Brothers Ulic Qel-Droma and Cay Qel-Droma, and their Twi’lek friend Tott Doneeta, are recent graduates to the rank of Jedi Knight. They are assigned to restore the peace on the planet Onderon by Jedi Master Arca, their mentor, who has enough faith in them to send them there alone. But on Onderon, the three young Jedi discover that the situation is more complicated than they had been led to believe. A war between the dwellers of a great walled city and a faction of outcasts who have learned to ride vicious airborne beasts could end with a marriage that could unite both sides, but Ulic and his fellow Jedi are nearly tricked into putting a stop to it. When they learn that the Dark Side is strong in the ruthless rulers of the city of Iziz, Cay and Tott worry that they won’t be able to take on the Dark Side practitioners without more experienced Jedi help; Ulic convinces them otherwise, but even with the young Jedis’ skills and bravery, victory will come at a high cost.
Elsewhere in the galaxy, a young Jedi is cut down before the eyes of his wife and child by thugs working for Bogga the Hutt. The newly widowed Nomi Sunrider, who herself has latent Force potential, picks up her fallen husband’s lightsaber, kills her attackers and escapes with her daughter. She seeks out the Jedi Master her husband was seeking, only to find that his new mentor wasn’t human at all – or, for that matter, humanoid. If she can overcome her preconceptions about the Jedi and the Force, and her aversion to ever wielding a lightsaber again, Nomi may herself become a Jedi…just in time to witness first-hand an unusually bold uprising by the Dark Lords of the Sith and their followers.
Cast: David Scott Gordon (Ulic Qel-Droma), Skip Lackey (Cay Qel-Droma), Mark Feuerstein (Tott), Melanie Mitchell (Nomi Sunrider), Larry Keith (Master Arca / King Omin), Paul Condylis (Master Thon), Thom Christopher (Freedon Nadd), Michael Louden (Oss), Christopher Sena (Andur / Satal), Aden Gillet (Oron), Peter Newman (Novar), Chris Phillips (Threedee / Gudb), Tony Sperry (Quanto / Rek), Ben Lipitz (Nikto), Bud Thorpe (Bogga the Hutt / Warb Null), John Randolph Jones (Gobee), Allison Dougherty (Princess Galia), Garet Scott (Aleema), Kim Brown (Vima), Teri Keane (Queen Amanoa), Jay Gregory (Holocron Gatekeeper), Barbara Gilbert (Computer), Peter Larkin (Narrator)
Notes: Thom Christopher is best known in SF circles for starring as Hawk in the second season of Buck Rogers.
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: Even taking into account that so much of the original Tales Of The Jedi comic series has been invalidated by the prequel trilogy, whether it be Jedi Masters with multiple apprentices, Jedi with family attachments, or massive Dark Side armies, the original comics were among the better Expanded Universe spinoffs to come along before Phantom Menace premiered. Sadly, this audio adaptation seems to miss the mark much of the time. Some of the cast – especially the male leads – manage to carry things off with conviction; at other times, the voice artists let the side down miserably (at one point, I had to pause the CD and laugh because a supposedly bad-ass evil character sounded for all the world like Bubs from Homestar Runner). Dialogue and even entire scenes are altered considerably from the source material, sometimes as a necessity to convey something that previously existed only as visuals in a panel of the comic books, but if you are familiar with the source material, be prepared to scratch your head at some of the changes; in the end, the most reassuring link to the original stories is the Dave Dorman cover art on the CD slipcase. Sound design was another sore point – too many perfectly normal Earthly sounds – such as animals and other things that should sound otherworldly in the story’s context – are mixed in with the familiar Lucasfilm sound effects, and even when appropriate sounds are used, the sound mix is conspicuously sparse. Worse, scene changes are heralded by a corny “whoosh!” sound that I’d expect from a read-along book-and-tape set for kids, not from an attempt to mount a full-cast dramatic production. I hate to rag on the various Expanded Universe audio plays written/adapted by John Whitman, but someone else needs to have a go at writing audio Star Wars, because the original NPR radio series provides more than ample proof that it can work in that medium.