12 Things Learned From Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Originally written four years ago, but I wanted to repost this in honor of the news that was announced today at SDCC.

Not to long ago, I finally finished my Star Wars: The Clone Wars marathon on Netflix. I had never seen the show before and I had started the series by borrowing my sister’s box set. The set didn’t have the final season however, so when it was announced that the entire series would stream on Netflix I rejoiced.

Previously, I complied two lists of things that I learned from the show. I wanted to put the lists together into one big one for this article and expand upon a few of the points. So without further ado, I present to you the following.

Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away…

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1. The Clones Are People Too.

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If you didn’t know, the clone troopers are soldiers first of the Grand Army of the Republic and later soldiers of the Galactic Empire where they were called Stormtroopers. The human genetic template for the clone troopers was one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy a Mandalorian bounty hunter by the name of Jango Fett the father of Bobba Fett an unaltered clone.  The clones were created on the planet Kamino. All the clones’ genes were manipulated, meaning that they had accelerated aging-the grew and matured twice as fast as a regular human.  They were also bred to be more loyal and more willing to follow orders (Order 66 anyone?)

Before watching this show, I had only seen episodes 1-3 once (okay twice I’ve watched 2 & 3 twice, don’t judge me!)  and I didn’t really get a sense of what the clones were like. I knew they were created to be an army for the Republic by some mysterious Jedi, and yes they followed orders to the letter (Again Order 66)  but other than that I didn’t know how they felt about their predicament. It must  suck being bred to go fight in someone else’s war and die.

So it was to my joy to discover that right from the get-go the series took fans into the minds of the clones. We were able to get to know some of the clones on a personal level, most of which were from the 501st (later to be called Vader’s first, these were the last unit of clones that survived way  into the Galactic Empire).

I got to know Commander Cody and Captain Rex, both of which had great relationships with their Jedi generals Obi-Wan and Anakin, with personalities to match each of them.   I’ve come to understand the reasoning behind the clone trooper appropriately named Slick’s actions.  It’s interesting that in a way his wish for his brothers to be free of their Jedi and Republic masters came to pass only for them to become slaves to a darker one.

We traveled with Heavy, Echo, 99, Fives (Fives!) and the deserter…which reminds me, what had become of the deserter? We mourned the passing of thousands of clones killed defending the Republic, fighting a war that they could have won if the bloody Jedi hadn’t been so arrogant, foolish, and stubborn. The clones were not just genetically engineered warriors. They were human beings who despite having the same physical and mental features were still individuals. Everytime we see a clone, we’re watching a person who has their own thoughts and views of the world that they were born into…which leads me to my next point.

 

Hello, CT-5555.

No clone uses their number. I am Fives. Call me Fives.

The difference is minimal.

Not to me. And not to any clone.

―AZI-3 and Fives

2. Fives Was Right.

God damnit, poor Fives. He watched the men in his Domino squad-brothers he was close-to die in battle. To make matters worse, he watched  his best friend-Tup do a horrible thing and then die not to long  after. Tup’s death made Fives determined to learn what caused his friend’s unusual behavior. It was the final and most important mission that Fives went on. Upon discovering the truth (ahem Order 66)  Fives tried his hardest to warn the Jedi and died in vain because they didn’t listen or see the signs-particularly two of whom I’ll discuss later below.

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Right now though I want to discuss two different Jedi-one who started out on the fragments of a dark path and the other whose path remains unclear at the end of the series and is number three on my list.

3.  Ahsoka Tano Is An Awesome Jedi.

We first meet Ahsoka in the meh animated film Star Wars The Clone Wars, though after my second viewing, I thought I saw her among the younglings Master Yoda was training  in episode two Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. I could be wrong.

Regardless, ‘Snips’ as her mentor calls her is a wonderful addition to the Star Wars legacy. From the film all the way to the fifth season, Ahsoka grows and matures in character as well as in her mastery of the force. We get to see her lead multiple battles and train and oversee people of Onderon in their fight against the Separatists. We watched as she was kidnapped and stranded on an island in order to be hunted down for fun, yet she rallied the rest the abductees to  overcome their oppressors, and much more.

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I also enjoyed the bond that her and Anakin shared. Their closeness was a strength and a weakness as they had to deal with not forming attachments with others and each other over the course of the series.  Their bond was strong even at the end when Ahsoka found herself on the run for murders that she did not commit. I felt for both teacher and student at the end of season five when Ahoska made the decision to not return to the Jedi order.

In the episode I mentioned earlier, titled “Padawan Lost” Anakin is asked by Master Plo Ko what Ahsoka’s greatest strength is. Anakin answers “That she’s fearless.”  That sums up who Ahsoka is. I hope we see her in Star Wars: Rebels and maybe on the big screen as well.

 

4. Anakin The Dark Path Begins For You

If there’s one thing to know about Anakin (aside that he’s great at fixing things-material things-people not so much) it’s that he’s very hard on himself.  Whether it’s the death his mother, Ahoska getting hurt or taken, R2-D2 getting hurt or taken, or even preventing the death of Padme’, and mourning over the presumed death of Obi-Wan among other things, Anakin is soo hard on himself. I take it might be because he’s the chosen one-you know the one who’s supposed to bring balance-and that can put a lot of weight on a person.

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Which leads me to ponder that him being so hard on himself-the guilt he felt-was just another catalyst which lead to him to the dark side of the force.  In episodes 1-3, we get snippets and then a big finale of Anakin’s rise to Jedi Knight and his demise to the dark side.  However, it’s the episodes of the TV series which really give us the meat of the situation.  There are signs everywhere.

  • In his emotions-henever his friends are threatened particularly when his wife Padame’ and his apprentice Ahsoka are in danger.
  • In his actions-there’s a scene in which he’s interrogating a prisoner for information…that’s all I’m gonna say.
  • In his thoughts and opinions which he sometimes voices to others.

There are also other visuals which show or foretell his fall. Granted it’s a  process, but it’s there. It’s happening slowly and at times quickly throughout the six seasons.

 

5. The Republic And The Jedi Are Always Right?.

These folks are supposed to be the good guys. They’re the ones we’re supposed to root for right? Then how come as I went from episode to episode I began to question their cause to fight and save the galaxy?

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Greed and corruption are rampant throughout the Republic and I’m not so sure if I agree with all of the Jedi’s methods.  Sith lords aside, which side is right-the Republic or the Separatists? I think the clone wars is also a reminder that war isn’t black and white. There’s shades of grey and there are always bad things going on both sides of the fight.

Was it morally right for the Republic to produce mass clones as an expendable fighting force (Sith lords aside)? Was right for the Republic to not help the planets and systems who wished to remain neutral? And was it right for the Separatists to invade them, ignoring their neutrality? What about all the people who have suffered and are now starving and homeless? I’m glad that these parts where also shown via Senator Padme’ and the other characters efforts.

 

6. Asajj Ventress Is A BAMF.

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That’s all I have to say. Well no it’s not. I really enjoyed the character development not only of the good guys but the bad guys as well.  A hero is as strong as their villain, and Ventress was a great villain.

She also was a great anti-hero. She lost faith in her master and went on her own path. Ventress never gave up. There’s also the fact that she’s a skilled kick as fighter and was a tough hardcore Sith in training.

If things had gone right in her childhood, she would have become an awesome Jedi. It would have been and still would be interesting to see if she return to the light side of the force.  Either way, Asajj Ventress is not one to mess with. After all, she will have her revenge.

 

7. Jar Jar Binks Isn’t Too Bad.

In the series at least.  Now hear me out before you bring out the pitchforks. He’s not the best in fact he’s still horrible, I cringe everytime I hear him open his mouth and feel very sorry for his parents.   At least in the series, his actions aren’t getting people into too much trouble. He’s not the person suggestion that all emergency powers be given to the chancellor (you sure know how to snark the fans Mr. Lucas).

He assisted  Senator Bail Prestor Organa on Toydaria persuading KingKatuunko if the Republic could use the neutral planet as a supply staging base to get relief to the Twi’leks of Ryloth against the protests of the Separatists. He also helped Padme’ in capturing Gunray.  See he did a few good things…but yeah I mean he was still horrible. Die Jar Jar!

 

8. Stop Looking Down On Others!

Throughout the show, we saw instances of how one race of people  looked down on another, General Grievous having a deep seated hatred (and obsession) for Jedi, or how everyone looked down on droids, there was always someone looking down upon another. This has gone on in our world since the time of man and woman began and continues to this day.

Everytime I heard a  condescending comment about droids from one of the characters, I kept wondering if there would be a droid uprising something akin to the Matrix. I liked how no matter who looked down on whoever, that person or droid always overcame the denouncements given to them.  Whether it was Obi-Wan, Anakin, Ahsoka, Captain Rex, and the Torgutans overcoming their enslavement at the hands of the Zygerrians; or R2-D2 and his fellow droids in the D-Squad going on a stealth mission and successfully completing it and restoring the memory of an asmeinac clone tropper, these folks overcame the opposition who underestimated and thought lowly of them. Which brings me to my next point.

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9. R2-D2 is the best droid ever.

He is. I mean he’s only one who knows the whole story of the Skywalker family. C3po is sidekick.  He’s the best droid in the entire Star Wars universe.  R2-D2 is an intelligent and feisty robot , I love his personality. He shows that all people and things-who are looked down upon-are very important in the fight against evil.  I would really like to know more about his backstory.  And now to the final points which are also the most sad ones…

 

10.  Come On Obi-Wan! WTF Yoda!

As I said before the signs were everywhere that something was amidst, yet nothing was really done.  People gave their lives trying to warn of the coming Sith apocalypse but no heed was given. I mean hell, back in episode two at the beginning of the war, Count Dooku aka Darth Tyrannus tells Obi-Wan the truth about what’s to come!

And what the hell does the Jedi council do? Nothing! I think they mediate on it but really they don’t do a damn thing! And guess what? In season six episode ten “The Lost One,” Obi-Wan is told yet again by guess who? Count Bloody Dooku!  And guess what? Nothing’s done.  Again. I mean fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. But fool me three times?  Cause that never happens, oh wait, didn’t master Qui-Gon Jinn warn Obi-Wan? Come on man!

In this image released by Lucasfilm Ltd., Yoda, left, Obi-Wan Kenobi, second left, Anakin Skywalker and his padawan, Ahsoka Tano, right, are shown in a scene from the upcoming "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." The Lucasfilm Animation production will be released Friday, Aug. 15, 2008, by Warner Bros. Pictures. (AP Photo/Lucasfilm Ltd.) ** NO SALES **

Fine Obi, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. You’re not as keen in your mastery of the force. I’m sure the almost 900 year old Jedi Master Yoda can see through the many tricks and tomfoolery that the Sith are playing…oops I guess not.  I mean really Yoda? You couldn’t have put two and three and four and god knows how many instances you were given warnings? Really Yoda?

I can forgive you both since you trained Luke but none of that had to occur if you had just freaking heeded the goddamn warnings!

You would think this almost 900 year old Jedi Master would have saw through the Sith’s gaze, but no. He saw a few things but he couldn’t put two and two together until it was too late. Which leads me to the next point.

 

11. The Republic And The Jedi Order Were In A No-Win Situation.

Let’s face it. They were screwed, like years in the making screwed. The Sith had struck back.  If you look back (if you can) at the films and watch the the series, you’ll definitely know this to be absolutely true.  The Sith had an insidious plan, Darth Plagueis had a brilliant plan which his apprentice and killer Darth Sidous took full charge of and executed perfectly.

He was always one step of ahead of the good guys. And how could they not see who he truly was and what his intentions were? I guess he was a very powerful Sith Lord…I felt so bad for the Jedi because we can see the little nicks and bruises in their armor/strategy that Darth Sidious has hit them with in each episode and they don’t see it until it’s too late.

They had lost the war before it had even begun.  The Sith’s plan was decades and centuries in the making. They took the saying “Slow and Steady Wins The Race” to darker and deadly level. Poor Jedi.  Poor republic.  You’ll just have to wait a couple of years for a new hope.

 

12. Darth Sidious Is A Genius.

From Galactic Senator of Naboo, to  Chancellor, to Emperor of the Galactic Empire. It was all in a days work for Darth Sidious.  The  plan was solid and all he has to do is sit back, relax, and watch it all play out. Time to time there were a few glitches in the plan but did he freak out? Oh hell no, he went  with the flow. And what a flow it was.

It was so intriguing to watch him as the Chancellor and see his facial expressions. I mean you know he’s got to be thinking “I’ve got this.” or “This is too easy, I need a challenge.” while watching the galaxy tear itself apart and he was there to pick up the pieces.

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I have nothing more to say about this point except for this: Flawless Victory. Job well done my dastardly Sith Lord, job well done…Oh wait what’s this? Darth Vader’s lifting you up to celebrate?

And that my fellow Jedi Knights and Sith Lords and Ladies is my list. I truly enjoyed Star Wars: The Clone Wars and I look forward to episode seven in 2015. If you have any things you learned from watching the series please post them in the comment section. May the force be with you geeklings!

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Happy 75th Batman!

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Dark Knight’s existence fighting crime on the streets, sewers, airways, buildings, mansions, bat cave, prison, mental institutions, and more in Gotham City and beyond.  Last year was Superman’s 75th  and thanks in part to the Man of Steel film being released and DC Comics and Random House teaming up to help libraries who wanted to participate in hosting a Superman Day at the Library and I-with the help of my fellow co-workers-had a wonderful opportunity to propose, initiate, and participate in a Superman Day at the library at my job. Though there isn’t a film being released this year (you’ll have to wait till next year for the untitled Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman film), there are still many cool things to celebrate about our beloved Bat.

DC Comics will release today the 2014 version of Detective Comics #24, which will re-imagine Batman’s very first adventure from 1939, “The Case of the Criminal Syndicate”. You can read more about that here. In addition, a weekly comic book titled Batman Eternal, written by Scott Snyder and others with art by Jason Fabok, begins its run today so go pick that up! Scott Synder’s doing a kick-ass job writing the main DC Comics Batman title and with artist Greg Capullo on the book, it can’t fail.

If you want to reminisce about Batman’s past adventures, there are plenty of great books, movies, and cartoons, that you can dive into. Here are a couple of favorites of mine in no particular order:

Batman: The Animated Series

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This is the first animated series of Batman that I ever watched. I grew up in the 90’s and I remember coming home after school and watching this show. It was one of the things that got me into comics and the geek/nerd world as well as introduce me to the characters of the DC Universe. It’s a wonderful and amazing series.  Favorite episodes of  mine are: “Christmas With the Joker”, “Heart of Ice”, “Joker’s Favor”, “Appointment in Crime Alley”, The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy”, “The Laughing Fish”, “If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich?”, “The Man Who Killed Batman”, “Harley and Ivy”, “Trial”, “Harley’s Holiday”, “Batgirl Returns”, “Holiday Knights”, “Joker’s Millions”, “The Demon Within”, “Legends of the Dark Knight”,  “Girls’ Night Out”, “Mad Love”, and “Beware the Creeper”.

 

250px-KillingjokeThe Killing Joke

One of the first Batman graphic novels that I’ve read. It’s written by Alan Moore with art by Brian Bolland, lettering by Richard Starkings with coloring done by John Higgins (original version) and Brian Bolland (deluxe version).The book explores the possibility that Batman is just as insane as the criminals he faces, but he displays his insanity in a different way. Batman uses his for good while the Joker uses his insanity to cause chaos. Basically the Joker and Batman are mirror images of each other.

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The Dark Knight Trilogy

Director Christopher Nolan did an awesome job of reintroducing audiences to Gotham’s Dark Knight in movie theaters everywhere.  After suffering a disappointing and horrid meltdown via the Joel Schumacher films it was great to see Bats coming back to life and Christian Bale did him justice. Out of the three The Dark Knight is my favorite with Batman Begins in second and The Dark Knight Rises in a solid third place.

Batman vs. Predator

The predator is one of my favorite movie characters and it was pretty cool to see Batman facing this member of an alien race who travels the galaxy hunting other aggressive species for sport.  There are total of three books which tell the story.  It’s definitely worth checking out.

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Batman/Aliens

If Batman has go up against Predators well then why not aliens? And that’s exactly what happens in this graphic novel.  There’s a sequel which was published in 2003 which you might also enjoy.

Batman Beyond

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The Dark Knight is back kicking butt in the Gotham City of the future. Bruce Wayne however isn’t donning the cape and cowl this time. A teenager by the name of Terry McGinnis puts on the new bat suit and goes to work cleaning up Gotham. Though Wayne isn’t the hero that Gotham needs at that time, he’s the mentor that they deserve as he assists Terry through his crime fighting adventures.

The Batman

Compared to Batman the Animated Series, this show definitely comes in second place. However, the creators didn’t set out to make this show follow in the footsteps of its predecessor and it’s still does a great job in its own right. It was new spin on the character and shows a younger Bruce Wayne in his early adventures as the Bat. It reintroduces villains, sidekicks, and other superhero characters as well as give viewers new ones to become attached to.

Batman & Batman Returns

220px-Batman_returns_poster2I loved Tim Burton’s films. They were a great take on our caped crusader and who didn’t love the villains? I mean Jack Nicholson as the Joker? Danny DeVito as the Penguin? And Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman? Do I really need to say more?

The Dark Knight Returns (Part 1 and Part 2)

The animated version of Frank Miller’s comic is definitely a must watch. A 55 year old Bruce Wayne returns with cape and cowl, a Bat tank, and a new Robin to cleanse the streets of a Gotham City of the future and defeat enemies old and and new. I also suggest reading the comic. You won’t regret it!

Batman the 60’s TV Show

I remember watching reruns of the show as a kid and it was one of my first introductions to Batman.  Yeah it was cheesy, and yes Robin’s “Holy____ Batman!” could be downright just “Really?” but it was an enjoyable show. It’s a cult classic and the reruns continue on today. I mean who doesn’t love the theme song?

Think this is a short list and I’m missing a lot more? Of course I am! There are many comics and films that you ought to check out, I just gave you a few to wet your appetite for more.  And if you want more check out these lists of the best Batman comics and graphic novels of all time put together by these folks:

IGN.com

Complex.com

Batman-On-Film.com

Happy reading and Happy 75th Bats! The year of the Batman has just begun, stayed tuned for more!