Somehow, Palpatine returned. Again. Okay, that’s not a real surprise, especially for an animated series like Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi, which is set in the Prequel Trilogy era. Created by Dave Filoni and Charles Murray, the Disney+ series tells the story of young Jedi Ahsoka Tano and Count Dooku before he abandoned the Jedi and fell to the dark side. Along the way, Ahsoka and Dooku encounter many familiar faces, including Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn, and yes, Senator-turned-Chancellor-turned-Emperor Sheev Palpatine.
As one would hope, the series features a number of fan-favorite actors returning to their signiture roles. Although Rosario Dawson has put her own stamp on the live-action version of Ahsoka, first seen in The Mandalorian, the character will be once again voiced by Ashley Eckstein, who originally played the character for the 2008 movie Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the subsequent series. While Christopher Lee played Dooku in the movies, including The Clone Wars, Corey Burton took over for the television series and will reprise that role for Tales of the Jedi. Other returning players include James Arnold Taylor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Matt Lanter as Anakin Skywalker, Phil LaMarr as Bail Organa, and TC Carson as Mace Windu.
Although it seemed as if he had put Star Wars far behind him after his character Qui-Gon Jinn’s death in The Phantom Menace, Liam Neeson surprised fans with a cameo at the end of Obi-Wan Kenobi. He will play Qui-Gon once again for Tales of the Jedi, but he’s not the only one voicing the beloved Jedi. Neeson’s son, Micheál Richardson, will play young Qui-Gon Jinn, in his first animated performance.
But perhaps the biggest news is another Hollywood actor coming back to Star Wars. Ian McDiarmid will once again put on the hood and gravelly voice of Emperor Palpatine. The Scottish actor first played the corruptor of Anakin Skywalker in Return of the Jedi (taking over for actors Marjorie Eaton and Clive Revill, who provided the Emperor’s look and voice for a cameo in The Empire Strikes Back) and returned to play a less openly evil younger version in the Prequel Trilogy. Since then, McDiarmid has played Palpatine again, most recently in The Rise of Skywalker and in Obi-Wan Kenobi. But other actors have just as often done voice work for the character’s animated appearances, including Ian Abercrombie and Tim Curry.
With this mix of stars from the animated series and film franchise, Tales of the Jedi further cements itself as Star Wars canon. The title of the show borrows from a comic book series published in the ’90s by Dark Horse Comics, who held the Star Wars license until Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012. Like all Expanded Universe material, the Dark Horse comics are now considered “Legends” within the main timeline. However, the title could be a nod to more seemingly forgotten or discarded elements from the pre-Disney days.
Now, if only Poe Dameron would say, “Somehow, Dash Rendar returned.”
Tales of the Jedi comes to Disney+ on Oct. 26.