Tag Archives: Nightsisters

Zack Giallongo Interview – SWBW #19

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It’s the one year anniversary of our podcast, and we want to celebrate! For our celebration we are not only giving away free books (learn more here) but we also have two new episodes of Bookworms this week.

Last episode we reviewed the comic digest Ewoks: Shadows of Endor. This episode we interview the writer/artist of the comic, Zack Giallongo.

  • Are Ewoks cool again? We talk about why Ewoks aren’t just for kids anymore.
  • Originals or Special Editions? It may surprise you what we all picked.
  • Is magic the same as the Force in the Star Wars universe? Hear what Zack had to say.
  • Zack gives us some behind the scenes info on different aspects of the comic and a teaser for the future.
  • Of course we had to ask him what his hopes for the Sequel Trilogy are.
  • Did we really spend the last 10 minutes talking about Tiny Death Star!?

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The Clone Wars Season 4 Episode 19 Review

Hello and welcome back to another review of the latest installment in The Clone Wars! This week Asajj Ventress returns home to the Nightsisters, and Grievous leads an attack to destroy the Dathomiri tribe, in the strangest and possibly darkest Clone Wars yet, “Massacre”. This is season four, episode nineteen, which means we only have three episodes left until the end of the season, and these last few episodes look fantastic judging from the new trailer we saw last week. Really though, if you have not seen that trailer, watch it now! Okay, enough about future episodes (I’m sure I’ll bring them up again at the end of my review.), time to talk the latest episode!

This episode revolves entirely around the Nightsisters, over a year later from when we saw them last. This episode starts with Asajj returning to Dathomir after an unknown amount of time wandering the galaxy since her betrayal in the last season. It has me wondering why this episode (and the next episode) will be focused on Asajj so much, since “Massacre” continued right where the conflicted character of Asajj left off, I wonder if this will be the end of Asajj’s character, one way or another. She’s a character we’ve been seeing less and less in the series since season one, and honestly, I just don’t see her going back to the Sith, or making anymore mayhem for the Jedi in the war.

So how will they take this character out of the series? The more I watch it, the more I feel like they’re going to go the comics route and allow her to escape and flee into hiding, which would be pretty awesome. I think an ending like that would capitalize the tragedy that her role has turned into, first being betrayed by her master, then by Savage, and then being the last of the Nightsisters. I’m also wondering if she will even be around long enough to face Obi-Wan again, or maybe even Savage. One thing I hope doesn’t happen is leaving her character at a cliffhanger again, letting us guess where she is and what she’s doing for another year.

Massacre was, I would say, the most out-of-universe episode to date. Some parts just didn’t feel like Star Wars, which I guess was bound to happen when you’re creating an episode about a group of witches. But there were lots of things that kind of made me wish for a little familiarity in this episode (besides battle droids). Instead of using the Force, the Nightsisters replaced it with their magic, summoning Nightsister zombies to their aid in battle, (those were really weird, and well-designed I might add). There was one part that even reminded me of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, with the voodoo doll, to torture Dooku, even at one point allowing Talzin to emerge from his torso to warn him. There were no Jedi, no clones, and no good guys in this episode. This was a brawl of the baddies, and combining that with the bizarreness of the Nightsister’s magic, and you’ve got one strange episode, not knowing who to root for, if anyone.

One thing I’d like to touch on briefly before I wrap up my review is the return of some season one technology. The “Defenders of Peace” Defoliator tank is back; it’s always great to see stuff from past seasons show up in current episodes, even though it is strange it’s taken this long for it to show up again. Hopefully we’ll be seeing it in some large scale battles soon.

Is this the end of her story?

All in all, “Massacre” was a very unique episode, the red colors of the world of Dathomir fit the dark and evil mood perfectly. Like I said before, it did not feel as much like a part of the Star Wars universe as I would have liked, but the story was decent, exciting, and the ending left me with a great sense of uncertainty for Asajj, and pity for her character. And that wraps up my review this week! What did you think of the episode? Love it? Hate it? Let us know by leaving a comment below! Thanks for reading, and I cannot wait for next week’s episode with the return of some classic characters! May the Force be with you… always!

-Ryan

 

Momma Ain’t Happy, Nobody Happy: Mother Talzin and The Clone Wars

In the past year we have been introduced to a major new player on the Dark Side stage, Nightsister Clan Mother and Shaman Mother Talzin.  First introduced in last season’s three-part The Clone Wars story arc, dubbed “The Nightsisters Trilogy,” Talzin has gone on to appear in some recent Expanded Universe works, most recently in Dan Wallace’s Book of Sith.  As we get ready for Mother Talzin and the Nightsisters of Dathomir to return to The Clone Wars, lets take a look at what we have learned about Mother Talzin, her clan, and how they are connected with the rest of continuity.

In The Clone Wars we are introduced to Mother Talzin in episodes 3.12-3.14: “Nightsisters,” “Monster,” and “Witches of the Mist.”  Along with all the continuity changes that take place with Dathomir and the back story for Asajj Ventress and Darth Maul, we are introduced to a clan of dark Magick using witches referred to as the Nightsisters.  The Nightsisters were first introduced by Dave Wolverton in his Bantam era novel, The Courtship of Princess Leia.  Lucas and his Clone Wars team combined the concept of the Nightsisters and some Sith Witch concept art from the prequel films to create the look of the Nightsisters for the show and their leader Mother Talzin.

The clear attempts by the book licensee Del Rey to weave TCW into the novels has resulted in Mother Talzin has received passing reference in James Luceno’s Darth Plagueis novel, a larger role in Scholastic’s The Wrath of Darth Maul, as well as an entire section in becker&mayer!’s Book of Sith.

While Talzin’s reference in Darth Plagueis is more of the passing variety, her appearance in The Wrath of Darth Maul (Wrath) and her “writing” in the Book of Sith have direct impact on the story that will be featured in the concluding story arc of Season Four.  In Wrath, Talzin went to Orsis where Maul was being trained in combat to claim him as a Nightbrother and return him to Dathomir.  Talzin was prevented in this by the appearance of Sidious and she submitted to Sidious’ superior claim to Maul, but she did take a parting gift home with her.  On her way back to her vessel to leave, Talzin brushed an open wound of Maul’s with a talisman capturing his blood upon the magical object.  This talisman will become very important later on.

Also in Wrath we learn that somehow Maul survived his maiming on Naboo and fall down the reactor shaft only to awaken in a dank hole on Lotho Minor were he spent the next decade.  As of that book it was unrevealed if Maul had some mysterious benefactor that saved his life and got him from Naboo to Lotho Minor.  The Book of Sith may provide some answers in a few abilities of the Nightsisters that it described.

What if Maul actually died briefly on Naboo?  In the Book of Sith it lists the talismans that the Nightsisters possessed, one of these was the “Talisman of Resurrection” that allows them to return a spirit back to it’s body, the sooner this is done though the better shape the physical body will be in.  What if Mother Talzin arrived on Naboo just in time to use this talisman on Maul?  This poses the further question of how would she have known where and when to be to save Maul?  Well we know she already had the talisman with Maul’s blood on it that she could use to track him, but she also had the ability through divination and scrying to “view events occurring anywhere in the galaxy.”  This is the arability that she used when meeting with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker to locate Savage Opress for them in “Witches of the Mist.”

So we now have an explanation of how Maul could have been returned from the dead as well as rescued by Mother Talzin.  But if Mother Talzin saved Maul, why not keep him on Dathomir?  Well the ability of divination allowed her to see multiple possible futures, perhaps she foresaw the return of Ventress and creation of Savage Opress and is playing out events according to her visions.  Leaving Maul in a safe and secluded place was the best option for her.  Leaving his mind broken also kept him from making any trouble.

We also learn that Mother Talzin is a bit of a charismatic leader, not only did she defeat Mother Zalem, but she unified warring Nightsister tribes into one coven and assumed the dual roles of Clan Mother and Shaman.

In Season Three we saw Mother Talzin exhibit a number of abilities, such as the ability to conjure a weapon from thin air for Savage Opress, to use the waters of life to heal Ventress’ body and mind, and to mesmerize Savage Opress.  Based on the waters of life ritual we know Talzin could have healed Maul’s mind and injuries following the events on Naboo, but she did not.

The biggest revelation regarding Mother Talzin and the Nightsisters is that they and she know about Mortis.  The Nightsisters spirituality is centered on two beings, the Winged Goddess and the Fanged God, who are depicted and described just like the Daughter and Son from Season Three’s Mortis Trilogy.  Mother Talzin believes that there is a spiritual realm and a physical realm, this Winged Goddess and Fanged God exist on the spiritual realm, but through their magicks the Nightsisters are able to bridge the gap between the two realms and tap into the power granted by the Goddess and the God. In fact she claims that she experienced a near death experience that brought about her connection to the spirit realm, and it is this through this connection that “the spirits pull upon the folds of my robe as I walk and echo beneath my voice when I speak.” (Book of Sith pg. 100)

The Book of Sith goes into great detail listing other abilities and aspects of the Nightsisters’ culture that will undoubtedly show up in The Clone Wars at a future point, but it is clear from our examination that Mother Talzin has some very strong powers and some very curious connections with the Force wielders of Mortis.  In appearance they are rather similar to the Son in particular.

The question becomes, what is Mother Talzin’s role in the saga and what are her real goals during the Clone Wars?  If I may speculate, I believe she is trying to cultivate a trio of instruments by which she can rule the galaxy.  Perhaps her goal is to position Maul, Opress and Ventress so that all three are under her influence and control.  One of the interesting features of the Book of Sith is that Ventress commented in the margins of Mother Talzin’s writing, the tone of her comments makes me think she at some point grew disillusioned with Talzin and ends up either trying to usurp Talzin’s position or leaving the Nightsisters all together.

The future is always in motion, but one thing is for sure, Mother Talzin and the Nightsisters are playing a much more central role in the Clone Wars era then we ever thought they would be.

~ Peter

Darth Maul’s Return to Star Wars in The Clone Wars: Spoilers & Speculation

“Far above, far above,
We don’t know where we’ll fall.
Far above, far above,
What once was great is rendered small.”

Unless you have been living under a rock you know that Darth Maul will be returning to The Clone Wars for the final story arc of Season Four.  This may leave you scratching your head as to how the bisected Sith Lord could have survived his unkind cut at the hands of Obi-Wan and his even less kind fall down the reactor shaft.

Thankfully, Ryder Windham gave us a little sneak peak behind the story of Darth Maul in the new young reader book by Scholastic, Star Wars: The Wrath of Darth Maul.

What follows will be spoilers revealed as to Darth Maul’s fate as well as my speculation about how it will play out on the small screen.

SPOILERS BELOW

While it is a “kids” book, Ryder Windham’s work covers previously explored territory in Darth Maul’s back story as well as adding new material to what we know about the Sith Lord.   This of course includes The Phantom Menace film, but also the TPM novelization by Terry Brooks, the Darth Maul Journal by Jude Watson, the Darth Plagueis novel and short story “Restraint” by James Luceno, and notably for our purposes in this article, story elements from the Clone Wars episode “Brothers” which, like last season’s “Nightsisters” arc, was written by Katie Lucas.

We all know how we thought Darth Maul’s story ended, but it turns out Darth Maul borrowed a few tricks from the Skywalkers.  In Empire Strikes Back, after losing his duel with Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker allowed  himself to fall down and managed to find a shaft to slide into ending up hanging underneath Cloud City where he was rescued by Princess Leia, Lando and Chewie.  Well it turns out that Darth Maul managed to find an air vent while he was falling down the reactor core.  But how did he manage to do this?  Well it turns out the Dark Side has a few tricks up it’s sleeve.  Think back to Episode III as Darth Vader is laying maimed on the shore of a Mustafar river of fire, as his skin catches fire and he begins to burn, it is only his strength of will and his hatred in that moment of Obi-Wan Kenobi that keeps him alive.  It turns out that Darth Maul used his hatred and the Dark Side to clear is clouded and failing mind as shock and a head wound threatened to banish him to the perpetual darkness of death.

Darth Maul decided he must live for one singular purpose, to kill Obi-Wan Kenobi.  Revenge.

In this book we learn that Maul, or at least what used to be Maul is alive on the planet Lotho Minor.  We also learn that Maul or someone else fashioned for him out of scraps a mechanical carriage that began just below his rib cage and was attached to six metal legs each of which ended in a point.  These legs were constructed out of ruined droids. Will Maul’s legs look like one of the BT-16 droids that were used by the B’omarr monks ?

Maul has been living in this subterranian area of Lotho Minor in this bestial state for approximately a decade, whether from the trauma of his ordeal or a brain injury he has no memories and is eeking out a miserable existence on what scraps of food he can find or catch.

It was in this hole on Lotho Minor that Savage Opress will ultimately discover his brother.  In the Season Three episode “Witches of the Mist”  Mother Talzin reveals to Savage Opress the existence of his brother Darth Maul and gives him a Talisman with which to track him down.  How this talisman works is revealed by Windham.  Readers of the two most recent EU series, Legacy of the Force and Fate of the Jedi will be familiar with a new Force technique that was introduced and has since been re-used.  The Dathomiri Blood Trail.  Wookieepedia has a description of the technique which reads in part:

A blood trail was a Force technique developed by the Nightsisters of Dathomir. With this technique, the Nightsister would use her own blood to mark her target (often a slave) and track them through the blood mark using the Force in case they escaped. The shed blood used for a blood trail could not be removed once the trail was set. http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Blood_trail

In the The Wrath of Darth Maul, Maul has an encounter with Mother Talzin in which she has the talisman and brushes it against a wound of his in passing.  When she did so she annointed the talisman with some of Maul’s blood.  What was the purpose of her doing so?  She had just learned that Maul was claimed by Sidious and had deferred to Sidious’ superior power.  Presumably she wanted a way to keep tabs on this would be Nightbrother (in Maul) that got away, in case Sidious cast aside his apprentice.  What is clear is that while this isn’t exactly the same technique as the Blood Trail there is clearly a related technique involved here.

The book closes with some interesting events, after winning Maul’s tentative trust Opress gives Maul the talisman which magically restored some of his memories, just how many memories and how much damage was repaired to Maul’s fractured psyche remains to be seen.  What happens next is that Opress and Maul head back to Dathomir to seek Mother Talzin’s aid and the use of her magics to help restore Maul to some semblence of health.  In the Epilogue we see Maul musing about how nice it would be to have a new set of legs, which seems like it may be possible given how strong the magic of the Nightsisters is, they were able to fashion an enchanted Vibro-ax out of the ground for Opress, after all.   The book  closes with a rather dramatic final pair of sentences, which sets up Maul as a rather loose cannon;

He hoped Opress was indeed his friend.  Everyone else could burn.

It is here that the book ends and the remainder of Maul’s story is set to unfurl this Spring in the animated series.

There is one major plot point that is left blank in this story.  How did he get to Lotho Minor and who partially rebuilt him?

He had no recolloection of how he’d lost his lower body or who had grafted his torso to the droid carraige…How had he arrived at this place?  How long had he been living like a wild animal? (pg.2-3)

This is where we enter the realm of speculation.  There are four main possibilities.  The first is the least likely, that in his amnesiatic state, Maul managed to scrounge and build his new spider half himself and somehow get aboard a ship that traveled from Naboo to Lotho Minor, where upon he stumbled his way in the tunnels and could not find his way out.  This is far fetched for a number of reasons that seem self evident.  The second possibility is that some as yet unknown character or group rescued Maul and then abandoned him to his fate on Lotho Minor.  This seems like a weird and pointless possibility.  The third possibility is that Mother Talzin used the talisman to keep track of Maul and sensed that something happened, she traveled in secret to Naboo and spirited away the half of Maul that remained, fashioned him a crude mechanism to move about and left him marooned on Lotho Minor for some unknown reason.

The fourth possibility seems the most likely.  Just as Darth Sidious sensed Anakin was in trouble on Mustafar and rushed to his aid, it seems likely that Sidious sensed what occured to Maul on Naboo.  James Luceno’s novel “Darth Plagueis” doesn’t seem to fit in with this theory, but to me it is the one that makes the most sense.  Sidious was dissappointed in the weakness of Maul for his failure and allowing himself to be defeated by Obi-Wan and no longer felt Maul was a worthy apprentice.  Sidious, however, is hardly one to waste a resource or to take any chances, so without restoring Maul’s mind, he simply fashioned him a crude spider body and left him on Lotho Minor.  A sort of in case of emergency break glass, Sith agent.  This would fit in with the way that Sidious remade General Greivous as well as Darth Vader into creatures that were, to quote Obi-Wan, “more machine then man.” We also know that Sidious in the guise of Palpatine may have already been on Naboo, because he was present in Theed for the funeral of Qui-Gon Jinn in the closing scenes of TPM.

All that being said it leaves the question of how The Clone Wars is going to incorporate Maul’s backstory into the series.  The only episode that Windham specifically mentioned was the episode entitled “Brothers,” this is the third episode in the Maul arc, the entire arc consisting of Massacre(4.19), Bounty (4.20), Brothers (4.21), and Revenge (4.22).  So it seems likely that Opress will not actually find Maul until Brothers, but the question is will we see dual story telling going on in the first two episodes of the arc, or will the backstory of Maul’s survival be told much like Asajj Ventress’ backstory was told in the Nightsisters Trilogy?  If I was betting money, seeing as how it is the same writer (Katie Lucas), I would say that we get Maul’s survival shown as flashbacks while Mother Talzin and the Nightsisters are working their magics on Maul.

How do you think TCW will handle Maul’s ressurection? Are you as excited as I am to see him? Let us know in the comment section below.

~Pete

 

The Clone Wars Weekly Roundup

Greetings Troops, and welcome to this week’s TCW Weekly Roundup!

A good Sith Master imparts bits and pieces of Dark Side knowledge to his Apprentice.  This practice serves to make the Apprentice a more valuable tool for his Master’s will, and prevents the Apprentice from learning all his Master knows and quickly attempting to murder him.  At the same time it builds up the lust for more knowledge and power in the Apprentice as he seeks to learn what is being withheld.  In many ways we fans are like that Apprentice, we receive dribs and drabs of information regarding the Clone Wars, and sometimes what we see is just enough to get us really excited without revealing much substance.

This week the Sith Lords at Lucasfilm confirmed the premier date for Season Four of The Clone Wars and posted a new extended trailer that shows us some clips we have seen before but also reveals a brand new story arc based off of a comic book.

As we speculated in our July 27th Roundup based on the Canadian Premier of TCW, we learned earlier this week that Season 4 will premier in the United States on Cartoon Network on September 16th as well.  The premier will be a one-hour special showing the first two episodes of the season, which are the first two parts of the three-part Mon Calamari arc.

If September 16th sounds familiar it should, it is the same day that the Star Wars Complete Saga Blu-ray set will be released.  It will be a busy day for Star Wars fans and in the interest of the Nation’s economic productivity, we should probably just make it a Federal holiday now because there will be lots of distracted geeks that day.

While the official StarWars.com Episode Guides for Season Four Episode One and Two are not yet posted, we did learn the episodes titles.  Episode 4.01 is “Water War” and Episode 4.02 is “Gungan Attack.”  I’m an intrigued as too what the Gungan’s from Naboo would be doing on the Mon Calamari home world.

Accompanying the announcement we also got an extended Season 4 Trailer.

There is a ton going on in this trailer and what looks to be a glimpse of multiple story arcs. The caveat is that it always seems like these trailers are coming from the entire season when usually they are cleverly cut from more like 4-5 episodes.  To my eye, it looks like we have around four story arcs taking place and I am not sure where all the scenes fit in yet.

My best guess at this point are; Arc  1: Mon Calamari arc, Arc 2: Umbara/General Krell arc, Arc 3: Death Watch/Lux arc, and Arc 4: Slaves of the Republic arc.

Finally it looks like we are getting a heavy dose of the Mandalorians that we expected in TCW.  I love the Japanese influenced architecture, it’s the Samurai Mandos., err Death Watch I mean.  I would assume this arc involves, the Lux, Ahsoka, and Starbuck-Mando clip that we have previously seen.  It also looks like Pre Vizsla got a new set of armor.

The Slaves of the Republic arc looks to be epic.  It includes the two best lines of the trailer, Darth Sidious appearing via hologram to Count Dooku aboard Dooku’s ship, discussing the history of Sith Empires being built upon slaves.  The other line is Obi-Wan cautioning Ahsoka to keep an eye on Anakin because of Anakin’s inability to let go of his past, i.e. slavery.  It also looks like we get a Clone Wars interpretation of the Zygerrian species, minus the red hair and wielding lightwhips in this arc.  Anakin and Ahsoka look ticked off at the Togrutans being enslaved.  It looks like I am going to have to get my hands on Dark Horse Comic’s Slaves of the Republic comic this fall to compare it to the show.    It also appears we get Anakin rescuing a Princess of some sort.

Where do Asajj Ventress and the Nightsisters fighting battledroids and Grievous fit in? Where does the Anakin versus Dooku battle take place?  What are Ahsoka, Anakin and R2 demolishing?  Where does the speeder bike chase fit in?   Aaron Goins has some great in-depth analysis and speculation that you can read here.

Later this week look for my break down on the best and worst from The Clone Wars Season One as we build up to the Season Four premier September 16th.

Until next time, keep your Buy’ce on and your blaster handy.

– Pete