Disney-Lucasfilm Press will be releasing a middle-grade anthology novel this June. Titled Stories of Jedi and Sith, the novel promises “epic stand-offs, cunning plots, courageous action, and ruthless anger” and will feature ten stories from ten different characters. It will also feature illustrations from Jake Bartok, who does some incredible Star Wars character art.
Here we’ll be taking a look at each character that will be featured in the upcoming novel. They are the usual heroes, with some surprises thrown in as well.
The last time we caught up with Rey, she had successfully defeated Darth Sidious, while having her life saved by Ben Solo in the process. Ben ultimately sacrificed himself so that she could live, just as the two of them were falling in love. Going forward, Rey is obviously going to have some grief and trauma related to that event, and it’s possible that her story will explore this. However, Rey didn’t have too much time to dwell on her loss – she returns to Tatooine and buries the lightsabers of Luke and Leia Skywalker, also taking their last name and renouncing her familial connection to Palpatine. The Star Wars Book (2020) states that Rey became a Jedi Master, so it’s entirely possible that she chooses to train other young Force-sensitives and start her own Jedi academy. Will the book tell us this? We’ll have to wait and see!
Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker
The next short story will feature Obi-Wan and Anakin, presumably while they were still a Master and Padawan duo. The time period that makes the most sense for having these two together would be during the Clone Wars (22-19 BBY), but the story could certainly take place in the decade before then, shortly before the events of Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Although we love the comedic banter between Obi-Wan and Anakin, it does feel like their stories have been done to death. Fans will recall that Brotherhood from Mike Chen will be coming out on May 10, which is a Clone Wars novel that will follow Obi-Wan and Anakin as they try to keep Cato Neimoidia from falling into the hands of the Separatists. The novel also promises an appearance from Asajj Ventress. Again, it feels like the Clone Wars experiences have been done a thousand times over, so hopefully Stories of Jedi and Sith will offer a new take on two of our favorite characters.
A prominent character from The Clone Wars animated series, Ventress was a part of many different organizations during her life. Originally a Jedi Padawan, she served under Master Ky Narec until he was killed by criminals. The trauma of his loss proved too much for her, and she succumbed to the dark side. She would later train under Count Dooku, serving as an assassin for the Sith during the Clone Wars. Over the course of the war, Ventress underwent extensive character development. She eventually formed a romantic relationship with the Jedi Master Quinlan Vos. When it appeared Count Dooku was going to kill Vos with Force lightning, Ventress stepped in and saved him, sacrificing herself in the process. She was buried on Dathomir, the same planet she was born on. Hopefully her story will explore some aspect about her life that we aren’t already aware of, or perhaps look deeper into the clan of the Nightsisters.
Palpatine is one of the most significant figures of the entire franchise. He appears in all of the original and prequel films as the evil mastermind behind the galactic war between good and evil. There’s a ton of excitement circling around The Acolyte, expected to hit Disney+ in summer 2023. There’s been speculation that the series will focus on Darth Plagueis, who was Sidious’ Master. Hopefully this short story tells more about Palpatine’s life prior to the events of Episode I: The Phantom Menace and what his life was like with Darth Plagueis, because every other timeline for him has been heavily covered.
Master Yoda is the next character to be featured. Like Palpatine, we’ve already seen a lot of the same material for Yoda in previous novels, so hopefully we’ll get something new. With the rise of the popular High Republic novel series, we could see more stories coming out of that timeline. Yoda would have been a bit younger in those days, as the High Republic period takes place 200 years before The Phantom Menace. The possibilities are virtually endless for what time period we could see for this very small but very powerful Jedi.
In the events of Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, we learn that Luke Skywalker has completely shut himself off from the Force and exiled himself on the planet Ahch-To, where he,at one point, trained young Force-sensitives. His dreams for the future ultimately turned out disastrous, when Ben Solo fell to the dark side and either slaughtered or corrupted his remaining students. There was a large negative outcry from the fans for the way in which Luke was depicted in the final films. Particularly, the gruff depiction of Skywalker in The Last Jedi had a negative response, because the character had become old and bitter, unfortunately adhering to the “Kill Your Heroes” trope. Hopefully Luke’s story will explore more about that time period for him and further explain why he would choose to abandon the Force. Another interesting time period would be when he was first forming his Jedi school and still training a young Ben Solo.
Of all the other characters featured in the book, Darth Maul has one of the most tumultuous character histories in the Star Wars franchise. When audiences saw him cut down by Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menace in 1999, they assumed that was the last they’d see of him. For a while, they were right. However, when the canon experienced a reset, Maul’s story was significantly changed and elevated. After surviving his fall on Naboo, Maul was eventually found by his brother, Savage Opress. He and his brother experienced several storylines during The Clone Wars series, which are far too numerous to cover here.
Most likely, Maul’s story will cover some ground in this era, though it’s possible it could cover the years following the Great Jedi Purge. In Star Wars: Rebels, Maul eventually tracks down Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine and senses that he is guarding Luke Skywalker, who Obi-Wan reveals is The Chosen One. Kenobi and Maul duel one last time, and Maul finally meets his demise. Obi-Wan actually respects him by this point, however, and buries him on the planet. Suffice to say, there are lots of stories still to be told about this character.
Personally, one of my favorite Star Wars characters is Qui-Gon Jinn. He unfortunately left us very early on in the saga, killed by Maul in The Phantom Menace. However, there has been no shortage of stories involving the Jedi Master. In the Expanded Universe, one of my favorite novels about him is The Rising Force, which came out in 1999. On the canon side, Disney+ will be premiering Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi this May, and although we don’t know much about that series, it’s entirely possible that there will be some mention of Qui-Gon on the show.
His short story here could take an interesting turn and share a bit of information about what his life was like prior to meeting Obi-Wan. I imagine there were lots of bad guys and lots of lightsaber duels. He was the apprentice to Count Dooku, which is an interesting tale in itself. Maybe we’ll get to see the two of them together during a mission for the Council.
Yet another short story involving Darth Vader. I’m not sure what new ground could be broken here, but there’s always the possibility that the book will give us a sliver of information that we never knew about him. There’s literally handfuls of different timelines and battlegrounds to pick for him, so we’ll see where Disney goes with this one. He remains one of the most popular characters of the entire universe, so no doubt there are fans excited to see him here. I’d personally like to see a story involving one of his missions prior to the events of Episode IV: A New Hope.
One of the most surprising, and welcome, additions to this anthology is the final story. Barriss Offee is one of the lesser-known Jedi Knights during the prequels era. Her profile was raised significantly during The Clone Wars television series, namely because of the radical trajectory of her career with the Jedi. In the expanded universe, Barriss was originally killed during Order 66 on Felucia.
However, in The Clone Wars, during the episode “The Wrong Jedi” (season 5 of the show), we learn that Barriss has become disillusioned with the Order and was responsible for the bombing of the Jedi Temple. She framed her friend Ahsoka Tano for the crime, which was one of the reasons Ahsoka eventually left the Jedi behind.
Recently, there’s been news that Barriss will be a character featured in Disney’s Ahsoka TV series, starring Rosario Dawson. There was an announcement that Disney was looking to cast an Asian actress for the role of Barriss, so it will be interesting to see who gets the part. In the expanded universe, Barriss was a Jedi healer, one of the specialties within the Order. I’m curious to see if canon chooses to keep that attribute for her. If anyone is as knowledgeable about Barriss as I am, they would know she appeared in three Expanded Universe novels: The Approaching Storm, Battle Surgeons, and Jedi Healer. I could talk about this character all day, but I will just say that I hope we get a story about what happens to her after being arrested by Republic officials.
We know that she eventually survives Order 66 and ends up appearing in Ahsoka’s life again, so hopefully, we’ll get some explanation during the time period between those two events. I’m also curious to see if Ahsoka and Barriss will resolve their issues and become friends again!
What character are you most excited to see in Stories of Jedi and Sith?