Max explores the bold collection of stories found within the pages of Lucasfilm’s new Star Wars: Stories of JEDI and SITH volume
Much like its older sibling Del Rey, Disney Lucasfilm Press published a collection of short stories by various authors on June 7th, 2022. This collection was intended for middle-aged readers and contains far fewer stories than Del Rey’s From A Certain Point of View collections. There are 10 stories in this collection, showing tales of both Jedi and Sith and giving us new adventures and perspectives on the characters.
Like my review for FOCPOV, I will determine the very best story in the collection that truly embodies the mighty spirit that is Star Wars storytelling. Since I am only working with 10 tales, I will not list the Top 5. Just the one I like best.
THE DARK SIDE & THE LIGHT
Now first off, a lot of the stories were very well written and featured authors both new and old. However, my only gripe with this collection is that it did not veer away from a state of complacency, because many of the tales did not add to the wider world of Star Wars. Reveals that could’ve been like the name of the Star Wars galaxy or what happened to the Inquisitors were all teased by characters. But frustratingly, these points were left vague and unanswered.
Also, some of the stories didn’t create any new paradigms for the Star Wars canon. And the Emperor Palpatine tale was extremely disappointing because it just recounted his recollections of what we know happened decades ago. The Darth Vader tale by Vera Strange was also immensely disappointing because it was a busy work adventure for Vader and ended in a very predictable way. Sure some of the elements were eye-opening. But it almost was the type of story that didn’t need to exist.
BISEXUAL LUKE SKYWALKER?
Some of the character’s dialogue was pointless. The Luke Skywalker story bored me to tears, and it gave off a very strange vibe. I know Luke has been depicted as heterosexual, and I am a huge supporter of LGBTQ. Yet, I feel that there was almost slight sexual tension in the air between Luke and the Echo Base soldier. And I very much wonder if that was the author’s intention or just my imagination. Luke’s character would NEVER have been gay back in 1977 due to a much less tolerant time. But are we really ready for a bisexual Luke Skywalker in 2022? Sexuality is not important, but when you know a character for so long, it can be difficult to have such a massive change. Oh well. Just a note.
Anyway, the winning tale of the collection is a Light Side story, the second in the line-up. The Qui-Gon Jinn tale called Resolve by Alex Segura. Some devoted readers may recognize the writer of the story as the author of the YA novel, Poe Dameron: Free Fall. I very much enjoyed that book. So I was hopeful that Segura would deliver another fun gem. He even left a cheeky reference to his earlier work in this narrative that I hope readers will catch.
The reason I picked this tale is that we so rarely get a story from the view of Qui-Gon Jinn (at least in new canon) and I feel that Segura has perfectly captured Jinn’s maverick personality. In Legends, Qui-Gon was always depicted as a Grey Jedi, one who walks the narrow divide between the Light and Dark Sides of the Force. And this adventure pays homage to that. Jinn is a kind and compassionate man. But he doesn’t back down from oppression. And when deceived or spoken too poorly, always has a sharp rebut and almost a twinge of revenge in the planning.
He is a font of wisdom for young people and is also incredibly formidable in combat and trickery. And does not suffer fools well or go easy on people that have wronged him. I think that his approach to the Jedi way IS the best one.
I feel a balance of Light and Dark is ultimately what any real warrior should do. Jinn is always one step ahead of his enemies and does not mince words. This is something we say in the now Legends Darth Plaugeis novel. And it is showcased brilliantly here. I was surprised by Jinn’s gall by the end of the story and would want him on my side any day. I also enjoyed the turmoil inside him at the departure of his former master Dooku. And how he comes to accept it at the end of his mission, aided through helping a youngling in distress. I honestly also heard Liam Neeson speak every line of dialogue in my head as I read this piece.
Aside from Resolve, there were a few other interesting stories like the Yoda one and the Ventress one, so I stand by my decision to give this collection a whirl. You have nothing to lose and only food for thought to gain.
Star Wars: Stories of Jedi and Sith is published by Disney Lucasfilm Press and is available to order now.
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Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter where he shares his love of the Force frequently!