While our beloved nerf-herder, smuggler extraordinaire, and all around swag king Han Solo flies the galaxy no more, his legacy will live on in the second standalone Star Wars film. The as of yet untitled Han Solo installment is set to premiere May 25, 2018. The film will star up and comer Alden Ehrenreich (Blue Jasmine, Hail, Ceaser).
In recent months Marvel has been instrumental in keeping many of us Star Wars fans sane as we impatiently await the release of The Force Awakens. The various comics they’ve issued thus far like Darth Vader, Kanan: The Last Padawan and Lando have been fantastic and they look to continue that trend with this October’s Chewbacca #1. That’s right! Everyone’s favorite Wookiee is getting his own spin-off tale!
The Clone Wars finale is finally here with the episodes “Padawan Lost” and “Wookie Hunt”. And be forewarned, Chewbacca doesn’t show up until the second episode, so keep your lightsaber holstered for a minute. I’m about to cover both episodes in a single review – prepare to have your mind blown!
*Warning: Spoilers Ahead. Turn back while you can!*
The best way to describe this episode is: Star Wars meets a blend of Surviving the Game, Running Manand Hard Target. We start off the planet Felucia again, and this is the third time unless I’m mistaken. I really wish they would change-up planets instead of revisiting all of the same ones. That aside, Felucia looked awesome down to the last detail of tiny bugs crawling over the plant life.
As Anakin, Plo Koon and Ahsoka are leading an attack on the Separatist base, Ahsoka gets stunned and taken captive by a Trandoshan who leaves the planet for parts unknown. If you’re wondering what a Trandoshan is, it’s the same species as Bossk from The Empire Strikes Back and season 2 of Clone Wars. They are also the mortal enemies of the Wookies, their popular pass-times being: Hunting the walking carpets and using them for slave labor.
Ahoska awakes aboard a transport, another prisoner aboard telling her that these Trandoshans capture people, and then release them in order to hunt them for sport. After being dropped off weaponless on a moon called Wasskah in the Trandosh System, Ahsoka is scattered from the other prisoners by blaster fire from the Trandoshans. It’s not long before Ahsoka is found by three others who have been there for a long time. They reveal themselves to be Jedi younglings, stating that the Trandoshans hunt them because they are far less dangerous than a Jedi Knight. Kalifa, seems to be the group leader, with the grumpy Twi-LekJinx and the more calm CereanO-Mer as her companions. They explain to Ahsoka the situation they are in and try explaining that it is best to run and hide to survive instead of fighting the Trandoshans. As one might predict, Ahsoka isn’t too keen on that advice.
After finding one of the Trandoshans and giving him a good old-fashioned group beat down, the padawans flee into the jungle once more. That night, inspired by Ahsoka’s defiance, they decide to search for the Trandoshan base and make a stand. This doesn’t go very well as the padawans become seperated, resulting in the death of the Trandoshan leader Garnac’s son at the hand of Ahsoka. Kalifa is in turn killed by the papa lizard in a very emotional scene. This is where Ahsoka promises to look after O-mer and Jinx as her newly found friend slowly passes on.
If there was ever a time that this was not considered a kid friendly show, these two episodes would be it. Especially in the first episode. To start off, the bloodthirsty Trandoshans are hunting freakin’ kids for sport with all intentions of displaying their bodies in a trophy room. They shoot and kill three of the hunted on-screen, and one of the hunter’s falls onto a spike and gets impaled before our very eyes. It’s all well and good for me as an adult, but for kids watching the show they may have some nightmares. Personally I wish all of the episodes were adult themed as this one was. Now, let’s get to Chewbacca.
In ‘Wookie Hunt’, Ahsoka narrowly escapes from the Trandoshans, but finally meets up with O-Mer and Jinx who are about to give up upon hearing of Kalifa’s death. Ahsoka has other ideas and inspires the remaining two Padawans to join her in attacking the next transport that will drop prisoners. The scene with the Padawans attacking the transport was very cool, one of the Trandoshans was even using a shotgun that Trandoshan slavers used in the Republic Commando video game. After the ship crashes spectacularly, the younglings stumble upon Chewbacca who was the only prisoner aboard. Ahsoka can conveniently understand the Wookie and he shows some of his technological prowess by putting together a communication device to contact his fellow fuzzballs. I won’t spoil anymore of the episode by telling you who lives and dies by the end of the episode, but I can say to expect some Wookie rage, a couple familiar characters, and some Trando-bashing by the end of it all.
This finale was about as good as I expected from the previews and even went in a different direction than I thought with the whole hunting aspect. Chewbacca could easily have been any random Wookie, but I liked that they gave the fans a familiar face for the end of the season. It definitely beats out the Boba Fett finale from last year, which I was a bit let down by.
The Trandoshans were a very nice addition to the Clone Wars series. The sounds they made kind of reminded me of the raptors from Jurassic Park 3(but in a good way) by the way they called for help with high-pitched screeching, and the way they growled in attack mode. They sure were a sadistic lot of scumbags. Garnac, their leader, had quite an extensive trophy room consisting of many notable species from the Star Wars universe, and a couple of cool ones for the fans including a Mandalorian Neo-Crusader helmet from the Old Republic and what appeared to be a crystal skull from Indiana Jones.
The voice acting was a bit hit and miss with the Trando voices themselves being a bit over the top. But the padawans Kalifa, Jinx and O-Mer were very nicely done. And I give Clone Wars veteran voice actress Gwendoline Yeo extra props, because in real life she is smoking hot!
We were also treated to a quick preview of season 4 of the Clone Wars coming out this Fall. Shots included underwater battles involving the Mon Calamari species (Ackbar!), another Anakin/Dooku fight, and what looks to be a bad-ass Gungan fighting General Grievous, if you can believe that. There was also plenty of shootings and a couple explosions so you can’t go wrong there!
The following is a review of a three episode story arc including the episodes The Citadel, Counterattack and Citadel Rescue. So, obviously, there will be spoilers.
I loved the recent Citadel arc of episodes. As I mentioned before in an earlier article, the first half of the season seemed a little stale, and even boring at times. It wasn’t until after the show’s winter break that it was back with a vengeance. Beginning with the Savage Opress trilogy, followed up by the Mortis episodes, and now making a dash towards the finishing line with the Citadel three episode arc.
The scheme of ‘episode trilogies’ has definitely paid off. I, like so many other watchers enjoyed the show, but thought that some stories felt rushed trying to fit into a 22 minute show. Having three episodes with a continuous story just makes it have that much more impact. In season 2 there were four episodes that interlocked to deal with the second invasion of Geonosis, and it paid off well.
Now to the Citadel. The Citadel is a heavily defended prison on the planet Lola Sayu (think what you will of that planet name) that specializes in imprisoning Jedi. It is run by the sadistic and butt ugly Warden Osi Sobeck and is boasted to hold no escape for any prisoner.
The newest residents at the Citadel are none other than Jedi master Evan Piell and Captain Tarkin. The two hold information that the Separatists desire, which are the space lane codes for the core worlds of the Republic, known as the Nexus Route. Of course this aggression will not stand man – So the Jedi council dispatches a strike team to rescue Piell, Tarkin and the codes stowed away in their brains. The method they used to infiltrate the fortress prison is a familiar one, borrowing from both Return of the Jedi and the Clone Wars digest titled Shipyards of Doom.
A team made up of (surprise!) Anakin, Obi Wan, Rex and Cody have themselves frozen in carbonite to avoid detection by lifeform scanners, while R2-D2 leads a squad of re-purposed battle-droids to fly a captured Separatist shuttle onto Lola Sayu. The animators for the Clone still continue to outdo themselves. The environments and visuals throughout the story arc are breathtaking. Lola Sayu is an impressive sight when seen for the first time. The purple hued planet looks it had a bite taken out of it by something, it’s core completely exposed and chunks of creating a debris field above certain parts.
The fun starts as the Jedi infiltrate the planet and free the captives, Tarkin having one half of the codes and Master Piell the other. The episodes go very fast because of all of the action occurring with our heroes throwing down against shield wielding commando droids, crab droids, STAPs and Anoobas (tracking animals).
Besides all of the action, there were nice interactions in between to sort of foreshadow the future relationship between Tarkin and Anakin. Tarkin makes it clear throughout all three episodes that he doesn’t approve of the way Jedi are handling the war. He believes that peace keepers cannot lead a war effort because they don’t have what it takes to make certain decisions that go against Jedi teachings. Anakin agrees with Tarkin, stating that sometimes the Jedi code inhibits their efforts to do things that are sometimes necessary. And as we all know, Anakin has certainly skirted the edge of the Jedi-Code. In the season 2 when he choked out ‘Poggle The Lesser’ in Jack Bauer fashion to get information. Not to mention his Padawan days, spent slaughtering families of Tusken Raiders. They both also make clear to one another their personal relationships to Chancellor Palpatine which makes the three of them standing before the Death Star at the end of Revenge of the Sith all that more powerful.
Tarkin’s character model itself definitely did Peter Cushing justice and the voice actor, Stephen Stanton did an admirable job of portraying a young Grand Moff.
Jedi Master Evan Piell was a very welcome addition to the Clone Wars, he was stern and a little grumpy most of the time which only made me like the diminutive Lannik (species) even more. It was also interesting to hear him speak with a thick Russian accent, which I think fit the character well.
The whole time these episodes went on I thought there was nothing to worry about in regards to the Jedi characters, except stowaway Ahsoka, since they all survived through the Clone Wars. But in a glaring snub to Expanded Universe continuity, Master Piell ends up getting killed in the last episode. I was very disappointed by this, not only because Master Piell was a kick-ass character, but also because that ruins continuity for the Coruscant Nights trilogy of books following Master Piell’s Padawan Jax Pavan. In the first book Master Piell is taken down fighting against Clone Troopers continuing their execution of Order 66. Sure the Clone Wars death scene was far more dramatic and touching, but I hate when they screw up established continuity. They did the same with the Mandalorian episodes last season. I suppose it is a sign that Lucas and Dave Filoni, the Clone Wars director, are becoming less and less worried about the Expanded Universe. So unless they retcon the whole issue, and Evan Piell is lava proof, fans of the books will just have to bite the proverbial bullet.
In the end, the Jedi are rescued and Osi Sobeck is chest stabbed from behind by Ahsoka. Osi Sobeck was definitely a sadistic character who despised Jedi. (What Star Wars villain doesn’t?) It was ashamed that he did not survive for another story arc in the future. And let’s face it he didn’t have a name like ‘Veryevil Badguy’ or something to that effect like most of the Clone Wars villains.
After such a good arc, it will be hard to follow up. But I’m sure with the finale next Friday Chewbacca will be up to the task to keep us entertained. Stay tuned for my review of the finale!
You will be happy to know, unless you hate Star Wars, that Darkhorse is set to continue three story arcs on three titles coming soon according to TheForce.Net.
Let’s start with Knight Errant, my least favorite title out of the three, but still a good bit of Star Wars, opening up the time period between Knights of the Old Republic and the rise of Darth Bane.
This title features a strong female lead named Kerra Holt, a Jedi Knight who is forced to wage war alone against the Sith Lord brothers Odion and Daiman after her master is slain. To add to the drama, Sith Lord Odion is also the one responsible for attacking Kerra’s home planet and killing her parents. Talk about having a grudge against someone.
Odion and Daiman are an interesting couple of Sith Lords, despite being brothers they have been at war with one another for years and are a total antithesis to one another. Odion promotes only death and destruction to his followers, while Daiman believes that he is the creator of all living things in the universe. Daiman is a little more interesting to me, seeing how much he changes to make himself believe that he is a God. Everyone in his service addressed him with “As my Lord already know” before telling him something and he even has all written text changed to his own alphabet. Freakin’ nutjob.
The first story arc Aflame started off strong and maintained it’s momentum throughout until the very last issue, though seemed a little abrupt for my taste. For anyone unable to wait for the next arc titled Deluge, which sees Kerra returning to her homeworld, then I would suggest picking up the novel Knight Errant. The book takes place after Aflame, but before Deluge. The book is a little less action packed than the first comic arc but definitely adds great insight into the current Sith Empire’s goals and power structure.
The next series, Invasion, takes place 21 years after Return of The Jedi, in between the 19 novels of the New Jedi Order Series. The New Jedi Order chronicles the Yuuzhan Vong War, an invasion from outside the Star Wars galaxy by a race of aliens sharing the same name as the war. The Yuuzhan Vong are undetectable through the force, have highly adaptable biotechnology, and a high tolerance for pain. Understandably this makes for a good time in the comics and gives the Jedi a challenge trying to slice and dice the Vong. Invasion which is now coming up on its third story arc, begins with the Vong invading the peaceful planet of Artorias. At this point the war is only in its beginning stages, but the first battle and the death of our beloved Chewbacca has already come to pass.
From that world comes our protagonist in the form of Finn Galfridian, son of the king of Artorias. Thankfully he isn’t the spoiled annoying kid you would imagine of a royal offspring, instead he is a Jedi in training who has a score to settle with the invaders who destroyed his home. Plus he has a cool droid name Prowl, who can act as Finn’s eyes and ears through a pair of nifty data goggles.
And no, Data Goggles with a programmable floating droid are not real.
The third and last series to continue is the depressing but awesome Dark Times, which of course refers to the events following Revenge of the Sith. In this time period star systems are savagely oppressed by the Empire, and remaining Jedi and being purged from the galaxy. Our main character is Jedi Master Dass Jennir once again. Jennir is a Jedi who has crossed the line a couple times, acting very un-Jedi and blasting a couple unarmed bad guys directly in the face. Sure they deserved it, but the whole ‘Dark Side’ thing is still in effect. After being in the first story arc of Dark Times, on the run from the Empire, Jennir sat out the second arc before returning to the fray in the excellent Blue Harvest storyline.
In Blue Harvest Jennir is roaming from place to place while keeping a lid on his Jedi identity. He passes time by taking up bounties that do not conflict with the Jedi code and trying to stay alive. Then a bounty takes him to a planet where he plays two rival gangs of slavers against one another to meet their mutual destruction. [Ed. – Much like in the 1927 novel ‘Red Harvest’, which inspired the movie ‘Yojimbo’. That was directed by Akira Kurosawa, who also did the movie ‘The Hidden Fortress’ which was later ripped off remade into ‘Star Wars’ in 1977. ‘Yojimbo’ also has a few remakes – ‘A Fist Full of Dollars’ starring Clint Eastwood and Bruce Willis’ ‘Last Man Standing’ ]
The story arc had a very ‘Clint Eastwood/Western’ feel to it, and Doug Wheatley’s art is once again rich in detail. It seems as if in the next arc (coming in August) that Jennir will draw the ire of none other than Darth Vader. I’m hoping this won’t be the end of the road for him, but with Darth Vader coming after you the odds don’t stack in your favor.
It’s going to be a good summer with these three titles starting up again following the now ending Star Wars: Legacy comic book. I fully expect them to exceed the previous arcs and add to the ongoing space opera that is Star Wars.