The Essential Clone Wars: “Shades of Reason”

***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:E15 – “Shades of Reason”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Sam Witwer, Jon Favreau, Anna Graves, Julian Holloway, Clancy Brown
WRITER:
Chris Collins
DIRECTOR:
Bosco Ng
PREMIERE DATE:
January 26, 2013
SYNOPSIS:
Maul and Pre Vizsla each jockey for control of Mandalore.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Well of course the bad guys are secretly plotting against each other. It almost wouldn’t be Star Wars if they weren’t. In a way it’s kind of stupid. But it also makes sense. Star Wars shows us that greed and a lust for power, i.e. the dark side, are all-consuming. And once you start down that path, you can never have enough…

Pre Vizsla gets in front of the crowd and says that Death Watch is here to save them from the gangsters. The crowd buys into what he says very quickly, despite the group ominously having the word “death” in its name. Not exactly easy from a marketing standpoint, is it? You’d think the Empire would have run into the same thing with the Death Star.

One of the things that interests me about this episode is that none of our heroes are in it. There’s no Obi-Wan, Anakin, Ahsoka, Yoda, etc. Not every show can pull that off. It’s a credit to the quality of the writing and the patience said writers have in crafting this story.

The animators did a great job with Satine’s face in this episode. You can feel her worry, despair, even pain at the situation she and her people find themselves in.

Pretty epic fight between Maul and Vizsla (shown above). Maybe my favorite one-on-one confrontation of the entire series thus far.

Ultimately, Maul decapitates Vizsla with the Darksaber and takes his spot as leader of Death Watch. The whole “he who holds the Darksaber rules Mandalore” thing is obviously what they’re preparing to invoke between Din Djarin and Bo-Katan as head toward season three of The Mandalorian. This was a handy episode to watch in that respect.

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

A Star Wars: The Mandalorian #2 Micro-Review – Mud-Caked with a Mudhorn

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Star Wars The Mandalorian 2, cover, 2022, Kaare AndrewsTITLE: Star Wars: The Mandalorian #2
AUTHOR: Rodney Barnes (based on an episode written by Jon Favreau)
ARTISTS:
Georges Jeanty, Karl Story (Inker), Rachelle Rosenberg (Colorist), Joe Caramagna (Letterer). Cover by Kaare Andrews.
RELEASED:
August 17, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Roughly half this issue has no dialogue, as it’s mostly just Mando and the child. That’s kind of refreshing. It certainly allows you to appreciate the art.

I came into this issue looking forward to the mud-covered fight between Mando and the mudhorn creature. It didn’t disappoint. I might have caked a little more mud on to Mando’s costume. But that’s just me.

Beautiful cover by Kaare Andrews.

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

A Star Wars: The Mandalorian #1 Micro-Review – A Nugget Search

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Star Wars The Mandalorian 1, cover, 2022, Adi GranovTITLE: Star Wars: The Mandalorian #1
AUTHOR: Rodney Barnes
ARTISTS:
Georges Jeanty, Karl Story (Inker), Rachelle Rosenberg (Colorist), Joe Caramagna (Letterer). Cover by Adi Granov.

RELEASED: July 13, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Star Wars: The Mandalorian #1 is fine, and fine is about all I was expecting. It’s a straight up adaptation of the series premiere. No more, no less.

The cool thing about these Star Wars adaptations is that they can sometimes offer little nuggets of insight into the story that movie or show can’t. But as our main character has no inner monologue moving through this story (nor should he), I have my doubts we’ll find any nuggets in this series. But you never know.

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

Primary Ignition‘s Star Wars Review Archive

The following represents the full archive of our Star Wars reviews, separated by season.

Star Wars The Clone Wars, Ambush, YodaThe Essential Star Wars: The Clone Wars
S1:E1 – “Ambush”
S1:E5 – “Rookies”
S2:E5 – “Landing at Point Rain”
S2:E6 – “Weapons Factory”
S2:E7 – “Legacy of Terror”
S2:E8 – “Brain Invaders” Star Wars The Clone Wars, Brain Invaders, Ahsoka
S2:E12 – “The Mandalore Plot”
S2:E13 – “Voyage of Temptation”
S3:E2 – “ARC Troopers”
S3:E12 – “Nightsisters”
S3:E13 – “Monsters”
S3:E14 – “Witches of the Mist”
S4:E21 – “Brothers” Savage Opress, Maul, Obi-Wan pose, Star Wars the Clone Wars, the Lawless
S4:E22 – “Revenge
S5:E14 – “Eminence”
S5:E15 – “Shades of Reason”
S5:E16 – “The Lawless”
S5:E17 – “Sabotage”
S5:E18 – “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much”

The Mandalorian Season 1, archive imageThe Mandalorian, Season One
“Chapter 1: The Mandalorian”
“Chapter 2: The Child”
“Chapter 3: The Sin”
“Chapter 4: Sanctuary”
“Chapter 5: The Gunslinger”
“Chapter 6: The Prisoner”
“Chapter 7: The Reckoning”
“Chapter 8: Redemption”

Grogu, The Mandalorian S2, archive imageThe Mandalorian, Season Two
“Chapter 9: The Marshal”
“Chapter 10: The Passenger”
“Chapter 11: The Heiress”
“Chapter 12: The Siege”
“Chapter 13: The Jedi”
“Chapter 14: The Tragedy”
“Chapter 15: The Believer”
“Chapter 16: The Rescue”

Boba Fett, Fennec Shand, The Book of Boba Fett S1, archive imageThe Book of Boba Fett
“Chapter 1: Stranger in a Strange Land”
“Chapter 2: The Tribes of Tatooine”
“Chapter 3: The Streets of Mos Espa”
“Chapter 4: The Gathering Storm”
“Chapter 5: Return of the Mandalorian”
“Chapter 6: From the Desert Comes a Stranger”
“Chapter 7: “In the Name of Honor”

Obi-Wan Kenobi, Part I, Ewan McGregorObi-Wan Kenobi
“Part I”
“Part II”
“Part III”
“Part IV”
“Part V”
“Part VI”

Andor, Season One

“Episode 1”

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

Rob Watches Boba Fett – Staying in Your Lane

The Book of Boba Fett, characters posterSERIES: The Book of Boba Fett
EPISODE:
S1:E6. “Chapter 7: In the Name of Honor”
STARRING:
Temuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen, Pedro Pascal, Amy Sedaris, David Pasquesi
WRITERS:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR: Robert Rodriguez
PREMIERE DATE:
February 9, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
Boba Fett and his forces collide with the Pyke Syndicate.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

After Luke’s ultimatum in the previous episode, Grogu abandons his Jedi training, and elects to return to Din Djarin’s side. Ironic, isn’t it? Luke made a similar decision with Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back.

And thus, Luke’s first student winds up ditching him. Not a great start to a Jedi Academy that will ultimately meet a tragic end…

Boba Fett agrees to stop the spice (a drug in the Star Wars universe) from flowing through Tatooine to get the villagers of Freetown to fight for him. This, despite the fact that spice trade makes up a huge portion of his business. This, plus the fact that he and his crew are essentially defending Mos Espa from the bad guys, make Boba Fett seem much more like a Robin Hood figure than a crime lord. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Is that really the Boba Fett that people want to see?

I appreciate that Mando doesn’t look graceful or polished at all in his use of the Darksaber. It makes sense. He’s not a swordsman. So he should look like an amateur.

Boba Fett riding a rancor seems like the kind of thing a fanboy saw in a wet dream. Granted, it was pretty awesome. But still.

THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT

It’s a little surprising that they killed off Cad Bane. Granted, this is Star Wars. People in this universe can survive being cut in half and dropped down a pit. So there’s no hard and fast rule that says he can’t come back at some point. But this felt like it had a measure of finality to it. A fitting end for the character.

The fact that the episode and the season end not with a shot of Boba Fett, but Mando and Grogu, pretty much says it all. They wound up being what people cared about, not Fett.

Temuera Morrison has said that, in a second season, he’d like to see Boba Fett go after Mace Windu for killing his father. Eh…no thanks. It might be cool to see Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu again. But not in that context. I’m content to let him stay dead.

All in all, it seems like The Book of Boba Fett, the first season at least, will be remembered as a series that couldn’t support itself from a storytelling perspective. Thus, the need to borrow elements from The Mandalorian. It was awesome to see all that stuff. But it belonged in season three of Mando’s show, not Boba Fett’s show.

That’s not to say Mando had no business being there at all. He could have, say, come in at the end of episode six as a hook for the finale. That way we still get those scenes of Fett and Mando fighting off the Pykes together. But devoting two full episodes to him? To call that pulling focus is a gross understatement.

I guess sometimes you just need to stay in your lane…

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: Return of a Jedi

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S2:E8. “Chapter 16: The Rescue”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Giancarlo Esposito, Katee Sackhoff, Gina Carano, Ming-Na Wen
WRITER:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR: Peyton Reed
PREMIERE DATE:
December 18, 2020
SYNOPSIS:
Mando and his allies storm Moff Gideon’s ship to save Grogu.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Yes, I understand we skipped an episode. But for obvious reasons, this episode had to be talked about ASAP. We’ll come back to “The Believer” in a few days. Promise.

I hate Rogue One. I absolutely hate it, and can’t understand why so many people love it. But there’s one thing that movie did right: Captions that told us which planets we traveled to. Too many of these Disney-era Star Wars planets look the same.

Koska Reeves’ crack about Boba Fett being a sidekick rings true. That’s unexpected, considering this season is basically his big comeback. He’s got clean armor and everything!

Koska hitting Fett with a DDT is one of the most pro-wrestling things the episode could have done. I kind of love it.

See, if I’m a regular stormtrooper, I’m looking at that dark trooper armor and thinking, “Can I get at least half the protection that black armor provides?” Maybe then these damn troopers wouldn’t be so expendable…

Seriously. Cara Dune’s gun getting jammed was the worst thing that happened to our heroes as they faced down a virtual army of stormtroopers. It’s frustrating.

Those dark troopers are definitely nightmare fuel. Kudos on the design.

“…properties that have the potential to bring order back to the galaxy.” It’s reasonable to assume that means properties that can resurrect Palpatine, properties that can eventually be used to create Snoke, or some combination of both.

I like that the Darksaber was burning Mando’s staff the longer the two weapons had direct contact. It indicates the lightsaber is more powerful, which is as it should be.

Luke. Skywalker. Holy. Crap. This show just pulled out all the stops. The anticipation, the tension, leading up to the reveal of Luke’s face, was amazing. What a moment…

What’s more, they got Mark Hamill involved! I’m very anxious to see if it was just his voice, or if he was somehow involved on set as well.

And we get an appearance by R2-D2 as a bonus!

I just saw a headline that indicated this episode betrayed its characters by “indulging in the Skywalker saga.” The sub-head indicated new Star Wars had succumbed to old Star Wars. That’s a frustrating sentiment to read. But it’s a valid point. Despite a wonderfully emotional goodbye between Mando and Grogu, Luke pulled focus. It was inevitable. Anything from the original trilogy is going to have that effect. I mentioned Rogue One above, and Darth Vader had the same effect in that movie.

It’s a little bit like dangling a shiny object in front of a little kid. With this finale, Jon Favreau basically dangled a shiny object in front of the little kid in all of us. I really can’t dispute that.

But I would argue that, despite Luke pulling focus, the heart of the episode was indeed about Mando and Grogu. Those are two new characters that we’ve come to know and love over the course of two seasons. I also can’t dispute that.

And honestly, where else could this story have gone? Side effects of bringing in Luke notwithstanding, it’s logical that Grogu, being as strong in the Force as he is, would encounter him at some point…

Mrs. Primary Ignition was quite curious about what this episode means for Grogu’s fate, as he’s obviously not in the sequel trilogy. At the moment, I have two theories.

  1. Grogu’s attachment to Mando eventually lures him toward the dark side, and he has to abandon his training and return to his surrogate father.
  2. He stays with Luke, but is killed by Ben Solo during the events leading up to The Force Awakens.

Understandably, she was horrified at option 2. But I suspect we’ll discover the answer sooner or later.

Another headline I saw recently? How the “Marvel-fication” of Star Wars has officially begun. In other words, new shows, spin-offs, and all sorts of inter-connected content. You won’t find a clearer piece of evidence than The Mandalorian taking a page out of Marvel’s book with a post-credits scene. A pretty awesome post-credits scene, but a post-credits scene nonetheless.

We see that Bib Fortuna has taken over as the head of Jabba’s palace. Does he actually control anything? The throne seems to suggest he does. So is that what The Book of Boba Fett is about? Fett taking control of Jabba’s crumbling criminal empire?

I think the best season finales often leave us with questions. So what questions did this episode leave us with?

  1. What’s next for Mando? He’s got the Darksaber now, and is seemingly in conflict with Bo-Katan Kryze. So does he get involved with re-building Mandalore? Or does he go back to bounty hunting?
  2. Despite getting captured, Moff Gideon accomplished his goal. He got Grogu’s blood. So what now comes of that? Do the experiments start? Have they already started?
  3. The Boba Fett questions are rather obvious.
  4. Are we going to hear more from Luke and Grogu? Or does that become territory for another series? The recently announced Ahsoka spin-off comes to mind.

Definitely no shortage of questions. We’ll have a lot to think about over the next year!

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

Rob Watches The Mandalorian: Ahsoka Arrives

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S2:E5. “Chapter 13: The Jedi”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Rosario Dawson, Diana Lee Inosanto, Michael Biehn
WRITER/DIRECTOR:
Dave Filoni
PREMIERE DATE:
November 27, 2020
SYNOPSIS:
Mando journeys to the planet Corvus and meets Ahsoka Tano.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This is the first episode of the season not written by Jon Favreau. Dave Filoni, who was integral in the creation and development of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, serves as both the writer and director. That’s fitting, of course, given who makes her live-action debut here.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: There’s a certain amount of injustice in the fact that Ashley Eckstein isn’t playing Ahsoka. Nothing against Rosario Dawson. She does a fine job here. But Eckstein deserved to take a crack at the role.

A question that’s been asked, but bears repeating: Why doesn’t Mando know more about the Jedi? Not just because his people were at war with them at one point, but because at this point in the timeline the Jedi haven’t been gone that long. The Empire

So beskar armor can block lightsabers. That’s convenient. Not necessarily a bad thing, though.

So Baby Yoda has a name: Grogu. Not that it makes much difference in terms of the “Baby Yoda” nickname. That thing is sticking.

The affection shown between Grogu and Mando in this episode is heart-warming. Obviously, we knew they had become close. But things like Mando cheering Grogu on during the Force exercise with Ahsoka reinforce that in a really impactful way. In that moment they literally feel like father and son.

We pretty much knew Filoni would throw in some fan-service lines, right? That’s really all those references to Yoda and Anakin were.

Once again the eastern, samurai-esque influence on The Mandalorian is quite evident here. Perhaps most notably in the look of the village on Corvus. Much like “Sanctuary,” it feels a lot like something you’d see from Akira Kurosawa

I can’t say I was incredibly surprised to hear Grand Admiral Thrawn’s name mentioned near the end of the show. He’s a loose end in the franchise, and a character they continue to use via Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn novels. So it makes all the sense in the world to bring him in as a villain for Mando. I’d love to see him as early as next season.

So Ahsoka sends them to an old Jedi temple, with the idea that maybe a Jedi will sense Grogu. Naturally, this brings up questions about Ahsoka and Luke Skywalker, and what they know about each other. Canon buffs know that at some point, Luke knew about Ahsoka. And given his strength in the Force, one would think Ahsoka knew about Luke (and possibly Leia). But to my knowledge, there’s never been a story in which they meet. That seems like a book, or even an animated movie that’s just begging to be written.

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

Rob Watches The Mandalorian: An Attack of Conscience

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE: S1:E3. “Chapter Three: The Sin.”
STARRING: Pedro Pascal, Carl Weathers, Werner Herzog, Omid Abtahi
WRITER: Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR: Deborah Chow
PREMIERE DATE: November 22, 2019
SYNOPSIS: After returning the child to his client, Mando has an attack of conscience.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I assume those stormtroopers have to keep their armor on full-time, as if they were still on duty. One would think they’d want to avoid outfits that would get them recognized. But I suppose you can’t be recognized if you don’t go out in public.

I wish we had something to call the Werner Herzog character besides “the client.” Even the mad scientist character has a name: Dr. Pershing. Granted, that sounds like the name of somebody’s podiatrist. But at least it’s there.

While we’re on the subject, are we to assume Baby Yoda has no name? See, that one I’m okay with, as we can assume he’s been in Imperial research facilities for much of his life.

Carl Weathers’ Wikipedia page says that he took the Greef Karga role on the condition that he be able to direct an episode in the second season. Take everything you read on Wikipedia with a grain of salt. But if it is true, that’s some clever bargaining on his part.

With this episode, Deborah Chow became the first woman to direct a live-action Star Wars project. Those kinds of milestones are a double-edged sword for me. Yes, you obviously want diversity in the director’s chair. But the fact that it took more than 40 years for it to happen is cringeworthy.

Then again, it’s not like there’ve been a massive surplus of live action Star Wars projects. The Mandalorian is, after all, the franchise’s first live-action TV series.

Don’t get personally involved. That’s got to be, like, the first rule of bounty hunting, right? If it’s not rule #1, it should be rule #1A.

One of the big themes in The Mandalorian, and Star Wars at large, has to do with fatherhood and parenting. We’ve had Luke and Vader, Boba Fett and Jango Fett, Han and Ben Solo, etc. And now, we’ve got Mando and the child. Heck, even Mando himself has some lost parent issues.

What I like about this episode is that we’re with Mando as he makes the decision to become a parent, albeit a surrogate one. We see the struggle between his mercenary instincts and his conscience. And we get through the whole thing with minimal dialogue from him. It’s beautifully done.

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