TV Discussion

Star Wars: The Clone Wars #38 – ‘The end, this is not’ – TV Rewind

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.

The Lost One (2014)

Season 6, Episode 10. Written by Christian Taylor, directed by Brian Kalin O’Connell.
“What is lost is often found.”

A distress signal is received at Coruscant’s Jedi Temple from the ship of a Master thought to have been killed a decade earlier. Plo Koon is sent to its source on a moon of Oba Diah, recovering the crashed vessel complete with the Jedi’s lightsaber. Given the gravity of this discovery, Master Yoda senses a mystery is about to be unraveled…

It took twelve years, but Lucasfilm finally went some way to addressing the true role of Sifo-Dyas, the Jedi named by the Kaminoans as having placed the order for the clone army. Rather than being a straightforward procedural, in the hands of writer Christian Taylor it will become a journey of spiritual discovery, too.

But the more practical revelations arrive early. After Yoda’s meeting with ex-Chancellor Valorum, Obi-Wan learns that the one referred to as Tyranus is also Count Dooku, and the council realise that Sifo-Dyas’ involvement means that their own army – the men they’ve come to trust, respect and rely upon – is a creation of the enemy they’ve been fighting against…

READ MORE: Star Wars Adventures #24 – Review

Voices (2014)

Season 6, Episode 11. Written by Christian Taylor, directed by Danny Keller.
“Madness can sometimes be the path to truth.”

The Jedi Council is in crisis. After a troubling meditation, Yoda engineers a way to sneak off Coruscant. In the company of R2-D2 as his navigator, the Jedi Master knows that he can only get to the root of this problem alone and off-grid…

‘Voices’ is where Taylor really begins to work the magic, under the watchful eye of director Danny Keller. The Mortis episodes are namechecked in the script and Liam Neeson returns once again as the voice of Qui-Gon Jinn, now a manifestation of The Force. Eager to pull all the mystic threads together, it’s Qui-Gon who beckons Yoda to Dagobah. It turns out a planet teeming with organic life but no civilisation is the ideal place to study the cycle between the Living Force, the Cosmic Force and midichlorians – essential if Yoda is to survive and assist the one who will bring balance.

Back on Coruscant the Council finally realise that Dooku may just be the Sith apprentice, even as Darth Sidious is shown to be rattled by these events behind the scenes – it seems that this was not part of his plan.

But perhaps most interestingly, it’s Artoo who pilots Yoda to Dagobah, inadvertently revealing that during Luke’s flight to the swamp-world in The Empire Strikes Back, the astromech knew full well what was going on.

Destiny (2014)

Season 6, Episode 12. Written by Christian Taylor, directed by Kyle Dunlevy.
“Death is just the beginning.”

With Yoda’s journey just begun he is tasked to journey into deep space, to discover the origin of all life in the galaxy. There, he meets five spectral priestesses who will impart more of The Force than Yoda has ever known…

Leaving Artoo to guard the ship, the small green one is adventuring at meta levels now. The audience aren’t sure what’s physical and what’s metaphorical, where the only certainties are the demonstrable lessons to be learned from all this.

Credit goes to Taylor for not simply recycling his Mortis construct, instead making this a more personal journey for Yoda as he battles his demons (literally in the case of the Gollum-esque alter ego representing repressed desire and self-doubt) and passes tests of character.

It’s here that we learn the secret of retaining identity in The Force after death is based around fully accepting oneself and ‘letting go’ at a crucial moment – presumably the reasons why the Sith aren’t able to return in translucent form. It will be interesting to see how much of this comes into play in December’s The Rise Of Skywalker.

READ MORE: Memory: The Origins of Alien – Documentary Review

Sacrifice (2014)

Season 6, Episode 13. Written by Christian Taylor, directed by Steward Lee.
“Facing all that you fear will free you from yourself.”

Despatched by the priestesses to the planet Moraband, Yoda must face his final test against the purest evil among the sand-worn ruins of the ancient Sith civilisation…

This arc was created before Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm and the subsequent decree that previously-printed ‘Expanded Universe’ material would become known as ‘Legends’ – ie not something that future Star Wars writers would have to take into account. So it’s an uneven set of pegs in the ground for canon, as the Sith homeworld Korriban is permanently renamed especially for this episode, yet Darth Bane and his rule-of-two are referenced on screen and so branded into official Star Wars history.

Kevin Kiner’s score is on full, ominous form as the Emperor’s theme from Return Of The Jedi is used with Sidious’ increased screen presence. In addition, we see Sidious and Tyranus engaging in actual Sith rituals here, rather than just using The Force for malign purposes.

Yoda’s reality-defying odyssey shows some key scenes from Episode III, albeit without enough context that he might try to prevent them, and without revealing the actual identity of Darth Sidious. ‘Sacrifice’ is a tightrope of call-forward writing.

While it’s certainly a little overwhelming, this arc is truly fantastic. That said, it also serves as a reminder of the many hours focusing on bickering politicians and boisterous pirates over the previous six seasons, adding plenty to the plot but little to the lore.

And that, dear reader, brings us to the end of our ‘proper episode’ round-ups of The Clone Wars. But fear not, next time we delve into bonus (yet still canonical) stories with unfinished animatics…

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