Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisted – Part 50: Revenge of the Sith

For the entire time I’d been watching the Clone Wars, this past year, I always wondered how they would eventually end it. How closely they would tie it into the events of the Revenge of the Sith. These final four episodes of the Clone Wars answered that question for me pretty definitively. And they answered me by doing it in just about the best way could possibly imagine.

Season 7, Episode 09: Old Friends not Forgotten

Right from the beginning, these episodes feel far more cinematic than anything the series has done before. From the titles, to the visuals and even the music are taken straight from something we would have seen in a proper Star Wars movie. All bundled up into what feels one last big hurrah for this series’ interpretations of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Showing Anakin getting one final victory in glorious fashion.

The story proper starts with the reuniting of Anakin and Ahsoka for the first time since she left the order. While it’s only been a few months, at most, Ahsoka seems to have matured since we last saw her. Acting somewhat coldly towards her former Jedi companions as she joins Bo-Katan in asking for the Republic’s aid in retaking Mandalore.

Her resentment towards the Jedi Order does however seemed to have grown. While she is asking for help, the Jedi are informed that General Grievous has attacked Coruscant, signalling that these episodes are going to be taking place simultaneously with the three days the Revenge of the Sith covers between the rescue of Palpatine and the execution of Order 66.

While Obi-Wan makes the perfectly reasonable observation that they cannot commit forces to Mandalore while the Republic Capital is under attack, both Bo-Katan and Ahsoka bite back at him, somewhat petulantly. In the end though, it’s Anakin who extends the olive branch. Committing half of the command of the 501st to a newly promoted Commander Rex, while allowing them to join Ahsoka in the recapture of both Mandalore and Maul.

It’s nice to see just how much respect the Clones have for Ahsoka still, despite the fact that she’s no longer a Jedi. At least in an official capacity anyway.

The rest of the episode details the assault on Mandalore and ends Ahsoka walking right into a trap set by Maul.

Season 7, Episode 10: Phantom Apprentice

These episodes really could have been shown as one big movie, as they follow one right from one another, with the new titles and episode titles being the only thing to really break them up. Despite the trap, Maul seemingly allows Ahsoka to escape after revealing that the trap hadn’t been set for her, nor for Obi-Wan, but for Skywalker.

Whatever personal vendetas Maul once had seem to be a thing of the past for him now. Despite being rebroken by Sidious, Maul wants to deny his former master’s schemes, realising just how completely both he and the Jedi had been played by the Dark Lord of the Sith. Being plagued by visions what is to come, he is acutely aware of the coming events, despite the Jedi being utterly blind to them.

In the aftermath, Ahsoka has one final conversation with Obi-Wan Kenobi who confirms that Dooku has been killed by Anakin and he is about to go and capture Grevious, who is their last link to discovering the identity of Darth Sidious. Which places this episode squarely in the middle of events of Revenge of the Sith.

Ahsoka learns that the Jedi Order has requested Anakin spy on the Supreme Chancellor, something I imagine makes her feel all the more distain for the Order than she might have already. Especially considering it’s a mission that denies her an opportunity to speak with Anakin directly.

The culmination of the episode begins with Ahsoka walking into the Mandalorian throne room to find Maul waiting for her. Having learned all about her from Jesse and orchestrated events to busy everyone else and leave them alone, the pair have a talk, with Maul asking for Ahsoka’s help in taking down Sidious.

Now this is a temptation from the dark side scene I can really get behind. Unlike how Episode III dealt with Anakin’s fall, to which this scene is obviously paralleling. For one, Maul isn’t framing it as asking Ahsoka to embrace the dark side. He’s framing himself as the lesser of two evils. Which when compared to Sidious, he most definitely is. It’s made out to be a move of survival more than anything else.

He’s playing on Ahsoka’s disillusion with the Jedi, something that has been established far more effectively for her than it ever was for Anakin. It really works and reminds me of the reasons behind Jacen Solo joining forced with a Sith in an alternative future timeline.

It’s only the revelation that Anakin is the key to everything and being groomed as Sidious’s future apprentice that ends up causing Ahsoka to actually deny Maul and engage him in combat. It’s ironic, that after all the manipulation and trickery from Maul, it’s actually the honest truth that Ahsoka can’t handle and ends up driving to fight.

What follows is the best single lightsaber battle of the entire series. Upon looking at it immediately seemed like there was something different about this duel compared to every other one we’d seen in the series before now. And upon doing a little research I realised why, this fight was fought using real motion captured actors, including Ray Park reprising his role as Maul for the physical performance.

I have no idea why the series didn’t try to go for this a little more… aside, from time and money I guess. There was always something “cartoony” about the fights in the series leading up to this. They were always so fast and superhuman seeming that it was difficult to really follow them as pieces of fight choreography. This fight is entirely different. You can tell every step was planned and acted out by actors, and it makes the fight infinitely more impressive as a result.

It’s a great battle that Ahsoka somehow manages to emerge victorious from, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. I’m not sure if it’s a sign of how powerful Ahsoka has become, or how much of a shell of his former self Maul has become. Either way, with Maul captured, the Republic leave Mandalore in the hand of Bo-Katan. I guess that whole Darksaber thing is being swept under the table for the purposes of this story.

Season 7, Episode 11: Shattered

It’s cool that this episode begins by recreating a scene from the Revenge of the Sith, where the Jedi Council discuss removing Palpatine from power. But the whole thing really doesn’t make any sense. I mean, they’re talking about what could be perceived as treason over an open hologram channel, and yet when Ahsoka walks in and asks where Anakin is, Windu cuts her off because she is no longer a Jedi.

It’s dumb, they wouldn’t have that discussing over an open channel where anyone could be listening. I get you wanted your cool connective moment. I ended up feeling like the whole moment was kind of unnecessary. Because we know when this episode is set already.

Ahsoka seems to be having thoughts about wanting to re-join the order, mostly likely from the strong connection she feels with the Clones. As she oversees the transportation of Maul to Coruscant, she is totally unaware of what is about to happen and so denies Yoda’s request to pass a message onto Anakin. Assuming she is going to meet him on person when she arrives.

It’s an opportunity she never gets though, as the entirety of the rest of this episode is the build up of and aftermath of Ahsoka experiencing Order 66. Meaning she never does speak to Anakin again, that until he has been Vader for many years. The moment at happens is so well executed, having known it was on the horizon for so long it gave me chills to see it.

This is something I, along with many other Star Wars fans, for a number of years were incredibly curious about. This episode and the one following it finally details Ahsoka’s whereabouts and actions during the fateful day the Republic fell.

Ahsoka walks in on Rex just as he receives the Order from Sidious, and before his mind can be completely taken by the activation order he gives Ahsoka a clue. Telling her to look into what happened to Fives. Ahsoka does a much better of job fighting off the clones than practically every other Jedi in the Order, even having the added benefit of a former Sith Lord on the ship to act as a distraction.

With the help of some Astromech droids, Ashoka learns of the nature of the inhibitor chips that Fives uncovered a few seasons ago and goes about freeing Rex from the brainwashing that is making him hunt her down. Something she does manage to achieve, adding another vital ally in her bit for survival.

Season 7, Episode 12: Victory and Death

This final episode of the series is a mostly action driven one. While there has always been this unstoppable hero aura surrounding the Jedi throughout the Clone Wars, this episode really does show how the Clone Army was able to all but destroy the Jedi. Through their sheer numbers and willingness to die with their target.

The series gets about as dark, raw and emotional as it’s ever been. Showing not only Ahsoka, but Rex’s despair at the fate of his brothers. It’s really fitting that the final episode of the series really did focus entirely on the two most important characters introduced during the series.

The situation seems bleaker and bleaker for Ahsoka and Rex as they try to escape the Republic forces hunting them down. We see how hard this is for both of them, having to fight off their own friends and brothers just to escape with their lives.

The final sequence sees Maul steal the ship Ahsoka and Rex were planning on, as well as the dramatic final stand where the pair narrowly escape on a fighter with their lives as the cruiser they were on crashes onto a remote moon thanks to Maul’s actions after being released.

It’s what follows that is the most impactful sequence of the episode. Maybe the entire story arc…

Rather than escape right away, Rex and Ahsoka return to the crash site to honour their fallen comrades. Burying all of the Clones they can find and making a monument to them. There is no spoken dialogue, only Ahsoka standing before the helmets of her former comrades and friends, their helmets still painted with a pattern to match her own facial markings.

It’s a powerful visual for me, one that really represents the loss despair will embody the state of the Galaxy for the coming two decades. We even see Ahsoka letting go of the Jedi Order entirely, dropping her lightsaber to the ground and walking away with Rex to begin their life on the run from the Empire.

We cut to some years later. In a time where Imperial Stormtroopers are investigating the crash site along with the black clad Darth Vader. Vader, amongst the dust and snow finds the lightsaber of his former apprentice, no doubt recognising it thanks to the work he did on them while her held onto them for her for those months.

He activates the blue blade for a while and looks at it before turning around and marching back to his shuttle, his refelction fading away in the visor of one of the Ahsoka painted helments half bured in the snow.

And that’s it. It’s been almost exactly a year to the day since I started writing about the Clone Wars movie in Part 0 of this 50 + 1 part series. Now it finally comes to an end. These episodes are all fantastic. Having them take place simultaneously with Revenge of the Sith while also explaining away what both Ahsoka and Rex, the two most important characters introduced in Clone Wars, were during that time was fantastic.

I loved these final four episodes so much. Say what you will about the Prequel Trilogy, but slotting these episodes into the events of that movie and giving them such power and weight worked incredibly well for me. I’ll never tire of seeing different Jedi’s experiences with Order 66 and how they survive it. And this just might have been the most dramatic of all of them.

It goes to show how much the series developed Ahsoka Tano from when she was first introduced. From this questionable addition; a snot nosed kid who constantly talked back to her master and turned her into a fine Jedi. Maybe one of the best of her time.

There’s no doubt Ahsoka has become a vitally important part of Disney’s new vision for Star Wars. It’s something I’ll probably get into a little more when I write something of a post mortem of the series in the next week or two.

What a long way we’ve come

It’s been a wild ride though and I’ve loved going back and catching up on Clone Wars properly. It was a series that only got better as it progressed, and these four episodes were an amazing sign off the the Clone Wars series.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.