REVIEW: ‘Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures’

The galaxy far, far away gets a little bigger–and cuter–in Lucasfilm’s new animated series, Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures. The seven-episode series follows the adventures of a trio of Jedi Younglings and their normie friend during the High Republic Era. Cast in the mold of the wonderful Spidey and His Amazing Friends, each of the 27ish-minute runtimes is broken into two stories full of fast-paced action and plenty of teachable moments. As is the case with Spidey and His Amazing Friends, young viewers will have the opportunity to learn core values such as altruism, courage, patience and teamwork right alongside the Younglings. And though it’s aimed at a young audience, there’s plenty to enjoy for older viewers.

Young Jedi Adventures is a Star Wars project through and through. The series checks just about every box: Jedi. Droids. Hotshot pilot. Bad guy with a cool helmet. Strange new worlds full of fascinating creatures. Even a bounty hunter for good measure. Not to be outdone by its more adult in-house competition, Young Jedi Adventures even introduces a new species to the Star Wars universe in the Jedi Youngling Pooba, Nubs, voiced by Star Wars vet Dee Bradley Baker. The show’s core group of Nubs, fellow Younglings Kai Brightstar and Lys Solay, and the brash young pilot Nash Durango see the bulk of the action but the rotating supporting cast, including Yoda, helps to keep the series seem both fresh and familiar.

(L-R): Jedi Younglings: Lys Solay (voiced by Juliet Donenfeld), Kai Brightstar (voiced by Jamaal Avery Jr.) and Nubs (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) in a scene during a training sequence from “STAR WARS: YOUNG JEDI ADVENTURES” exclusively on Disney+ and Disney Junior. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

As opposed to recent animated fare such as Tales of the Jedi or The Bad Batch, Young Jedi Adventures doesn’t feel like a must for Star Wars completists. Despite being the first series of any kind set during the High Republic Era, the series doesn’t make much of an effort to cash in on the opportunity to incorporate any of the storylines or characters from the publication side. An Easter egg here, a namedrop there (Old Republic Jedi!) and a fun continuity nod or two make up the extent to which the series feels like it’s reaching out to canon completists…and that’s ok!

This is, after all, a kids’ show, and as such it really does work wonderfully. The animation is bright and vibrant and the character designs are great, especially the show’s serial “baddie”, juvie pirate Taborr Val Dorn. It’s a fun, galaxy-hopping adventure that, much like Dora the Explorer, makes you question how the Jedi Master in charge of these Younglings keeps letting them take off on their own and find trouble. If you’ve seen Spidey and His Amazing Friends, you know the template for the show and if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Young viewers are sure to love the show, especially the core group of Younglings. Jamaal Avery Jr. infuses Kai Brightstar with a wealth of charisma; Juliet Donenfeld Lys serves as the team’s empathetic center; and Nub the Poob is about to be Star Wars’ next big seller. It’s a wholesome adventure series set in an ever-expanding universe that provides a wonderful jumping-on-point for young Star Wars newbies. Top-notch work by Lucasfilm as they branch out a bit more.

4.5/5 stars!

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