The Essential Clone Wars: “Brothers”

***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.”

Darth Maul, Star Wars the Clone Wars BrothersSERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S4:E21 – “Brothers”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Clancy Brown, Sam Witwer, Ben Diskin, Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein
WRITER:
Katie Lucas
DIRECTOR:
Bosco Ng
PREMIERE DATE:
March 9, 2012
SYNOPSIS:
Savage Opress’ search for his brother Maul culminates on Lotho Minor.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Savage Opress finds his brother Maul on Lotho Minor, which is basically a big junkyard planet. So are we to assume that big shaft Maul fell down in The Phantom Menace was a garbage chute? I didn’t look like one. Then again, I doubt George Lucas or anybody on the creative side of things thought Maul was going to survive that fall. Much less getting cut in half at the waist…

Maul is voiced by Sam Witwer. Longtime Star Wars fans will recognize him as the actor who provided both the voice and likeness for Starkiller in The Force Unleashed. He gives a great unhinged, guttural performance in this episode.

Interestingly enough, Witwer would once again provide Maul’s voice for Solo: A Star Wars Story in 2019. This despite Lucasfilm having access to Peter Serafinowicz, who originally voiced Maul in The Phantom Menace.

Lotho Minor Star Wars the Clone Wars, Brothers

I like the idea of a big junk planet. Had they not developed Jakku as we saw it in The Force Awakens, I always thought a planet like Lotho Minor might be an interesting place for Rey to hail from.

I got a big kick out of the snake character Morley, voiced by Ben Diskin. Part of me wishes Opress and Maul had taken him with them when they left Lotho Minor. Granted, that makes no sense from a character standpoint, so in the end it’s probably better he died.

I appreciate the idea that Maul’s mind was damaged he lost to Obi-Wan and hasn’t recovered, even after more than a decade. It makes sense. To call what he went through a traumatic experience would be a gross understatement, don’t you think?

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: “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.

The Essential Clone Wars: “ARC Troopers”

***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.”

99, Star Wars The Clone Wars, ARC TroopersSERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S3:E2 – “ARC Troopers”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Dee Bradley Baker, James Arnold Taylor, Matt Lanter, Matthew Wood, Nika Futterman
WRITER:
Cameron Litvack
DIRECTOR:
Kyle Dunlevy
PREMIERE DATE:
September 17, 2010
SYNOPSIS:
The Separatists attack the cloning facility on Kamino.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The most interesting part of this episode by about a mile is 99, the elderly clone (shown above). Apparently he was in a previous episode, “Clone Cadets,” which I haven’t seen. So I’m meeting him here for the first time. Apparently he suffered from genetic defects during his cloning process, and thus ages faster than other clones. His character arc goes about where you’d think it would go. But his end still makes for a great moment in the series.

So all the genetic data for the clones is kept in a single room, which is conveniently called the DNA room? Well that’s convenient, now isn’t it? Obi-Wan actually calls it the “DNA chamber” at one point, which at least sounds more dignified…

The four-legged robots climbing up and attacking the city made for a great visual. This episode really capitalizes on the potential of the planet Kamino, and the cloning facility designed for Attack of the Clones.

Clone Cadets, Star Wars the Clone Wars, ARC Troopers

On the subject of Attack of the Clones, the clone cadets we see in this episode are voiced by Daniel Logan, who played a young Boba Fett in that movie. That’s a cool casting choice, as obviously they could have easily found another young actor to play the role.

At the end of the episode, Echo and Fives are both made ARC Troopers. Of course, “ARC Troopers” is also our title. So it’d be nice if the episode reminded us what the heck an ARC Trooper actually is. I guess that’s what Wookiepedia is for.

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

The Essential Clone Wars: “Legacy of Terror”

***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:E7 – “Legacy of Terror”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
James Arnold Taylor, Matt Lanter, Olivia d’Abo, Dee Bradley Baker, Brian George
WRITER:
Eoghan Mahony
DIRECTOR:
Steward Lee
PREMIERE DATE:
November 20, 2009
SYNOPSIS:
On a rescue mission, Anakin and Obi-Wan face a hive of undead Geonosians. 

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This episode is about zombie space bugs. That’s pretty awesome. Also awesome? It’s not totally stupid. So I tip my hat to director Steward Lee, writer Eoghan Mahoney, and everybody else on the creative team for taking a concept that could easily have gone south and making it work.

I wonder how difficult it is to animate a sandstorm like the one we see in this episode. What’s more, to make it look as good as it does. I can’t imagine it’s easy…

These last few episodes, the show has done a superb job playing up the creep factor of these giant bugs. The idea of brain-invading worms are enough to really make your skin crawl. And that’s before factoring in the whole zombie thing.

Dee Bradley Baker, who also voices the clones, plays the Geonosian hive queen (shown above). That’s a hell of a range on display there. A legitimately creepy voice too.

This episode comes something of an abrupt end. All things considered though, there are worst mistakes to make. Better a quality episode that ends quickly than a mediocre episode that drags…

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.

The Essential Clone Wars: “Rookies”

***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.”

Star Wars The Clone Wars, Rookies, image 1SERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S1:E5 – “Rookies”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Dee Bradley Baker, James Arnold Taylor, Matthew Wood, Tom Kane, Matt Lanter
WRITER:
Steven Melching
DIRECTOR:
Justin Ridge
PREMIERE DATE:
October 24, 2008
SYNOPSIS: 
A group of rookie clones unite prevent a Separatist droid invasion.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

We start the episode off with what looks like a hologram version of a radio broadcast. That’s a cool little world-building (or in this case, universe-building) element to throw in.

Almost all the characters on The Clone Wars, especially this early in the show, always wear the same outfits. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s case, it can be distracting as he’s wearing battle armor. It looks out of place in scenes like the one on the bridge of the starship. In hindsight, I might have put him in something that looked a little less battle-ready.

Star Wars The Clone Wars, Rookies, Image 2

When I looked at “Ambush,” I noted how I’m not a fan of the battle droids being overly goofy. These stealth droid commandos, on the other hand, are right up my alley. They give off just the vibe you’d expect an evil robot army to have. They’re cold, efficient, merciless, and scary.

It took me a minute to realize that Echo, one of the clones we see in this episode, is also one of the main characters in The Bad Batch. I can only assume we’ll be seeing more of him and his evolution as we move through The Clone Wars and into The Bad Batch. That’s always a cool thing to see.

And of course, we have Rex and Cody in this episode. We know they’ll both play notable roles as time goes on.

“Big gun doesn’t make a big man.” That’s a good line. The kind that should be repeated often in certain parts of America…

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