“Secrets Revealed” was this season’s theme and there were some rather interesting bombshells, big and small. Who knew Sy Snootles was a cold-blooded killer? Or that Chewbacca and Ahsoka had the opportunity to meet? Or that Asajj Ventress was a Nightsister? But others leave questions. Was that really Darth Maul? What are the full implications of the Mortis trilogy? Where will Anakin and Ahsoka’s relationship go next? How on Earth was Dave Filoni able to go through Comic Con and Celebration last year without revealing anything about big guest stars or fan favorite characters appearing on the show, even in the face of the “Don’t Hide What’s Inside” Kid?
No doubt about it, the latter half of Season Three hit it right out of the park. Clone Wars took it to the next level with arc after arc of mind-bending, action-filled, and even deeply philosophical episodes. Beginning with the introduction of Savage Opress, then with the epic (in the true sense) Mortis story arc, then the Citadel episodes with our old pal Tarkin, and finally “Padawan Lost”/”Wookiee Hunt” that show just how far Ahsoka has come since she graced our t.v. sets in 2008.
My favorite of the season and of the entire series thus far is the Mortis trilogy. As an Anakin fangirl and a nut for anything on SW’s mythic underpinnings, it didn’t get any better than the exploration of Anakin’s role as the Chosen One and what it meant to balance the Force. But wait…they even managed to bring back Liam Neeson and Pernilla August to reprise their respective roles from the films! The story generated the most discussion I’d seen on Star Wars since ROTS came out. If you ask me, Season Three was totally worth it for the Mortis arc alone. This is Star Wars at its best.
Looking back, I can see why now they saved a lot of the one-shot episodes, the political stuff, and lighter stuff for the first half of the season. The effect of the later episodes is greater without being broken up by Senate drama or the droids’ misadventures. Those earlier episodes caused a lot of grumbling on the internet (though there’s little associated with Star Wars that doesn’t anymore) but in retrospect, were they really all that bad? I’d be the first person to say that if there’s any room for improvement in Clone Wars, it’s better stories for Padmé and maybe politics that make a little more sense. Also, if it looks like you’re trying to send a message, it’s going to annoy the snot out of your viewers. The problem I had with the poisoned drink episode wasn’t that it was boring, it was that I felt like I was being covertly lectured about the evils of fat kids drinking soda. As Samuel Goldwyn would say if he were alive today, if you want to send a message, go on Twitter.
My only other criticism of Season Three is the lack of Anakin/Padmé. Come on guys, the Star Wars stork did not bring Luke and Leia.
Still there were some real gems in the first half: “Assassins,” the story arc of Domino Squad (which has tragic implications later), the shocking fate of Ziro the Hutt. I’ll even be a renegade and say I still enjoyed the Artoo and Threepio episode.
Across the board the animation has been fantastic. Bringing ILMer Joel Aron aboard has done wonders for what the show is able to accomplish on a visual level. It promises to get even better. I love the new character models, particularly for the older Ahsoka.
Fans have enjoyed seeing characters from Eps IV-VI appear on the show and based on Filoni’s comments at WonderCon and based on the aquatic adventures depicted in the Season 4 trailers, another cult favorite is bound to make an appearance. Comic cult fave Quinlan Vos also made his t.v. debut. Having Chewie and Tarkin around are fine and good, and in some cases do make sense, but I would caution the Clone Wars crew about going overboard with the familiar face fanservice. I’m glad Filoni has already ruled out Han Solo showing up but this is still the sort of thing that could get gratuitous real quick.
Overall Clone Wars is on the right track, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible for animated television and bringing fresh perspective to the GFFA. Who can’t wait for September?
Tags: Clone Wars