The Essential Clone Wars: “The Wrong Jedi”

***I must confess that, despite being a huge Star Wars geek, I have yet to see the landmark Clone Wars animated show in its entirety. I’m aiming to rectify that to a large extent here, as we look at pivotal episodes of the series in, “The Essential Clone Wars.”

Ahsoka, Anakin, Star Wars the Clone Wars, The Wrong JediSERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S5:E20 – “The Wrong Jedi”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Ashley Eckstein, Matt Lanter, Meredith Salenger, Nika Futterman, Stephen Stanton
WRITER:
Charles Murray
DIRECTOR:
 Dave Filoni
PREMIERE DATE:
March 2, 2013
SYNOPSIS:
Ahsoka is put on trial for her alleged crimes.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This episode represents an ending of sorts for The Clone WarsA few different endings, actually.

“The Wrong Jedi” was the final Clone Wars episode to premiere on Cartoon Network, which had been the show’s home since its inception.

The episode aired on March 2, 2013. Mere days later, Lucasfilm announced the end of the series, in conjunction with Disney’s purchase of the Star Wars brand. This, as Dave Filoni and everybody on the Clone Wars crew was apparently already working on a 22-episode sixth season. It wasn’t until later that fans learned they’d be getting an abbreviated season six. So for awhile, this episode served as the series finale for The Clone Wars.

As we’ll see, it’s also the ending of Ahsoka Tano’s apprenticeship under Anakin Skywalker. Obviously, her fate and whereabouts during the events of Revenge of the Sith had been the source of various questions since the series started.

Ahsoka, Star Wars the Clone Wars, The Wrong Jedi

All in all, if this episode had indeed been the series finale, it would have worked for me. It’s obviously got a lot of drama, features a great many of the show’s expansive list of characters, and ties up enough loose ends with Ahsoka while also leaving her around for future projects.

This wasn’t the end. But it very well could have been.

From a writing standpoint, it might have made sense to have Anakin turn his back on Ahsoka in the wake of all the evidence mounted against her. But the fact that he didn’t speaks to his loyalty as a character, as well as the bond he and Ahsoka shared. It makes what happens at the end of this episode all the more sad.

The great Tim Curry voices Palpatine in this episode. He took the baton from the also great Ian Abercrombie, who passed way in January 2012. It’s easy to hear Curry’s iconic voice in his portrayal of the character.

Anakin discovers that Bariss Offee has framed Ahsoka for the murder of Letta Turmond. Bariss taking such drastic action against the Jedi Order is the weakest part of the episode, in my opinion. It’s a pretty steep turn for her to make, and I’m not sure I fully buy it.

Also, when she wields Asajj Ventress’ red lightsabers, she says, “I think they suit me.” So does that mean she’s gone to the dark side?

The ensuing fight between Anakin and Bariss takes them in front of a class of Jedi younglings. I’m sure that was meant to be poignant, and symbolic of the Order falling apart. But in truth, I couldn’t help but think about how many of those kids (if any) Anakin murders during the events of Revenge of the Sith. Yeesh…

At the end of “The Wrong Jedi,” Ahsoka opts to leave the Jedi Order, despite being cleared of all charges. Again, from a writing standpoint this episode does a good job of making Ahsoka sympathetic. Her departure from the Order feels justified, as the Jedi left her hanging out to dry when she needed them most. Heck, I’d have left too…

One thing I might have changed: We never find out what the verdict is going to be as far as Ahsoka’s innocence or guilt is concerned before Anakin bursts in and clears her name. I might have had them pronounce her guilty. Thus the Jedi would be about to let her forfeit her life for nothing. All the more reason for her to leave the order.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

The Essential Clone Wars: “To Catch a Jedi”

***I must confess that, despite being a huge Star Wars geek, I have yet to see the landmark Clone Wars animated show in its entirety. I’m aiming to rectify that to a large extent here, as we look at pivotal episodes of the series in, “The Essential Clone Wars.”

SERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S5:E19 – “To Catch a Jedi”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Ashley Eckstein, Nika Futterman, Matt Lanter, Dee Bradley Baker, Tom Kane
WRITER:
Charles Murray
DIRECTOR:
Kyle Dunlevy
PREMIERE DATE:
February 23, 2013
SYNOPSIS:
A fugitive Ahsoka is pursued through the depths of Coruscant.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Apparently this episode, “To Catch a Jedi,” is named for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1955 film, To Catch a Thief. Apparently I need to brush up on my Hitchcock, as I couldn’t help but think of the show To Catch a Predator. I can’t have been the only one…

No? Just me? Got it.

Yoda’s initial call is to send Anakin after Ahsoka. But it’s Mace Windu who actually says the sensible thing: That Anakin is too emotionally compromised to be involved in the pursuit. Ultimately, after a little encouragement from Obi-Wan, they do send him after her. But from a writing standpoint, it might have made more sense to have the council hold Anakin back, and then have him defy them by searching anyway.

Question: Where do photos of Jedi come from? The Republic has a photo of Ahsoka (shown above) that they use to announce her fugitive status to Coruscant. Did she pose for that photo, perhaps for records purposes? Or was that supposed to be a candid shot of some kind? You’ve got to assume the Jedi keep records, which would naturally include photos. But if that’s a posed photo, why is she scowling like that?

I ask all this because we saw a similar posed photo of Obi-Wan Kenobi during his self-titled Disney+ series.

I appreciated that they had both Ahsoka and her mystery Jedi assailant using hand-to-hand combat (Teras Kasi perhaps?). It reminds the viewer that the Jedi are capable of much more physically than just swinging lightsabers.

It was nice that they went back to Asajj Ventress for this episode. It would, after all, wind up being the penultimate episode aired on Cartoon Network. The show wasn’t near its true ending, but an ending of sorts was approaching…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

The Essential Clone Wars: “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much”

***I must confess that, despite being a huge Star Wars geek, I have yet to see the landmark Clone Wars animated show in its entirety. I’m aiming to rectify that to a large extent here, as we look at pivotal episodes of the series in, “The Essential Clone Wars.”

SERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S5:E18 – “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Ashley Eckstein, Matt Lanter, Stephen Stanton, Dee Bradley Baker, Meredith Salenger
WRITER:
Charles Murray
DIRECTOR:
 Danny Keller
PREMIERE DATE:
February 16, 2013
SYNOPSIS:
Ahsoka is accused of murdering a military prisoner.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

“The Jedi Who Knew Too Much” is essentially part two of a four-parter that began with “Sabotage.” But this episode is where things really kick into high gear, and the end begins for Ahsoka. I can only assume they had this “framed for murder” story, or something akin to it, in mind when the series began. As Ahsoka obviously doesn’t appear in Revenge of the Sith, common sense would dictate you not create this character without knowing how to ultimately get rid of her.

I can appreciate that there’s a public backlash against the Jedi as the war becomes less popular. There’s obviously precedent for that in the real world, most recently with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But it does beg the question: Is it just the Jedi who are seeing a backlash? If so, why? Why not the chancellor? Why not the Senate? They’re every bit as involved in the war.

Admiral Tarkin (or Grand Moff Tarkin, as we knew him in A New Hope) appears in this episode, voiced by Stephen Stanton. I had mistakenly thought Stanton provided the voice for Tarkin in Rogue One. He didn’t. But he certainly could have. His Tarkin voice is spot on.

Anakin and the clones chase Ashoka outside a building that’s apparently called the “Repubic Center for Military Operations.” Its exterior includes big statues of clone troopers, and what appears to be a big memorial for troops lost during the Clone Wars.

All I could think of as I saw this building was that the Republic must have a lot of money to burn if they can create a facility that elaborate and ordained in the midst of a war. Either that, or Palpatine really wanted to push the clone trooper imagery and propaganda as he built up his Galactic Empire.

The entire prolonged chase sequence involving Ahsoka, Anakin, and the clones is really effective. Very suspenseful, and you believe that either side can ultimately win out.  Kevin Kiner’s score works perfectly too. It all feels like the culmination of five seasons. Like this is what we’ve been building to.

At first glance, Ahsoka’s motivation for running is a little bit questionable. Common sense and logic dictate that only a guilty person would flee that way. However, it does speak to her youth, inexperience, and even a certain impetuousness that might come with being Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice. So it works.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

The Essential Clone Wars: “Sabotage”

***I must confess that, despite being a huge Star Wars geek, I have yet to see the landmark Clone Wars animated show in its entirety. I’m aiming to rectify that to a large extent here, as we look at pivotal episodes of the series in, “The Essential Clone Wars.”

SERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S5:E17 – “Sabotage”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Ashley Eckstein, Matt Lanter, Dee Bradley Baker, Kari Wahlgren, Tom Kane
WRITER:
Charles Murray
DIRECTOR:
Brian Kalin O’Connell
PREMIERE DATE:
February 9, 2013
SYNOPSIS:
Anakin and Ahsoka investigate a bombing at the Jedi Temple.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This episode, while nice in terms of being ominous and mysterious, doesn’t work for me for one major reason: If it’s suspected that a Jedi was involved in the temple bombing, there’s no way the Jedi themselves would be allowed to investigate it. The Senate, assuming they aren’t all complete morons, wouldn’t allow it. A third, truly unbiased party would be brought in determine whether or not the Jedi were involved. Often times, that’s what big companies will do when incidents occur, and it’s not clear who the blame lays with.

I understand that it’s a TV show, and Anakin and Ahsoka are the heroes. But how about this: Instead of involving a CSI droid, or whatever Russo-ISC is supposed to be, create a detective character for the Star Wars universe. Something in the vein of a classic private eye. Then, make Anakin and Ahsoka his liaisons with the Jedi Order. That way they can still be in the episode, but you don’t necessarily have that huge conflict of interest present.

Although let’s be honest, from an in-universe perspective, having Anakin involved in the investigation at all is a pretty dumb decision. The Jedi Council knows that Anakin can be rash and emotional, for no other reason than Obi-Wan, Anakin’s old master, is part of the group. Actually, if you had to involve a Jedi in this whole scenario, Obi-Wan wouldn’t be a bad choice. He’s level-headed, and has proven himself trustworthy enough that he was invited to the council. Hell, he conducted the investigation into Padme’s assassination in Attack of the Clones. So he’s even got a history of detective work under his belt!

Clearly, we were lacking some Jedi wisdom in this episode.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

The Essential Clone Wars: “The Gathering”

***I must confess that, despite being a huge Star Wars geek, I have yet to see the landmark Clone Wars animated show in its entirety. I’m aiming to rectify that to a large extent here, as we look at pivotal episodes of the series in, “The Essential Clone Wars.”

SERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S5:E6 – “The Gathering”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Olivia Hack, Jeff Fischer, Greg Cipes, Georgina Cordova, Dee Bradley Baker
WRITER:
Christian Taylor
DIRECTOR:
Kyle Dunlevy
PREMIERE DATE:
November 3, 2012
SYNOPSIS:
A group of Younglings travel to Ilum for a Jedi rite of passage.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

I was immediately disappointed when I realized the dialogue for Gungi, the young wookiee, consisted of recycled Chewbacca noises. I understand it was probably cheaper than hiring an actor to come in to grunt and growl. But at the same time, they had both Dee Bradley Baker and Tom Kane in the cast for this episode. You’re tellin’ me neither of them could fire off a decent wookiee noise? I don’t buy it.

On the subject of voice actors, I was pleasantly surprised to see Greg Cipes on the credits as the voice of Zatt. Cipes also provided the voice of Michelangelo in Nickelodeon’s 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. When you know its him, and listen intently, you can hear Mikey in Zatt’s voice.

From a writing standpoint, I can appreciate the whole “Gathering” ritual. But part of me does wish it wasn’t centered around lightsabers. The Jedi are more than just superheroes with laser swords, and there’s so much emphasis on lightsabers already. It might have been nice for them to think a little bit outside the box here.

Question: As he’s the head teacher for the Younglings, not to mention the grand master of the Jedi Order, does Yoda have to be present at all these Gathering events? If so, that seems like the kind of thing he should have pawned off on somebody else. Especially during a time of war.

This episode takes on a much different tone when you consider that most, if not all these kids were likely murdered during the events of Revenge of the Sith. Possibly by Darth Vader himself. Kind of a downer, huh?

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

The Essential Clone Wars: “Weapons Factory”

***I must confess that, despite being a huge Star Wars geek, I have yet to see the landmark Clone Wars animated show in its entirety. I’m aiming to rectify that to a large extent here, as we look at pivotal episodes of the series in, “The Essential Clone Wars.”

SERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S2:E6 – “Weapons Factory”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Ashley Eckstein, Matt Lanter, Meredith Salenger, Olivia d’Abo, Dee Bradley Baker
WRITER:
Brian Larsen
DIRECTOR:
Giancarlo Volpe
PREMIERE DATE:
November 13, 2009
SYNOPSIS:
Anakin’s trust in Ahsoka is tested in battle.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

“Weapons Factory” isn’t much of an inspiring or intriguing name. “Assault on Point Rain” seems much more dramatic, and much more Star Wars.

Name notwithstanding, “Weapons Factory” gave me what I was looking for in “Landing at Point Rain.” More of a personal story told against the backdrop of a big battle on Geonosis. Anakin’s relationship with Ahsoka is put through a test, as the story places it next to Luminara Unduli’s relationship with her apprentice, Barriss Offee. More specifically, we see Anakin’s refusal of the prospect of letting Ahsoka die compared to Luminara’s more passive attitude about losing Barriss. The latter, of course, is the outlook Jedi are theoretically supposed to have.

The tactical droid that assists Poggle the Lesser is voiced by Tom Kane. Kane, of course, also voices both Yoda and the series narrator.  This droid sounds like a more monotone version of the narrator. It’s fun to listen to in that sense.

Luminara Unduli (shown above) made her debut as a background character during Attack of the Clones. She might be the best designed of the Jedi created for that movie. The black and green make for a nice contrast. But the headdress is what really makes her look. Without that headdress she wouldn’t have nearly as much going for her from a visual standpoint.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

The Essential Clone Wars: “Landing at Point Rain”

***I must confess that, despite being a huge Star Wars geek, I have yet to see the landmark Clone Wars animated show in its entirety. I’m aiming to rectify that to a large extent here, as we look at pivotal episodes of the series in, “The Essential Clone Wars.”

SERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S2:E5 – “Landing at Point Rain”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Matt Lanter, Brian George, Dee Bradley Baker, Ashley Eckstein, James Arnold Taylor
WRITER:
Brian Larsen
DIRECTOR:
Brian Kalin O’Connell
PREMIERE DATE:
November 4, 2009
SYNOPSIS:
The Jedi lead an attack on the Separatist droid factory on Geonosis.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I initially wrinkled my nose at Anakin and Ahsoka gloating about their respective kill counts. But then it occurred to me: The Separatists use robots. So they weren’t actually “killing” anyone.

Our big bad guy at the droid factory is named Poggle the Lesser. We also saw him in both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. But question: Does his name mean anything? I mean…lesser what? What does that word mean in this context? That one’s a head-scratcher for me.

Here’s an odd complaint to have about a war show: This episode felt really loud to me. Lots of explosions and spaceship sounds and pew pew pews. I guess that’s how you know I’m not a young fanboy anymore…

There’s a moment in this episode where a Clone Trooper gets blasted into the air and takes a hard landing on the ground. Another clone then shouts, “Man down!” That was funny to me. When you go down like that, “Man down!” is pretty much adding insult to injury, isn’t it?

This episode really didn’t do much for me. This, despite it being on various “Best of” lists as it relates to The Clone Wars. It’s a great example of how well the show can do the big Star Wars battle sequences. And it’s got a cute little moment between Anakin, Ahsoka, Obi-Wan, and Ki-Adi Mundi at the end. But other than that…

My guess? Because it’s part of a multi-part story arc, “Landing at Point Rain” simply isn’t intended to stand on its own as much as a typical episode. I can only assume it’s meant to set the table for better things to come.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Rob Watches Boba Fett – A Star-Studded Affair

Book of Boba Fett, Cad Bane posterSERIES: The Book of Boba Fett
EPISODE:
S1:E6. “Chapter 6: From the Desert Comes a Stranger”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Rosario Dawson, Timothy Olyphant
WRITERS:
Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni
DIRECTOR: Dave Filoni
PREMIERE DATE:
February 2, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
The Mandalorian seeks out Grogu and Luke Skywalker.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

We open the episode with a surprise appearance from Cobb Vanth. Having Cobb Vanth in the show makes a little more sense than having Mando here. And it’s good to see Timothy Olyphant back. I like the character, and he comes off pretty bad ass here. But I won’t lie, I did roll my eyes a little bit when he showed up. First Mando, now this.

And in terms of holdovers from The Mandalorian, we weren’t done by a long shot.

Not only do we not know how Mando knows where Grogu is, we don’t even know anything about this planet. We saw it in flashbacks in The Last Jedi. But I think this is the only other time we’ve seen it. Certainly that’s the case in the movies and television. Maybe in the comic books somewhere…

Well, there he is. There’s Luke Skywalker. Inevitably, this CGI Mark Hamill sparked a big debate amongst viewers as to how right or wrong it was to do, whether actors are about to be replaced by lifeless CGI algorithms, how good the effect actually looked, etc.

I can’t say I have answers to any of those questions, accept to say it looked about as real as any other visual effect Star Wars has ever done. Especially since this time they had the character doing more. Running, using a lightsaber without the hood, and just generally having more screen time. As for how appropriate it is, one thing that eases my conscience a little bit is that Mark Hamill himself is involved here. It’s not like what they did with Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One, where they’re resurrecting a human being who’s long dead. It’s a little less creepy that way.

The Book of Boba Fett, Luke Skywalker

Incidentally, it’s only a matter of time until we get CGI Han Solo. I mean, is that even debatable at this point?

In an episode filled with surprises, seeing Rosario Dawson return as Ahsoka Tano was, for me at least, the biggest one. As Ahsoka was obviously Anakin Skywalker’s student, having her meet his son opens up a lot of intriguing storytelling doors. I’m hopeful we’ll expand on Luke and Ahsoka’s relationship, whatever it may be, once we get to her show.

It’s worth noting that Boba Fett does, in fact, appear in this episode of The Book of Boba Fett. Fennec Shand does most of the talking in the scene, so he’s almost a background player. But at least he’s there. That’s more than we could say about the last episode.

I must admit: I haven’t seen as much of The Clone Wars, Rebels, and The Bad Batch as others have. But I still knew the blue stranger emerging from the desert at the end of the episode was Cad Bane. He looks damn good, and has a nice foreboding vibe about him.

I have to say, I’m a little disappointed in Luke. He’s still going with this “attachment is forbidden” rule of the Jedi code, when that’s part of what led to Anakin’s fall, and the subsequent destruction of the Jedi Order. Luke has a chance at a fresh start. To create his own vision of the Jedi Order. Instead, he’s just going back to what they did before.

The Book of Boba Fett, Luke Skywalker, Grogu

What’s more, Luke has attachments, doesn’t he? He has his sister. He has friends. Hell, the love between Luke and his father is the key to the whole Darth Vader redemption story. This could be an interesting opportunity to expand on what a Jedi is and can be. They could illustrate how attachments and connections can actually make us stronger beings, and thus stronger Jedi. I hope some of that is addressed as time goes on.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Rob Watches The Mandalorian: From Animation to Live Action

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S2:E3. “Chapter 11: The Heiress.”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Katee Sackhoff, Mercedes Varnado
WRITER:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR:
Bryce Dallas Howard
PREMIERE DATE:
November 13, 2020
SYNOPSIS: 
Mando meets a trio of his own kind, and winds up taking on the Empire once again.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This episode requires a decent amount of exposition, only some of which we actually got. Katee Sackhoff’s character is Bo-Katan Kryze. Long story short, her sister was the duchess of Mandalore. Thus, her trying to get the Darksaber. 

“The Purge,” meanwhile, was when the Empire killed most of the Mandalorian people, forcing the survivors into hiding. All this stuff was covered between the Clone Wars and Rebels cartoon shows.

I’m fairly certain this is the first time we’ve seen an ocean dock in live-action Star WarsIt makes for a different vibe. I like it. That’s one of the things that’s been so great about The Mandalorian. It shows us the Star Wars universe from different angles.

When Bo-Katan dropped out of the sky, Mrs. Primary Ignition exclaimed: “It’s a lady Mandalorian!” I’m hoping there were a lot of little girls in the audience saying the same thing.

There’s been a lot of talk about what a “true” Mandalorian is. We know Jango Fett and Boba Fett weren’t. And now we get talk that Din Djarin isn’t. Can we maybe get some clarification on this issue? I’m a Star Wars geek, and even I’m confused….

I was curious to see how they’d credit WWE’s Sasha Banks, who plays Koska Reeves. They used her real name, Mercedes Varnado. Which makes sense, of course. I’m not the world’s biggest Sasha Banks fan. But I was proud of her for this. She even got a decent number of lines and wasn’t just a muscular body in the background.

Even after all this time, I’m still getting used to Star Wars music that isn’t a classical score. Case in point, the sort of industrial-style beat they had going during the action sequence aboard the Imperial ship. It works. It’s just not traditional Star Wars.

Hey! Stormtrooper! When you see a grenade rolling toward you, maybe…I’unno…kick the damn thing away instead of staring down at it like a friggin’ nincompoop!!!

And there it is. Destination: Ahsoka Tano. Here’s my question: Katee Sackhoff voiced Bo-Katan Kryze for the cartoons, and now she’s playing the role live. Did they even ask Ashley Eckstein if she wanted to play Ahsoka? Nothing against Rosario Dawson, of course. But it seemed like Eckstein was up for it. Yes, Dawson is a renowned on-camera actress, as opposed to Eckstein who’s more famous for voice acting. But Eckstein had a hand in the creation of the character. She should have had the chance to play Ahsoka if she wanted it.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.