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Why Star Wars Rebels Will Be Better than The Clone Wars

Star Wars: The Clone Wars was an Emmy Award winning series which premiered in theaters on August 15, 2008 and subsequently on television on October 8, 2008. The series’ television run ended on March 2, 2013 with the conclusion to Season Five, before seeing a brief, 13 episode revival on Netflix on March 7, 2014.

The early story of The Clone Wars is one of highs and lows. Debuting in third place in its opening weekend, The Clone Wars brought in $14.6 million on its way to a domestic total of $35.2 million in its theatrical run. I remember walking out of the theater with my then roommate, and despite some high points we were rather disappointed in this new Star Wars movie. On the small screen The Clone Wars fared better premiering with 3.96 million viewers, a record for a series premiere on Cartoon Network at the time.

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At the beginning, with the very stylized animation design used in the series, the rather obnoxious banter between Anakin and Ahsoka, and the relative lack of music of John Williams, The Clone Wars’ early days were filled with hits and misses. As the show evolved over the seasons it continued to improve each year, with animation, sound, story and acting all deepening as the show grew.

The interesting thing about The Clone Wars is that it was really a massive R & D project for Lucasfilm as well as a labor of love for George Lucas.  Through The Clone Wars, Lucasfilm was able to develop a new branch of the company: Lucasfilm Animation. So without The Clone Wars a show like what we are to get in Star Wars Rebels wouldn’t be possible.

Having seen the premiere of Star Wars Rebels, I am confident in saying that we will get a show that is better than The Clone Wars in Star Wars Rebels.  Here are nine reasons why.

1. The Empire is back

Love or hate the Prequel films, the truth is that the Empire has a much more compelling set of villains than the Separatists. The return of various types of Stormtroopers, TIE fighters, AT walkers, speeder bikes, Star Destroyers, and arrogant and capricious Imperial officers has me incredibly excited, more so than seeing legions of clankers.

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This hearkening back to the Original Trilogy should also appeal to older fans like myself and help younger fans transition from The Clone Wars to the Original Trilogy, and then to Episode VII in 2015.

2. Chronological Order: “216, 116, T, 301, 303, 101…”

The Clone Wars was a show that was released in one order, but that order is not the same as the in-universe chronological order of the events in the show. For example, chronologically the series begins with Season 2 Episode 16, then Season 1 Episode 16, the film, Season 3 Episode 1, Season 3 Episode 3, and then Season 1 Episode 1.

Star Wars Rebels is beginning with the 1-hour premiere “Spark of Rebellion” and then continuing in order after that. This will make it much easier to follow the show, the character developments, and events in the world of Star Wars Rebels.

3. Everyman versus the Ruling Class

Much of the Prequels and The Clone Wars contained stories about the ruling elites of the galaxy far, far away. Sure, there were some episodes on remote planets and in the under levels on Coruscant, but for the most part we were dealing with the power players in the universe.

In Rebels we are focusing on a small group of outcasts in Hera, Kanan, Chopper, Zeb, Sabine, and Ezra. These are street level characters not dealing with the fate of the entire galaxy, but with the fates of their friends and neighbors. I can’t wait to see where they take the story of the population of Lothal as individuals oppose and support the Empire.

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4. Opening Misfire

As I mentioned in the opening, The Clone Wars theatrical premiere was hardly the strongest set of episodes in the series, and was a rather unimpressive debut overall. On the other hand, the premiere of Star Wars Rebels while not perfect is an immeasurably better beginning to a show. If this is the quality of the show at the beginning, I cannot wait to see where it goes as the creators develop these characters further.

5. Animation

The Clone Wars matured into a very beautiful animation style, but it took a long while to get there. It is visually difficult to watch some of those early episodes after being spoiled with the later seasons. Star Wars Rebels has some interesting influences from Ralph McQuarrie and Disney’s Tangled. While there are budgetary realities that will mean there are likely fewer resources available to the team creating Rebels than was available for The Clone Wars, the experience working on the previous show and the advances in technology give the current creative team some real advantages. The animation style for Rebels is more accessible and palatable for casual viewers.

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6. John Williams

On the musical front, Kevin Kiner who was responsible for the music in The Clone Wars returns, but his use and innovation based off of John Williams’ Star Wars scores is much more present in Rebels than it was in The Clone Wars. This tonal shift is important because it adds to the sense that Rebels feels more like Star Wars than The Clone Wars.

7. An Experienced Crew With Some Great Additions

A good portion of the crew that is working on Star Wars Rebels are, as Dave Filoni says, “veterans of The Clone Wars.” The experience of telling Star Wars stories from The Clone Wars seems to have given Filoni and his crew a greater mastery of not only the mythology of Star Wars, but also a better sense of what feels like Star Wars. Of course, the additions of Greg Weisman and Simon Kinberg as well as the work of folks from the Lucasfilm Story Group provides great quality storytelling experience.

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8. Fewer Limits

The Clone Wars was set in a narrower period of time than Star Wars Rebels. Taking place between Episodes II and III, The Clone Wars dealt with some major and minor film characters from the Prequel Trilogy, a number of whom had fates that were fixed by those movies. While characters like Captain Rex, Ahsoka, Asajj, Cad Bane, and the resurrected Darth Maul evolved into major characters in the show with unanswered fates , we know the fate of many more of the characters seeing frequent screen time. There are also limitations on how characters can interact, for example Anakin and General Grievous based on dialogue from Episode III.

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As Rebels begins we are dealing with an almost entirely new cast of characters. There are some first season cameos that were revealed in a trailer for the show, but the characters we are following around are all new, and we do not have any sense of what their fates will be before the events of Episode IV. I am very excited by what creative freedom this is providing for the writers of Star Wars Rebels .

9. A Core Group of Characters

One of the beauties of The Clone Wars was that we got to see a lot of different characters take the spotlight. If a certain character was not your favorite in a few episodes you wouldn’t be seeing them again. This allowed us to meet and get to know a number of really interesting characters, and I particularly enjoyed spending time with the Clones, Asajj, and Ahsoka. Of course this does make it harder for casual fans to jump on board to the show midstream, or to follow a particular characters story.

In Rebels we will be on the Ghost with Hera, Kanan, Chopper, Zeb, Sabine and Ezra and these will be the characters that we get to know and follow around. This will allow us to get to know these characters more deeply and quickly than we were able to do with many on The Clone Wars.

What are you looking forward to in Star Wars Rebels?

~ Peter Morrison writes at his blog Lightsaber Rattling, as well as here on the Star Wars Report. He also co-hosts a podcast about Star Wars Rebels called Rebels Report.

Why Star Wars Still Matters: Reason #2

Star Wars continues to reach people and touch their hearts and this is why reason number 2 is….

Reason #2: Inspiration and Hope

Photo Property of Teresa Delgado

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Clone Wars Season 5: What’s Coming Up?

Season 5 of The Clone Wars started off with a bang!  We got Darth Maul, Savage Opress, Hondo, Obi-Wan, severed limbs, dead Jedi… so much excitement packed into one episode. Then they left us hanging. Since then we have had episodes about a small rebellion, kid Jedi, and droids. Sure some of these episodes were enjoyable but I think we are ready to get back to more Obi-Wan and Anakin, and to find out exactly what’s going on with Darth Maul.

This Saturday our wait is over.  Darth Maul and Savage Opress are back with a Mandalorian bonus.  The next three episodes will continue and finish the story arc that was started with the first episode of the season.  We have been teased with a couple preview clips for the episode that show the begginings of a Night Brothers/Mandalorian team up.  We are finally starting to see some of those things that got us so excited in the Season 5 preview trailer.

So what else do we have to look forward to?

Based on the info we have so far it looks like there are only three story arcs left in Season 5.  The next three episodes will finish the Darth Maul arc and are titled Eminence, Shades of Reason, and The Lawless.  After that my guess is they will have a three episode arc with the story featuring Anakin, Padme, and the return of Padme’s ex-boyfriend Clovis.  These episodes seem to be titled An Old Friend, The Rise of Clovis, and Crisis at the Heart.  Assuming that this is a 22 episode season, just like the last 4 seasons have been, that leaves 3 episodes for the season ending arc featuring Ahsoka on the run.

Let’s take a look at some screen grabs from released trailers and clips and speculate a bit.

Darth Maul Arc

If you have read the young readers novel Darth Maul Shadow Conspiracy then you already know how this story goes.  I have not read the book so I will only speculate on how the story goes.

Based on the next few screen shots it looks like Maul and Opress will come up against some bounty hunters we know pretty well.  Here is a shot of Sugi and Dengar.  In the shot you can’t see Maul and Opress but in the trailer it shows that is who the bounty hunters are firing at.  Not sure why Dengar is shooting at the ground.

Sugi is not doing so well against Maul.  I hope they don’t kill her.  I really like her character.

It also looks like Embo has to face off against Savage Opress.  He most likely lives since he still has to show up in the Clovis story arc.

That is definitely a robotic arm that Savage is sporting.  I guess Mother Talzin wasn’t available to regrow it for him.

We also know from the trailer and a clip they showed at Celebration VI that Maul, Opress, and Death Watch also team up with the crime syndicate Black Sun.  This is a nice shout out to the Expanded Universe since the Black Sun was first seen in the pages of the novel Shadows of the Empire and the organization appears in numerous other EU works.  In this image you can see members of the Black Sun standing with the female Mandalorian Bo Katan.  It looks like they are planning an attack on a Mandalorian city.  If you look closely you can see that the male Mandalorian has the same logo on his chest that Boba Fett wears on his shoulder in the Original Trilogy.

Not sure who these aliens are but it looks like they are teaming up with the Madalorians too.

What is cooler than Darth Maul in Madalorian armor? (assuming that is him)

How about Obi-Wan in Mandalorian armor!

And it looks like we will get another Obi-Wan/Maul face-off.

So part of Maul’s deal with Pre Vizsla seems to be that he will help Vizsla reclaim Mandalore from the pacifists.  This means Satine is in trouble, and when Satine is in trouble you know Obi-Wan will be there to help.  But will his help be enough?  In this image it looks like they are setting Obi-Wan up for the often used “I can’t hold on!” line.  See the grease on the cylinder that he is holding onto to?  Uh oh.  Satine may not live to see the end of this arc.

At some point Vizsla and Maul must have a falling out and they clash sabers.  We also know from some preview clips that Obi-Wan ends up teaming up with Bo Katan.  In many of the clips that seem to be from the climax of the episode Pre Vizsla is nowhere to be found.  This makes me wonder if he is killed by Maul.

And then the moment we have all been waiting for.  The part of the trailer they showed at Celebration VI that made grown men cry.  Darth Sidious with not one, but two lightsabers faces off against the Nightbrothers.  Can anyone expect to survive when facing off against the true Master of the Sith?

Don’t worry Maul, that’s just a little Sith lightning.

Oh…That’s a lot…

Clovis Arc

It will probably be hard to go from all that amazing you see above to a story about Padme and Clovis.  Of all the characters in The Clone Wars I am surprised they are bringing this guy back.  It looks like this story arc will feature Anakin protecting Clovis and Padme from what looks like an assassination attempt by the bounty hunter Embo.  This is interesting because in the past they have painted Embo as kind of a good guy.  It also looks like Anakin is going to have to deal with some jealousy issues.

Anakin vs Clovis.  Doesn’t seem like a fair fight.

Here is an image of Embo watching an explosion.  Since Embo appears in more than one of the remaining arcs, this image could be from either story.

The trailer also shows a clip of Embo taking sniper shots at Padme.  In a scene that is sure to delight the younger audience of The Clone Wars we will see Embo use his shield/hat as a snowboard as he chases down a speeder containing Anakin, Padme, and Clovis.

Ahsoka Arc

This last story arc is the one we know the least about.  Well at least we don’t know the titles of the episodes yet.  But many of the clips from the trailers seem to come from this story.

In the trailer this woman in purple is telling Ahsoka, “There are some citizens of the Republic who believe the Jedi Order is not what it used to be.”  Who is this lady?

Yoda also mentions an attack on the Jedi Temple and later in the trailer we see what looks like a Jedi funeral with 6 bodies being buried.  Is this attack what killed the Jedi?  This is the perfect opportunity for the writers to kill off some other Jedi who aren’t supposed to be dead yet.

For reasons unknown, Ahsoka seems to be on the run.  In the 100 Episodes Trailer there is a short clip at the end where Yoda says, “Bring back this lost child, before it is too late.”

Maybe Plo Koon is out looking for her.  Here you can see him on a landing ship with some red-armored troopers at well as what looks like Commander Wolffe.

And it looks like Asajj Ventress is hunting Ahsoka, and she is wearing a brand new mask.  Looks kind of like a commando droid’s head.

Here we see her taking on the same red-armored clones.  If you look closely at her belt you can see she has already taken at least one of Ahsoka’s lightsabers.

Things are not looking good for Ahsoka.

But they wouldn’t kill off Ahsoka yet.  Would they?

She’s jumping and not falling in this picture right?!

I can’t wait for the rest of Season 5!

- Aaron Goins

 

Special thanks to the We Talk Clones podcast.  I referenced their speculated episode order while writing this post.

 

 

Exploring the Many Dilemmas of Onderon: “A War on Two Fronts” Review

The Clone Wars Season 5 Episode 2 Review

Hello and welcome back to this week’s review of Star Wars: The Clone Wars! The season returns in it’s second episode of season five with the Jedi aiding a group of rebels on a separatist world in A War on Two Fronts. The episode features our main trio of Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Ahsoka. It also brings back Lux, who likes to show up in a completely different environments and with a completely different faction every time we see him. The episode takes place on the classic, expanded universe planet of Onderon. And while I very much enjoyed this classic Star Wars world brought into The Clone Wars, we are once again stuck in the “Wow these are really cool concepts and ideas being introduced, but we’re going to have to wait another week to see them put into action.” phase of the story arc.

Like I said before, the episode takes place on the world of Onderon, which has been seen in everything from the Tales of the Jedi comics, to the second Knights of the Old Republic video game. In all the material I had read of Onderon, the world always seemed to be in a state of civil war or in the midst of a play for power. So when I learned that the arc would be about exactly that, I already thought The Clone Wars had done Onderon justice. Later, upon seeing the designs and characteristics of the world shown, I was even more impressed. The Clone Wars team had even included the large beasts that the warriors of Onderon flew thousands of years before in the Tales of the Jedi. They managed to keep Onderon almost exactly the way I remembered it, yet still managing to feel fresh and new with the distinct style of the series.

I was kind of bummed when the topic debated in the council never made it anywhere in the episode. It brought up a great and somewhat real issue of the fine line of helping freedom fighters and helping terrorists. Not only was it a great concept, but they built on it quite well. First by having Anakin’s view conflict almost entirely with the council’s, I think it fits his character and his way of thinking so well, especially when shown in contrast to the council. The council views everything in perspective and tries to foresee problems in the long run, unlike Anakin who usually tries to find the quickest solution. The second is Lux, who has had similar moral dilemmas in the past trying to discover what is justice and what is revenge when he joined the Death Watch in order to get revenge on Dooku in season four. I’m confident they didn’t throw this character into the episode for nothing, as he fits so well into the topic of the arc. Let’s hope they do something worthwhile with him instead of just making him the love interest.

This brings me to my next point. This episode greatly revolved around the reoccurring Lux/Ahsoka complex, this time throwing in Steela to complicate things even further. I guess it started to work toward something, but it’s hard to tell if this could be the end of the before mentioned Lux/Ahsoka character arc. This certainly would be a good time to wrap it up. I can’t help but wonder exactly why they decided to bring up that Lux is still against the Republic and if that will play a role in the episodes to come. Part of me wishes that time spent on the tension between Ahsoka and Steela was given to Rex, showing him training one on one with some of the lesser known rebel fighters. This would have made a great sub plot for Rex, and it would have shown more background on the rebels, possibly even tying into some of the issues the arc is supposed to be dealing with in terms of whether the rebels are simply terrorists or not.

That’s going to wrap up my review for this week! All in all I thought it a good episode that introduced some really cool things to think about as the arc unfolds. Make sure you leave a comment below, as we want to know what you thought of A War on Two Fronts! Thanks for reading, and may the Force be with you!

-Ryan Zasso

Ryan Zasso first entered the Star Wars fan community in early 2010 with the podcast Fanboy’s Guide to the Galaxy. Interested in doing Star Wars related writing, he began writing for the Star Wars Report in 2011.

https://twitter.com/TheOneZasso