant revelations in Palpatine’s Inquisitorius program as it is hinted that he started it, not just to find all Jedi, but one particular Jedi in Yoda. It is also hinted that Palpatine knows Yoda’s species, which is still unknown to everyone outside of the Star Wars universe. If Palpatine knew about Yoda’s species and informed certain people in the Empire to try and find them, then does that mean Lucasfilm could eventually reveal his species?

Illustrated by Jake Bartok

10. Through the Turbulence by Roseanne A. Brown

Rating: 3.5 Credits

Canon Era: Rise of the First Order

“…when you hit those rough patches, you can’t just shut down you engine and hope for the best. The only way out is through.”

Through the Turbulence

Summary:

Rey and Poe are stuck together on a planet, Thorat IX in the Outer Rim trying to buy supplies for the Millennium Falcon sometime after the Battle of Crait. Everyone has grown tired of the two bickering, so General Organa has sent them on a supply run for cables. Rey is also secretly struggling with her connection to the Force after the loss of Master Skywalker. They are trying to get the cables and get off-world before a poisonous fog sets in the atmosphere that can corrode a ship’s metal.

The Promise of the Premise:

Rey’s imbalance with the Force is the main conflict in the story. Rey fears that, without the Force, she will be deemed useless by the Resistance (and fear is also of the dark side). Her conflict with Poe comes to a head when they are briefly captured by the Qoogai, and she confides this to him. Poe then compares her problem as a Jedi to one that both of them understand: The problem of a pilot when they hit turbulence. It is a simple metaphor, but one that works, both in their situation and every hero’s journey in Star Wars.

Canon Contributions:

There is a duo ship that has been discontinued in the galaxy save for this one obscure planet in the Outer Rim. Could we see this ship in other Outer Rim planets before the Sequel Trilogy? The Mandalorian does take place mostly in the Outer Rim between the Original and Sequel Trilogy films.

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