The inspiration for this era comes of Star Wars the Old Republic game’s Tython and it’s ancient Jedi lore, as well as Knight’s of the Old Republic’s Rakata. Who were the Jedi, before their were Jedi, or a Republic? Dawn of the Jedi comics answer this. They were the Jedaii Rangers, originating from Tython where they learned to balance their powers to prevent terrible force storms raging on the world.
The Dawn of the Jedi story was written by John Ostrander and the art by Jan Duursema. The story arcs include:
- Force Storm
- Prisoner of Bogan
- Force War
Whether you read the novel or start with the comics, this amazing story takes us back to the most ancient start of the Jedi Order, before, in fact, that, it was called ‘Jedaii’.
“The Jedi served the Force before there was a Republic, and they will serve it after the Republic is no more.” ~ Yoda (Revenge of the Sith novelization I believe)
The story begins with the ancient pyramidal ships coming to various worlds. Force sensitives feel the pull, respond, and board the craft. There these various peoples are taken to Tython, deep in the core worlds. They know nothing of who sent the ships at the time but by the time the story ends they will know. And they will have faced the threat they were hidden from, and given time to adapt and grow to face.
I really enjoyed these stories, from the artwork to the highly unique look at species we’d previously seen from a different perspective. I am still outraged the story was cut short, before it could continue it’s connection to the first schism between dark side and like, the ancient ruins of Kaleth and Rajivari, both in the video game but hinted at in the comics.
We’d seen heroic wookiees in the past fighting against the Empire and CIS but now some were wild and not always allies. We’d seen Sith pureblood who were almost always depicted as evil, but now we see some that were of the most ancient, earliest Jedi (or Jedaii) and at peace in Dawn of the Jedi. We saw Twilek and Cathar and even Noghri were taken by the Tho Yor. We saw Jedi that had families, but also faced the danger of those who didn’t want to follow their Jedi path, and some who could not and could not survive on Tython, leading to a sundering and the colonization of the rest of the system.
Even without the Rakata storyline I’d have found this series fascinating. But with it, Dawn of the Jedi these warriors of the Old Republic face the first challenge from out of the system. The Rakata enslave force users, tormented to unleash the dark side to power their evil devices, even as they themselves are losing their own powers. This is a winner take all war. From it we see the flesh raiders, and the earliest lightsaber were born of dark side use. It’s easy to conjecture why later Jedi lightsabers required powerpacks. It was no doubt a determined attempt to find a way to use these amazing weapons without destroying the Jedi’s ideals.
The characters are engaging and made me care about them. They have a different idea of balance than the Jedi of the movie era, based on the pull of the two moons, Ashla and Bogan on Tython. When the balance was disrupted it caused Force storms to rage across the planet. But even so, they well recognize how badly out of balance the Rakata are. Yet to fight them the Jedaii Rangers must use their own weapons, the force sword of frozen energy that can only be powered by the dark side. Regaining their balance after this war will determine who they one day become.
The Rakata are outright terrifying and brutal, far more so than in any other story they are mentioned in.
The technology also shows that it was both less advanced but also more in some ways. These Jedi used the Force to combine technology and alter biology in ways later Jedi would never dare. A flying rancor no less? Amazing creativity went into these stories. The Tho Yor, and the Infinity Gates, leave so many questions even as they connected stories. They simply had no chance to tie them in.
I will forever grieve for these unfinished tales I expect. Thanks to Dark Horse Comics we did get an ending for the Dawn of the Jedi series. But it didn’t go as far as it was meant to, it simply ran out of time. The Rakata were merely to be the first challenge for these ancient warriors. Instead, thanks to the buyout, they became the last.
Dawn of the Jedi Comics Continuity.
The first story is Eruption. This is a short story by John Ostrander included in the very first edition of Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void, by Tim Lebbon. The closing chapters of that story refer to the same disturbance in the Force that is experienced by those characters in the comics.
These stories mention characters and locations directly from Star Wars the Old Republic. Rajivari (or rather, his spirit or legacy) is in the Jedi Consular starter story arc on Tython. The ruins of Kaleth are visited both that and the Knight’s arc, and has various side quests as well. The Flesh Raiders of Tython are first revealed in these comics and give their origins.
Dawn of the Jedi’s Rakata are the ancestor’s of those seen in Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars the Old Republic. They definitely might impact how you make certain choices on playing those games! The implication all the way from the original novelization of Star Wars by Alan Dean Foster is given proof here, that Tatooine was not always a desert, and it’s likely they are responsible. The implication in Knights of the Old Republic that they were once Force strong and now are not, is a driving element in the story.
There are tie ins to Tales of the Jedi comics (ie the technology and metallurgy, the Force being used to alter creatures)
The Gree, Kwa and Infinity gates are both seen in SWTOR. The Kwa and Infinity Gates have a short comic in Republic: Twilight’s End starring Quinlan Vos. The Gree originate from Star Wars WEG Adventure Journals.
The idea of Ashla and Bogan (the moons, one light, one dark) originate from the earliest scripts for the first ever Star Wars movie. They were later removed as unneeded. (The Making of Star Wars books by J.W. Rinzler)