The Essential Clone Wars: “Destiny”

***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:
S6:E12 – “Destiny”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Tom Kane, Jaime King, Ashley Eckstein, Corey Burton, James Arnold Taylor
WRITER:
Christian Taylor
DIRECTOR:
Kyle Dunlevy
PREMIERE DATE:
 March 7, 2014
SYNOPSIS:
Yoda continues his quest for life beyond death.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Yoda opting to leave his lightsaber behind as he ventures into the unknown is a really nice callback (Or call forward?) to The Empire Strikes Back. Our little green friend wasn’t asking Luke to do anything he wouldn’t do himself.

On the subject of Luke, the line “[Yoda] is to teach one that will save the universe from great imbalance.” is obviously a reference to him. Cute. Again, a nice little nod to Empire.

“Destiny” brings us the creation of a delightful little one-off character I’ll call “Dark Yoda,” i.e. the essence of the darkness that lies within Yoda. He’s a little reminiscent of Gollum of The Lord of the Rings fame. But he’s no less delightful for it.

One thing I definitely appreciated about the Yoda/Dark Yoda confrontation: No lightsabers. It would have been easy to turn the scrap between the two of them into a lightsaber duel. But they resisted the temptation. Thus we get to see Yoda in a physical fight with no weapons, which I don’t know that Star Wars had done up to this point.

There are a lot of floating platforms on this world that Yoda has to hop to and from. Gives it a little bit of a Super Mario Bros. feeling, doesn’t it?

Yoda’s destination going into the next episode is a world called Moraband, which is referred to as “the ancient homeworld of the Sith.” What’s interesting to me about that from a creative standpoint is that if this episode had been made today, Yoda likely would have journeyed to Exegol. That’s a fun little thought…

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

The Essential Clone Wars: “Voices”

***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:
S6:E11 – “Voices”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Tom Kane, Matt Lanter, Terrence Carson, James Arnold Taylor, Catherine Taber
GUEST-STARRING:
Liam Neeson
WRITER:
Christian Taylor
DIRECTOR:
Danny Keller
PREMIERE DATE:
 March 7, 2014
SYNOPSIS:
Guided by the spirit of Qui-Gon Jinn, Yoda goes on a special quest.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

First and foremost, it’s extremely cool to have Liam Neeson back. Even independently of him having played Qui-Gon in The Phantom Menace, he’s got such a great voice. He’d previously come in for the season three episode, “Ghosts of Mortis.” But his role here is obviously much more substantial in the grand scheme of things.

The prequels never suitably followed up, or even explored, the idea of Qui-Gon speaking to Yoda from beyond the grave, and how that ultimately leads to Yoda and Obi-Wan being able to come back as Force ghosts. So I’m extremely grateful that The Clone Wars explored that, and with plenty of fan service to boot.

For all the unexplored territory they venture into, these last few episodes of season six just might be the most essential of “The Essential Clone Wars.”

This episode continues on a theme we’ve seen in previous episodes, including the last one: The idea of public confidence in the Jedi being undermined. The idea being that part of how bad guys bring down a society is by diluting public confidence in its institutions. Not to get too political here, but we saw a lot of that recently during the Trump presidency.

The scenes with Yoda in the hospital bed, and then later in the isolation tank (shown above), do a nice job of reminding us just how small and seemingly vulnerable the character is. He’s not vulnerable, of course. But the visual is interesting.

Oddly enough Rig Nema, the doctor character, is voiced by Catherine Taber, who also provides the voice for Padme. Even more odd is that she doesn’t do much to differentiate between her Padme voice and her Rig Nema voice. So it essentially sounds like Yoda is being tended to by Padme.

As fun as it is to watch Yoda explore Dagobah for the first time, and walk into the same cave he’ll send Luke into decades later, you’ve got to believe it was even more fun for the animators to work on. There’s no imagery more synonymous with classic Star Wars than Yoda in the swamp.

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

George Lucas on Star Wars: Threepio’s Humanity vs. Vader’s Humanity

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition‘s “George Lucas on Star Warsarchive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

C-3PO, Han Solo, Star Wars the Empire Strikes Back

The Scene: After a sarcastic interaction with Han Solo, C-3PO says, “Sometimes I just don’t understand human behavior!”

George Lucas Says (via the “Characters of Star Wars” featurette): “Part of the fun of Threepio is he has no soul. He is programmed to think a particular way and be compassionate, but he doesn’t really know what that means. And sometimes he gets frustrated and sometimes he has very human-like qualities, but they don’t have a central place where he can think independently. Darth Vader, on the other hand, as he becomes more mechanical, he loses more and more of his ability to even think like a human.”

I Say: The notion that Vader is losing his ability to even think like a human being is compelling. In contrast, Threepio is, in many ways, trying to discover his own humanity. There’s an interesting dichotomy there when you consider that Darth Vader built C-3PO. As the movies go on, the human being starts to become less human and more robotic, while the robot starts to gain his humanity.

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

George Lucas on Star Wars: Yoda and the Path to Digital Characters

***Think what you will about George Lucas. But in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition‘s “George Lucas on Star Warsarchive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Yoda, Luke Skywalker, Star Wars the Empire Strikes Back

The Scene: Luke Skywalker is trained to be a Jedi by Yoda on the planet Dagobah.

George Lucas Says (via the Empire Strikes Back commentary track): “It was struggling with [the creation of Yoda] that took me to the next level of saying, ‘Gosh, I wish I could get that [puppet] to walk.’ Because he can’t walk more than a few feet. … It takes a lot of work to get him to go anywhere. That was really what started me on the idea of creating digital characters that could actually move freely in a set without having to have the whole scene blocked around the puppeteer.”

I Say: So can we infer from this statement that we have Yoda to blame for the exhaustive overemphasis of digital technology in the prequels?

I jest, of course. This train of thought makes all the sense in the world. There’s nothing wrong with it, strictly speaking. It’s just a shame that things went to such an extreme. It took him down a dark path, so to speak…

And as Yoda himself says: “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.”

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

George Lucas on Star Wars: The Risk of Yoda

***Think what you will about George Lucas. But in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition‘s “George Lucas on Star Warsarchive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Yoda, Star Wars the Empire Strikes Back

The Scene: In the swamps of Dagobah, Luke encounters a small creature who we later learn to be Yoda, a wise Jedi Master.

George Lucas Says (via the Empire Strikes Back commentary track): “There was a huge challenge with this. I didn’t want Yoda to look like a man in a suit. So I made him two and a half feet tall, which would have been impossible to put anybody in [a suit that size]. … It was one of the scarier things in the movie. Because if he looked like Kermit, we would have been dead.”

I Say: I don’t think this risk gets talked about enough. I think the achievement that is Yoda has subsequently gotten lost in all the advancements in digital technology, many of which have ironically been spearheaded by George Lucas. Had puppeteer Frank Oz, puppet designer Stuart Freeborn, Empire director Irvin Kershner, and everybody involved in the creation of Yoda not been as talented as they were, the movie might have fallen on its face.

Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, deserves a lot of credit for the creation of Yoda too. It’s one thing to create a realistic-looking puppet. It’s another thing to act alongside that puppet, react genuinely, and make it feel like a living being that could exist in the real world. Without Mark Hamill, Yoda as we know him today doesn’t exist.

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

The Essential Clone Wars: “Eminence”

***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:E14 – “Eminence”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Sam Witwer, Jon Favreau, Clancy Brown, Katee Sackhoff, Kevin Michael Richardson
WRITER:
Chris Collins
DIRECTOR:
Kyle Dunlevy
PREMIERE DATE:
January 19, 2013
SYNOPSIS:
Maul and Savage Opress team with the Death Watch against Obi-Wan Kenobi.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

My stance on Jon Favreau voicing Pre Vizsla has softened a bit. He doesn’t necessarily sound like a warrior belongs in a group with Darth Maul and Savage Opress. But maybe that’s the idea. Vizsla is more of a conniving scheming, after all. Maybe it works in a subtle sense…

When Savage gets up from the operating table after Maul comes to retrieve him, he bumps his horns on the lamp above the table. That’s obviously meant to be funny. But it’s oddly timed. Kind of like the stormtrooper bumping his head in A New Hope. Only that was an accident on the set, and they just left it in. From an animation standpoint, this was obviously intentional. It’s an interesting choice.

Jabba the Hutt, as well as the Black Sun leaders, are voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. Richardson has worked on a litany of Star Wars projects, as well as shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy, Teen Titans, and the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. He also got two Daytime Emmy nominations for voicing the Joker in The Batman.

I was pleased to see that the Black Sun leaders were falleens, the same species as Prince Xizor, who ruled Black Sun when we first saw them back in the ’90s in in Shadows of the Empire. Nice continuity there.

Was that Dengar I briefly saw with the bounty hunters that fought Maul’s group (shown above)? That’s a cool little cameo. Dengar, of course, being one of the bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back. He had maybe a couple of seconds of screen time as a background character. But still, die-hard Star Wars nuts like me recognized him.

It’s almost always cool to see Jabba’s palace, as it’s a classic location from Return of the Jedi. Especially when we get to see it from different sides and vantage points.

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

George Lucas on Star Wars: Lando Calrissian

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition‘s “George Lucas on Star Warsarchive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Lando Calrissian, Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back

The Scene: Lando Calrissian, Han Solo’s old friend and administrator of Cloud City on Bespin, enters the film.

George Lucas Says (via the Empire Strikes Back commentary track): Lando Calrissian was created as a character who was a foil to Han, who represents what Han was before he met Luke and Leia in Episode IV. … [Lando] is sort of making the same mistakes that Han would make if Han hadn’t joined the Rebellion and become a little bit more compassionate. He’s the more out for himself kind of character, who has to do what’s practical to keep his life in order. And now Han is trapped in a world between those two. He’s not quite as compassionate and caring as Luke and Leia are. But he’s moved away from where he was, which is where Lando Calrissian is now.”

I Say: I like the idea of someone who’s on an emotional journey meeting someone who’s back at the beginning of a similar journey. It can make for interesting storytelling. That is indeed what we get with Han and Lando in Empire. But I also love that Lando isn’t simply a Han Solo clone. They were able to create character with its own unique vibe and texture. And in the process, Lando became almost as ionic, if not every bit as much, as Han.

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

A Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Part VI” Review

Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi poster, Owen LarsSERIES: Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi
EPISODE:
“Part VI”
STARRING:
Ewan McGregor, Moses Ingram, Hayden Christensen, James Earl Jones (voice), Joel Edgerton
WRITERS:
Joby Harold, Andrew Stanton, Stuart Beattie, Hossein Amini
DIRECTOR:
Deborah Chow
PREMIERE DATE:
June 22, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
Obi-Wan must face Darth Vader once again.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

We got a lot of callbacks in this episode. We got some Empire Strikes Back with the ship being chased by a Star Destroyer, Vader on the bridge, and the musical callback to John Williams’ score. We got another later in the episode with Luke’s line, “I’m not afraid.”

We had some more more verbal callbacks with Ewan’s lines, “I will do what I must,” (Revenge of the Sith) and “Then my friend is truly dead” (Return of the Jedi). Palpatine (more on him in a bit) had one about Vader’s thoughts being “clear.” One can even make an argument for Reva’s hunting of Luke in the dark being a nod to Return of the Jedi.

All…interesting choices. I’m not sure I would have gone quite that heavy. But there it is.

Ha! After Obi-Wan says, “I will do what I must,” he does what I’ll call the “Obi-Wan pose” (shown below), with the lightsaber in one hand and his other extended outward. Great little touch.

The second fight between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader was about what it should have been. Obi-Wan had a little bit of his mojo back, but was still doing a lot of evading.

That broken Vader helmet thing was done on Rebels. So there is a certain cheapness to doing it again. But I’d argue this was more effective, by virtue of us having the involvement of both Hayden Christensen and James Earl Jones, as well as Ewan McGregor.

This episode gave us what I thought was the show’s only major misstep: Obi-Wan knowingly leaving Vader alive. That’s an objectively stupid move. At least in Revenge of the Sith, he thought Anakin was dead when he left Mustafar. But here there’s no excuse. Obi-Wan has accepted the notion that the Anakin he knew is gone. He’s standing in front of Darth Vader, who has slaughtered hundreds, if not thousands of people. The right thing to do would have been to finish the job.

Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi, Part VI, pose

What boggles my mind is that they could have easily had the Grand Inquisitor fly in with a squad of TIE Fighters and attack Obi-Wan, prompting a hasty retreat. Or something like that. But to just leave the evil dictator alive when you’ve got him right where you want him? Nope. Fail. So is Obi-Wan now culpable in every life Vader takes from here on out?

Reva’s redemption obviously opens the door to more stories with her. Supposedly she has her own series in the works. I can’t say I’m dying to see her story continue. But who am I kidding? I’d watch. If nothing else it would be poetic justice for all the racist crap Moses Ingram got.

Great to see a Palpatine cameo from Ian McDiarmid. He’s always great. Poor guy had to lie about it at Star Wars Celebration.

There’s been a lot of talk about Leia’s outfits in this show being reminiscent of stuff she wore in the original trilogy. But I’d argue her final outfit in this episode, and the series itself, was very similar to what Luke wears on Tatooine. That’s fitting, for obvious reasons.

So…Obi-Wan just stopped by Alderaan for a quick visit? That’s a little weird. They couldn’t have done that via the holo-communicator?

I can already here the crybabies out there calling foul over Obi-Wan meeting Luke. But Luke did know who “Old Ben”was in A New Hope. There was nothing there to directly contradict him meeting Leia, and there’s even less to indicate that he hadn’t met Luke at least once. Maybe even two or three times. Cool your thrusters, fanboys…

Qui-Gon Jinn, Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi, Part VI

Aaaaaaand of course Liam Neeson made a cameo as Qui-Gon. I called it. They couldn’t not pay that off after Obi-Wan spoke to him multiple times over the course of the show. I’m happy Liam Neeson is back in the Star Wars fold. I enjoy the Qui-Gon Jinn character. Quite a bit, actually.

There was a time period where Star Wars really harped on hope. Especially in Rogue One and The Last Jedi. But in its own way, Obi-Wan Kenobi was about hope too. Specifically, Obi-Wan regaining the hope he lost so many years ago after Anakin’s fall. Thankfully, this series didn’t point at it the way those movies did.

Obi-Wan Kenobi went by fast, didn’t it? But the show, despite its critics, delivered. I’d still argue The Mandalorian is better. But not by much. Obi-Wan Kenobi has been, and perhaps should be, judged by very different standards. People came in with much higher expectations. But I honestly don’t see what more the show could have done to appeal to fans new and old. For that, I tip my hat to it.

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.

Weekly Comic 100s: Star Wars #11

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Star Wars #11
AUTHOR: Charles Soule
ARTISTS: Jan Bazaldua, Rachelle Rosenberg (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer). Cover by Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, & Rain Beredo.
RELEASED: February 3, 2021

As we open this issue, Leia and the Rebellion are about to forcefully sacrifice Lobot’s life in service to the Alliance. Naturally, Lando isn’t happy.

I like that we’re not only seeing a more cold and ruthless side of Leia, but we’re exploring Lando’s loyalty to his friends. It’s that same loyalty that prompted him to help Leia and the others escape Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back.

Throw in a pretty cool sequence where Rebel pilots forcefully board a Star Destroyer, and it’s safe to say this series has officially hit its stride.

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