- "Here begins the tale of the dawn of the Jedi, the Star Wars of 25,000 years ago—before lightsabers, before hyperspace travel, before the Jedi spread throughout the galaxy, when connections to the Force were new."
- ―Publisher's summary for Dawn of the Jedi Volume 1—Force Storm
Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm is a five-issue comic book miniseries, the first arc in the Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi comic series that is is set in the Pre-Republic era and focuses on the Je'daii Order, the Jedi Order's predecessors. Published by Dark Horse Comics through the first half of 2012, Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm is written by John Ostrander and pencilled by Jan Duursema, the creative team behind the critically-acclaimed Star Wars: Legacy series; aside from the beginning of the first issue, Force Storm is primarily set in the year 25,793 BBY, in a time before the polarization of the light and dark sides of the Force. Force Storm focuses on three young Je'daii Journeyers—Shae Koda, Sek'nos Rath, and Tasha Ryo—as well as Xesh, a Force Hound of the Rakatan Infinite Empire who arrives on Tython, sparking the titular Force Storm. The arc was collected in a trade paperback, Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi Volume 1—Force Storm, which was released on December 12, 2012.
- "On the planet Tython, a group of beings—scientists, philosophers, and warriors—strive to maintain peace and to balance the mystifying power known as the Force. But a stranger is coming, one who will disrupt the balance with his arrival and his own connection to the Force. Everything in their system is about to change… The doors to the galaxy have been opened!"
- ―Publisher's summary for Dawn of the Jedi Volume 1—Force Storm
In the year 36,453 BBY, the Talid monks of the Order of Dai Bendu on the planet Ando Prime feel the call of the Tho Yor, a massive pyramidal starship that has been buried in the Andobi Mountains for centuries. The Dai Bendu monks board the Tho Yor as seven other Tho Yor across the galaxy call out to the natives of the planets upon which they rest; the Tho Yor then travel the galaxy and visit other planets, gathering Wookiees, Humans, Twi'leks, Selkath, Cathar, and a number of other Force-sensitive species, before all eight travel to the planet Tython in the Deep Core. There, the eight Tho Yor gather around the ninth and largest Tho Yor, which floats above a pinnacle of stone, and the starships scatter themselves across Tython as the planet is engulfed in a ferocious Force Storm.
The pilgrims come to realize that they have been brought to Tython to study the Force, and they form the Je'daii Order—an order of warriors and scholars whose name is a Dai Bendu word meaning "mystic center." Tython is a planet that reacts violently to imbalance in the Force, so the Je'daii develop a philosophy of balance between the light and dark sides of the Force, which they name after the twin moons of Tython: bright Ashla and dark Bogan. However, the Je'daii eventually come to realize that Tython is unsafe for those who are not sensitive to the Force, and so all those who cannot touch the Force migrate out across the Tython system, settling the ten other planets in the star system. However, resentment of the Je'daii grows over the millennia, and in 25,805 BBY the Twi'lek Despot Queen Hadiya of the planet Shikaakwa begins the Despot War in an attempt to conquer the Tython system. Hadiya is defeated at Tython, but the scars of the Despot War remain fresh for some even twelve years later in 25,793 BBY.
Across the galaxy, the Infinite Empire of the Rakata species conquers the planet Tatooine, which was discovered by the Force Hound Xesh in the service of his master, Predor Tul'kar. Tul'kar's superior, Predor Skal'nas, requests Xesh's services in locating a Force-strong planet in the Deep Core that his own Force Hound, Trill, is unable to locate. As Xesh leads Tul'kar's warship Devourer to the Tython system, three young Je'daii Journeyers—Shae Koda, Sek'nos Rath, and Tasha Ryo—receive a vision of Xesh, a vision that is also shared by the mad Je'daii Daegen Lok, who has been exiled on Bogan for the last seven years ever since he went insane and fell out of balance. The three Journeyers leave their studies and follow the call of their vision into the wilds of Tython, where the stricken Devourer crashes with Xesh as the only survivor.
The hostile Force Hound briefly battles the three Je'daii, a fight that sees Shae Koda gain possession of Xesh's Forcesaber before he flees into the nearby Rift—an enormous ravine that was saturated with the dark side of the Force and home to strange creatures as well as intense seismic activity. Xesh's presence on Tython, with his strength in the dark side, and the death of so many Force-sensitives among the slaves and crew aboard the Devourer triggers an immense Force Storm that begins to sweep across Tython. Koda, Ryo, and Rath pursue Xesh into the Rift, where the wounded Force Hound is fighting through Force-induced hallucinations and nightmarish beasts. Temple Master Quan-Jang of Anil Kesh, one of the nine Je'daii Temples across Tython, investigates the crash site with Je'daii Rangers Hawk Ryo and Rori Fenn, and they pursue the Journeyers into the Rift as Ketu, the Temple Master of Akar Kesh, gathers the other Temple Masters so that the Je'daii Council can counter the Force Storm.
The three Journeyers rescue Xesh from a saarl, an enormous worm creature, but Xesh abandons them to the creature after retrieving his Forcesaber and retreats to watch them fight the saarl. However, Shae Koda's demonstration of the light side of the Force and her determination to protect her friends intrigues the Force Hound, who returns to join Koda in her fight as Rangers Fenn and Ryo arrive to aid them. Xesh succeeds in killing the saarl, but the Force Storm continues to grow in power with the Force Hound at its center. With the aid of the other Temple Masters, Quan-Jang shifts the Force back into balance and ends the storm, though his apparent death in doing so leads an enraged Koda to activate Xesh's Forcesaber—a feat only the Force Hound had been capable of—and to try and kill Xesh in revenge before she comes to her senses. Xesh, Quan-Jang, and the others are healed of their injuries at Mahara Kesh, the Temple of Healing, but despite the Journeyers' protests, the Je'daii Council exiles Xesh to Bogan so that he can find balance.
Xesh is a Human male Force Hound of the Infinite Empire who is in the service of Predor Tul'kar. Xesh and Trill were broodmates, though Tul'kar set the two against each other years ago and Xesh was forced to sever their friendship to save Trill's life—an action that Trill saw as a betrayal. Xesh leads Tul'kar to Tython, though when the Devourer crashes on Tython, the Force Hound kills his master and uses the ship's escape pod to survive. Believing the three Je'daii to be enemies, Xesh engages them in battle before he flees into the Rift. Xesh is rescued from a saarl in the Rift by the Je'daii and leaves them to die, but he is fascinated by Shae Koda's demonstration of the light side of the Force and joins her in battle to save her friends. Xesh is then struck down by Master Quan-Jang with the Force, bringing the Force Storm to an end, and he is healed at Mahara Kesh where the Je'daii decide to exile him to Bogan.
Shae Koda is a Human female Je'daii Journeyer of Dathomiri descent whose mother and father were killed by Queen Hadiya in the last battle of the Despot War. Brave, restless, and reckless, Koda has an incessant curiosity and finds her calling studying alchemy under Master Quan-Jang. While working with the rancor-dragon Butch that she created, Koda receives a vision of Xesh, and she meets up with Sek'nos Rath and Tasha Ryo. Koda is friends with Rath, though she resents Tasha Ryo as she sees her as a spoiled brat. During the fight with Xesh, Koda proves to be the only one capable of igniting Xesh's Forcesaber with her anger, but it is Koda's manifestation of the light side that convinces Xesh to aid them against the saarl. Koda and her friends are dismayed when Xesh is exiled to Bogan.
Sek'nos Rath is a male Sith Je'daii Journeyer who is the son of Je'daii diplomats, though he was raised by his maternal grandmother, Temple Master Miarta Sek, and his paternal grandfather Thok Rath. A bold and adventurous Je'daii, Rath is fond of weapons and is a ladies' man, and he desires to achieve the greatness of the Je'daii of myth. Rath receives his vision of Xesh while experimenting with Force lightning, and he joins Shae Koda and Tasha Ryo in battling and then pursuing Xesh when they encounter the Force Hound. After the events in the Rift come to a close, Rath, Koda, and Ryo all protest Xesh's exile to Bogan.
Tasha Ryo is the Twi'lek daughter of the crime baron Volnos Ryo and the Je'daii Temple Master Kora Ryo, and Tasha was raised at Kaleth under her mother's tutelage, leading some Je'daii such as Shae Koda to view her as pampered and spoiled. Empathic and calm, Ryo forgoes a sword in combat and uses only the Force. Tasha is deeply divided by the obligations she feels towards her parents, as she is a Je'daii but her father constantly urges her to come to Shikaakwa and serve him. Tasha receives her vision when she saves her father from the assassin Jaris Kan, and she attempts to communicate with Xesh amid their battle on the edge of the Rift. As the three Je'daii descend into the Rift, Ryo is tormented by visions of her inner turmoil, but her anguish brings Koda to realize that the Rift is affecting them. After the battle in the Rift ends, Ryo helps Xesh unlock some memories of his past, and she is horrified by the pain and loneliness that the Force Hound has experienced.
- "In 2006, a creative team already well-entrenched in "Star Wars" lore set their sights on the far future of the Skywalker line, chronicling the adventures of rebellious Jedi Cade Skywalker in "Star Wars: Legacy." Now, writer John Ostrander and artist Jan Duursema will take a step back, all the way to the very earliest days of the Jedi Order."
- ―Comic Book Resources
Randy Stradley, Vice President of Publishing at Dark Horse Comics, began lobbying for a comic story regarding the origins of the Jedi as early as 2003. In that year, a painting was commissioned of two characters—male and female Humans—by artist Rodolfo Migliari. At Celebration V in August 2010, John Ostrander and Jan Duursema, longtime collaborators and the author-artist pair behind Legacy, announced that they were working on a new comic that was different from anything they had written for Star Wars before. Their current series at the time was Star Wars: Legacy—War, a six-issue miniseries that ran from December 2010 to May 2011 and was a follow-up to their popular Star Wars: Legacy series.
Dawn of the Jedi was first announced to the public at the 2011 New York Comic Con on October 13. Ostrander stated that the series is intended to be epic in scope, while personal in storytelling, and he and Duursema are working closely with Expanded Universe continuity while also attempting to make Dawn of the Jedi accessible to casual Star Wars fans. At Comic Con, it was announced that like Legacy, Dawn of the Jedi would feature a large cast of species-diverse characters, but would primarily focus on the Tython system instead of the larger galaxy. A preview issue 0, serving as an official guide for readers much like Star Wars: Legacy 0, was announced with a release date of February 1 at Comic Con, and the first issue's release date was set for February 15.
While creating each arc of Dawn of the Jedi, Ostrander and Duursema work on the entirety of each arc together instead of one at a time. John Ostrander and Jan Duursema write the story for the series, while Ostrander pens the script and Duursema pencils the artwork. Dan Parsons is the inker for the series, Michael Heisler the letterer, and Wes Dzioba handles coloring duties. Duursema was the cover artist for the five issues of Force Storm, and Gonzalo Flores was responsible for the variant cover for issue 1 that was used as the cover for the first trade paperback.
- "This is the great lost culture of the Jedi, a "Star Wars" Atlantis. While many of the tenets have been set down, the beings who study the Force on Tython are not yet the Jedi. At this point, they are the Je'daii, a Dai Bendu term meaning mystic (je) center (daii). This will later be shortened to Jedi. The Je'daii have been brought to Tython, a planet where the Force is very strong, from around the galaxy and they have spent ten millennia studying the Force, attempting to understand it and their place in relationship to it."
- ―John Ostrander
Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi's authors, John Ostrander and Jan Duursema, intend the series to be rooted in pre-existing Star Wars continuity, while also being accessible to newer readers. The series is set in an era that was largely unexplored—Dawn of the Jedi necessitated the creation of an entirely new publishing era, the Before the Republic era—and builds off what little information existed before hand: namely, the fact that the Jedi Order was established on the planet Tython in the Deep Core, the conflicts known as the Force Wars began in the year 25,793 BBY and the early Jedi left Tython after the Force Wars and migrated to Ossus. Dawn of the Jedi also expands on the Rakata, a species that ruled the galaxy before the Republic and was introduced in the 2003 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic video game. Dawn of the Jedi has encountered relatively few contradictions in continuity, but there are elements in the Star Wars: The Old Republic video game, which was released shortly before Dawn of the Jedi, that contradict the series.
The Old Republic gives a loose summary of the Force Wars, claiming that they were a conflict between the followers of Rajivari, one of the four members of the first Jedi Council, and the rest of the Jedi Order. Dawn of the Jedi initially did not reference any of the characters or elements introduced in The Old Republic, but the second arc in the series, The Prisoner of Bogan saw the appearance of both Rajivari and Ters Sendon, another member of the Jedi Council in the game. However, another contradiction that has not been addressed is the issue of the Mother Machine, which is a Rakatan computer that claims to be responsible for the creation of a number of Force-sensitive species in its efforts to restore the Force-sensitivity of the Rakata species during the Rakatan Civil War. Among those species it claims responsibility for are the Twi'leks and the Zabrak, but Force Storm depicts a relatively advanced Twi'lek society on Ryloth as well as numerous Zabrak in 36,453 BBY, thousands of years before the collapse of the Infinite Empire.
When developing the ships, characters, and environments for the series, Jan Duursema was forced to virtually work from scratch, as very little of the Before the Republic era had been depicted previously. Duursema purposely differentiated the Je'daii from the Jedi in their appearance, exchanging lightsabers for the swords they were known to use at the time and replacing the traditional robes with more individualized armor and clothing. Unlike her work on Star Wars: Legacy, Duursema was unable to build on existing designs for ships and technology, and instead she worked from a "retrofitting" mindset, developing ships and technology that would eventually give rise to the technology of the modern Star Wars era. Duursema and Ostrander also created the worlds of the Tython system from scratch, choosing to focus only on the Tython system instead of using pre-existing locations from across the galaxy.
- "Expanded Universe fans are going to LOVE this series, and will find this introduction issue to be their highlight of comic book reading for the month—no doubts. General Star Wars fans will also find it enjoyable; and other comic fans may find it worth a glance. This may be clearly aimed at Star Wars nerds, but it may just be one of the best comic book series set in the galaxy far, far away ever to have been published."
- ―Geeks of Doom
Force Storm 1 and Dawn of the Jedi 0 sold particularly well in stores, and both issues were sold out across the country by the end of February. This prompted Dark Horse Comics to order a second printing of both issues, followed by a third printing with special variant covers by Jan Duursema. However, some critics believe that the series caters more to serious Star Wars fans and is not particularly well-suited for the average fan of the films. Force Storm has received generally positive reviews, and while some have criticized the writing, many praise Duursema's artwork.  The series was highlighted in the fan magazine Star Wars Insider's Blaster department, which showcases upcoming Star Wars products, in issue 132, and the first two arcs of the series were collected in two trade paperbacks: Volume 1—Force Storm, which was released on December 12, 2012.
|Color code key:|
|Collected (TPB) issue||Released issue||Future issue|
|Issue||Title||Publication date||Trade paperback||TPB pub date|
|Force Storm 1||February 15, 2012|
Volume 1—Force Storm
|December 12, 2012|
|Force Storm 2||March 21, 2012|
|Force Storm 3||April 18, 2012|
|Force Storm 4||May 16, 2012|
|Force Storm 5||June 20, 2012|
Notes and referencesEdit
- NYCC EXCLUSIVE: Ostrander and Duursema Unveil "Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved on October 14, 2011.