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: “Revenge”

***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:
S4:E22 – “Revenge”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Clancy Brown, Sam Witwer, James Arnold Taylor, Nika Futterman, Barbara Goodson
WRITER:
Katie Lucas
DIRECTOR:
Brian Kalin O’Connell
PREMIERE DATE:
March 16, 2012
SYNOPSIS:
Maul and Savage Opress enact their plan to kill Obi-Wan Kenobi.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Very early in the episode, we hear Maul repeating the name “Kenobi” over and over again. Last time, I questioned how the Jedi knew Maul’s name. This time, I question how Maul knows Obi-Wan’s name. Did Nute Gunray know? Did Sidious know?

Barbara Goodson, who voices Mother Talzin, also provided the voice for another famous witch: Rita Repulsa on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. When she’s chanting and casting her spell on Maul, it’s the closest she comes on this series to sounding like Rita again. As a Power Rangers geek, that was pretty cool to hear.

As should be obvious to anyone who’s read the story, Maul’s new look is based on his appearance in the short comic book tale, “Old Wounds.” That story highlighted the Star Wars: Visionaries graphic novel released in 2005. It saw Maul, complete with robotic legs, travel to Tatooine to go after a toddler-aged Luke Skywalker. He was, of course, met by his old rival Obi-Wan Kenobi. Maul’s look, and the story itself, came to us courtesy of Aaron McBride.

Right before the fight with Maul and Savage Opress ensues, Obi-Wan does “the pose” (shown above). That’s what I’m calling it, at least. The one where he brings his saber-holding hand behind him, and holds his free hand out front. He did this in Revenge of the Sith, then later in Rebels, then again in Obi-Wan Kenobi. He even did it in Star Wars: Brotherhood. At this point, “the Obi-Wan pose” would be an apt name for it.

Obi-Wan and Asajj Ventress teaming up is a fun little arrangement. The episode ends with them fleeing together in a ship. I wish we could have seen how they parted ways, given their bitter history. Did they come to a mutual understanding and decide, in fitting with the episode’s opening tagline, the enemy of my enemy is my friend? It would have made for an interesting scene.

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

The Essential Clone Wars: “Witches of the Mist”

***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:
S3:E14 – “Witches of the Mist”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Corey Burton, Clancy Brown, Nika Futterman, James Arnold Taylor, Matt Lanter
WRITER:
Katie Lucas
DIRECTOR:
Giancarlo Volpe
PREMIERE DATE:
January 7, 2011
SYNOPSIS:
Asajj Ventress springs her trap on Count Dooku.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Another thing that’s stupid about the “Savage Opress” name? George Lucas has said that the bad guys in Star Wars (specifically in the prequel era) all think they’re good guys, and doing what’s best for the galaxy. If you thought you were a good guy, would you tack the word “oppress” on to your apprentice’s name? No. You wouldn’t.

Unless you were stupid. There’s always that.

Granted, I didn’t buy the whole “bad guys think they’re good” theory in the first place. Either way, somebody here is wrong…

Obi-Wan immediately assumed the footage they got of Savage Opress was of Darth Maul. I’m assuming he, and the Jedi at large, learned Maul’s name from interrogating Nute Gunray after the events of The Phantom Menace.

Dooku’s sadistic training methods for Savage Opress feel true to his character, and the Sith as a clan. The Sith channel hate into power in the Force. I’d say electrocution via Dark Side lightning is a decent way to spark hate in someone.

Get it? Spark? Tee hee.

How long did Dooku actually train with Opress? Doesn’t seem like very long…

Mother Talzin simply tells Obi-Wan and Anakin that Opress is on the planet Toydaria, and they go running off to find him. Shouldn’t they have asked for, y’know, more specifics? Toydaria is an entire world. You’d think they’d want to narrow it down to a city or something.

Fun fact: King Katuunko is voiced by Brian George. He also voices Ki-Adi Mundi. George is probably best known for playing Babu Bhatt on Seinfeld. He also had a recurring role as Raj’s father on The Big Bang Theory.

King Katuunko has a pretty brutal death in this episode. He gets his neck forcibly snapped, and then his corpse gets dragged around by Opress. Not exactly the dignified ending you look for when you’re a king.

The title of this episode is a little misleading. It’s more about Ventress, Dooku, and Opress than the titular “Witches of the Mist.” A better title might have been “The Sith Trap,” or something to that effect.

At the end of the episode, Mother Talzin reveals to Savage Opress that his brother Maul is alive. I maintain that if they wanted to bring Maul back, they didn’t need to create the Savage Opress character. They could simply have had Talzin send Ventress after Maul, with the idea that he could help her overthrow Dooku. The whole “Darth Maul has a brother” idea grates on me to this day.

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

The Essential Clone Wars: “Monsters”

***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.”

Savage Oppress, Star Wars the Clone Wars, MonsterSERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S3:E13 – “Monster”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Nika Futterman, Clancy Brown, Corey Burton, Barbara Goodson, Dee Bradley Baker
WRITER:
Katie Lucas
DIRECTOR:
Kyle Dunlevy
PREMIERE DATE:
January 14, 2011
SYNOPSIS:
Count Dooku gains a new ally in Savage Opress…or does he? 

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This episode sees the debut of a new character named Savage Opress (pronounced Sə-vazh “O’press”). He becomes Count Dooku’s new apprentice, but is secretly in league with Asajj Ventress.

I hate Savage Opress. And not in a “villain you love to hate” sort of way. I find the character cringeworthy. That’s in no small part because of his name. Savage Opress is one of the worst and most lazily concocted villain names I’ve ever heard. The Star Wars prequel era has more than a few lazily named villains. There’s Darth Tyranus, there’s General Grievous, and one can also make a case for Darth Maul. But Savage Opress? It’s like they weren’t even trying. They just shoved two evil-sounding words together and called it a name. Pure and simple laziness.

I’m also not thrilled with the idea of giving Maul a brother. Given where this storyline with Savage winds up going, it’s obvious they introduced him with the intention of bringing Maul back. So why not cut out the middle man and find a different way to bring Maul back? Maybe have Mother Talzin reveal to Asajj Ventress that Maul is alive, and have her be the one to hunt him down…

The one upside to Savage Opress? He’s voiced by Clancy Brown. Brown is a renowned voice actor, having performed as Mr. Krabs in Spongebob Squarepants and Lex Luthor in the DC Animated Universe, among numerous other roles. He also played Burg in the Mandalorian episode, “The Prisoner.”

The Jedi Master who Savage Opress kills late in the episode is named Halsey. For the record, this episode came out a few years before Halsey released her first album. Just puttin’ that out there. 

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

The Essential Clone Wars: “Nightsisters”

***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:
S3:E12 – “Nightsisters”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Nika Futterman, Barbara Goodson, Corey Burton, Matt Lanter, James Arnold Taylor
WRITER:
Katie Lucas
DIRECTOR:
Giancarlo Volpe
PREMIERE DATE:
January 7, 2011
SYNOPSIS: 
Count Dooku turns on Asajj Ventress, who returns to her home planet to plot her revenge.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

To my knowledge, the Nightsisters and the planet Dathomir were created by Dave Wolverton for his 1994 book The Courtship of Princess Leia. Here, nearly two decades later, those elements were used to further the story of not only Asajj Ventress, but as we’ll later see, Darth Maul.

I was surprised to learn that Mother Talzin is voiced by Barbara Goodson, who is widely known as the voice of Rita Repulsa in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Surprised, that is, because Talzin doesn’t sound anything like Rita. I’m always so impressed at the wide range that so many voice actors are capable of. You can now count Goodson among them.

On the subject of that range, this series has turned me on to the greatness of Corey Burton, who voices Count Dooku. He’s been active since the early ’70s, and the list of characters he’s lent his voice to reads like a laundry list. Several laundry lists, actually. On The Clone Wars alone, he voices Dooku, Cad Bane, and Ziro the Hutt. But his Wookieepedia page indicates his connection to the franchise actually goes back to 1979, when he voiced Luke Skywalker for a Disney read-along adaptation of the original film.

Me? I’m just impressed he provided the voice for both Dale and Zipper in Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers. What can I say? I’m on a kick because of the new Disney+ movie.

Apparently, if you want to kill a Sith Lord, your best shot is when they’re sleeping. We know from Revenge of the Sith that Palpatine killed Darth Plagueis in his sleep. And Ventress and the Nightsisters come pretty close to doing the same to Dooku here. They must be really sound sleepers…

This episode is written by Katie Lucas, daughter of George Lucas. She wrote numerous episodes of The Clone Wars. She was also one of the writers of an unproduced story arc that would have seen Asajj Ventress fall in love with a Jedi, and ultimately wraps up her story at large. Said story was later turned into the novel Dark Disciple, which is one of the better Star Wars books you’ll ever read.

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