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A comic book series from the The '90s, this began as an attempt to explain the origins of the Sith Lord Exar Kun after his appearance in the Jedi Academy Trilogy and subsequently expanded into a much larger story about the adventures of the Jedi Knights thousands of years before the Star Wars films. The series was mostly written by Kevin J. Anderson, and it is probably his most popular contribution to the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
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The Tales of the Jedi series is split into two parts. The first (written by Anderson and Tom Veitch) deals with the fall to the dark side of the Jedi Knights Ulic Qel-Droma and Exar Kun and their subsequent war against the Old Republic, four thousand years before A New Hope. A prequel series (written exclusively by Anderson) was later published, taking place a further thousand years earlier and showing the fall of the Sith Empire during the Great Hyperspace War, explaining and elaborating upon several important points which formed the background of the first series.

The importance of this series for Star Wars Legends is hard to understate, as it led directly to the critically acclaimed Knights of the Old Republic video game, which in turned paved the way for Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO. These games have spin-offs of their own, and they all owe that to the Tales of the Jedi.

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The main story arcs in chronological order are:

  • The Golden Age of the Sith
  • The Fall of the Sith Empire
  • Knights of the Old Republic
    • Ulic Qel-Droma and the Beast Wars of Onderon
    • The Saga of Nomi Sunrider
  • Freedon Nadd Uprising
  • Dark Lords of the Sith
  • The Sith War
  • Redemption

Tropes

  • Action Girl: Numerous among the Jedi. Jori, Nomi, Shoaneb Culu, etcetera.
  • Action Mom: Nomi Sunrider.
  • And I Must Scream: The final fate of Exar Kun, who ends up trapped in his temple as a disembodied spirit for four thousand years.
  • All There in the Manual: Some details on backstory, like how some secondary Jedi joined the Order and the fact that the Qel-Dromas' mother was a Jedi herself, are included in a companion guide.
  • Amplifier Artifact: There are a number of Sith amulets and bracers which enhance the wielder's anger and Force power.
  • Art Shift: Several times. It's often rather jarring.
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  • The Atoner: Ulic Qel-Droma, who goes into a self-imposed exile after helping the Jedi win the war.
  • Badass Grandpa: Jedi Masters in general. Master Arca Jeth destroys Krath war droids with "a simple tug of the Force."
  • Badass Normal: Captain Vanicus and Mandalore the Indomitable stand out in particular.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Nomi favored a very small shirt while training with Thon. She swaps it for more usual Jedi gear later on.
  • Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me: Gender-flipped from the usual. After Satal is done torturing Ulic, Aleema orders him delivered to her chambers so she can convince him to join the Krath.
  • Big Bad:
    • The Golden Age of the Sith/The Fall of the Sith Empire: Naga Sadow
    • Knights of the Old Republic:
      • Ulic Qel-Droma and the Beast Wars of Onderon: Queen Amanoa
      • The Saga of Nomi Sunrider: Bogga the Hutt
    • Freedon Nadd Uprising: King Ommin
    • Dark Lords of the Sith: Satal and Aleema Keto
    • Sith War: Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma.
    • Redemption: none.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Sith are defeated and Exar Kun is sealed away, but Ulic Qel-Droma, the greatest of the Jedi Knights, fell to the dark side and lost everything he had sworn to protect.
  • Brain in a Jar: In Golden Age of the Sith we are introduced to the Jedi Master Ooroo and the Sith Lord Simus. Whereas the former appears to be an actual alien brain living in a giant crystal, the latter was defeated in combat by another Sith Lord and developed a means of keeping his head alive in a jar.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Exar Kun's Sith converts, whom he poisons with shards of a broken holocron, and Ulic.
  • Cain and Abel: Ulic Qel-Droma, who falls to the dark side, and Cay Qel-Droma, who stays with the Jedi. It matches with Cay's golden hair and Ulic's darker shade.
  • Call-Forward: Several to the Jedi Academy Trilogy and Dark Empire, also written by Anderson.
  • The Captain: Captain Vanicus to be addressed as captain, even though he seems to be the overall commander of the Republic fleet.
  • Cats Are Mean: Played with for the Beastfolk Cathar. Crado and Sylvar start off as loyal, good-hearted, brave Jedi (albeit arrogant in Crado's case and a bit of a Blood Knight in Sylvar's). Once Crado becomes corrupted by Exar Kun, both of their flaws worsen, but Crado ends up becoming a fawning sycophant and loses pretty much all his badassery (and never gains any real menace) while Sylvar's quite justified resentment causes her to become fanatical about both hunting down her former mate and making Kun pay for corrupting him. In the end Crado is so pathetic that you can't help feeling sorry for him when Kun sends him on a suicide mission in Naga Sadow's ship, while Sylvar is able to let go of her hatred and blood lust thanks to Nomi and Vima and thus forgive Ulic. The Cathar themselves, in the scenes in Redemption when Sylvar goes home to try and purge herself of her anger, only come across as strongly noble Proud Warrior Race Guys in tune with the natural world but able to control their animal urges, quite in keeping with their appearance as saber-toothed Kings of the Beasts.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Nomi's position as Grand Master of the Order leaves her little time to spend with her daughter.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Shortly before he is killed by Exar Kun, Master Odan Urr explains a technique to Nomi Sunrider that would allow her to defeat Dark Jedi without killing them by removing their connection to the Force. She uses this on Ulic after he kills his brother.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Redemption, the final arc. It focuses largely on Vima Sunrider when she is old enough for Jedi training.
  • Confusion Fu: Very much Exar Kun's preferred fighting style; switching weapons and tactics almost on a dime. This is the primary reason he was to defeat his master, Vodo Siosk Baas.
  • Continuity Snarl: With the Knights of the Old Republic games, which feature a completely different aesthetic and prequel-era ethos for the Jedi.
  • Dark Action Girl: Aleema Keto.
  • The Dark Age of Comic Books: One of several EU attempts at this style.
  • The Dark Arts: The dark side of the Force is portrayed like this.
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: King Ommin of Freddon Nadd Uprising is this, kept alive long past the time he should have died by being kept in a secret laboratory with a special armature; although it turns out the Dark Side is what sustains him, the armature itself allows him to stand, walk, move, and fight by supporting his aged flesh and softened bones. This, of course, makes him extremely vulnerable...
  • Dark Messiah: How Exar Kun presents himself after becoming the Dark Lord of the Sith and returning to Ossus to round up Jedi converts.
  • Depending on the Writer: After Tom Veitch left, Kevin J. Anderson authored (roughly) the last two-thirds of the series. He had some input on previous material as well, so the shift isn't quite as jarring as with, say, Darksaber, but still detectable. All the main characters become noticeably stupider and more violent, there are a few subplots that go nowhere, and suddenly superweapons (which did not feature previously) are major plot devices.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Several major characters die this way, occasionally becoming one with the Force.
  • Does Not Like Lightsabers: Nomi Sunrider initially refuses to become a Jedi because she dislikes the idea of having to kill her enemies.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Sith used blue and green lightsabres. In the case of Jedi-turned-Sith, like Exar Kun, it was justified, since they simply continued used the same lightsabers they had as Jedi. However, Warb Null, who was always a darksider, used a green lightsaber. It wasn't until The Phantom Menace where it was established that all Sith, not just Vader, use red lightsabers.
    • Instead of the Force Lightning (which, oddly enough, had already been introduced before these comics were made), the Sith had another offensive power called Force Blast, which is the kind of attacks you'd see in a shonen anime/manga.
    • At least once, multiple Jedi are referred to as "Jedis."
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Naga Sadow's flagship was equipped with a device that allows the user to trigger a supernova with the Dark Side of the Force. The Sith use it to destroy the surface of Ossus.
  • Egopolis: The Empress Teta system. (Yes, the name of the system includes her imperial title.) A rare heroic instance of this.
  • Elite Mook: King Ommin's armoured apprentice, Warb Null, who leads the Naddist cult's soldiers.
  • The Empire: There was a Sith Empire in the stories which take place first chronologically. By the time of the Sith War, Mandalore notes that the Empress Teta system has become an empire that's nonetheless "bloated and overstretched by it's many conquests".
  • Enemy Civil War:
    • In the Great Hyperspace War, the Sith were united under Naga Sadow in their war against the Republic, but halfway in the war the Sith turn on Naga Sadow and civil war broke out while they were still fighting the Republic; by the time Naga Sadow had put down the usurpers, the Republic was able to finish off the weakened Sith Empire.
    • Also to a lesser extent this is the original state of affairs between the different members of Freedon Nadd's followers (the Krath/Ulic vs. Exar Kun) until Nadd is killed (again) and the spirit of Dark Lord Marka Ragnos enforces an alliance between Ulic and Kun, and later still another version could be said to apply to their treatment of Aleema and Crado, although this falls more under You Have Outlived Your Usefulness, No Honor Among Thieves, and Treachery Is a Special Kind of Evil.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: Queen Amanoa and King Ommin look much older, and Ommin is far more decrepit, than even their advanced years should explain.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Kun believes that human Jedi are inherently superior to alien Jedi, although he has no problems with using alien Jedi as pawns he can control.
    • There is a great deal of prejudice between the people of Iziz and the Beast-Riders (who, admittedly, are descended from exiled criminals). Naturally, the children of the ruling families fall in love.
  • Fat Bastard:
    • Great Bogga the Hutt, who causes all the problems in "The Saga of Nomi Sunrider". Starts by ordering her husband be mugged to death for the rare crystals he's carrying and continues trying to get them back until his minions are thoroughly whupped by Nomi and Thon.
    • Averted by Aarba the Hutt, who has genuine sympathy for the Daragon twins so long as they don't endanger his business inerests.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • Ulic Qel-Droma's connection to the force is severed by Nomi Sunrider after he kills his brother in combat and he is left to wander the galaxy.
    • Although Exar Kun did die, his spirit would be trapped inside the darkness of his own temple for thousand of years.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: At the conclave of Deneba, Cay mentions that the servant droids are acting funny. A few pages later they start attacking everyone.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Every master that encounters Vima Sunrider says she'll become a great Jedi. Vima's actions in Redemption certainly put her on this path, although copyright nonsense prevented the EU from taking it further.
    • Jedi in general do a lot of this consciously (what with being vaguely precognitive and all), such as when Cay tells Ulic he feels like they'll never see each other again.
  • Freudian Trio: Arca's apprentices at the start of "Knights of the Old Republic." Ulic, though leader, is the brave to reckless Id. His brother Cay is the passionate but tempered Ego. Tott Doneeta is the calm and cautious Superego.
  • Giant Mook: Warb Null.
  • Good Is Not Nice: A thousand years before the main story about Ulic and Exar Kun, the Jedi and Old Republic exterminated the Sith species, who at the time were a thriving interstellar civilization. Yes, it was during a war (that the Sith had started), and they were your average typical space-opera villains, but it's still a whole species of Human Aliens. And yes, it was said that they deliberately hunted down every last one of them.
  • Handicapped Badass: Shoaneb Culu is blind. Notably her entire people, the Miraluka, are like this, but since she has the Force and is an incredible warrior, she becomes this trope in a way the rest of them don't.
  • Hope Spot: Nomi and Cay think that they have a chance to get Ulic back when they sense him over Ossus. They really don't.
  • I Can Rule Alone: Exar Kun isn't particularly interested in serving Freedon Nadd for the rest of his life, or in sharing power with Satal and Aleema. He doesn't seem to mind having Ulic as his ally/general, though—while he does eventually abandon him on Ossus, this is more to carry out his own plans on Yavin than not wanting to share power, and he had earlier come to Ulic's rescue at the Senate trial. Sith prophecies, amulets, and tattoos are far better motivators than being ordered around as a lackey, who knew?
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight:
    • Nomi's mission to retrieve Ulic quickly turns into this kind of fight. However, she calls a retreat before it gets too far, as it's clear he's too far gone and won't willingly come back with them.
    • Cay confronts Ulic on Ossus, ending up in a defensive lightsaber fight while he tries to remind him that he used to be a good man. It has no effect and Ulic soon kills him. And then he awakens to the horror he's inflicted and returns to himself.
  • Interrupted Cooldown Hug: At the end of Redemption, the estranged Nomi and Ulic embrace after she accepts the sincerity of his regret and he stops Sylvar from falling completely to the dark side. Then, Hoggan shoots him in the back and kills him. Then he gloats about it. He's quite shocked when none of the Jedi in the vicinity are pleased with him.
  • Jedi Brat: Vima Sunrider is the daughter of two Jedi and grows up surrounded by them (and their battles, once or twice).
  • Karmic Death:
    • While he isn't actually killed for another four thousand years, Exar Kun's fate at the end of the Sith War is fitting for a man who was obsessed with darkness.
    • Also Aleema, destroyed by the very Sith sorcery she was attempting to wield, an act of betrayal done in revenge for her betrayal of Ulic.
  • Kill It with Fire: Nomi leads the Jedi in creating a "wall of light" to purge the dark side from Yavin IV. Much to their surprise (and dismay) this ends up igniting and sends an inferno raging over the surface of the jungle moon.
  • Kissing Cousins: Implied to be going on between Satal Keto and Aleema.
  • Knights In Shining Armor: The Qel-Droma brothers are this for the Jedi, until Ulic's Start of Darkness. Then things go downhill for them both.
  • Lady of War: Nomi Sunrider evolves into one as the series goes on, finishing as Head of the Jedi Order. Also, Empress Teta.
  • Light Is Not Good: Empress Teta, military dictator of the Koros system and anti-Sith crusader par excellence. She's supposed to be one of the good guys, but there are worrying little things in her portrayal. Like how the POWs from her victorious wars of unification for the greater good are still in hard labor camps a decade after the last war ended. Or how the system is renamed the Empress Teta System afterwards.
  • Lizard Folk: Qrrrl Tok, a Warrior Prince and Jedi Knight, is a reptilian Nazzar.
  • Luke Nounverber: The Sunrider family.
  • Mad Scientist: Exar Kun, in his spare time.
  • Magic by Any Other Name: Inverted. This is one of the few places in Star Wars where Force techniques and practitioners—mainly dark side ones—are referred to with terms like "Sith magic" and "sorcerer." The terms are occasionally used in other works to refer to Force users of this ancient era.
  • Mama Bear: Nomi Sunrider, whose main motivation for becoming a Jedi Knight is a desire to protect her daughter.
  • Master of Illusion: Aleema Keto.
  • Mauve Shirt: The secondary Jedi trio of Shoaneb Culu, Dace Diath, and Qrrrl Toq. They appear in the background of most major events and often pursue some related line of investigation, or accompany Nomi, Cay, and Tott as backup. They're killed in the final battle of the Sith Wars.
  • Medieval Stasis: Averted. This takes place thousands of years before the main series and it shows (although it may have been retconned by the Knights of the Old Republic series).
  • More Than Mind Control: Happens to Ulic when he infiltrates the Krath.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Exar Kun after killing the two men who helped him find Freedon Nadd's tomb in a furious rage. Ulic Qel-Droma upon killing his own brother and Gav Daragon when he realises that he's completely out of his depth with the Sith Empire.
  • No Antagonist: The final arc, "Redemption". It takes place during peacetime and the conflict is around personal struggles left over from the wars.
  • Noble Savage: The Beast Riders of Onderon, who are more civilised than many denizens of the city.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Naga Sadow behaves a bit like a crazy old man to deceive the Daragons.
  • Off-Model: Sometimes. It depends on the artist. "The Freedon Nadd Uprising" is probably the worst offender, as it goes beyond simply a different art style. Cay and Oss Willum look the same age as Arca Jeth, Dace Diath has some kind of afro-topiary thing going on, and Ulic is given an olive complexion... no, not the Mediterranean kind, but actual olive green.
  • Older and Wiser: Several characters in Redemption, which takes place ten years after the Knights of the Old Republic/Freedon Nadd/Exar Kun arcs.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: A variant when Arca Jeth is killed. Ulic is in the "Mary" pose, but what he's holding are empty robes.
  • Poke in the Third Eye: Nomi does this to Aleema during their psychic fight, causing the latter's illusions to dispel.
  • Post-Script Season: Redemption.
  • Prequel: The Golden Age of the Sith and The Fall of the Sith Empire. Both arcs were written by Kevin J. Anderson, without input from Tom Veitch.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Mandalore and the Mandalorians, who are pretty thrilled to have a new crusade. Also applies to Kun's Massassi warriors, who he genetically engineers to be deadlier.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Despite the above points regarding her somewhat questionable actions during and after the Unification Wars, Empress Teta not only believes the vision related to her by Odan-Urr and tries to warn the Senate of the impending invasion (even though this risks her own political credit she's earned thus far), she also believes Jori Daragon when she sneaks into her chamber in the palace of Cinnagar rather than having her summarily executed as a spy and assassin (or for the crimes she and her brother had committed against Aarrba). And in the end, in gratitude for what she had done for the Republic and the brother she had lost, Teta grants Jori's request to take over Aarbba's repair dock.
    • Modon Kira, the head of the Beast-riders, takes it in stride when three Jedi crash into his son's wedding banquet and invites them to join. He tells them that he's ready for peace, but also for war.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Somewhat of a subversion in Ulic's case. He's been turned back for some time and at the end, none of the Jedi are interested in punishing him anymore. His death is a result of a Jedi-worshipping pilot wanting a place in history.
  • Religion of Evil: The Dark Jedi Freedon Nadd left behind a cult devoted to his worship on Onderon, which serves as the main opponent for the Jedi until Exar Kun shows up.
  • Reverse Mole: Ulic Qel-Droma. He thinks he can infiltrate Cinnagar, gain the trust of the Krath and resist the dark side. Two out of Three Ain't Bad.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Averted in The Sith War. While not rocks, the weapons of the Krath soldiers are basically antiques and they're no match for the advanced technology of the Mandalorians.
  • Royal Blood: An important element of the power struggle among the lords of the Sith Empire. For example, Naga Sadow possesses minimal Sith blood and takes pride in the purity of his Jedi lineage, tracing his ancestry right back to the original Dark Jedi who fled the Republic and enslaved the Sith species.
  • Royally Screwed Up: The royal family of Onderon, who have been receiving training from the disembodied spirit of Freedon Nadd for hundreds of years.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • Even after becoming ruler of Onderon, Oron Kira is the first Beast Rider in the air when the Mandalorian attack begins.
    • Also Empress Teta, Lady of War par excellence who a) unifies the seven worlds of the Koros system b) always fights on the front lines, willing to lay down her life for her cause and unwilling to order the deaths of her people without the same possibility befalling her c) believes Odan-Urr and Memit Nadill despite not being Force-sensitive herself, to the point of risking her political clout by telling the Senate of the impending Sith invasion and d) leading the battles which not only save Koros and the Republic but take out the Sith Empire at Korriban. No wonder she got an entire system named after her!
  • Schizo Tech: A lot of the technology looks like it's made from stone or crude metal. (This is in stark contrast with the Knights of the Old Republic games, which take place not forty years from the end of the comics and basically look like the prequel movies).
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Lake Naath, used by Thon to seal a host of Sith spirits that threatened to overrun the sector. It's a rare example that actually works, barring some warped reptilian monsters that crawl out from time to time.
  • Smug Snake: Satal Keto and Aleema behave as though they will brig the galaxy to its knees, but they're just spoiled brats who dabbled in Sith magic out of boredom.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Knights of the Old Republic games and comics, which are set in the same era and contain various references to events and characters from this series. They were originally intended as a straighter sequel: KOTOR's Bastila Shan was even supposed to be Nomi Sunrider at first, but this floundered due to murky copyright claims.
  • Start of Darkness: For Exar Kun, it's his obsession with ancient Sith history and science. For Ulic, it's his failure to prevent the death of Master Arca.
  • Sycophantic Servant: Crado is slavishly devoted to Exar Kun in spite of Kun's Fantastic Racism.
  • Taking You with Me: Aarrba the Hutt takes out two Massassi by crushing them under his own girth.
  • Tears from a Stone: The ice statue of Andur Sunrider begins to "weep" as it melts while Vima and Nomi embrace beneath it.
  • Tongue Trauma: One of several unpleasant things inflicted by Aleema upon her tutor. He ends up with his lips sewn shut to keep the writhing, fanged thing she changed his tongue into from getting out.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting:
    • "Dark Lords of the Sith" switches between Exar Kun's adventures searching for Sith knowledge and Ulic's plan to infiltrate the Krath.
    • Vima's search for Ulic and Sylvar's struggle with the Dark Side in "Redemption."
  • Unwanted Rescue: Galia protests when Ulic, Cay, and Tott crash into the beast-riders' hall, interrupting her wedding to Oron Kira. She and Oron staged the kidnapping in the first place.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Gav and Jori Daragon were partly responsible for the Great Hyperspace War, when Naga Sadow used them as pawns to make himself ruler of the Sith and wage war on the Republic.
  • The Vamp: Aleema, who seduces Ulic to the dark side.
  • War for Fun and Profit: While they're still Proud Warrior Race Guys, the Mandalorians are at least partially motivated by their desire to plunder military technology from the Republic.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In the middle of the Sith War story arc we see a montage of Exar Kun's Sith converts killing their former Jedi masters. At the end of the story these Dark Jedi are still unaccounted for; the only one really addressed is Oss Wilum, who is freed from possession by Master Thon and becomes The Atoner.
  • Wretched Hive: Cinnagar is termed one in a Continuity Nod, though it's one of "persecution and dread" rather than "scum and villainy," thanks to Krath rule.
  • Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: In their first battle against the Jedi fleet, Sato takes advantage of the Jedi's detection of their illusions by having Aleema create another illusory fleet, and then positioning actual ships within it.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Exar Kun arranges the death of Aleema because she betrayed Ulic Qel-Droma and left him to be arrested by the Jedi, and Crado because he finds him annoying. Kun also turns on the spirit of Freedon Nadd once he has learned all he can from him (though to be fair this is also due to Nadd's continued attempts to manipulate him, including into making him a body so he can be restored to life). Karmically fitting, considering Nadd had done the same thing himself to Naga Sadow.

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