- "On the planet Tython, in the center of the galaxy, an order of warrior monks strives to maintain peace and to balance the mysterious power known as the Force. But a stranger is coming—one who will destroy both peace and balance, and open the galaxy to exploration and conquest. This is where it all begins!"
- ―Publisher's summary of Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm 1
Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm 1 was the first issue of the five-issue miniseries Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm, the first arc in the Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi comic book series. Published by Dark Horse Comics on February 15, 2012, Force Storm 1 was the first Star Wars material to be set in the Before the Republic era, a new publishing era that includes all galactic history prior to the founding of the Galactic Republic. Force Storm 1 received generally positive reviews, and both it and the series' preview issue 0 sold out in stores across the United States by the end of February 2012, with 18,797 copies sold in comic shops worldwide on February 15. The issue's success prompted Dark Horse to issue a second and then a third printing of Force Storm 1 with special variant covers by Gonzalo Flores and Jan Duursema.
An introductory issue, Force Storm 1 largely focuses on the history of the Je'daii Order on the planet Tython, as retold by Je'daii Master Ketu to two young Je'daii, Harun and Resi. Ketu's story spans from the year 36,453 BBY, when the eight Tho Yor pyramid ships brought the Force-sensitive pilgrims to Tython, to the Despot War that occurred in 25,805 BBY, twelve years prior to the issue's setting of 25,793 BBY. Force Storm 1 concludes with the introduction of Xesh, a Force Hound of the Infinite Empire, setting up the rest of the arc.
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.
- "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.
John Ostrander and Jan Duursema wrote the story for Force Storm 1, while Ostrander penned the script and Duursema pencilled the artwork. Dan Parsons was the inker for the book, Michael Heisler the letterer, and Wes Dzioba handled coloring duties. Duursema was the artist for the final version of the issue's cover, though a variant cover by Gonzalo Flores was also released, and a second version of the cover by Duursema featuring Xesh was released for the issue's third printing.
- "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. Specifically, Force Storm 1 contradicts 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 Dawn of the Jedi 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
Dawn of the Jedi 0 and Force Storm 1 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. Dawn of the Jedi has received generally positive reviews, and while some have criticized the writing, many praise Duursema's artwork.
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Notes and references
- Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm 1
- Star Wars: The Old Republic