Suicide by Star Wars Apocrypha: The Jedi Who Fall

Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith

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Author: John Whitman

Medium: Audio Drama

Publication Date: Apparently sometime in 1997

Timeline Placement: 3,997 BBY

I’m not sure what the story is behind the two Tales of the Jedi audio adaptations, who decided that this story needed to be dramatized this way or why they never finished adapting the series. The Old Republic era is my personal favorite section of EU lore, and prior to beginning this project I didn’t even know that these adaptations existed. Having now listened to both of them, I’m still not really sure they exist.

Dark Lords of the Sith is a much more faithful adaptation than its predecessor. Unlike the dramatization of the first three TotJ arcs, it contains no major additional scenes or subplots absent from the comics. The fact that it adheres so strictly to the comics’ original structure, however, just makes it that much less interesting to listen to. While Tales of the Jedi occasionally veered into so-bad-it’s-good territory, Dark Lords of the Sith remains firmly in the realm of so-boring-it’s-boring. The only standout voice performances are those of the actors playing Exar Kun and Vodo-Siosk Baas, though fans of Dragon Age: Origins may get a kick out of how uncannily similar Freedon Nadd sounds to DLC golem companion Shale.

The most notable alterations include the Twi’lek Jedi Tott Doneeta being nearly completely excised (demonstrating what a superfluous character he is) and Nomi Sunrider almost getting gang raped by prison guards (because it wouldn’t be Star Wars if the lead female character weren’t in some way objectified or threatened with rape). “Lord Satal wishes to have words with you,” a Krath guard informs her as he retrieves her from the dungeon. “Then we’ll have more of you than that!” another adds, to a chorus of laughter from his friends.

(Nomi gets the last word, though: “Poor brutes. Don’t you know you should be interested in a girl for her mind . . . and what she can do with it?” she asks as she uses Battle Meditation to make them all murder each other. Then later on she punches out Aleema for stealing her man. You go, girl!)

There’s also a short additional scene when Exar Kun arrives in Cinnagar to hunt down his rivals. After completely wiping out the docking bay where he lands his ship, Kun confronts the last surviving attendant, begging for help amidst the smoking rubble. “No one will help you. No one even knows,” he says, sounding almost remorseful. He explains that he used the dark side to blind every scanning technician in the city, allowing him to approach the planet and destroy the docking bay completely unnoticed. This is the most impressive use of the Force he’s demonstrated thus far that doesn’t involve shooting lasers out of a magic amulet, and Kun’s characterization in the comic could have benefited from a similar depiction.

“Who are you?” the attendant wonders, coughing on smoke and blood. “I?” Exar Kun repeats, as if asking the question of himself. “Soon I shall be the man who conquered this planet. The man who rules the galaxy. But for the moment, I am the man who murdered you.”

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Vodo-Siosk Baas, one of the few sympathetic Jedi characters in the comic, is actually improved by this adaptation. Following the death of Master Arca, he becomes Ulic’s new mentor and joins his friends in trying to dissuade him from his plan to infiltrate the Krath. Not only does this give one of the book’s more interesting characters more to do, it also integrates him more firmly into the main plot. Vodo becomes a bridge between the parallel story arcs of Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma, which run almost completely separate until the end of the comic.

I also like the unspoken way this added character relationship plays into a line of dialogue Exar Kun has at the very end of the audio version that was not in the comic: “Let it be so, Ulic Qel-Droma. We were brothers as Jedi, now let us be brothers as Dark Jedi.” Of course they were brothers; they even had the same father figure for a while, even if neither of them knows it.

This audio drama might be worth listening to if one were to edit it down to just the parts relevant to Exar Kun’s story arc. His interactions with Master Vodo and the corrupting shade of Freedon Nadd are genuinely enjoyable, and the actors playing these three characters are the only ones who attempt to put any energy or emotion into their performances. The rest of the play, which mostly revolves around Ulic, Nomi, and the Ketos, is horrifically dull and can be cut out completely.

All in all, I don’t feel right calling it terrible, because there was clearly effort put into this production . . . but to what end?

To what end?

1.5/5 Death Stars.

 

(Check out the Suicide by Star Wars Apocrypha Archive for more meditations on obscure Star Wars lore.)

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