Did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Plagueis The Wise? I thought not. It’s not a story the Jedi would tell you.
That’s okay. The amount of Star Wars media is as expansive as the universe in which the story takes place. It is hard to keep track of everything. While most people are familiar with the movies, there are books, TV shows- both live action and animated- comic books, and video games for all ages. These stories take place over thousands of years and tell the epic story of Jedi and Sith, times of peace, and times of war.
Disney recently announced that the universe would expand even more with a new era of books and comics coming out in August. A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one. The High Republic will take place approximately 200 years before Episode I: The Phantom Menace and introduce a lot of new characters and planets. I’ll just say it, I hope they do a better job at this era than the more recent trilogy.
When Disney acquired the rights for Star Wars in 2012, they took a lot of novels of the Expanded Universe considered canon, and rebranded it as “legends”’, and a new continuity would be established. It’s as if a million voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. A google search for “Star Wars Del Rey timeline” will lead to a website dedicated to the releases of stories considered canon in chronological order. Right now there are over 30 books on the list, as well as two TV shows, and the 9 movies in the franchise. My goal is to slowly go through this timeline, starting with the first book on the list: Dooku: Lost Jedi.
Dooku: Lost Jedi, written by Cavan Scott, provides some background for one of the more mysterious characters of the prequels (episodes 1-3): Count Dooku. His time in the movies is unfortunately limited, so it is nice to learn more about this complex character. Before he was a Sith Lord, and the leader of the Separatist, Count Dooku, or Darth Tyranus, was once a Jedi. Taken by the Jedi Order as a child, he showed promise and quickly became a driven student powerful in the Force. So powerful that he takes on a padawan of his own, Qui-Gon Jinn. But as time goes on, Dooku begins to question the ethics of the Jedi and becomes fascinated with Sith relics and the Jedi who studies them. This leads him to a dark path as he struggles to stay on the light side of the Force. It doesn’t help that he finds out his parents didn’t want him and forbid him from speaking to his sister, Jenza.
Though it centers around Dooku, the narrator of this story is Ventress, an assassin being trained in the dark side of the Force. She is tasked with finding Dooku’s lost sister. With an array of hologram recordings at her disposal to help her search, Ventress learns more about her troubled master and his reasons for leaving the Order. Like the prequel movies, we see how the Jedi can be flawed with their sometimes close-minded way of thinking. This book also does a great job at turning the fearsome Dooku into someone you can sympathize with. Ventress herself is a fairly complex character. She is constantly haunted by the ghost of her old master, whom she murdered. He stays with her and attempts to steer her in the right direction. As things progress, she struggles to take control of her own destiny or become completely consumed by Dooku and his unrelenting force.
The intended way to enjoy this is by listening to the audio book version, which features a full cast. With a length of about 6 and a half hours, it answers a lot of questions, but seems like there could have been more. Production-wise, it is extremely immersive. Between the full cast performance and wide range of sound effects and musical components, it is reminiscent of the radio dramatization NPR put out in the 1980s . If you want to listen to Dooku: Lost Jedi, you can check it out on Overdrive. For those that are not a fan of listening to books, there is also a screenplay adapted directly from the audio version. This would definitely be a fun book to get with a group of friends and read it out loud together.