Dawn Of The Jedi Takes Its Name From A Star Wars Comic, And It's The Perfect Inspiration For A Movie

"Star Wars" is entering a new era: one with movies that are more than origin stories for known characters, or trilogies centered on a single family and Emperor Palpatine. Instead of another trilogy, it seems we are getting three brand new, independent stories, all set in a different era, each with the potential to grow as rich in stories and lore as the Skywalker saga. (That is, if they ever get off the ground.)

Of the three movies — which include one directed by Dave Filoni and set between the original and sequel trilogies, and one about Rey rebuilding the Jedi Order 15 years after "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" — arguably the most exciting announcement is the project that's furthest removed from the current tangle of storylines. A movie that will explore a new, yet much older era for the galaxy far, far away: the Dawn of the Jedi.

This project will be helmed by James Mangold, making him the first person to direct both an "Indiana Jones" and a "Star Wars" movie. During the Lucasfilm Showcase at "Star Wars" Celebration 2023, Mangold talked about making the "Star Wars" equivalent of a biblical epic, inspired by films like "Ben-Hur" and "The Ten Commandments." Set 25,000 years before the events of "A New Hope," it will tell the story of the birth of the Force, and the first Jedi. An expanded timeline showing the scope of the upcoming "Star Wars" movies was revealed during the panel, with the setting of Mangold's film labeled as "Dawn of the Jedi." (Note: the movie itself does not yet have an official title.)

While on paper this sounds like the ultimate cliché prequel — the origin of the origin of the thing you like, overexplaining everything — there is reason to be excited about this movie (and no, it is not the possibility of seeing actual midi-chlorians). It's the fact that the "Dawn of the Jedi" era has already been explored just enough in the comics to establish it as a fascinating era of "Star Wars" history.

The Je'daii Order

"Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi" was a 2012 comic book from Dark Horse Comics by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema, chronicling the origin of the Jedi Order (here referred to as Je'daii Order), before the separation between the light and the dark side of the Force. We see the first pilgrims from across the galaxy being called to harness the Force, the emergence of the Dark Jedi, the first lightsabers, and so much more.

Like Mangold teased, the "Dawn of the Jedi" comics were a sort of biblical epic about how the Force went from a religious and mystical force to something that was weaponized, showing the first discussions about the use of the Force, and its nature. Because this is tens of thousands of years before even the prequels, most of the iconography of the established "Star Wars" universe is missing, meaning the movie — like the comic — has a lot of room to explore new ideas. 

In the comic, the idea of balance, of having a bit of dark and light in you, is core to the story. This is something that the animated shows have teased but never fully explored, while the movies have started to pull at that thread, but then abandoned it. With "Dawn of the Jedi," there is an opportunity to show the nuanced facets of the Force before it became corrupted by individuals with their own agendas and beliefs. 

Also, the comic's main threat is the Rakatan Infinite Empire, which was first introduced in the new canon in "Andor," and has huge potential. This was an ancient civilization of dark Force users, who invented sabers powered by the Force. They are unlike any villain we've seen in this franchise before, and this would be the right place to introduce them.

Above anything, however, "Dawn of the Jedi" gives "Star Wars" an opportunity for a fresh start — and wouldn't that be great?