- "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
Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi is a comic book series from Dark Horse Comics, written by John Ostrander and pencilled by Jan Duursema, the creative team behind Dark Horse's critically-acclaimed Star Wars: Legacy series. Dawn of the Jedi is set almost 26,000 years before Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, and the series focuses on the Je'daii Order, a group of Force-sensitives on the planet Tython who are the predecessors to the Jedi Order. Aside from the beginning of the first issue, Dawn of the Jedi is primarily set in the year 25,793 BBY, in a time before the polarization of the light and dark sides of the Force, and the series is the first to be set "Before the Republic"—a new publishing era that includes all material set before the founding of the Galactic Republic.
A preview Issue 0 was released on February 1, 2012, and it was followed by the series' first issue on February 15. Not a monthly series, Dawn of the Jedi released fifteen issues as part of three five-issue story arcs, Force Storm, The Prisoner of Bogan, and Force War. The series focuses on three young Je'daii Journeyers—Shae Koda, Tasha Ryo, and Sek'nos Rath—as well as Xesh, a Force Hound of the Rakatan Infinite Empire who recently arrived on Tython, and the mad Je'daii Daegen Lok's plans to take over the Je'daii Order. Force War focuses on the Infinite Empire's arrival and attempted conquest of the Tython system. Dawn of the Jedi ended after the third arc, as Marvel Comics acquired the Star Wars comic publishing license from Dark Horse in 2015.
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.
The Prisoner of Bogan
Several weeks later, Xesh is assaulted by Daegen Lok on Bogan as a way of testing Xesh's abilities, and Lok then disables Xesh's manacles and tracker before telling of him the vision that had driven him insane many years earlier: an army of dark warriors carrying blades of fire. When Xesh identifies that weapon as a Forcesaber, Lok convinces him to build more Forcesabers so that he can prove his vision to the Je'daii, and the two use a Pho-V fighter that Lok has hidden to escape Bogan after Xesh restores the ship's power with his Force lightning. Temple Master Tem Madog of Vur Tepe, the Je'daii Forge, tests the Forcesaber, but gives it to Hawk Ryo when the Ranger proves himself capable of wielding the blade. When Xesh's absence from his compound on Bogan is detected, a team of Je'daii—Temple Master Jake Fenn, Rangers Bel Zana, Ryo, and Rori Fenn, and Shae Koda and Sek'nos Rath—are sent to the moon to locate him.
Xesh and Lok arrive at the crystal planet of Krev Coeur in their failing starship, which forces them to parachute to the surface and begin their search for the proper crystals. On Bogan, the Je'daii search for Xesh, and they discover evidence of Lok's starfighter and carvings he drew of his vision. Hawk Ryo admits to the fact that he shared the vision with Lok when the two friends were exploring the Chasm, and the Je'daii realize that Lok is seeking to construct Forcesabers, so half of the Je'daii pursue the two fugitives to Krev Coeur while the others head to the factory world of Nox. At the same time, the Force Hound Trill arrives in the system, having followed Xesh. Ranger Bel Zana attempts to capture Xesh and Lok when she locates them, but Lok manipulates her mind to incapitate her by preying on her fear of fire. Master Fenn and Sek'nos Rath arrive to aid Zana, but their fight goes sideways when Lok, sensing Fenn's fealings for Zana, casts her off of the nearby cliff, and Rath seemingly falls to his death saving her as Xesh and Lok escape.
On Nox, Xesh completes the two Forcesabers and Lok attempts to recruit Hadiya's former generals in his effort to conquer the Je'daii. Shae Koda helps track down Xesh, but he captures her after rescuing her from a dianoga that interrupted their fight. Xesh and Lok then escape with their new prisoner and head to the planet Shikaakwa to try and gather an army there. Rath is saved from death by Trill, who claims to be a ship thief, and Trill helps him head to Shikaakwa to meet up with the other Je'daii. Meanwhile, Tasha Ryo attempts to identify the remains of a Rakata who died in the Devourer crash, but her efforts in the Je'daii Library in Kaleth yield no results until Master Ters Sendon shows her the Kwa Holocron—an ancient holocron left on Tython by the Kwa species that activates in Ryo's presence. The holocron's gatekeeper, A'nang, identifies the mysterious skull as that of a Rakata, and with the help of Master Rajivari, the Je'daii convince A'nang to tell them more about the Rakata. The Kwa explains that long ago, his species traveled the galaxy with their Infinity Gates and taught species about the Force, but the Rakata used the Kwa's knowledge to forge an Infinite Empire based on the dark side.
On Shikaakwa, Lok, Xesh, and a captive Shae Koda meet with Baron Volnos Ryo, Hawk's brother and Tasha's father, who helped Lok infiltrate the Despot Army and kill Hadiya during the Despot War after Hadiya killed Ryo's father. Lok's attempts to enlist Ryo's aid turn sour quickly, and the arrival of the Je'daii turn the encounter into an all-out battle. Sek'nos Rath attacks Xesh and attempts to free Koda, but he fails, and Trill is pleased to see that the memory blocks Predor Skal'nas placed in Xesh's mind are working—the Force Hound does not recognize his former brood mate when the two see each other during the fighting. Hawk Ryo and Lok begin their own fighting, but with the arrival of Xesh, Lok gains the upper hand just as Shae Koda frees herself from her restraints and rushes to Ryo's aid. Koda's pleas for Xesh to choose his own path and not be a slave to Lok reach the Force Hound, who turns on the power-hungry Lok and helps the Je'daii capture him. With the news that the Rakata are likely coming to the Tython system, the Je'daii begin to manufacture Forcesabers despite the weapon's reliance on the dark side, and the Je'daii prepare for war as Xesh is trained as a Je'daii and Lok is imprisoned on Bogan once more. Unbeknownst to the Je'daii, Trill sends a message to her master, who prepares the forces of the Infinite Empire for war.
A year after the Infinite Empire invaded the Tython system, the Rakata have devastated Fury Station and taken Obri and Mawr, and though they were repelled at Tython, the Infinite Empire captured Ska Gora and established their command post, Rakatan Base Prime, there. The Je'daii have joined forces with the Settled Worlds in defense of their star system, and Master Rajivari has been appointed General of the allied forces. With Xesh's aid, the Je'daii have constructed Forcesabers, and though the weapons force them to forsake the Balance, it is only because of the Forcesabers that they have survived thus far. Daegen Lok is also recalled from Bogan and made to serve as the Je'daii's general.
Sub-Predor Ceh'let launches an assault on the planet Shikaakwa, with her Flesh Raider soldiers seeking to assault Ryo Fortress through the surrounding swamps; however, the Je'daii have foreseen their attack and ambush the invaders. Xesh quickly dispatches a horde of Flesh Raiders, and when he is confronted by another Force Hound, Shae Koda flies to his rescue. Xesh and Daegen Lok then flee from the destructive firepower of Rakatan Annihilators, and Lok orders Hawk Ryo's fighter squadrons to airstrike the Annihilators despite his and Xesh's proximity to the targets. Rajivari then orders the bulk of his forces to engage the enemy; as the Je'daii overrun her forces, Ceh'let is permitted to withdraw her forces back to Ska Gora. In the battle that follows, the Je'daii leave no survivors, and Sek'nos Rath is disgusted by Lok's victory speech and the Order's willingness to forsake the balance. On Ska Gora, Ceh'let openly challenges Skal'nas's authority before the other commanders. Skal'nas then explains to Ceh'let in private his true goal—the acquisition of the Infinity Gate on Tython—before killing her.
Xesh dreams of his past as a Force Hound. Shae Koda wakes him up, and he shares his fears that he will be pulled back under Rakatan control. Shae confesses her love for him, and Xesh rejects his old name, given to him by his old Rakatan masters, and tells her that his true name is Tau. Shae and Tau kiss. The next day, Xesh proposes a plan to end the Rakatan invasion by killing their leader, Skal'nas. To find him, Xesh uses his old Force Hound abilities, falling into darkness. He tells the Je'daii that Skal'nas's base is on Ska Gora. Trill, who has been spying on the Je'daii, contacts Skal'nas and tells him about the Je'daii plan. Skal'nas tells Trill not to interfere and let the Je'daii attack.
The Je'daii attack Ska Gora, but back on Tython, Tasha Ryo has a vision and realizes that the Je'daii are walking into a trap. Lok also realizes that it is a trap, and tells Rath to take command. Rajivari contacts the strike team and tells them to pull out, but it is too late. Koda attacks a Force Hound with lightning, and Quan-Jang saves her life by pushing the Hound off of its mount. Koda snaps at Quan-Jang, who warns her not to lose the Balance. Xesh finds Trill, but still does not remember her. She cajoles him to take her with him. They go to the Rakatan base, where they find that the Rakatan have imprisoned the surviving Je'daii, including Rath, in glass tubes. Trill shocks Xesh with lightning, stunning him.
Shae Koda and Quan-Jang continue to fight Rakatan forces. Koda tells Quan-Jang that Rath and Lok have gone missing, and that she fears for Xesh. Skal'nas restores Xesh's memory using a Rakatan device. Xesh remembers how he first found Tython for Skal'nas, who decided to send Xesh as his spy among the Je'daii. He remembers how he sabotaged Tul'kar's ship the Devourer on Skal'nas's orders, then killed Tul'kar himself. Xesh initially refuses to return to slavery, but soon returns to his role as a Force Hound. Xesh tells Skal'nas about the Je'daii seers and about Lok's vision. Skal'nas interrogates Lok, and confirms that there is an Infinity Gate in the Chasm on Tython. The Je'daii seers predict that the Rakatan will attack Tython again, this time with Xesh leading them. Skal'nas uses Xesh's connection to Tasha Ryo to blind the seers. Rajivari tells the strike force on Ska Gora that Xesh has betrayed them, and orders them to retreat. Shae Koda denies that Xesh could betray them. Sek'nos Rath and Daegen Lok both swear to kill Xesh.
The Je'daii fall back to Tython. Shae Koda and Quan-Jang discuss whether she can kill Xesh if necessary. Tasha Ryo retrieves the Holocron of A'nang, and says that she and Ters Sendon will meditate on it for guidance. Skal'nas begins the Second battle of Tython by first destroying a strike force hidden on Tython's moon Ashla. Rori Fenn and Hawk Ryo fight against the Rakata in their fighters. Skal'nas orders Trill to lead his army while Xesh remains at his side. She is angered by this, and swears she will kill Xesh. Skal'nas tries to get Daegen Lok to tell him how he entered the Chasm, but Lok reveals nothing. The Je'daii fight Trill's forces, but Koda senses Xesh and goes to confront him. Skal'nas lands at the Chasm with Xesh and Lok. He reveals that the Infinity Gate at the bottom of the Chasm is not an ordinary gate, but a Prime Gate, which needs no other gate to function. Skal'nas and Xesh descend into the Chasm.
Sek'nos Rath frees himself from his confinement and kills the Rakatan guards around him. He frees the Rakatan slaves and leads them against their former masters. Tasha Ryo and Ters Sendon activate A'nang's Holocron. A'nang says that now that the Rakata have arrived, it is time for Tython to awaken. Flesh Raiders attack Lok, who is chained up next to the Chasm. He frees himself and attacks the Raiders. Sek'nos Rath arrives and saves him from a Flesh Raider. They both say that they want to kill Xesh, and agree that whoever kills the most Raiders gets the first strike. Shae Koda also arrives. Lok reveals that the way to enter the Chasm safely is to focus on the sigil on the Tho Yor. Koda and Lok descend into the Chasm.
Skal'nas and Xesh reach the Prime Gate. Quan-Jang finds Rath, who tells him that Koda and Xesh entered the Chasm. As they descend, Lok urges Koda to give into her anger. Trill finds Rath, and they fight. Rath abandons the Balance and gives in to the dark side despite Quan-Jang's warnings. He kills Trill. Koda and Lok reach the Prime Gate. Lok fights Skal'nas while Koda fights Xesh. Xesh says that their relationship was all a lie and he was a willing spy for Skal'nas. Koda refuses to believe it and urges him to throw off Skal'nas's control once again. Lok tries to use his mind twist ability on Skal'nas, but is overwhelmed by the darkness in Skal'nas's mind. Skal'nas stabs him, and urges Xesh to finish off Koda. Skal'nas activates the Prime Gate and declares himself ruler of the galaxy. Tasha brings A'nang's Holocron to the lowest level of Anil Kesh. A'nang tells her that she needs to reawaken the Tho Yor, but it will cost her mortal body. Tasha bids farewell to Ters Sendon.
Koda urges Xesh one last time to return to the Je'daii. Skal'nas attacks her with lightning, and tells Xesh that love is a lie. Xesh attacks Skal'nas. Tasha steps into the beam of light in Anil Kesh, awakening the Tho Yor, which attack the Rakatan ships. Skal'nas and Xesh duel, but the Tho Yor fire a beam which destroys the Prime Gate. Xesh kills Skal'nas, and declares that he truly is Tau. Koda tells Tau that Lok is alive. They narrowly escape the Chasm as it explodes. The Rakata turn on each other and flee the Tython system.
After the battle, Daegen Lok tells the masters that he and his followers will continue using the Forcesabers, despite how they skew the Balance, since there are still dangers such as Flesh Raiders who escaped into the wilderness. The Masters warn that he could be sent back to Bogan, but he replies that he will never go back there. Shae Koda and Tau explore Tython together and kiss. They walk off together into the Silent Desert.
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.
Several weeks later, Xesh encounters the mad Je'daii Daegen Lok, who recruits Xesh in his quest to construct Forcesabers and take control of the Je'daii. Xesh uses Force lightning to restore power to Lok's downed fighter and the two escape Bogan, traveling to the crystalline planet Krev Coeur in order to acquire crystals for the Forcesabers. When the Je'daii catch up to them, Xesh is forced to fight Sek'nos Rath, and Rath seemingly falls to his death as Xesh and Lok escape to the planet Nox and construct Forcesabers. As Lok and Xesh's alliance continues, Xesh grows more and more uneasy with the mad Je'daii's desire to control him, and the Force Hound's growing feelings for Shae Koda leads him to save her from death and capture her after the two fight on Nox. Xesh's anger comes to a head on Shikaakwa, where Koda convinces him to become more than Lok's slave and he turns on his ally to join the Je'daii. However, Xesh is unaware that he is actually a spy for Skal'nas.
Xesh fights with the Je'daii during the Rakatan invasion, which lasts a year. During this time he begins a relationship with Shae Koda, and tells her that his real name is Tau. Xesh is captured by Trill on Ska Gora. Skal'nas restores his memories, and Xesh rejoins the Infinite Empire as Skal'nas's Force Hound. He accompanies Skal'nas to Tython, where they descend into the Chasm to access the Prime Gate. Shae Koda pursues them there, and ultimately convinces Xesh to return to the Je'daii. Xesh kills Skal'nas and, as Tau, resumes his relationship with Shae.
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, and when she joins the team of Je'daii pursuing Xesh and Lok, Koda harbors intense anger towards Xesh: she saw his escape from Bogan as a betrayal of the trust Koda and the others had placed in Xesh as his friends. Xesh's feelings for Koda leads him to save her from death and take her prisoner, and Koda is able to convince the Force Hound to choose his own path and stop serving Lok on Shikaakwa.
Shae fights with Xesh and the other Je'daii in the Rakatan invasion that follows. She begins a relationship with Xesh, who tells her his true name Tau. However, during the attack on Ska Gora, which she took part in, Xesh betrayed the Je'daii and rejoined the Infinite Empire. Nevertheless, she still believed that he served Skal'nas unwillingly. During the battle of Tython, she and Lok pursued Xesh and Skal'nas into the Chasm, where she dueled Xesh. She was ultimately successful in convincing Xesh to abandon Skal'nas and return to the Je'daii. Shae and Xesh, now Tau, resumed their relationship after the war.
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, and like the others he is unhappy with being seemingly ignored by the Je'daii Council in the weeks afterwards. He jumps at the opportunity to leave Tython and hunt down Xesh when he and Lok escape Bogan, and Rath willingly sacrifices himself to save Ranger Bel Zana from death. Rath is rescued by Trill, however, and the mysterious "ship thief" aids Rath in returning to the other Je'daii and capturing Xesh.
Rath fights against the Rakatan invaders in the ensuing war. Trill continues to accompany him, pretending to be an ordinary woman while spying for Skal'nas. Rath is betrayed by Trill on Ska Gora, and is imprisoned with the Rakatan slaves, where his anger and suffering is used to power the Rakatan ships. In the battle for Tython, Rath breaks free and hunts down Trill. He kills her, but abandons the Balance, giving into his anger and hatred.
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. While Rath and Koda are chosen to chase after Xesh, Ryo works with Master Ters Sendon to investigate the source of the crashed ship, and she is able to unlock the Kwa Holocron, which teaches the Je'daii about the Rakata.
During the Rakatan invasion, Tasha becomes a Je'daii seer. She and the other seers foresee Xesh's betrayal too late, and Skal'nas uses Xesh's connection to her to blind all the seers to the Force, including her. During the battle of Tython, she and Ters Sendon activate the Holocron of A'nang. A'nang guides her to the lower levels of Anil Kesh, where she becomes one with the Force to activate the Tho Yor. Because of her sacrifice, the Tho Yor turn the tide of the battle and the war.
A Twi'lek Je'daii Ranger, Hawk Ryo is the brother of Volnos Ryo and Tasha Ryo's uncle; he was Daegen Lok's best friend in the years before Lok's exile, and the two ventured into the Chasm together and shared the vision of the dark army. Ryo denied his vision and left Bogan, continuing to serve as a Ranger, and in 25,793 BBY he was on Furies Gate when he senses a dark presence—the Devourer—enter the system. Ryo, Quan-Jang, and Rori Fenn follow the Journeyers into the Rift, joining Shae Koda and Xesh in battling the saarl, and Fenn and Ryo take Xesh to Bogan. Ryo later proves to be the only one capable of igniting Xesh's Forcesaber, and heads one of the teams that pursues Xesha and Lok when they escape Bogan. Ryo encounters Lok on Nox, but when Lok escapes, Ryo and the others pursue him to Shikaakwa—and atop his brother's fortress, Ryo battles Lok and acknowledges his vision. but he refuses to join Lok in his quest to bring the Je'daii into the dark side. Ryo loses his leg in the fight and receives a prosthetic, and he tells Master Ketu the truth of his vision: he foresaw Xesh leading the Je'daii against the dark army.
Daegen Lok is a Je'daii Master who played a pivotal role in ending the Despot War, as he went undercover as a disgraced Ranger and became one of Hadiya's generals and her lover before he ultimately killed her. However, when Lok was promoted to the rank of Master in 25,800 BBY, he and his best friend Hawk Ryo decided to explore the Chasm of Anil Kesh and ignored the warnings that the Chasm drove all those who entered it mad. Lok experienced a vision of an army of dark warriors wielding blades of fire, and the vision—which he shared with Ryo—drove him mad, driving him to the dark side and resulting in his exile to Bogan. Lok refused to renounce his vision and remains on Bogan for the next seven years, viewing Ryo's denial of their vision as a betrayal and seeking to fulfill what he sees as his destiny to be leader of the Je'daii. Lok recruits Xesh's help in building Forcesabers and gathering an army, and the two journey across the Tython ssystem to do so while pursued by Je'daii, but Lok's continued treatment of the powerful warrior as his slave and his casual manipulation of the minds of others ultimately leads Xesh to betray Lok on Shikaakwa. Defeated, Lok is imprisoned on Bogan once more, though the insane Je'daii remains adamant that the Je'daii will need him to defeat the dark army that is coming.
Lok was soon proven correct, as the Infinite Empire invaded the Tython system. Lok was made a General during the year-long war that followed. However his "little brother" Xesh betrays them and rejoins the Infinite Empire on Ska Gora. Lok is imprisoned by Skal'nas. Skal'nas takes Lok with him to the Chasm and learns the secret to entering safely. He leaves Lok chained up next to the Chasm to die. However, Lok is saved by Sek'nos Rath. Lok and Shae Koda enter the Chasm to stop Skal'nas and Xesh. Lok duels Skal'nas, but is stabbed in the chest. Miraculously, Lok survives, and is pulled out of the Chasm by Shae Koda when it collapses. After the war, he tells the Je'daii Masters that he and his followers will continue using the Forcesabers, and he will never return to Bogan.
Trill is a Force Hound of the Rakata and a former brood mate of Xesh. The two were friends as children, banding together to protect one another from other slaves, and Trill and Xesh swore a blood bond to always protect one another. However, when the two became Force Hounds, Xesh defeated Trill in battle, and he refused to kill his former brood mate—instead, he proposed that she be given to Tul'kar's rival and superior, Skal'nas. Believing this to be a betrayal on Xesh's part, Trill grew to hate her former brood mate, and she maintains a fierce rivalry with Xesh. Trill is sent to the Tython system by Skal'nas to locate the Devourer, and she uses her bond with Xesh to follow him to the system. Trill rescues the Je'daii Journeyer Sek'nos Rath from death on Krev Coeur, and proceeds to pose as a simple ship thief while aiding the Je'daii in pursuing Xesh. Trill's true purpose in the Tython system is to confirm that Xesh does not remember Trill thanks to Skal'nas's manipulations, and she sends word to her Predor that the Tython system is ready for the taking in the days after Daegen Lok's capture.
Trill continues spying for Skal'nas during the year-long invasion. She betrayed the Je'daii on Ska Gora, where she captured Xesh and turned him over to Skal'nas. However, after Xesh rejoined the Infinite Empire Skal'nas decided to make him his new Force Hound, leaving Trill angry at this betrayal. Nevertheless she led Rakatan forces during the battle for Tython. She was ultimately killed by Sek'nos Rath.
- "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. Rodolfo Migliari's original painting for the series was used as the cover for Issue #0.
Dawn of the Jedi comprises three five-issue miniseries. It was not published monthly, in the same vein as Star Wars: Dark Times and Star Wars: Invasion. This is because Ostrander and Duursema worked on the entirety of each arc together instead of one at a time. John Ostrander and Jan Duursema wrote the story for the series, while Ostrander penned the script and Duursema pencilled the artwork. Dan Parsons was the inker, Michael Heisler was the letterer, and Wes Dzioba handled coloring duties. Duursema was the cover artist for the five issues of Force Storm, but David Michael Beck took over as the cover artist starting with the first issue of Prisoner of Bogan. 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, "Before the Republic"—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 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 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 Before the Republic 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.
Dawn of the Jedi has also received a tie-in novel entitled Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void, which was written by Tim Lebbon and begins just days before the events of Force Storm 2. The novel greatly expanded on the organization and rituals of the Je'daii Order, as well the surface of Tython, and the Force Storm caused by the Devourer's crash appears in the final chapters. A short story entitled Eruption appeared in Star Wars Insider 141, which features Hawk Ryo and acts as a prelude to both Into the Void and the main series.
- "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. The Force Storm arc sold better than The Prisoner of Bogan, ranging between 18,000-20,000 copies sold worldwide on each issue's release date compared to The Prisoner of Bogan's ranging between 13,000-17,000. Force Storm 4 was the best-selling issue of the series in terms of initial release numbers, with 19,756 copies of the issue sold worldwide on May 16, 2012. Force War was one of Dark Horse's highest-selling comics during the months of its release, though The Prisoner of Bogan was beaten out by other Star Wars comics.
Dawn of the Jedi 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 issues 132 and 138, and the first two arcs of the series were collected in two trade paperbacks: Book One—Force Storm and Book Two—Prisoner of Bogan, which were released on December 12, 2012 and July 24, 2013 respectively.
|Color code key:|
|Story arcs||Collected (TPB) issue||Released issue||Future issue|
- Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi Book One—Force Storm
- Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi Book Two—Prisoner of Bogan
- Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi Book Three—Force War
- "Blaster"—Star Wars Insider 132
- "Blaster"—Star Wars Insider 138
- "Dark Matters"—Star Wars Insider 140
- "Blaster"—Star Wars Insider 141
- "Blaster"—Star Wars Insider 143
- "Blaster"—Star Wars Insider 146
- "Blaster"—Star Wars Insider 149
Notes and references