In this ongoing series, Ian Blackout revisits Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series, in a (roughly) chronological order of events and grouped (roughly) into story-arcs.
Death Trap (2010)
Season 2, Episode 20. Written by Doug Petrie, Drew Z. Greenberg, Brian Larsen, directed by Steward Lee.
“Who my father was matters less than my memory of him.”
Anakin Skywalker and Mace Windu travel aboard Admiral Killian’s Star Destroyer, meeting a Republic cruiser carrying a squadron of young clone cadets. But a bunch of adolescents who all look identical is the perfect cover for a truly rogue member of the family with a score to settle. The best place to hide a leaf, is in a forest…
And so begins a three-act grudge match, with young Boba Fett returning to the fray to have it out with the Jedi who murdered his father that fateful day on Geonosis.
The galaxy’s most feared bounty-hunter-to-be is voiced by none other than Daniel Logan, who played the role in Attack Of The Clones, adding a further layer of authenticity to his resurgence. What’s better is that Logan also portrays the young Clonetroopers, mirroring the performance of Dee Bradley Baker as all their adult counterparts. And true to form, the youngster has the same knack of giving everyone a unique vocalisation under a collective umbrella.
It would be easy to have Fett be blinded by rage of course, especially as he’s a relatively inexperienced teenager to boot. The scenes he shares with Mace Windu are especially tense, for obvious reasons. But the seeds are planted here of the calculating patience which will go on to serve Boba well in the decades ahead. Working under the guidance of Aurra Sing, we get a window into his obvious insecurities, as well as his reluctance to kill the clones (his brothers, in a very real sense) out of hand, although he’ll do this when it’s absolutely necessary to achieving his goal.
Although the presence of Mace Windu in Revenge Of The Sith should tell you that he doesn’t achieve his goal.
No matter, it all makes for good sport in a chase which sees Fett Jr systematically taking down a Star Destroyer in a bid to complete his mission. Okay, he may lack focus, but the kid’s got determination…
R2 Come Home (2010)
Season 2, Episode 21. Written by Eoghan Mahoney, Drew Z. Greenberg, Brian Larsen, directed by Giancarlo Volpe.
“Adversity is a friendship’s truest test.”
Anakin Skywalker and Mace Windu travel to the planet Vanqor, searching for survivors of the crashed Star Destroyer. Windu begins to piece together the puzzle and finds himself at the centre, knowing full well that he represents unfinished business…
Yes, you can’t keep a good clone down, the extension of which means you can’t keep a bad clone down either. Boba Fett’s fairly understandable quest to avenge his father’s murder is only let down by the evident fact that he’s not very good at it, better instead at causing broad carnage all around and hoping the right people get snared up at the right time. To this end, his plan is heading in the right direction at least.
True to form for The Clone Wars, Vanqor means Gundarks, and all the commotion of a crashing capital ship brings the indigenous beasts out in force. This would probably be fine if the Jedi weren’t trapped under a collapsing ship at the same time. Anakin manages to catch the attention of Artoo Deetoo and sends him to summon help from the Jedi Temple on Coruscant (this Lassie homage being the unsubtle origin of the episode’s title).
But that heavy-handed nod aside, we have some great scenes with Artoo, and he gets to display the kind of inquisitive, sympathetic character he became famous for in the Original Trilogy.
On the subject of connective-tissue, astute viewers will remember the scene in Episode II where Jango Fett catches his head sharply on the lowering hatch of his ship, Slave I. This was (we assumed at the time) intended to place the dent in the top which forms part of the distinctive battle-scarring on Boba’s armour in The Empire Strikes Back. Well, those among you who hadn’t made that connection needn’t lose any sleep, as ‘R2 Come Home’ shows Boba Fett lay a trap for Mace Windu in the ruined Star Destroyer, in the form of his father’s famed helmet packed with explosives. A sort of last-minute calling card, if you will.
And while this is symbolic, poetic and several other adjectives ending in -ic, the canon of the exploding lid does mean that Boba now has to secure himself an identical helmet to repaint (entirely possible), which he’ll accidentally dent in the same area (entirely possible but alarmingly clumsy). If anything, it’s the fact that Mace survives this further assault which renders the whole thing questionable.
In other trilogy-linking news, the Trandoshan bounty hunter Bossk is shown speaking Basic (ie English) in this episode. Eyebrows were raised at this back in 2010 as Episode V shows him standing on the bridge of the Super Star Destroyer Executor grunting in an alien language. But the owners of those eyebrows should think again as this means Bossk is (at least) bilingual. Which is even cooler than being a bounty hunter in an ill-fitting yellow space-suit…
Lethal Trackdown (2010)
Season 2, Episode 22. Written by Dave Filoni, Drew Z. Greenberg, Brian Larsen, directed by Dave Filoni.
“Revenge is a confession of pain.”
After two separate and failed attempts on the life of Mace Windu, Boba Fett’s mentor Aurra Sing steps in to take control of the situation. Having pulled Admiral Killian and two clone officers from the wreckage of the downed Star Destroyer, the bounty hunters send a ransom message to Coruscant – the price for the non-harming of the hostages being the presence of Master Windu on a playing-field of their choosing…
Quite the unforeseen turn, this trilogy turns out to be a greater expansion of Aurra Sing’s character than Boba Fett’s. She’s certainly shown to be more capable, ruthless and emotionally cold in a way which doesn’t resort to metaphorical moustache-twirling. Boba meanwhile isn’t depicted as entirely sympathetic, but is clearly having trouble finding the path of righteousness between that of the warrior and the mercenary.
We also get to spend some quality-time with Ahsoka Tano and Master Plo Koon as the pair trawl the Coruscant underlevels is an attempt to locate the bounty hunters. We’re back to the grimy, litter-strewn depths we saw them wade through earlier this season, and this was by all accounts to be the vibe of the unproduced Lucasarts video game, Star Wars: 1313, and rumoured live-action TV series Star Wars: Underworld. How much of this grit makes it to the upcoming The Mandalorian will be a point of some conjecture.
And fans who were distraught to note the iconic Fett helmet being destroyed in the last episode should probably look away now, as ‘Lethal Trackdown’ sees the Fett-mobile itself Slave I take a similar turn (although it isn’t a deliberate act of sabotage on the part of the owner, more Ahsoka trying – and succeeding – to prevent the ship from leaving Florrum). But much like the headwear, Slave I will return – we know this because we’ve seen it to be true. It’s not the object itself which wields power, more the single-minded individual behind it.
Perhaps this is the real lesson of this story-arc. Although Boba has a few lessons to learn before be can come back and school us on that one…
Join us next time as The Clone Wars goes steaming in to its third season (even if the timeline hasn’t settled down just yet)…