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.

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: “Ambush”

***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:
S1:E1 – “Ambush”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Brian George, Corey Burton, Nika Futterman
WRITER:
Steven Melching
DIRECTOR:
Dave Bullock
PREMIERE DATE:
October 3, 2008
SYNOPSIS:
Yoda is lured into a trap by Count Dooku and Asajj Ventress.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

My research for this episode was my first exposure to how wonky the Clone Wars episode chronology can be. I invite you to check out Lucasfilm’s chronological episode order to see what I mean. But apparently, if one were to watch all the episodes in chronological order, “Ambush” would be the show’s fifth episode, rather than the first.

If nothing else, I guess it’s consistent with the Star Wars brand. This is, after all, the movie franchise that started with Episode IV.

Chronological issues notwithstanding, this was a good episode to start with. Everybody knows Yoda, so that was a nice hook for viewers who weren’t as familiar with Star Wars. It also establishes some of the main villains, who the good guy and bad guy troops are, the nature of the war itself, etc.

I’ve never like when the battle droids are overly jokey. That started in Revenge of the Sith, and continued here. It was the only thing in the episode that grated on me.

For whatever reason the Toydarians, King Katuunko in particular, don’t look as richly detailed as the other characters. First episode stumbles, maybe?

Obviously, the highlight of this episode is Yoda having the clones take their helmets off and then addressing them as individuals. The best line in his little speech? “Deceive you, eyes can. In the Force, very different each one of you are.” That’s a great Yoda line. 

On the subject of Yoda, I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Tom Kane to voice that character. At this point, he’d already played the character for the Star Wars: Clone Wars shorts that aired between 2003 and 2005. But this was obviously of a much larger scale. The character was, and still is, so closely identified with Frank Oz. But to his credit, Kane managed to make the character his own. He’s not as vocally flamboyant with Yoda as Oz was. But I might argue Kane gives the character a little more grit, which isn’t uncalled for in a show like The Clone Wars.

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