Tag Archives: Boba Fett

1313 Nomo Fett – SWBTF #24

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Welcome back to Star Wars Beyond the Films!

On this episode your hosts Nathan and Mark discuss the latest in Star Wars, particularly the news about 1313.

What do we know? And what did we think we know?

Pop Block: Is the snapping neck the Mature theme coming into play? And is that something we’ve been gearing towards with SW Games since Episode 3?
CT 1313: Boba used this id during the Boba Fett Junior novels.
Mark and Nathan look at other games that could be similar to 1313, starting with Bounty Hunter.
Is Fett the Superman of the SWEU?
Nathan calls Fett a Jedi… Mark ponders if regular individuals are more attuned to the Unifyin Force.

EUCantina recently covered the 1313 preveiw courtesy Brien Bell, and this week’s episode the guys use Gametrailer videos to geek out.
Interior ship combat game-play is amazing, the detail, the game-play, the adventure! Nathan explains “in engine” and what that means, and how it applies to 1313. Will it be PC? Nathan explains how we shouldn’t bet on it only being PC. Can the current gen consoles handle this game? Or is it being built for the next gen console’s sequels? This all leads Nathan to run down the processing power of the next gen consoles and how that applies to our gaming excitement, as well as what “porting over” means. Nathan shares his inner gamer, while Mark outs himself as a gamer who fell off the couch.

Combat walkthrough with commentary: Looks like the ship the guys are on gets breached and the droids are stealing cargo.
Dark and gritty: what will that mean for the game?

Both hosts are really excited about the story set in the game Star Wars: 1313, the depths of Coruscant explored.
Is Force free or Force full the way to go in Star Wars games?

Ship crash game-play: Woah, no way should regular beings (aka non Force sensitives) be doing that! The Force is obviously with them.  Again the graphics and the depth of the scenery jump right out.
Is 3rd person good or bad in this setting? Should they have the option of 1st? Imagine this game in 3D!!! Nathan’s already drooling, and sees a lot of parallels with the game Uncharted. Mark asks the listeners a gaming question. Oooh, interactive PODCASTING!!

Navigation cinematic: The depth in the footage is just insane. This is Sparta! I mean Coruscant.
Anyone know when this game is set? This sets Mark off onto a rant. Star Wars 1313 could play a lot like Republic Commando.

Your hosts also discussed an E3 debut interview, and the game’s Mature rating. Is this due to the hands on way of dealing with the enemy? Some games are rated T with as much violence as we have seen thus far. No naked Twi’leks please. This may be the closest to a Call of Duty or other military style game in the franchise so far, a Battlefront of the new era, perhaps?
Mark confesses his secret evil….
All this and more on this week’s episode of Star Wars Beyond the Films!

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Clone Wars Viewer’s Guide: The Bounty Hunters

Welcome to the first installment in a series of character centered viewing guides for Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series! Maybe you are a big fan of the Droids episodes, maybe you are a fan of the Jedi, or of the Clones, the Villains or the Bounty Hunters, well, you are in the right place!

In each one of these posts we will take a subset of characters and point you in the direction of the episodes you should watch to focus on those characters. Today we begin with the scum of the galaxy, just don’t tell them I said that!

Clone Wars Episodes Featuring Bounty Hunters:

Season 1: Episode 22: Hostage Criss (Production order 2.04)
Bounty Hunters Appearing: Cad Bane. Aurra Sing, HELIOS-3D, Shahan Alama, and Robonino.

Season 2: Episode 1: Holocron Heist (Production order 1.23)
Bounty Hunters Appearing: Cad Bane, Cato Parasitti

Season 2: Episode 2: Cargo of Doom (Production order 1.13)
Bounty Hunters Appearing: Cad Bane.

Season 2: Episode 3: Children of the Force (Production order 2.03)
Bounty Hunters Appearing: Cad Bane.

Season 2: Episode 17: Bounty Hunters (Production order 2.19)
Bounty Hunters Appearing: Sugi, Embo, Seripas, Rumi Paramita.

Season 2: Episode 20: Death Trap (Production order 2.15)
Bounty Hunter Appearing: Boba Fett, Aurra Sing.

Season 2: Episode 21: R2 Come Home (Production order 2.18)
Bounty Hunters Appearing: Boba Fett, Aurra Sing, Castas, Bossk.

Season 2: Episode 22: Lethal Trackdown (Production order 2.20)
Bounty Hunters Appearing: Boba Fett, Aurra Sing, Castas, Bossk.

Season 3: Episode 1: Clone Cadets (Production order 3.01)
Bounty Hunters Appearing: Bric and El-Les

Season 3: Episode 4: Sphere of Influence (Production order 2.25)
Bounty Hunters Appearing: Greedo, Brainee, unidentified Gotal and unidentified Weequay.

Season 3: Episode 7: Assassin (Production order 2.21)
Bounty Hunters Appearing: Aurra Sing.

Season 3: Episode 8: Evil Plans (Production order 3.03)
Bounty Hunters Appearing: Cad Bane, HELIOS-3E

Season 3: Episode 9: Hunt for Ziro (Production order 3.05)
Bounty Hunters Appearing: Cad Bane, Sy Snootles.

Season 3: Episode 22: Wookiee Hunt (Production order 3.18)

Bounty Hunters Appearing: Sugi, Seripas.

Season 4: Episode 15: Deception (Production order 4.07)
Bounty Hunters Appearing: Rako Hardeen, Moralo Eval, Cad Bane, Bossk, Boba Fett.

Season 4: Episode 16: Friends and Enemies: (Production order 4.08)
Bounty Hunters Appearing: Cad Bane, Moralo Eval, Rako Hardeen*, Sy Snootles.

Season 4: Episode 17: The Box (Production order 4.09)
Bounty Hunters Appearing: Onca, Embo, Moralo Eval, Cad Bane, Derrown, Bulduga, Jakoli, Mantu, Twazzi, Rako Hardeen*, Kiera Swan, Sinrich, Sixtat.

Season 4: Episode 18: Crisis on Naboo (Production order 4.10)
Bounty Hunters Appearing: Cad Bane, Moralo Eval, Twazzi, Embo, Derrown, Rako Hardeen*

Season 4: Episode 20: Bounty (Production order 4.12)
Bounty Hunters Appearing: Oked, Embo, Bossk, Latts Razzi, Dengar, C-21 Highsinger, Boba Fett, Asajj Ventress.

Season 4: Episode 21: Brothers (Production order 4.13)
Bounty Hunters Appearing: Latts Razzi, Asajj Ventress.

Season 4: Episode 22: Asajj Ventress, unidentified Balnab, Human and Weequay Bounty Hunters.

Hunter by Hunter: Bounty Hunter Breakdown

Good Guys: Sugi’s Crew and the Cuy’val Dar

Season Two of The Clone Wars brought us a new perspective on the bounty hunter profession, we got bounty hunters wearing the white hats and protecting (or at least trying to protect) a village of Felucian farmers in the episode “Bounty Hunters.”  The female Zabrak bounty hunter Sugi’s crew consisted of the Frenk bounty hunter Rumi Paramita, the diminuitive Seripas who wore a large metal suit, and the oh so cool Kyozo bounty hunter Embo.  Sugi and Seripas also returned in Episode 3.22 “Wookiee Hunt” as the shuttle pilots that helped rescue Chewie and Ahsoka.  Sugi also had cameos in episodes 3.4 “Sphere of Influence” and 4.22 “Revenge.”  While fan favorite, Embo returned and re-appeared in the Obi-Wan undercover story arc, episodes 4.17 “The Box” and 4.18 “Crisis on Naboo.”

The Expanded Universe gave us the concept of the Cuy’val Dar.  Literaly translated into basic from Mando’a this phrase means “those who no longer exist.” These Cuy’val Dar served as training sergeants on Kamino to train the Clone Troopers for the GAR.  Among the Cuy’val Dar you had Mandalorians as well as non-Mandalorian bounty hunters.  In the Season Three premier episode, “Clone Cadets” we meet two of these training seargents  Bric (Siniteen male) and El-Les (Arcona male).

One-and-doners:

There are a number bounty hunters that have appeared in just one episode so far, some are memorable and some are forgetable.

The IG-86 droids HELIOS-3D (1.22 Hostage Crisis) and HELIOS-3E (3.8 Evil Plans) worked with Cad Bane, but the most interesting droid bounty hunter in TCW has to be C-21 Highsinger who was party of Boba Fett’s gang in episode 4.20 “Bounty”

Shahan Alama and Robonino, appeared in episode 1.22 “Hostage Crisis” when Cad Bane’s crew took Republic Senators hostage inside the Senate building.

Cato Parasitti, the clawdite bounty hunter assumed the identities of Jedi Ord Enisence as well as Jocasta Nu before being captured in episode 2.1 “Holocron Heist.”

Brainee, the same species as Bric, showed up in episode 3.4 “Sphere of Influence” working with Greedo in the plan to capture Baron Papanoida and his son who where investigating the kidnapping of Papanoida’s daughters.

Onca, Bulduga, Jakoli, Mantu, Kiera Swan, Sinrich and Sixtat, all appeared in episode  4.17 “The Box,” unfortunately for them the Box exacted a fatal toll on those who failed to master it’s many challenges.

Oked, a Beldnab bounty hunter made the mistake at hitting on Asajj Ventress in episode 4.20 “Bounty.”  A lesson to everyone to be careful who you try to pick up in a cantina.

Original Trilogy Guest Stars:

This is where things get really interesting.  Sy Snootles, Greedo, Bossk and Dengar.  Sy Snootles may not neatly fit the definition of a bounty hunter but this scorned lover certainly collected a bounty by killing Ziro the Hutt in episode 3.9 “Hunt for Ziro.”  Snootles not only killed the fugitive Hutt but recovered damaging information on the Hutt Ruling Council for her employer Jabba.  Snootles returned to the series in a less then glamorous drunken cameo in episode 4.16 “Friends and Enemies.”

Greedo may have opened up a continuity can of worms, but I enjoy this rather ineffective bounty hunter, even if he is a little slow on the draw. Greedo appeared in episode 3.4 “Sphere of Influence.”

Bossk has gotten a lot of screen time and frankly, if this dinosaur in a flight suit was chasing me I would probably either faint or surrender.  First appearing in the two-part Season Two finale, Bossk returned as an inmate and jail break partner to Boba Fett in episode 4.15 “Deception.”  Bossk stayed associated with Fett as he was part of Fett’s gang in episode 4.20 “Bounty.”  It will be interesting to see if we get more Bossk-Fett relationship development through the course of the series.

Dengar also appeared as part of Boba Fett’s crew in episode 4.20 “Bounty,” and proves that some of us just don’t age very gracefully.

Bad Guys who keep showing up:

Castas appeared as part of the crew of Aurra Sing along with Boba Fett and Bossk in episodes 2.21 and 2.22, and proves that getting cold feet on a high stakes bounty can be dangerous.

Latts Razzi is a very interesting looking female bounty hunter that debuted in episode 4.20 “Bounty,” and returned looking like Asajj Ventress’ BFF in episode 4.21 “Brothers.”

Rako Hardeen himself appeared in episode 4.15 “Deception,” but his fascimile made repeated appearances as Obi-Wan Kenobi practiced some identity theft in episodes 4.16-4.18.

Moralo Eval also appeared in episodes 4.15-4.18, and while he seemed to be the “big bad” soon found himself taking a back seat to Cad Bane.  Eval is one of the few new villians introduced into TCW that actually survived his debut story arc.

Aurra Sing is one of the most interesting characters in Star Wars.  A very unique looking background character in Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Sing was later included in comics, the novels and now TCW.  Sing has appeared in episodes 1.22 “Hostage Crisis,” 2.20 “Death Trap,” 2.21 “R2 Come Home,” 2.22 “Lethal Trackdown,” and 3.7 “Assassin.”  Sing got her own staring episode in “Assassin” and that is one of the best episodes of the first half of Season Three.

Baddest Guys: Cade Bane and Boba Fett:

Boba Fett may be the baddest man in the Star Wars universe , a Clint Eastwood in space, but in TCW he is still just a wee tyke.

Fett appears in episodes 2.20-22, 4.15, and 4.20. While last we saw Fett he was getting stuffed in a trunk,  the good news is that there is a pretty good chance we will get to see more Boba Fett in TCW series going forward.  There are even hints based on what appears to be an early leaked TCW style animation of Boba Fett in his traditional armor to get us very excited about how his character will develop on the show.

Cad Bane is one of three characters created by TCW that is probably the best legacy so far of the series.  Along with Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex, Bane has introduced an interesting new element into the Star Wars galaxy and is a very interesting bad guy who’s fate is open.  Bane has a very cool character design, a suitably dark voice and a willingness to take just about any job for the right price.  In many ways Bane is to TCW as Boba Fett is to the Original Trilogy era.

Bane is all over TCW, introduced in episode 1.22 “Hostage Crisis,” and also appeared in episodes 2.1-2.3, 3.8-3.9, and 4.15-4.18.

One thing is for sure with Bane, you may be able to capture him but he is a particularly tough Duros to kill.  No doubt Bane will show up many times before the end of TCW.

Stay tuned as we continue this series of Clone Wars Viewer’s Guides during The Clone Wars between seasons break.

~ Peter

Apocalypse 2012…. – SWBTF #20

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Welcome back to Star Wars Beyond the Films!

This week the guys explore the final chapter of the Fate of the Jedi series.
Was adding Mortis into the plot a good or bad thing?
How does one stop the multiple man?  (Abeloth)
Did the series get the closure it needed with Apocalypse?
Quick show of hands: who freaked out when Mortis was mentioned?

And to commemorate Nathan’s 10th anniversary in Star Wars podcasting, a contest is running on the Facebook page and Twitter feed for the show to win a signed copy of Nathan’s novel Greater Good! See nathanpbutler.com for details.

Nathan finally likes Killiks? Uh oh, it IS a sign of the Apocalypse! The Killiks were used in a great way. Not only did it work for the story, and series, it also makes Dark Nest more vital to the over all plot.
Some plots were purposly left open, and this can be both a good and bad thing.
Was Denning messing with Traviss with the direction he took Fett in the series?

The Barabels…. are they the Trojan Horse of the Jedi temple?

Was the length and pacing the cause of most readers negative perceptions of the plot? Did some elements take too long while others were too fast? Should the series have been longer or shorter?
Will Mortis turn into another Even Piel? Was the addition of Mortis George Lucas approved?
Should the author line up been shifted?
Did Denning know if Krayt was the Dark Man? Or is he just messing with the fans by saying they didn’t know?
Does the Imperial plot pay off? Or is it left too wide open for future stories?
Han dies!?!!! Let Mark explain….
Wynn Drovan is he like the Riddler of the Star Wars universe? Nathan talks about that. And, in the end was it really the “Apocalypse”?

The Ten Knights: Mark’s really looking forward to their story!
Was the end of the book talking about Jaina? Or Abeloth?
Will we ever get stories that take place in the gaps created in the last few series? After all, there are enough gaps to fit a few mini series into the holes.
Be sure to continue discussing the book Apocalypse on our facebook page!

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Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse Review

Apocalypse Review

About three years ago the Fate of the Jedi series started with the novel Outcast.  If you stuck with the series you know that Luke was exiled from Coruscant, Daala was in charge of the Galactic Alliance, Ben has a Sith girlfriend, Abeloth is a threat to the galaxy, and Jag and Jaina are back together.  We have been all over the galaxy including visits to planets from novels like The Courtship of Princess Leia and The Planet of Twilight.  The series has been a bit of a rollercoaster with some books outshining others and none of them shining too brightly.

On Tuesday, March 13th, the final book in the nine book series will be released.  With a title like Apocalypse, the series promised to end with a bang.  Here is the official novel description:

There can be no surrender.
There will be no mercy.
It’s not just the future of the galaxy at stake -
It’s the destiny of the Force.

In the stunning finale of the epic Fate of the Jedi series, Jedi and Sith face off—with Coruscant as their battlefield. For the Sith, it’s the chance to restore their dominance over the galaxy that forgot them for so long. For Abeloth, it’s a giant step in her quest to conquer all life everywhere. For Luke Skywalker, it’s a call to arms to eradicate the Sith and their monstrous new master once and for all.

In a planetwide strike, teams of Jedi Knights take the Sith infiltrators by swift and lethal surprise. But victory against the cunning and savage Abeloth, and the terrifying endgame she has planned, is anything but certain. And as Luke, Ben, Han, Leia, Jaina, Jag, and their allies close in, the devastating truth about the dark side incarnate will be exposed—and send shock waves through the Jedi Order, the galaxy, and the Force itself.

The novel is written by Troy Denning who lately has had a lot of influence on the Star Wars Expanded Universe.  Since 2005 he has written 9 of the 21 novels in the main, ongoing story.  In the nine book Legacy of the Force series he was also given the final novel.  One of the criticisms of certain Star Wars authors has been the overuse of pet characters or groups, like Zahn with Mara Jade and the Chiss.  For Denning it has always been the Killiks, Barabels, and Squibs and all play a part in this book.  I was happy to see that the Squibs were reduced to essentially a cameo appearance.  The Killiks and Barabels both play major roles but in my opinion both made sense for their part in the story.  The Killiks were used to reveal information that could be considered game changing for the Star Wars Universe and I just ate up that portion of the book.

Anytime a big series like this wraps up you have to wonder if something big is going to happen, like the death of a major character.  We all know the “big three” are safe (Luke, Han, Leia) but there are many other characters now that I care about, Ben, Jaina, Tahiri, Corran Horn, just to name a few.  This book does keep you on the edge of your seat and many characters are in peril throughout.  Where some of the other books in the series seemed to plod along, this one was almost all action all the time.  There is one scene of personal sacrifice that may even rival the epic death of Ganner Rhysode in the book Traitor.

One thing that has confused me about this series is the politics of The Galactic Alliance and the Empire.  There is very little logic to how leaders are chosen or come to power.  This book continues that trend with a borderline ridiculous debate/election that was thought up on a whim and the citizens just went with it.  I as a reader did not just go with it and the politics dragged me out of the book.  It was almost as if they knew this book would be released on an election year and were trying to parallel real world events.  I prefer Star Wars to be a little less real world and more like Star Wars.

A couple of small complaints aside, I really enjoyed this book.  There was something for everyone.  If you are a fan of Saba, Corran, Tahiri, or Zekk they all had their moments.  Jaina and Ben both kick some butt and do the Skywalker/Solo clan proud.  Even Boba Fett fans will have something to cheer about.  There was an unexpected (although I should have seen it coming) tie in to The Clone Wars TV show that should excite some fans and also spark much debate.  Hints of things from the Legacy comic series like the One Sith will make comic fans happy.  And speaking of the One Sith, there is an appearance of a character who might be someone, and if it’s who I think it is… well you’ll just have to read it.

Apocalypse was a satisfying ending to the Fate of the Jedi series.  It for the most part resolves the story of the Lost Tribe and Abeloth, but leaves just enough unanswered that you know there is more coming.  Some of the threads that were left open have me very excited for the future of the galaxy.

Random Thoughts:
The Jedi almost seemed to take too much joy in killing their Sith rivals.  Not very Jedi like.
Ben and Vestara have some cringe worthy flirtation.  Oh, teenage love.
Does bacta have the ability to regrow fingers?
Some moments with the Jedi leading the space marines made me think of the Clone Wars.
Allana is really good with a blaster for a 7 year old.

You can buy the book here.

Leave your thoughts comments and below.

Aaron Goins

 

The History of Clones in Star Wars

Last year’s airing, in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, of the four episode arc known collectively as ‘The Umbara Story Arc’ (starting with season 4 episode 7 “Darkness on Umbara”, continuing with the episodes “The General” and “Plan of Dissent”, and culminating with “Carnage of Krell”) has brought to the forefront what I call the ‘plight’ of the clone soldiers. I use quotation marks on that word because it’s one that isn’t limited to in-universe, but out of universe too, and it’s also not technically a plight, but it’s something that fascinates me, nonetheless. In universe, they are beings who are bred for one purpose, who can expect nothing out of life, who will live a stunted life – thanks to quickened ageing – and aren’t thought of as ‘proper’ beings, with the same rights afforded to nearly everyone else (save from slaves) under the Old Republic government, during the time of the Clone Wars in the Star Wars galaxy.
Out of universe, they are, in my opinion, a underutilised factor in the making of novels (and other storytelling mediums) set in the Clone Wars era. So, I thought it would be a good idea to record the history of their appearances, and how they’re portrayed in brief.

The Original Trilogy Films.

Thanks to the rapid ageing, we can determine that original clones from the Clone War would have been somewhere around the 50-60 years age range (this depends on the person, since factors like stress or clean living can quicken or slow the ageing process, according to Karen Traviss’ novels), and so it would seem likely that they wouldn’t have been used at the time of the original trilogy (IV, V and VI). However, thanks to the novel Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor (set in 5.1 ABY – After Battle of Yavin), we know that at least one of the original (Jango) Fett clones survived past the films – clone GC-1000, named Klick by a ‘humour-challenged’ Jedi Padawan.

Beyond that, we can confirm that at least one more clone trooper survived to the films. We know this because the single player missions for the game Battlefront II featured journal records voiced by a ‘retired clone trooper’ of the 501st Legion – named after the real world cosplay charity group – and this Legion was composed entirely of Fett clones, only. From this game, we know that it was this division that stormed the Tantive IV in Episode IV, and fought alongside the Blizzard Force unit in the battle of Hoth in Episode V. Because of these two sources, I feel it’s quite safe to assume that we did see clones in those films.

One of the things I’ve noticed in the novels, if you can forgive my brief, seemingly nonsensical segue, is that the characterization is negligible. It’s something I lament, given that I enjoy clone-centric episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated cartoon more than most others, but it is understandable, given that they’re not the focus of the stories, but rather just background extras, if you will. This is the case in the films. They’re the bad guys in the films; and in their scenes the action takes center stage, and the story of our heroes, too, which is why I’m not expecting nor demanding a long, emotional soliloquy from one of the stormtroopers telling us what it’s like to be brought up in a vat, instead of two stormtroopers talking about the new model speeder on the Death Star, to be included when the Final, Definitive, Not-To-Be-Changed-Again, Special, Special, Special Edition, Directors Cut of the original trilogy in 3D pops up on store shelves.

The Books – Pre AOTC.

After that, there was very little mentioned in the novels or comics (which, for sake of expediency and clarity I’ll not include in this post) of the Clone Wars, or indeed the clones themselves. This is because the novels that we get are placed either slightly before, during, or after the films, with Lucas ordering that there be no stories to be written, or expanded upon in any great length, about or during the Clone Wars or the Dark Times (the period between Episode III and IV where the Empire solidified their influence and power).

Thanks to the marvellously written “Star Wars Dissection” column on EUCantina.net by one Andrew Halliday (all of which I highly recommend), we know that there were ‘numerous theories about the date and nature of the Clone Wars’. Again, because the writers were kept in the dark as much as we readers were. Still, back story is necessary, and they had to write something, and their theories included: that the Republic and the Jedi fought a war against the Mandalorians, who then fought against the Empire (there is no mention of clones). The Thrawn Trilogy established that the Clone Wars were a series of conflicts between the Republic and insane clones, who were led by Clone Masters. Of course, none of these were ‘true’, and were retconned into other things (source: Star Wars Dissection: Retcons).

Another source of contention was the date of the Clone Wars. There were a few theories that were put forward, and some of them were close, though others were, it later turned out, highly inaccurate. For example, some put forward that the Clone Wars took place long before the Empire came to power, or perhaps, that column suggests, that they took place only a few years before the films. The theory put forward in The Thrawn Trilogy is that the Clone Wars took place in 35 BBY.

Indeed, the Official Star Wars Souvenir Manual 1998 provides a timeline. The entry for 35 BSW4 (Before Star Wars Episode IV, or 35 BBY) writes: “End of the Clone Wars, a violent conflict in which the Jedi Knights fight to defend the Old Republic. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker emerge as heroes.” The entry for 29 BSW4 states: “Fall of the Republic. A dark period when corruption and injustice sweep through the Republic. Senator Palpatine rises to power.” It’s also noted as the date of birth for Han Solo. And in 18 BSW4 we’re told that: “Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader; the Empire is formed, with Palpatine as Emperor. The first stirrings of rebellion begin.” Again, it notes that the birth of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa are in this year. It would be several years until we heard more from the clones, and the Clone Wars. These were our Dark Times. But then the prequel trilogy came along, and some fans would argue that the real Dark Times began. But we won’t get into that

Attack Of The Clones.

Noted for its wooden acting, poor dialogue and Padme’s bodice, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack Of The Clones also featured, yep, clones! And, we must not forget, the beginning of the Clone Wars. What was merely a throwaway line uttered by habitual liar and hermit, Ben Kenobi – as he told a young Luke Skywalker about the legacy of how his father, Anakin Skywalker, left him – fans finally got to see what they had been imagining for well over twenty years. But there was very little to see, as the breakout started late in the film.

What we saw was still visually stunning and very interesting. This is especially so when you think about the tactics involved in the battle of Geonosis. The clone army was employed in a tactic known as the ‘human wave’. This tactic was used a great deal by many armies in our own wars, but most notably it reminded me of the Bulldozer tactic of the Russian army in World War I. This was where armies would send wave after wave of densely packed and unprotected soldiers against the defensive line of the enemy, using speed rather than skill, and hoping that their overwhelming numbers would scare the enemy into retreat. The Russians were notable in that they often only armed the soldiers in the first few waves, thinking that those behind could simply pick up weapons dropped by the previous attackers. What we saw in the film was reminiscent of this (though the clones in the back were armed, too, but that’s another thing which I’ll elaborate on in a minute). They attacked – or defended, it was rather too chaotic to tell – en masse, contradictory to real-world, modern infantry tactics. Though, to be fair, we haven’t really fought a full-scale battle in modern times to compare, or even know what it would look like.

However, we can know in theory. Modern tactics are based on breaking the battle up into manageable squads, arrayed in a line formation and advancing from cover to cover- this is done so that every single soldier can fire his or her weapon at the enemy, yet still be covered by the terrain and fellow squad members. In the film, this was not what we saw (but again to be fair there wasn’t much cover to be had, though they could have laid down – gone ‘prone’).

At the front the clones are arrayed in a skirmish line, with clones being clumped together behind. Such large groups would have provided - and did – very meaty targets for the droid artillery. This portrayal of soldiery was not accurate and is not to be attempted in the real world, except for when playing with LEGO. This was noted by several fans, and because of it military experts were brought in for the battle scenes in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. But it did have one accurate point. The infantry, the artillery and the air support were used altogether, and that is a tactic used in the real world. In later novels, this portrayal was expanded upon in later books to say that the clones were used in this way because the Jedi, who are peace-keepers, and have had no extensive training (unlike the clones, who were raised specifically for this task) in warfare, were in command, and thus were led poorly.

That the battle happened in this way is, again, understandable. But it is interesting to note, because I surmise that later uses and appearances of the clone army were based on this presentment (of a disposable army).

They have feelings too!

Return Of The Books.

With the release of Episode II, LucasArts, Lucasfilm, LucasBooks, Del Rey and other publishers were finally given the green light to provide Expanded Universe stories in this particular setting, something they did with gleeful abandon – this three-year era is perhaps the most filled era in the entirety of the EU. It is something that happened in waves, so before I begin to explore them it’s best if I give you some details of these waves, and their dates:

23rd April 2002 – Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (novelisation) released.
16th May 2002 – Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (film) aired in theatres.
28th November 2002 – Star Wars: The Clone Wars (video game) released.
3rd June 2003 – Star Wars: Shatterpoint – A Clone Wars Novel (novel) released.
7th November 2003 – Star Wars: Clone Wars (cartoon animated TV series) starts to air on television.
1st June 2004 – Star Wars: Cestus Deception – A Clone Wars Novel (novel) released.
29th June 2004 – Star Wars: MedStar I: Battle Surgeons – A Clone Wars Novel (novel) released.
28th September 2004 – Star Wars: MedStar II: Jedi Healer – A Clone Wars Novel (novel) released.
26th October 2004 – Star Wars: Jedi Trial – A Clone Wars Novel (novel) released.
26th October 2004 – Star Wars: Republic Commando: Hard Contact (novel) released.
23rd November 2004 – Star Wars: Yoda: Dark Rendezvous – A Clone Wars Novel (novel) released.
25th January 2005 – Star Wars: Labyrinth of Evil (novel) released.
1st March 2005 – Star Wars: Republic Commando (video game) released.
2nd April 2005 – Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (novelisation) released.
19th May 2005 – Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (film) aired in US theatres.
1st November 2005 – Star Wars: Battlefront II (video game) released.
22nd November 2005 – Star Wars: Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader (novel) released.
28th February 2006 – Star Wars: Republic Commando: Triple Zero (novel) released.
30th October 2007 – Star Wars: Republic Commando: True Colors (novel) released.
15th August 2008 – Star Wars: The Clone Wars (film) released in theatres.
16th September 2008 – Star Wars: Republic Commando: Order 66 (novel) released.

3rd October 2008 – Star Wars: The Clone Wars (animated television series) begins to air on television.

(All dates are listed at the earliest possible date they were available to the public, and are sourced by Wookieepedia. Any omissions or incorrect dates are … entirely someone else’s fault. I take no responsibility whatsoever!) But there are omissions, by my own choice. As I’ve said, I’m omitting comics from this discussion for sake of clarity. Otherwise that list would look a lot more clouded. Too, you will notice that a few of those books have ‘A Clone Wars Novel’ in their title. Indeed, all of them are clone wars novels, or tied to them (or this post in some form), but the stamp ‘A Clone Wars Novel’ is to recognise that they were a part of a multimedia project, consisting of games, books, toys and a TV series – and were, as I call it, part of the first wave.

Beyond that, there were also other stories – short stories, novellas and young reader novels – that were tied in, but again for sake of clarity (and at this point, my own sanity) I’ve omitted them. Also excluded are the later tie in novels to Star Wars: The Clone Wars – the CGI animated TV series which is still currently airing, and was mentioned at the beginning of this post, in the form of the Umbara arc. What I have included are the stories which I believe to be most pertinent to this topic. Let me discuss these waves.

Wave I: Unrelenting Force.

In this wave, I include the AotC film and novelisation, the A Clone Wars Novel(s), The Clone Wars (video game) and Star Wars: Clone Wars (animated TV series by Genndy Tartakovsky). The film I’ve covered (and the novelisation is pretty much the same), so I’ll talk about the A Clone Wars Novel(s). The beginning of this series, Shatterpoint, while a decent enough book (you can read my thoughts on the book in an earlier review on this site), didn’t really involve clones until the very end, and their presence isn’t particularly noteworthy. The same can be said for Jedi Trial and Yoda: Dark Rendezvous.

The books that really stand out in terms of giving the clones page time and characterisation are the MedStar duology and The Cestus Deception. The Cestus Deception features a clone that goes by several names: CT-96/298, A-98, Nate and later Jangotat. Nate distinguished himself at the battle of Geonosis, saving a squad from a defective enemy droid. He earned a promotion from that act, but in a later mission he suffered a terrible injury and had to spend some time in a medical facility*, receiving extensive treatment. After that, he was then posted to Vandor 3 to receive further training. After which he was placed in command of a squad of republic commandos (their first appearance), during the events of Cestus Deception on Ord Mantell where he was ordered to destroy a droid factory, as well as foment and then aid a rebellion. It was during these events that he met a woman by the name of Sheeka Tull, who became frustrated by his lack of humanity, indeed even a lack of joie de vivre beyond carrying out his orders, and she endeavoured to show him a life beyond duty to the Republic. It was due to these attempts that he gained a new sense of morality and perspective in his otherwise preordained life as a clone soldier. I tend to think of this as Star Wars: My Fair (Clone) Lady.

*In the later Republic Commando series by Karen Traviss, it’s interesting to note that one main character was almost euthanised by army medics because his injuries were too severe, and it was heavily implied that this practice was common throughout the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). This idea is at odds with earlier stories, like this one, and the MedStar duology.

The other example from this series is the MedStar duology. These two books focus on a group of army medics and surgeons posted on an unremarkable world, where they carried out their work treating and fixing wounded military personnel. One surgeon in particular, Jos Vondar, held the opinion that the clones he treated as somewhat less than human, and were basically ‘meat-droids’, and when he tells one clone that one of his comrades is dead, he is surprised to learn from Jedi Padawan Barriss Offee, whom was also stationed there for a short time, that this clone was grieving for his lost kin. Indeed, he was surprised that he could grieve at all. Unfortunately, no clones are featured as a main protagonist in this book, and this revelation is only a part of this character’s arc, and so it’s not delved into too much.

But this is one of the aspects that I mean to bring to attention, here. This idea that the clones are just empty vessels without thoughts or opinions, even feelings, outside of their designated area of expertise seems like such a waste of possibilities. In and of itself, the fact that they’re empty can be considered a part of their character, but from a storytelling point of view, even possibly a scientific point of view, it doesn’t add up. We, as humans, are designed to be inquisitive, and to be free thinkers, and it’s those traits which help real world soldiers become good soldiers. So it seems unlikely that the cloners, the Kaminoans, would breed something so vital out of them. And, indeed, they didn’t. In Attack of the Clones, Prime Minister Lama Su tells Obi-Wan Kenobi that clones can think creatively, and as such are superior to droids. Though he does go on to say that they modified the clones to be less independent (than the original host – Jango Fett). I argue that independent thought and creative thought are interconnected, and so they’d still be independent enough to think for themselves. I can’t help but think the portrayal of clones in the earlier books as flawed. And the thought of a docile soldier seems a tad oxymoronic, too. This thought is expanded upon in later books. This leads me to believe that while they are bred to be a certain way, they are further indoctrinated into being more obedient and docile.

The other sources in this section, the game and the animated series, don’t add much to this discussion. The game focuses on Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, and not the clones. Again, this is understandable. And is something the A Clone Wars Novels did, too: focus on the heroes in the piece. This is quite normal, and I can’t fault it. This is Star Wars, after all. The Genndy Tartakovsky series didn’t have much time per episode to devote towards characterisation of anyone. Though it is interesting to note that the artists (according to the audio commentary of Series 1 Chapter 3) studied footage of how real world special forces acted in real combat situations, so that the special forces clones in the episode would act realistically. That, and it established that they didn’t much like rats, and had a shoot on sight policy regarding them …

Wave II: Relenting Force.

In wave II, I include the following: Labyrinth of Evil, Revenge of the Sith (film and novelisation, though I include them as one), Battlefront II and Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader. Labyrinth of Evil, Revenge of the Sith (novelisation) and Dark Lord are often grouped together and called the Dark Lord Trilogy. Again, they don’t focus on the clones, so much, but we are given a touch more of their collective characterisation. But it should be said that they continue the line of thought started in the books of wave I. It’s noted, in brief snippets across the trilogy (and in several factual books), that the clones developed individuality under the guidance of their Jedi officers. Roughly a year after the war began, many clones began to adopt nicknames for themselves, or the Jedi named them – much like Nate – and customised their armor with designs, or shaved their hair in a way other than the standard military haircut. This is at odds with later portrayals, but I’ll speak on that in a minute. Hopefully you’re still awake. In Battlefront II, we are given glimpses, through pre- and post-mission soliloquies by an unnamed clone trooper (or perhaps several), and are given insights into their way of thinking. But, otherwise, not much can be said that hasn’t been said already.

Wave III: Mando’ade Force Rising.

Wave III consists of what I consider to be two of the key aspects of clone characterisation. And one that I included just to satisfy the completionist in me. That one being the The Clone Wars film and novelisation (and the ensuing books series). And the two big daddies being the Republic Commando game and book series, and the The Clone Wars animated TV series. The RC series is one in which I must tread carefully, as it has proved quite a volatile subject in the past, and most likely will do so in the future. This is, in part, due to the actions of the author, on the now closed starwars.com forums, who was known to have frequented them. I won’t go into too much detail, but suffice to say that her supposed (a word which is vital in this instance) anti-Jedi stance, put forward in the books, and defended on the forums (going so far as to call those who disagreed ‘racists’, for example) was quite notorious, back in the day.

To me, the fact that the clones were underutilised in past stories is no one’s fault – though considering it’s the Clone Wars, you’d think more would be said about the clones – and that they were portrayed in such a way is lamentable (one could say it’s a Traviss-ty). The author of the RC books, however, goes some way to provide balance, but was a tad overzealous in her attempt. It was only until The Clone Wars animated TV series that, I feel, we got true balance.

The Republic Commando game is single player, it’s story based missions detailed the battles fought by Delta Squad, a four man group of republic commandos, over the three years of the war, starting with the battle of Geonosis (first battle of Geonosis, I should say) and culminating with events leading up to the battle of Kashyyyk, seen in Episode III. The character the gamer plays as, Boss, was voiced by Temuera Morrison – the man who played Jango Fett and lent his voice and appearance to the clones in the movies. However, it is interesting to note that other people voiced the other squad members. RC-1262 – Scorch, named because he accidentally burned off his training sergeant’s eyebrows – was voiced by Raphael Sbarge. Scorch had a jovial personality, and was considered by some to be the heart and soul of the squad. RC-1207 -  Sev – was voiced by Jonathon Cook. He often pushed himself into exhaustion during training, and was regarded as a fierce – some would say intense – hunter. RC-1140 – Fixer, for his technological skills – was voiced by Andrew Chaikin. He was described as pure and uncomplicated by his Kaminoan project co-ordinator, Taun We. This somewhat broke the mold, when it was released.

In Clone Wars, the clones were voiced by the same man. Yet it’s revealed in an interview with several people who worked on the game (in an unlockable bonus feature on the game disc) that this was done purposefully so that people could differentiate the clones, and give them more character. To enhance this, the decision was made to give them all different colored markings on their armor. (Something touched on in earlier books, as stated above, but the difference is the decision was made by the clones themselves to alter their armor.) This, really, was the first time the clones had been explored at length, and they wanted to give them as much character as possible. It had quite an avalanche effect.

It spawned the tie in novels of the RC series (technically the first book, Hard Contact, was released first, but it’s normal that tie in books are released before the main ‘event’), which further explored the clones, this time in the form of Omega Squad, another group of four commandos and their fight through the war. It delved further into the concept of clones being used as slaves, in a supposed slave army, and the books themselves had a distinct anti-Jedi stance (though the last book in the series, Imperial Commando: 501st, goes some way to reiterate what was stated in past books in a more balanced and lenient way – and explains that the characters were inclined to think more harshly about the Jedi than they perhaps should have. I call the book Imperial Commando: The Apology.), and explores how the clones are thought of by the general public, and how they’re viewed by the Jedi and non-clone, military personnel. In short, not very well. However, it has been established, both earlier and after these books, and in factual books, that the Jedi weren’t as happy with the situation, either.

Then came Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Once again, this is something that divides the fan community. Some think it’s the worst thing ever for Star Wars, and it’s ruined the franchise completely. Some love it and forgive it all its flaws, and to some it’s the be all and end all of Star Wars. Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle. I look at it on an episode by episode basis. It was okay for the first season or two, but not particularly great. In the past couple of seasons, I feel, it’s really stepped up a notch. Yes, there have been some stinkers in the recent past (and indeed the far past), but I do feel that they are getting better. But, to be perfectly honest, I still sometimes shrug my shoulders and give a great big ‘meh’.

But one area the makers excel, one of the best things about the shows, is, as you may have guessed, the clones. They feature heavily in the show, and are really the heart and soul of it. They’re not ignored. They’ve got personalities, they’re funny, charming, lovably uncomfortable in certain situations, and some are downright psychotic. They provide most of the entertainment of the show, and are not just meat-droids, but are actual human beings, and it is fantastic! In The Clone Wars, they’re finally given their due.

This is what drives me to write this piece, and to say that, like the show or not, you can’t deny that the show does provide a balance between the Jedi and the clones. We have episodes like the aforementioned Umbara arc, as well as “Rookies”, and ”The Deserter”, “Clone Cadets”, and ”ARC Troopers”. We get clones who betray their own kin and join the Separatists because they believe the war and how they’re treated is unjust. We get a clone who deserts to start a family. We get clones who are forced to go against a wayward Jedi (and we see how clones could easily shoot the Jedi in Order 66). We get, amusingly enough, all the good bits of the RC series, yet in moderation. I think this is to be celebrated, and that’s the reason I write this.

~ Michael D.