and I are embarking on a new adventure: an exploration of Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Every Tuesday, we will be featuring an episode from the series which
began in 2008 (as opposed to the one that started in 2003). All are welcome to join us for all or parts of the fun.
Series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Season 1, Episode 1
Original Air Date: October 3, 2008
First off, let's get all biases on the table. As discussed previously, Star Wars
is a big deal for me, my devotion to that franchise exceeding love for Trek
. The original trilogy has been a major part of my personal mythology for most of my life. I don't feel the same way about the prequels. I'm not out to pretend they never happened as many devotees to the originals seem to be. However, I do think of the prequels as supplemental to the central tale. (And yes, I know my colleague Mr. Leon feels differently.)
That said, I have thoroughly enjoyed my limited exposure to Clone Wars
stories. I was impressed by the animated microseries created by Genndy Tartakovsky. It shouldn't have been a surprise as my wife and I were fans of his work on The Powerpuff Girls
and Dexter's Laboratory
even before we were parents. The Clone Wars
film released to theaters was mediocre in my opinion but the TV series that followed was a lot of fun. My daughter and I watched them together in the beginning and I was disappointed when her interest waned as I lost that excuse to continue. I haven't watched since... until now!
In my own posts on the series, I plan to devote some space to contributions to the back story of the originals. However, I will also explore the development of the Clone Wars
as an entity worthy of consideration on its own merits. And just as with Star Trek
, let us not forget the actual, living, breathing humans behind the creative efforts. For us, Star Wars
is a cultural institution. For them, it's a job. Here we go...
"Ambush" is a Yoda story. The Jedi master is on a secret diplomatic mission to the Toydaria system. Wouldn't you know, Count Dooku and his minions arrived just ahead of him, intending to win the Toydarian King over to their own cause. Yoda and his three accompanying Clone troopers face off against Dooku's droid army in an effort to prove their worth.
Each Clone Wars
episode is built around a moral, in this case, "Great leaders inspire greatness in others." This fable structure suggests a purpose for the series beyond mere back story, an intention to outline the moral landscape of the entire franchise. "Ambush" also accomplishes some character development where the movies - particularly Episode II: Attack of the Clones
- fell short. First, Yoda acknowledges individual differences between his clone companions. Anyone who has known identical twins - and I, for some odd, kharmic reason, have known a disproportionate number - is aware that despite all of the obvious physical similarities, they are still separate individuals, sometimes desperately eager to establish the differences.
More importantly to the franchise overall, "Ambush" does a better job than Attack of the Clones
of establishing Yoda as a full-on badass. When I saw Episode II
in the theater, there were giggles and guffaws during Yoda's lightsaber duel with Dooku - surely not what the filmmakers had in mind. Obviously, Yoda is a Jedi and should be able to hold his own in such an encounter but there was something undeniably silly about watching a Muppet fly around the room. In "Ambush," it doesn't feel silly. Yoda's dismantling of the droid army, practically single-handed, is butt-whooping awesomeness.
Tom Kane performed the voice of Yoda. He was born Thomas Kane Roberts, April 15, 1962 in Overland Park, Kansas. His voice credits are extensive. In television, he has performed as Magneto and Iron Man in various Marvel series and as Professor Utonium in The Powerpuff Girls
. He has been the announcer for four Academy Awards broadcasts. Much of his work has been in video games. Apart from numerous Star Wars
titles, he has contributed to a couple of other major franchises: Call of Duty
and Batman: Arkham
If you would care to join us for all or part of our travels, sign on to the list below. Please visit Andrew and any other participants brave enough to join us. Next week: "Rising Malevolence."