How The Clone Wars Succeeded and Failed

With the arrival of Star Wars Rebels, I thought it would be a good time to publish this guest post and look back at the last Star Wars animated series: The Clone Wars.  Please comment and love Icarus’ post on TCW.  His bio is below, if you would like more info.  (My thoughts on Rebels next week)

What can I say about The Clone Wars that hasn’t already been said? Star Wars fans hoped TCW would fill in some critical gaps in the three years between second-trilogy Star Wars films Attack Of The Clones and Revenge Of The Sith.  Bonus if it fixed a few mistakes in the prequels.  What we got instead were very uncomplicated story arcs and tastes and teases but not much more depth to the Star Wars ecosystem — InterGalactic Banking Clan anyone — certainly not enough to satisfy the appetite of even the more casual fan.

The Clone Wars says goodbye

The Clone Wars says goodbye

The series is over but I’m writing this from the perspective of what potential it had at the beginning.  To be sure, I tried to binge watch the entire series and found that I could only stand to watch one, maybe two episodes at a time.  It was painful to listen to Kabuki theater level dialog overemphasizing the importance of obvious plot devices at the expense of storytelling. That was probably because each episode has to appeal the limited experiences of its kids audience.  In every episode you had comically inept droids trying to kill Clone Troopers and vice versa.  You have to handle this with a certain delicacy for your young audience.  To simultaneously kill bad guys, kill some good guys yet not bring the horrors of war too close to light.  TCW had to do this on the small scale while also keeping its eye on the end game, setting up the landscape for ROTS.

You cannot talk about ROTS without talking about Order 66 and how thousands of Jedi were slaughtered by clone troopers without any hesitation or sense of loyalty to their Jedi generals. I could see the droid army following this order more to the letter than the clone one, although given the level of ineptness portrayed by the combat droids, along with the ease with which Jedi Masters Yoda and Windu dispatched them, the number of Jedi actually killed would have been substantially lower.

I’ve always asked myself how could you pull something like this off?   Putting aside the logistics of getting word simultaneously to every despot in the galaxy, one thing that bothered me was in the movie, they show every Jedi getting ambushed because they were in a vulnerable position.  Yet the Jedi are almost godlike in their awareness and certainly wouldn’t have been just heading into battle as the order came in.  While the galaxy’s preeminent mystics/warriors can be caught by surprise, it’s also just as likely the Empire’s spin doctors exaggerated the number of Traitors eliminated under Order 66 with many more  Jedi  driven into hiding.

Clone trooper clone wars s5ep18War changes everyone and it is possible that Order 66 succeeded because the clone troopers saw the Jedi as an actual threat to the Republic.  Remember to outsiders, the Jedi are a very secretive group that keeps their Archives, a vast repository of knowledge, to themselves (Vatican anyone?). If you view The Force as a hokey religion and the Jedi as the Temple Priests, it follows that ordinary soldiers could see the Jedi as roadblocks to peace.

Though I haven’t seen it yet, I’m aware of the Fives/Tup arc that almost exposed Order 66 prematurely.  I’m probably way off on this but I suspect that arc serves to demonstrate that while moving toward complete domination of the Republic, Chancellor Palpatine wasn’t quite there yet and there is always the slim hope of a few people being in the right place at the right time

What are your thoughts on Order 66 and the clone troopers?

About me:  I am what you would designate as a casual fan at best.  When the original trilogy was out, the conventional “wisdom” at the time was that you could either like Star Wars or Star Trek, not both.  However, I like Star Wars and Star Trek and if that makes me a freak so what. Being from Chicago, I also like the White Sox and the Cubs except when they play each other in inter league.  If you like what you read, please read my regular blog at ChicagoNow and/or my personal blog and if you are on Facebook please give me a “like” at Mysteries-of-Life and of course feel free to follow me on Twitter at @Icarus2013.
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Darth Tyranus vs. Darth Maul Showdown!

In April, I promised a post on the Sith. I started writing it and got bored writing it, and left it alone, and went back to it, and got bored again, so I realized that if I can’t even be interested in my post, nobody else would be.   Then this past week I started thinking about pitting Jedi against Jedi and Sith against Sith and I thought…actually, this is a more interesting way to think about my post.

I was planning on writing an entire post on the four Sith we see in the saga, including Vader vs. Sidious, but it’s too long! So I’m cutting it up and today’s excerpt will just be Darth Tyranus vs. Darth Maul. And yes, I am also planning on doing a Jedi Showdown at some point, I just need to get to it.

So introducing our first pair in the rink! (They can’t be paired with Sidious because of the different weight class. Sidious is obviously much heavier with the Force and would ruin them as soon as the buzzer went off)

This is ranked on a point basis: 10 means they exhibit the qualities to the extreme, 1 being that they show too many Jedi qualities 😉 Points will be given based on intelligence, ruthlessness, experience, and lightsaber combat.

 darth-maul-vs-count-dooku

DARTH MAUL VS. DARTH TYRANUS SHOWDOWN

Presenting Darth Tyranus! A formidable fighter, but can he withstand the brutality of his Dathomirian counterpart? 

Darth Tyranus comes into the ring:

  • Intelligence: 8/10. As someone once respected by the Jedi (known as Count Dooku), I’m sure he was able to get away count dooku sidiouswith a lot more before anyone caught on that, hey, wait a minute, you’re no longer a Jedi. Tyranus took over the clone army project and erased Kamino from the Jedi Archives. He also was a leader of the Separatists and trained quite a few chilling opponents of the Jedi. This guy was pretty organized and intelligent – helping Sidious pave the way for an Empire ruled by Sith. He lacks two final points because he was not quite smart enough to realize that he was just a pawn in Sidious’ game.
  • Ruthlessness: 6/10. Once turned to the dark side, Tyranus had no qualms killing those he loved. Looking at his backstory, you can see that he was once good friends with Jedi Sifo-Dyus, and murdered him in order to become a full Sith and take over the clone army project. He also took on Asajj Ventress as a pseudo apprentice but ordered her killed as well. Though he didn’t succeed, it shows that he has no problem abandoning those he should also have some sort of attachment to. The only reason I don’t give him more points is because he seems to be a bit of a coward. He ran away from Yoda in AOTC and sent someone else to try to kill Asajj Ventress.
  • Experience: 9/10. Tyranus was pretty formidable even in his older age. All those years as a Jedi and now a Sith leads to one thing: he knows his stuff. He knows how the Jedi fight and also how to outmaneuver them, as we saw in AOTC. He is experienced in politics and the Force, which makes for a deadly combination. He trained Jedi and then went on to train leaders in the Separatist Droid Army: Durge, Asajj Ventress, and General Grievous. Plus, he knows how to create Force lightening and you can’t do that as a rookie.
  • Lightsaber combat: 8/10. Wookieepedia says that Dooku was a well respected instructor at the Jedi Temple and “one of the most renowned swordsmen in the galaxy”, up there with Yoda and Mace Windu. I think that was pretty obviouscount dooku vs yoda when in AOTC, he took on Obi-Wan, Anakin, and finally Yoda in a battle where he bested 2/3 of his opponents. He even did pretty well in ROTS when he again took on Obi-Wan and Anakin. Though he lost his life, he held out for quite a while. It’s clear that Obi-Wan wasn’t much of a match for him. I almost gave him 9/10, but the fact that he ran from Yoda and died at Anakin’s hands shows that he wasn’t the best.

Tyranus total points: 31/40 or a 78% chance of winning in the rink.

And now we have…Darth Maul! A formidable, rage-filled opponent, but does he have enough experience to defeat the older veteran?

dooku vs maul

 Darth Maul comes into the ring:

  • Intelligence: 5/10. I always got the impression that Darth Maul was more of a mercenary than an intelligent being valued for his input and ideas. Reading up on his history in Wookieepedia, I see that I was kind of right. Apparently he was trained while Sidious was still an apprentice to Plagueis. Plagueis was aware of Maul, but agreed to train him to be “expendable”. You don’t train intelligent people to be expendable, because they will catch on and turn on you. Also, Maul failed to see that Obi-Wan was using the Force to jump up and grab Qui-Gon Jinn’s lightsaber. Do you remember his baffled look as he slowly tried to figure out what Obi-Wan was doing? Not the brightest bulb.
  • Ruthlessness: 10/10. Yes, I give Maul a perfect score on this. This dude is legit crazy. Not only was he trained as a Sith, he was also trained as a Sith Assassin, where horrible torturing techniques were used on him to hone him into a skilled, heartless warrior.darth maul tcw Maul survived his encounter with Obi-Wan Kenobi by living off of his rage (I like to pretend this storyline doesn’t exist but alas, it’s part of canon now) as his “mental equilibrium slowly became undone.” If you watch these TCW episodes, you’ll see how ruthless he really is. When he is brought back to some sort of normalcy (well, “normal” for him) he goes off on a mad hunt for Obi-Wan, killing multiple people in the process in bloody rage. He is cray cray, and that leads to him being a ruthless Sith.
  • Experience: 7/10. When Maul starts out, he doesn’t have much experience other than his training. He almost dies on Naboo (okay, he totally does, grrr), but then goes on to lead his bloody rampage. When we last see Darth Maul, Sidious has kidnapped him and plans to use him for his own purposes once more. Darth Maul built his way up from almost being killed, to gaining more experience battling Jedi, pirates, Nightsisters, and even dabbles in the politics of Mandalore. He definitely does not have the same amount of knowledge as Tyranus does, but given time, he may be near indestructible when his rage is combined with his experience.
  • Lightsaber combat: 7/10. I struggled with this ranking. We only see one fight from Maul so it’s almost unfair to rate him.darth maul fighting However, from this one battle we can see he did manage to kill Qui-Gon, but in the end was bested by Obi-Wan. But to be defeated by Obi-Wan means that your lightsaber combat skills cannot be the best of the best. I only say that because, well, we’ve never actually seen Obi-Wan kill any Sith Lord other than Maul. He failed against Tyranus, Anakin (though that may have been emotional), and couldn’t even really hold his own against Grievous who doesn’t even have the Force. I’m not saying Obi-Wan is easy to fight, I just don’t think he’s the best. Maul does a much better job in lightsaber combat in TCW, so I upped his points, but he still can’t manage to beat Obi-Wan.

Maul total points: 29/40 or a 73% chance of winning in the rink.

And the winner is…drumroll…

darth tyranus

Darth Tyranus! Also known as Count Dooku, this man possesses the right combination of experience, intelligence, and combat skills to defeat one who relies primarily on his rage.

I really enjoyed writing this post and learned a lot in the process about these two Sith. We all know I’m a Jedi girl, but this was just pure fun. Personally, I like Darth Maul better than Dooku and I wish he hadn’t died in TPM. The lightsaber battle is one of my favorites of all time.

Do you guys agree with my little assessment? Think Tyranus would win if he was placed against Maul?

Also, Rebels finally has a release date!

 

The Phantom Menace: For a Young Audience?

I came across an interesting quote while reading my Insider the other day.  They had an interview with Roger Christian, who worked as a second unit director on ROTJ and TPM.   While talking about Lucas and his vision, he says,

George’s target was always the younger age group.  I am not sure he expected the dad and granddads to be so enthralled by it.  That’s how Jar Jar Binks came about as well.  People might forget this, but the kids loved Jar Jar when The Phantom Menace was released.  It was just the adults that couldn’t stand him [laughs].  But George always said he was making The Phantom Menace for a young audience.

This caught my attention.  No – I’m not writing this post about Jar Jar, but I wanted to focus on the last line: “But George always said he was making The Phantom Menace for a young audience.”

You wrote it for us? Aw, shucks, we're blushing.

You wrote it for us? Aw, shucks, we’re blushing.

Ever since I looked at when Mon Mothma actually entered the OT a few Scene it on Friday’s ago, I’ve begun obsessing about percentages in Star Wars.

For example, according to the scenes (not running time – important distinction here), at what point in the movie do we first see the Emperor?  Is it 50% of the way through the OT?  (It’s 20% of the way through the OT, but 48% of the way through ESB)  At what point do we meet Yoda in the OT?  At what point of the saga do we meet young Anakin Skywalker?  Etc, etc.

We all know that I seem to be one of the few people in this world that actually genuinely likes TPM.  Jar Jar aside, I wrote a blog post almost two years ago on why the movie holds a special place in my heart.

But after reading Christian’s sentiment that George was making TPM for a younger audience, I have to question Lucas.  anakin tpmI’ve mentioned this on my blog before but the first time I ever realized that TPM might not actually be a kids movie was when I introduced it to a 6 year old.  This child loved TCW and had seen ANH, also liking it, though according to him it wasn’t even near as good as TCW (truly wonderful, the mind of a child is).  So I thought it would be no problem introducing him to TPM.  I mean, the CGI was better, so maybe more on par with what he was used to in movies, and there’s a lot of flashy fun spaceships, podracing, plus the big battle at the end.

I think he semi-liked the movie.  The thing was, he got bored through a lot of it.  There’s just so. much. talking.  And I had never realized this before.  If you compare the dialogue in ANH and TPM they are lightyears apart.  ANH involves a lot of folklore (Jedi, the Force, the Senate, etc) but we don’t actually see what that is.  A lot of ANH is action and even the talking scenes are interesting enough that you can kind of follow it.

Whenever there is talking in TPM, on the other hand, it often is drenched in politics.  Words like “The Trade Federation”, “negotiations”, “committee”, “senate”, “prophecy”, “supreme chancellor”, are thrown around so much that I doubt a young audience would understand what is going on.

While writing Scene it on Friday’s, I have observed that the Prequels contain many, many more scenes than the OT.  The OT has a total of 235 scenes, whereas the Prequels contain a whopping 533 scenes.  I often feel that this is a mistake on Lucas’ part.  As we’ve seen from my Scene it on Friday’s, a scene from the Prequels could be 3 sentences long.  Lucas fell in love with fast cutting and editing of scenes to make rapid action sequences.  Scene, cut, scene, cut, scene, cut.  The OT has less scenes and longer ones, but each scene contains depth and holds your interest the entire time.

Now here’s when my obsession came in.  I decided to take a look at TPM, which has a total of 115 scenes (including deleted scenes), and see how many involve action vs. how many involve just talking.  I know this is vague and subjective, but I tried to quantify a talking scene as one where a 5-8 year old child would get distracted.

I have counted that 31% of the scenes in TPM contain only dialogue.  I know that doesn’t sound like much, but one of the main problems with this number is that the majority of the scenes are all clumped together within the movie.  Most of it happens when everyone arrives on Coruscant.  Since there are no switching scenes to see what other characters are doing somewhere else, a child’s attention wanes pretty fast.  I then compared it to ANH.  ANH came in at 18% of talking scenes and even that was stretching it.

You guys are talking too much. I'm bored.

You guys are talking too much. I’m bored.

Within ANH, I noticed a lot of the scenes that could potentially be boring were often filled movement and excited dialogue.  It was usually propelling the story forward, and I feel like you could sense that as a child, even if you didn’t know what they were talking about.  A good example would be when Obi-Wan and Luke meet Han in the Cantina.  I counted that as a “talking” scene, but I feel that there was enough excitement in that scene that the audience was still engaged.  In TPM, a lot of the talking scenes were just that.  Talking.  They had wooden faces and the scene felt stale i.e. boring.

Lucas could have had good intentions while making TPM and tried to direct it towards a younger audience, but I believe he often fell short.  If you are making a movie for a young audience, you still need the scenes with dialogue to create excitement.  In the words of a stormtrooper, the movie needs to “move along, move along.”

Geek out!

So I wanted to talk a little more in depth about a few different announcements that have happened in the last two weeks, while I’ve been buried in work for our conference.

  1. The Expanded Universe has “turned a new page” according to LFL.  Read: they disintegrated the EU.
  2. The Episode VII cast announcement.  One more thought.
  3. Star Wars Rebels trailer released Sunday.

#1 – “No disintegrations” did not apply to the Star Wars EU

On April 25th, LFL announced that the EU “turns a new page” and is setting out to keep everything as consistent as possible.  Kennedy formed a Lucasfilm Story Group to help with this process of keeping everything organized and coherent.  Legendary Pablo Hidalgo (I swear, he knows EVERYTHING about Star Wars), Leland Chee, Carrie Beck, and Diana Williams comprise this group.

In plain English…the EU is no longer canon.  The movies, The Clone Wars, and the future Star Wars Rebels is what will be the foundation for canon.  There are also a few new novels coming out that will fit into this canon storyline.

How do I feel about this?  Honestly, I’m not surprised at all.  I’ve written before about how I’m not a huge fan of the EU and I’m actually more surprised that other fans are shocked and upset.  How are you guys that stunned?  Did you really think that after the announcement of Episode VII, LFL would keep the EU as is?

As a corporation, you can’t be wishy-washy about this stuff.  You have to be black and white.  And I applaud LFL for making an announcement that puts any other hopes to rest.  There was NO way they were ever going to keep the EU canon, and I had touched upon that briefly before.  But apparently there were many, many fans that thought somehow there would be a chance for the EU and the future movies to coincide peacefully.

Really?

Let’s look at this brief text conversation between my brother-in-law and I:

BIL: “What do you think about the Star Wars EU no longer being canon?”

ME: “Completely fine with it.  I thought the EU was getting wild at some points and Lucas seemed to be okaying everything.  And they formed that team to make everything cohesive at LFL.  I’m also not surprised because I figured this would be coming once they announced VII.”

“…I feel that this is unfairly dismissive of all the people who did a ton of creative work (and made them a ton of money) to just ret-con it now.  Also, I felt like it anything was getting crazy, it was the Clone Wars (what with crazy robot spider Darth Maul), and that apparently remains in the canon with the 6 movies.  I really felt like other than the OT, the EU was Star Wars’ greatest strength, and it seems weird and arrogant to dismiss it.”

“Yeah, Darth Maul’s revival was completely dumb, but some of TCW was really good and I enjoyed it.  I mean, yes, in a sense they are dismissing the EU but it’s not disappearing.  People will still read and enjoy the work.  I’m just surprised that you’re so surprised.  I thought it was obvious as soon as they announced more movies.”

…etc, etc.  There was more.  But that’s the gist of it.

mara jade

Am I the only one confused and not surprised at all?  When I heard about this, I just moved on with my life thinking, “Well, duh,” but it wasn’t until a few days later that I saw all the outrage that I began to get confused.  Does it also have to do with my feelings of ambivalence towards the EU?  Perhaps the more attached you are, the more furious your outcry is.  But that still doesn’t explain why people are surprised.

Abrams can’t be attached to the EU and can’t be confined by it.  Neither can anyone at LFL now that Disney has taken over.  It would be fun if Luke had a wife with red hair, but that was the extent of my hoping.

The novels written for the EU will not all of a sudden be taken off the shelves.  They won’t be banned and burned.  They will still exist and future generations can still enjoy them and perhaps wish to live in a time period like we did, where we didn’t know there was ever going to be more Star Wars movies. Nor do I agree with my brother-in-law’s comment that it is dismissive to the author’s work.  I’m sure that 20 years from now, the people who have read the Courtship of Princess Leia are the fans you know are hardcore.

#2 – One more thought…

The bigger news last week was the Episode VII cast announcement.  I’m ashamed to say that it wasn’t until Mei-Mei’s comment on my post that I realized there was only one new female within the cast.  Actually, when looking at the entire cast, there are only two females.  TWO.  Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and the newbie, Daisy Ridley.

Don’t judge yet, guys.  I mean, if we base this on history, we will probably have a leading male figure, with Daisy playing a supporting role.

But…don’t judge yet.  Ridley may be on for VIII and IX and could be a force to be reckoned with.  I really believe that modern cinema had a breakthrough with the Hunger Games movies and realized that a female CAN be the lead in an action-packed film and there doesn’t need to be an oversaturation of romance for it to be a blockbuster.  Let’s hope they take a page out of that book (pun haha!) and move in that direction.  Let’s see what happens.

Abrams has also hinted that there will be more casting announcements coming soon.  Can’t wait!

#3 – Star Wars Rebels Trailer

Thoughts?  This is the first concrete thing we’ve seen about Rebels other than updates on casting and concept art.  My issue with this is wondering what they will do with Kanan Jarrus at the end of the series?  It’s the same question that bothered me about Ahsoka in TCW.  I thought she had to die in order for the show to make any kind of sense with ROTS.  Instead, they played it a lot more beautifully, with her disenchantment with the Jedi and abandonment of their ways.

So what will happen with Kanan?  Another disappearance?  Or will they actually kill him off?  I feel like when you bring a Jedi into the mix, it just gets a lot more complicated.

Also – why are Ezra’s eyes such a weird color?

Those are all the thoughts that were tumbling in my head last week.  Hope everyone had a good May the 4th!  I celebrated by baking my Star Wars shortbread cookies, like I do every year.  Did you guys celebrate at all?

Hmmm...I've never heard Kirsten mention Star Wars.  Ever.  Fan or jumping on the bandwagon?

Hmmm…I’ve never heard Kirsten mention Star Wars. Ever. Fan or jumping on the bandwagon?  Nice dress though!

The Final, Final Season of The Clone Wars

(Spoilers ahead)

I like The Clone Wars, for the most part.  But I struggled with this last season that only aired on Neflix.  I’m unsure what it was: maybe the lack of Ahsoka, the deviations from the movies which I didn’t really agree with, or that I believed the producers tried to make it REALLY good, but it just felt forced.

There were four groups/arcs of stories within the final season.  The first four episodes dealt with the clones, the next three involved how Anakin and Padmé’s relationship played off of Clovis, the next two (mercifully) involved Jar Jar Binks, with the final four episodes focusing on Yoda.

 

Triggering Order 66

tcw fugitive

The first story arc involved a clone trooper Fives who investigated why his fellow trooper Tups turned and killed a fellow Jedi in battle, seemingly randomly.  He ends up on Kamino, where the Kaminoan Nala Se is in dealings with Darth Sidious and covering up the fact they had placed a trigger chip inside the clones that would activate when they hear Order 66.  Once the Kaminoans get found out by Fives that there is a chip inside the clones, they falsely label it as an “aggression inhibitor”.

I enjoyed this story arc the most out of the final season.  My problem lies in the fact that TCW always tries to explain too much.  It happens in the final episodes with Yoda (which I’ll get to), and it happens in this arc with the Order 66 chip.  I’ve always liked the idea that the clones were created to obey orders without questions, because, well, they say that in AOTC.  In TCW, they constantly try to show the clones as individuals.  I like it, I do, but at the same time I feel it’s unrealistic to the saga.  In my mind, the reason why the clones instantly turned on the Jedi with Order 66, is because the Jedi were only their commander-of-the-time.  The clones true loyalty was to the Republic and the Supreme Chancellor.  Order 66 was put in place for traitors of the Republic, amongst a million other Orders so that it wasn’t suspicious.  Hearing Order 66 would not cause any hesitation because it pinpointed the Jedi as traitors and the clones do not need more persuasion than that..

When you introduce this chip in the clones, it’s excusing their behavior in Order 66, and in a sense, detracts from the fact that they are clone troopers.  I mean, yes, it’s great to see their personalities and whatnot, and it’s fun to think about their individuality, but in my eyes…they’re clones.  They shot the Jedi because they were following orders, which is what they were programmed to do.

 

Padmé, Anakin, Clovis, and a Waste of My Time

tcw crisis at the heart

The second story arc involved a mission that Padmé went on to work with the banks, which also involved working with Clovis.  The plot points are hazy because I remember just getting bored.  Anakin shows up and there’s a lot of jealousy and … yawn.  I remember Anakin ends up fighting Clovis out of petty jealousy and Clovis ends up getting screwed because he thought he could be independent from Count Dooku.  Yeah, I have no idea.

The only slightly interesting part I took away from this storyline was that Padmé freaks out in the end about her and Anakin’s relationship, saying it’s based on dishonesty (since they can’t be open about it) and how their relationship can never be a normal relationship.  Interestingly, I had gone into that in my recent blog post about Padmé’s pregnancy, so I liked seeing that I wasn’t the only one who knew that it must be such a strain to keep their relationship a secret.  She suggested taking a break…which I didn’t like because at this point they were married and I don’t think you should just “take breaks” when you’re married.

Overall, a disappointing, boring arc that would have been better left on the cutting room floor.

 

Mesa Thinks This Storyline Was Kookoo 

tcw the disappeared

Third storyline involved Jar Jar and Mace Windu.  Yes.  You read that right.  Jar Jar and Mace Windu.  Oh, and add on top of that Jar Jar making out with Queen Julia, who was of a race that seemed to be a mix of Indian and Aztec duck-like Mr. Tumnus’.  Good description, right?

The plot consists of Jar Jar’s lover disappearing, with Mace and Jar Jar going to find her.  They end up in this desert/old South type planet where they find a cult trying to take Queen Julia’s Force energy from her…to give to Mother Talzin, the leader of the Nightsisters.  I kind of lost track on how this would actually work.  The Force was being trapped in an energy ball and, gosh, I can’t remember.  But Mother Talzin ends up disintegrating away, which sucks because I really liked her character and thought this episode wasted her formidability.

I was bored through much of this too but DID take one thing away.  Queen Julia’s race, Dagoyans, hate the Jedi because they “kidnap” their Force-sensitive children to train them as Jedi.  What a key point that I wished they had expanded upon!  I’ve always looked at that as such an interesting development that the movies don’t really touch upon.  EU definitely does a good job bringing this subject matter to light, but the only time we are ever forced to think about it is during TPM, when Anakin is taken away from his mother and possibly may never see her again.  I wish they had given this subject more light as it could have been a great topic to explore within TCW.  But no, they shied away from it, and just threw Jar Jar and Mace into quibbling stupidness.

 

Hard to See, The Force Is…not really

Yoda season 6

Finally, the last four episodes had more highpoints than the last two storylines, but I was still not overly impressed.  It was interesting, I’ll say that.  To sum it up, Yoda hears Qui-Gon’s voice and follows the instruction of the voice as it leads him on a journey to figure out how to become one with the Force after death.  I thoroughly enjoyed the first two episodes, as Obi-Wan and Anakin find Jedi Sifo-Dyas’ lightsaber and unravel that the Sith were behind the creation of the clone army.  When Yoda hears the voice from Qui-Gon, the Jedi believe that it could be the dark side corrupting him and discourage him from following it.  Anakin helps Yoda escape from the hospital wing where they are testing him and Yoda is off on his quest!  Woo!

Kind of.  Then it gets wishy-washy.  I have always liked that the Force was a vague, mystical concept.  I wasn’t even that bummed when it got more biological in TPM with midi-cholorains.  But these episodes were designed to link back to Yoda’s line in ROTS about how he spoke to Qui-Gon and learned how to exist after death.  And the las two episodes go into SUCH detail.  I was really disappointed.  They were trying to make sense of something that I didn’t believe needed to be understood.

And it only raised more questions for me. Yoda goes through a training process and figures out how to become a Force ghost, basically.  So once he learns this, does it mean that he now has all the knowledge and can just pass it along?  I would assume that’s the case as he tells Obi-Wan what he’s going to have him do on Tatooine.

But then…how does Anakin come back as a Force ghost?  Who taught him what to do?  GRRRR.  It seems like such a loophole to me.  And now I fear that the next DVD versions to be released will take Anakin as a Force ghost completely out of the end of ROTJ.  I don’t think they’d actually do that, but then again, I never dreamed they’d actually replace Sebastian Shaw with Hayden Christensen either.

This was a tough story arc for me to swallow.  Some of it just seemed so far fetched and ruined the mysticism that surround the Force for me.  Some of it was also plain stupid: Yoda fought with a physical dark side of himself (kind of reminded me of a cat-like Gollum), ended up on the Sith planet of Moraband where he had a vision that was not really a vision and he battled Palpatine. If you’re saying “What? Huh?” right now, then you kind of feel how I did. I hate that the last two episodes of this arc were stupid ones.  Now the feeling left in my mouth is of disappointment.

 

After watching all these episodes, I wish that TCW had ended with Season 5 and they did not resurrect these.  Ahsoka’s trial and departure of the Jedi Council was a perfect way to end a great series.  Overall, I felt I could have done without these lost episodes, and it was a sad feeling after being excited to see some more.