- Dawn of the Jedi
- The Old Republic
- The High Republic
- Fall of the Jedi
- Reign of the Empire
- Age of Rebellion
- The New Republic
- Rise of the First Order
- New Jedi Order
While almost all of the Star Wars eras have accompanying descriptions, the Dawn of the Jedi remains curiously blank.
The term “Dawn of the Jedi” may not be familiar to Star Wars fans who have stuck to canon television shows, films, and video games. But against what some may think, the Dawn of the Jedi is not a new time period to Star Wars. In fact, it has existed for more than a decade. That period is the setting for a slew of comics and novels that are now part of Star Wars Legends continuity. Within Legends, the Dawn of the Jedi period ranged from 37,000 to 25,000 years before the events of Episode IV: A New Hope.
The central text of the Dawn of the Jedi period in Legends is a comic book called Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi #0 by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema. Ostrander is a celebrated comic book writer, best known for his iconic runs on Suicide Squad, Martian Manhunter, and The Spectre for DC Comics. Published in 2012 by Dark Horse Comics, this one-shot laid the foundation for the Jedi, originally called Jed’aii, and their origin on the planet Tython.
The first Jed’aii were a collection of Force-sensitive “warriors, scientists, philosophers, priests, and artisans” brought to Tython in eight ships called the Tho Yor. Tython was a planet with strong ties to the Force, providing the perfect training ground for the Jed’aii. They created eight temples on the planet. Each centered around a different purpose: Knowledge, Arts, Science, Healing, the Forge, Force Skills, Martial Arts, and Balance. At this time, the Jed’aii included some full-blooded Sith, a red-skinned alien species whose name those strong in the dark side would later appropriate.
Dawn of the Jedi #0 also detailed the origins of lightsabers. An alien species called the Rakata, whose Infinite Empire sought out planets strong in the Force, created them first. They armed their scouts to these new worlds, called Force Hounds, with weapons called Forcesabers. These Forcesabers could only ignite through tapping into the dark side. They served as a prototype of the lightsabers that Jedi would later wield.
Force Hounds would play an important role in the next phase of Dawn of the Jedi stories in comics. Ostrander and Duursema created three consecutive mini-series following Dawn of the Jedi #0 called Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm, Dawn of the Jedi: The Prisoner of Bogan, and Dawn of the Jedi: Force War. This trilogy followed a Force Hound named Xesh, who was born into slavery and was raised by the Rakata. After meeting a group of Jed’aii, Xesh gradually devotes himself to learning the ways of the light side.
Ostrander and Duursema’s comics are an important part of Star Wars history to return to now. Elements of Legends continuity are now officially canon thanks to Ahsoka, The Mandalorian, and The Rise of Skywalker. It is no easy feat to explain an enormous swath of Star Wars history. So why shouldn’t Ostrander’s writing and Duursema’s artwork be the basis for Star Wars’ Dawn of the Jedi period? At this point, Star Wars can no longer continue to ignore the stories that took fans where its films didn’t. Darth Revan’s return to canon is evidence of this movement.
Creating Legends may have given Disney a fresh slate to develop its sequel trilogy in. However, many Legends stories like Dawn of the Jedi have stood the test of time where Disney projects like The Rise of Skywalker haven’t. Either way, Ostrander and Duursema’s comics provided a moving foundation for the Star Wars franchise before Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm.