The Clone Wars Weekly Roundup October 23

Welcome to this week’s TCW Weekly Roundup!

On tap this week we will take a look at the latest TCW news, some thoughts on the new TCW Season 3 Blu-ray release, a sale going on for some TCW comics, and a preview of the next story arc on TCW.

The biggest news this week is TCW casting news that comes hot on the heels of last week’s formal announcement that Darth Maul will be coming to the show.  According to the website Nuke the Fridge, they have an unnamed source that claims actor Sam Witwer will voice Darth Maul in the series.

While I am skeptical of the report, there are no details provided, no quotes attributed to the unnamed source, etc, but it certainly is the logical assumption based on the previous knowledge that Witwer would be voicing a new role on the show.

Not to toot my own horn, but way back on June 22, I found and posted a story on LightsaberRattling.com from a San Antonio Express-News blog post that stated;

“Sure, Sam Witwer owes plenty of his career to the Force. After all, he is the face and voice of Starkiller, Darth Vader’s secret apprentice in the Star video games. And he’s voiced what’s practically the very embodiment of the dark side as the evil Son in the Mortis trilogy story from last season’s Star Wars: The Clone WarsAnd he’ll return to the animated series next season in an as yet undisclosed role.

As Sam Witwer confirmed to The Star Wars Report’s own Riley and Bethany in a Dragon Con 2011 interview:

“I’ve already returned to The Clone Wars to do voiceover… I am currently, as we speak, working on episodes, many episodes for a character that I have not played… well… it’s… what can I say without getting fired?…I’m told the announcement is gonna happen in a couple months….It’s an amazing character.  It is an amazing, amazing character.  I’ll put it to you this way.  I was driving over to a buddy’s house and Dave Filoni calls me up, gets me on the phone, and he says, “Listen, so we want you to come back to work and we need you to play…” and he tells me the character’s name.  And I almost had a car accident.  And he says, “Can you do it?”  And I’m like yes.  And then I worried about later whether I could do it or not.  But I was like yes, yes, I will do that.  So it is a tremendous opportunity and I can’t wait for you guys to find out about it.”

Based on Witwer’s voice acting in Star Wars video games and on TCW and his comments regarding the character he will be playing, it is a logical assumption that the role he is returning for is Darth Maul.

Lets talk about the Blu-ray release for Season 3 of TCW.  The first thing you will notice is that they have entirely changed the packaging.  Instead of being in the large case like Season One and Season Two with the booklet inserted in the middle, the Season Three set is in a more traditional Blu-ray disc case that contains three discs and a thin set of liner notes that lists the contents of each discs and has a few images on it.  I am sure that production costs were a large factor in the re-design as the S3 sets would be much cheaper to produce then the Season One and Two set boxes.  It’s a bit of a trade off, I liked the bonus booklet in the Season One and Two sets, but the Season Three takes up less room on the shelf.  The other aesthetic concern for collectors is that the seasons don’t look consistent next to each other now.

The episodes themselves look terrific as ever, and the bonus features are pretty solid.  Each disc contains the Jedi Temple Archives which has both images and video about each episode.  My favorite of which is a deleted scene from the Mortis Trilogy where the Son communes with Darth Bane and Darth Revan.  In the JTA area of each disc there is also an Easter egg if you click on the rotating Republic logo in the upper left hand corner of the screen. The Easter eggs are;  Disc 1 is “Creating Kamino Easter egg,” Disc 2 is “ Witches and Monsters Easter egg“ , and Disc 3 is “Chewbacca Returns Easter egg.“  In terms of featurettes, there are four true featurettes “Creating Kamino,” “Hutts and the Underworld,” “Witches and Monsters,” and “Chewbacca Returns.”  There is also another featurette entitled “Secrets of Mortis” but is a very brief video of Dave Filoni basically telling viewers why they aren’t actually getting a featurette on Mortis.

One annoying thing that happened to me while viewing each of the discs occurred in the JTA area.  If you start playing the image gallery and allow it to play all the way through it will return to the holocron projecting background, but no menus will appear and the disc basically freezes.  The only way I found was to completely stop the disc and re-start it.

All in all a solid home video release, they did alter how they organized the bonus features a bit for this release, but overall the biggest change is in the exterior packaging.

I wanted to pass along to readers a sale that is going on for some bargain priced TCW comics on Amazon.com right now.  I was able to order The Clone Wars: Slaves of the Republic for $4.00, this is the comic that is being adapted into a TCW Season 4 story arc.  But there are also other such as TCW Volume 2: Victories and Sacrifices ($4.15), Volume 1: Defense of Kamino ($5.98), Volume 09: Endgame ($7.20), and there are others so head over to Amazon and search for some bargain priced Star Wars books.

Finally, let’s take a look forward to next week’s “Darkness on Umbara;” What do we know about the episode so far?  Let’s look at three posts on Starwars.com for some clues.

Episode Synopsis:

“The first step toward loyalty is trust.”

When Anakin is forced to temporarily turn over command of his clone troopers to a new commander, the Jedi Pong Krell, tensions begin to run high as the clones are assigned with a very deadly mission to take the capital of Umbara.

Encyclopedia entry for Umbara:

Umbara, known as the “Shadow World” due to the rays of its sun never completely reaching its surface, is perpetually dark. The native wildlife have adapted to survive in such gloom, making the planet perpetually dangerous. Umbara was once part of the Galactic Republic, represented in the Senate by Senator Mee Deechi. Later in the Clone Wars, the planet’s loyalty wavered and the natives of Umbara allied themselves with the Separatists, bringing their extremely advanced technology to the Separatist Alliance.

Encyclopedia entry for Pong Krell:

This Besalisk Jedi is all about getting results and, indeed, his battlefield record lists many key victories in the Clone Wars. He has an unshakable confidence in his methods, and he will brook no insubordination among his charges. In personal combat, he can be ferocious — his giant arms carry two double-ended lightsabers, making him extremely dangerous in close quarters. Pong Krell’s reputation as a successful general is well known but so is the fact that the casualty rates of the clone troopers under his command are the highest.

So we know that the Clones will be waging a lengthy campaign on the planet of Umbara, under the command of General Krell.  It also is apparent that the Clones will be suffering a very high rate of casualties.  Since we are dealing with the 501st, that means we should be getting a heavy dose of Captain Rex in this arc, could this be a turning point in Rex’s character, his view on the war and the Republic?  One of the mysteries of TCW, though less talked about then the fate of Ahsoka Tano, is the fate of Captain Rex.  By Episode III we know that the 501st legion is commanded by CC-1119 Commander Appo.  Does Rex die?  Does Rex transfer to a different unit?  Does Rex become a deserter? It will be interesting to see if these next four episodes give us a clue about Rex’s ultimate fate.

I also wonder whether or not Krell survives these four episodes.  Is it possible his troops turn on him and kill him on the battle field?  For possible answers lets take a look at the episode titles for the arc.

The titles of the four episodes are “Darkness on Umbara,” “The General,” “Plan of Dissent,” and “Carnage of Krell.”  The first episode will be the back-story, introductory battle featuring Anakin, but then we will have either an emergency elsewhere or an injury to Anakin leading to Krell assuming command.  The second episode will the introduction of Krell and likely feature heavily him in action and dialogue to display his characteristics and his willingness to sacrifice his troops to accomplish his mission.  The third episode in my opinion will feature the Clones sowing dissent amongst them to Krell’s leadership possibly leading to a plot being formed.  The final episode will be a major offensive planned by Krell coinciding with an assassination of Krell by the Clones.  I can see the Republic scoring a Pyrrhic victory on Umbara and Krell dying in the fog of battle.

Stay tuned to The Star Wars Report next week as Ryan reviews “Darkness on Umbara” and I come back with the next installment of TCW Weekly Roundup.  Until then K’oyacyi! Ner vode.

- Pete