Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm

Dawn of the Jedi is the earliest part in Star Wars continuity; in fact, it s the closest thing to “dawn of civilization” that we are likely to get for a galaxy-spanning civilization.  And as such, it introduces things to the Star Wars mythos, but nothing that changes the game forever.  Still, it made decisions that tied things in the Star Wars universe together in unexpected ways.

Force Storm draws heavily on the Knights of the Old Republic video game.  In certain ways, this is both obvious and makes a lot of sense.  The game establishes the evil Rakatans as having ruled much of the galaxy from thirty to twenty four thousand years before the events of Episode IV: A New Hope, while the date of the founding of the Republic – a direct result of overthrowing the Rakata and back-engineering their technology – has long been placed at twenty five thousand years before the Battle of Yavin.

In other ways, however, the decisions seem entirely inspired by the popularity of the game.  Perhaps it will be revealed later that the Tho Yor were drawn to follow in the way of the Rakatan Star Maps, but until and unless that happens, the decision to have Manaan (a world from which virtually no notable Jedi ever hailed) be one of the first places the Tho Yor stopped for passengers seems catered entirely to fans of the game.  Still, despite this unwarranted importance, it is nice to see the world of the Selkath referenced outside of Knights of the Old Republic media.

Another unexpected entry to Dawn of the Jedi was the Sith.  Not the Sith Order – that has a few thousand years to go.  My surprise here is based more on the fact that, by the time of the Great Hyperspace War, the galaxy at large were unaware that the Sith species existed.  While in many cases the gap of thousands of years between the Second Great Schism – the one that led to the existence of the Dark Lords of the Sith – and that war could explain the lack, the Jedi are a notoriously long-memoried people and it would be scarcely like them to forget something like that.  Still, a single Sith clan with presumably limited breeding options does not represent a radical change to the galactic dynamic.  This might also explain why the word “Sith” was known even before Naga Sadow led his forces to attack the Empress  Teta system; perhaps it was a Sith who was responsible for the Second Great Schism.

I feel sorry for the Twi’leks here.  This species is well established in Star Wars lore, having appeared on every planet in every faction, time period and medium imagined, yet they are still no closer to respect.  Twi’lek men are generally unattractive to humans, their facial features that of an untrustworthy, duplicitous predator fitting of their status as frequent go-betweens in the criminal underground.  Their women, by contrast, are generally smooth and alluring, most frequently seen in their role as sex slaves and dancers.  Queen Hadiya is one of the few Twi’leks to rise to a position of power outside of their homeworld of Ryloth, yet her primary role is to destroy what little harmony remained in the Tythan system, plunging the world into war and chaos for years to come.

Another topic that Dawn of the Jedi touches upon is the lightsaber.  Prototypal lightsabers are best known from the Essential Guides, from scenes set millennia after Dawn of the Jedi plugged into power packs carried by the Jedi.  Dawn introduces a predecessor to the lightsaber: the Forcesaber, a weapon powered and/or controlled by the Dark Side of the Force within its wielder.  This is a realm where great care must be taken by the creative team to avoid rewriting large swaths of history.  The Forcesaber is an invention of the Rakata, a race steeped in the Dark Side, although its workings are known by their closest slaves.  Having this weapon be fueled by a strength of the Rakata that those who would become the Jedi would not wish to become a strength of their own members is a good step – it could conceivably take millennia for enough Je’daii and Jedi to be willing to study the thing enough for it to evolve into the weapon wielded against Naga Sadow’s Sith.

Dawn of the Jedi is off to an interesting start, and I am curious to see where the series leads us with Force War (and the fourth volume, if there is one).  Perhaps this series will give such information as to why Tython was eventually abandoned.  Certainly, the title of volume three gives an indication that the First Great Schism and the defeat of the Rakata may be linked…but only time will tell.

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