So, Star Wars Celebration VI happened last weekend and I regrettably was unable to attend. But hey, they released an extended trailer! And this trailer showcases plenty more badassery than the last one, as awesome as it was. Let’s not keep you in suspense any longer. Check out the trailer below:
Based on more of the footage shown it becomes pretty clear that the Maul brothers will be joining forces with the Death Watch this season, though see the clip of Viszla and Maul throwing down it might be a tenuous alliance at best. It looked like Maul was even sporting his own Mando gear and even had his own Mandalorian troops. Vat in za hell?!
We also get more of the fighting on Onderon which another clip below expands upon. To me that whole thing takes a backseat to the Maul-Death Watch-Sidious stuff. More on Sidious after this clip:
So yeah, the Bantha in the room…. Sidious+Dual Lightsabers=holy shit. And oh yeah, he’s taking on Maul and Savage solo! So much for Sidious just being in the back seat for the duration of the Clone Wars, but I suppose it had to come to this. I half expected Maul to be seeking out Sidious for a confrontation in this season, but it would appear that ole’ Palps came straight to him. The outcome of that fight should definitely be interesting and I’m guessing either Maul or Savage doesn’t make it through the ordeal alive.
The new trailer shows the hairless harpy, Ventress, in action again. And this time she is sporting a pretty awesome looking mask! No clue if she’s still toeing the good guy line, but she is definitely tangling with Ahsoka in the trailer. I’m still waiting to see what direction they ultimately go with Ventress. I realize they’ve spent a good deal of time trying to make her a good guy of sorts but I truly think they’ll have her back in the villain saddle before the end of the show.
And here’s one more juicy tid-bit for all of us fans of the Republic Commando X-box game and the Karen Traviss Republic Commando novels; We get to see a Republic Commando… in action! We were able to catch a glimpse of a squad of these bad lads in season 3 of the Clone Wars, but now we’re going to see what one can do against those petty droids. I’m hoping for some massive mayhem being caused by a one clone killing machine. I’m sure the show won’t go into much detail about the commandos themselves but I’m hoping we at least get an inside the helmet look at the Heads Up Display in the clone commando helmet!
Regardless there is tons to be excited about for the upcoming season of Clone Wars. It would also appear that they are going to force me into looking like more of a kid than I already feel by moving the Clone Wars to a different date and time: Saturday mornings at 9:30am. Damn it… I hate mornings and I haven’t watched Saturday morning cartoons since I was 23.
The wait is over for the last two weeks of Clone Wars season 4 and it seems like we’ll be waiting a little longer until next week to get a little more of Darth Maul onscreen. This episode deals mainly with Savage Oppress still searching for his brother, a search that takes him to the planet of Lotho Minor. Lotho Minor was a very interesting planet, akin to the junk planet of Raxus Prime, and it had its very own collection of hazards and residents. One character who I really couldn’t stand was one of these residents in particular who guided Savage through the wilds of Lotho Minor, a snake-like alien that reminded me unfondly of an evil Jar Jar Binks. I still cringe at the thought of him.
The reveal of Darth Maul of course was the best part of the episode. He was very dark and menacing, though more along the lines of a rabid dog than a carefully calculating Sith Lord. Maul has definitely gone through some mental wear and tear over the years and it shows through Sam Witwer’s voice acting of the character as he moves fluidly between sobs of sadness into yells of rage. His body itself is quite the mess with his upper torso being covered in dirty bandages and his legs replaced by an amalgam of metal parts to form spider legs. It appeared in the trailer as if we will get to see him next week with a little more functionality in the form of two sturdy legs instead of the nearly broken down spider body he was sporting this episode.
Other than that, there isn’t really much else to say about the episode. I’m putting all of my hope into the finale next week since this one was a bit of a letdown. Mother Talzin is clearly still alive, and Ventress isn’t out of the game yet as she is still hanging out with the bounty hunters on Tattoonie. The Jedi are also very much aware of Darth Maul’s return as Yoda very ominously warns Obi-Wan at the close of the episode. The showdown between Obi-Wan and Maul next week will no doubt be fantastic. I remember reading the Star Wars: Visionaries graphic novel short story where Obi-Wan and a half mechanical Darth Maul dueled on the sands of Tattooine and that was tension filled, even though at that point it wasn’t continuity as this portion of the Clone Wars is.
I give the episode a 3 out of 5 bears. I enjoyed seeing the planet of Lotho Minor and the return of Savage Oppress who is still just as brutal as ever. I mean, the guy was choking some random lady in a diner and jettisoned a guy out of the airlock of his own ship!
And Darth Maul goes without saying that I enjoyed seeing him back as a twisted shell of his former silent and stoic self. Sam Witwer is definitely bringing new life to the character with his portrayal of him. I can’t wait to see how Maul uses his rage as a weapon in the coming episode. Until next week!
The Clone Wars is wrapping up its fourth season with a bang as the first of the last four episodes airs in the form of “Massacre“. We see Ventress making her return to Dathomir and swearing full allegiance to the Night Sisters of Dathomir, forsaking the Sith. Count Dooku in the meantime has ordered General Grievous to strike hard at the planet and rid the galaxy of the witches. These rich Sith types just tend to hold a major grudge ya know?
It was actually kind of hard to decide which group of scumbags to root for. I mean, Grievous and the Separatists are a no brainer, they suck. But the Night Sisters are equally as shady, with the hairless harpy leading the charge of laser bow-wielding Night Sisters and even a contingent of zombie Night Sisters. Yes, you heard me…. zombie Night Sisters. They were definitely creepy as hell, but nowhere near as creepy as the wrinkled old Night Sister who is even older than Mother Talzin. I thought Talzin’s double-layered voice was unnerving enough but the oldest Night Sister blew it away with all of her crazy chanting.
So, even though the battle itself was pretty awesome there was no indication of why it would be best if one side or the other was to win. I’m actually a little sick of Grievous being bested over and over again in combat, but even as he lost to Ventress after a short spar he went on quite the killing spree and savagely killed the super old Night Sister and her guards. One might wonder what happened to Mother Talzin but I’m sure we’ve not seen the last of her.
The force magic of the Night Sisters was an interesting thing to see, albeit some was a little ridiculous. I find it curious how Talzin was able to procure a lock of Dooku’s hair, but it’s a minute detail. The episode certainly did live up to its name. It truly did turn into a massacre as not one Night Sister except Ventress was left alive by the episode’s end. Again, I’m not too broken up about this and I can’t feel much sympathy for Ventress being left all alone. We’ll certainly see where she lands next episode as it appears she may be taking on the role of a bounty hunter!
Stayed tuned next week for the continuation of the Clone Wars ending arc. I give the episode 2 out of 5 grizzlies, great visuals but I just couldn’t find myself caring who won this round on the Clone Wars. Bring on the Maul Bros in a couple weeks!
It’s been pretty official by now that Darth Maul is returning, and kudos to Lucasfilm for their clever re-release of the Phantom Menace and his simultaneous Clone Wars appearance which is sheer marketing genius. It seems like I can’t go into any store where there are toys or books without seeing that ugly Sith bastard adorned on something. Even my McDonald’s Happy Meal toy was a top spinner with him on it! But anyways….
Maul is back and whether you like it or not you have to admit the trailer for his return in the final season’s arc looks pretty excellent. Not to mention the fact that he is being voiced by none other than Sam Witwer who is a sort of sci-fi superstar at the moment. Witwer has done extensive work with the Star Wars franchise, starting off with the Force Unleashed video games as Darth Vader’s secret apprentice Starkiller who kicked major ass with his uber force abilities. Some may not know that he also voiced the Emperor in the Force Unleashed and did a damn fine job. This is also not his first appearance on the Clone Wars as he also played the Dark Side being “The Son” in the Mortis Trilogy. He also played a large part in the 8th season of Smallville as Davis Bloome A.K.A. Doomsday and is currently playing the vampire Aidan on the American version of Being Human. Being Human was recently renewed by SyFy for it’s third season. And all of that on top of a missed chance to be featured in an entire flashback episode of the Walking Dead in a storyline that was set up by show creator Frank Darabont, but was ultimately discarded after his “leaving” the show. The guy is a talented actor no doubt, but his voice acting sure packs a punch too. Check out the video below to see how intense Witwer gets when he is slipping into his crazy Darth Maul persona:
Freaky ain’t it? For more of the half Sith Lord, check out the FULL trailer below the bump and prepare to change your underpants afterwards:
So it would look as if Ventress is choosing to side with the Night Sisters of Dathomir and that Dooku may be getting some payback for their attempted assassination of him: Grievous style. I’m interested to see the Night Sisters in combat, particularly Mother Talzin who is seen in the trailer unleashing some crazy witch powers on the Separatist forces. But let’s face it, that’s all bantha poodoo compared to what I think may be the best part of the episode arc and that’s Obi-Wan v.s. Maul…. the rematch! This has potential to be one of the best moments on the Clone Wars, overshadowing even the awesomeness that was Savage Oppress’s debut last season. But then again I thought that with the return of Boba Fett and I was left quite crestfallen. But this has to be way better than the little half pint bounty hunter. The part where Maul emit’s a harsh “Jedi!” and his mechanical leg steps on the ground before Obi-Wan was chilling and gave me a case of the goosbumps. What’s everyone’s thought on the whole deal? Expanded Universe blasphemy or totally awesome? I for one am glad they stuck with the Star Wars Visionaries robo-legs concept. It wouldn’t have done to see a Darth Maul walking on his hands and using the lightsaber with his mouth.
The last four episodes of The Clone Wars were great, especially if you like seeing the clones in action. I thought the season opening Mon Calamari arc would be hard to topple as the season’s best arc, but the fight for the dark and bleak planet of Umbara proved me wrong. After the typical mid-season lull, Clone Wars has begun to pick up again! *WARNING – HEAVY SPOILERS AHEAD!*
So let’s set the story: You know about the galaxy spanning civil war that is sweeping over every planet, and you’ve seen this conflict on various worlds for the show’s tenure thus far, but I must say it’s never quite been like this. With hardly any battle droids to speak of (Seriously they were around for a few minutes in one episode.) we are introduced to the Separatist-aligned Umbaran people who fight to defend their planet from being conquered by the Republic. I can’t remember the planet’s strategic importance or if it was even mentioned, but really that’s beside the point. We finally get to see an organic army fighting the clones in the form of the Umbarans and their awesome technology. They have everything from aerial ships, tanks that shoot crazy looking lightning balls and walkers that rival even an AT-AT in bad-assery. And let me tell ya, these guys give the Republic quite a run for their money shouting in their bizarre chattering language the whole time.
The planet itself was presented to us as almost like Felucia… except someone turned the lights off. The place is cloudy, dark and dangerous and not just because of the indigenious Umbarans, referred to by one clone as the “Shadow People”.
The first attack on the planet is led by Anakin Skywalker and the501st legion which includes our boy Rex and various other clones we know and love including Fives, Hardcase and Jesse. Another clone worth mentioning is future commander of the 501st, Appo, who plays quite the role in the Expanded Universe of Star Wars, leading the assault with Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader on the Jedi Temple all the way until his decapitation by Jedi Master Roan Shryne on Kashyyyk immediately following the birth of the Empire. It leaves one to wonder what will become of Rex since it is known in the movies and literature that Appo is the eventual leader of the 501st. I don’t see Rex being put in the middle of situations dealing with following or not following orders at this point, so that counts him being demoted out. In the world of Star Wars that may mean that Rex is eventually going to buy it on Clone Wars. I hope when that happens we get to see him go out as a hero in a blaze of glory.
After Anakin is “mysteriously” recalled to Coruscant by the Supreme Chancellor, his replacement as Jedi General arrives viaLAAT in the form of Master Pong Krell. From my initial viewing of the trailer for this season of Clone Wars I was super excited to see this guy in action, which was awesome. The guy has two double bladed lightsabers that are collapsible! Brilliant! However, my hopes for him to be a brilliant and likeable Jedi general were dashed upon one realization – That he is a total asshole.
Pong Krell was a genuine enigma to me during the course of theses four episodes. Sure we’ve seen a couple Jedi who either distrust the clones or don’t see them as actual men. Master Rahm Kota was fortunate enough to survive Order 66 due to his mistrust of clones and using only his personally raised militia in battle. Quinlan Vos was also mistrustful of the clones but he still commanded them in battle and refrained from using their lives needlessly. Pong Krell however seems to have a knack for throwing the clone troopers at his disposal (literally) into unwinnable circumstances which all but guarantee their deaths. If not for Rex and his brothers creative thinking and their questioning of General Krell’s orders the battle for Umbara would have been lost at the very beginning. But as the story arc wears on you begin to see there is something more behind Pong Krell’s disdain and carelessness for the clones he commands. I’m sitting there thinking –“What a terrible Jedi this guy is.” And then by the end of the fourth and final episode the writers drop a bomb on you. Pong Krell is in fact a Jedi who is embracing the dark side and hoping to become Count Dooku’s new apprentice. Didn’t see that one coming….
Even when Krell was owning clone troopers left and right with his quadruple sabers I wasn’t under the impression that his motives ran so deep. The Dark Side, yes, but a plan to become Dooku’s apprentice no. It’s great that the show is giving us a view on how different Jedi are affected by the war and this is perhaps the most distressing. It was an even bigger surprise to me when Krell was finally executed, not by Rex but by newcomer Dogma who was on Krell’s side nearly until the end.
The last episode was most definitely a powerful one emotionally. I’m all about the clones and when Fives and Jesse were about to be executed I honestly wasn’t sure which direction things we gonna go. Another hard hitting portion of the episode was when the clones were killing one another in a firefight due to the information from General Krell that the Umbarans had stolen clone trooper weapons and armor. To see the reactions of the clones once they realize they are firing on one another was heart wrenching, then to see Waxer shed a tear before dying upon the realization of him killing his own brothers was almost enough to bring me to tears myself. Waxer was great in the epidsode from season one’s “Ryloth Trilogy“: Innocents of Ryloth”, where he made it his personal mission to save and protect the little Twi’lek girl Numa. When Rex removed his helmet we are reminded of his previous actions by the little Numa face picture painted on his helmet.
I have to give this arc a five out of five. It goes without saying that even had the story been crap, the visuals alone throughout the arc would have still carried it. Thankfully the story wasn’t crap as it brought us to a whole new perspective on how the Jedi are affected by the war and how loyal the clones are; not only to their Jedi generals but to themselves and each other.
Pong Krell was a pleasant surprise because of the scum bag he turned out to be. I’m not sure there had been a twist quite like that to leave me shocked in this show. I was actually kind of hoping that he would survive the ordeal to actually ally himself with Dooku and be an opponent of the Jedi for a time before he was killed, but I suppose that is why we have Savage Opress and Darth Maul for later in the season. Props to the Clone Wars creative team for giving us an excellent arc without the support of series regulars Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka: it goes to show us that the series has many other avenues to explore and could still possibly go another couple seasons.
Let it begin! Two new episodes of Clone Wars premiere tonight! And on the same day as the movies on Blu-Ray, what more could a Star Wars geek ask? The first episode being reviewed is ‘Water War’! Sounds like a kid’s theme park or something but trust me it’s anything but. The episode deals with the planet of Mon Calamari and the always constant bickering between the Quarren race and the Mon Cala themselves. (I always called them Mon Cal, but who am I to argue with the fish heads?) Thanks to the meddling of a creepy looking sharky faced Separatist ambassador, the bickering comes to a battle between the two species, with the Quarren obviously siding with the Separatists and the Mon Cala with the Republic. This is the first under water battle we’ve seen on screen from Star Wars and it was quack-tastic….
The visuals and animation on this show gets better and better with each season and season 4 is no different. The underwater battles were breathtaking even though as a geek I still question how blasters are being fired underwater. The Hydroid Medusa weapons of the Separatists were another example of the great animation. Even the underwater sounds throughout the episode stood out to me, because at least if they were following certain aspects of physics throughout, they got the voices and sounds right.
Of course ‘Captain’ Ackbar being in the episode was awesome, but it was nice to have a couple new characters to build on. Prince Lee-Char of the Mon Cala was likeable enough as the wet behind the ears leader of his people…. I guess he’d be wet everywhere but you get the idea. The Shark man Separatist Tamson was certainly a vicious and unrelenting foe. The part where he was pursuing Ahsoka and Lee-Char and tearing into Mon Cala troops kind of creeped me out. But that’s a good thing! Hopefully in the following episode he survives to give a credible villain besides Ventress, Cad Bane and Grievous (the General being credible is debatable). I can’t count Savage Oppress because I’m thinking he’s going to be used sparingly this season.
I give the episode a 4 out of 5 bears. Between the visuals and new characters it was a satisfying premiere for me. It also was a pleasant surprise to have an episode end with the Republic in defeat for the moment. The show itself needs more Separatist victories to stay interesting. Can’t wait for the next episode, check out my review of it: ‘Gungan Attack‘.
Okay, now there is another Star Wars first, seeing the Mon Calamari placed in internment camps as slaves… how depressing. It happens in this episode, then after the Empire forms in the Expanded Universe and once more in the EU when Darth Krayt orders all Mon Calamari systematically exterminated. But the episode itself was quite a follow up to the first. The Mon Cala, although defeated in the last episode fight on against Tamson and his droids along with their Quarren allies.
Dorkly recently posted a list of 6 Ways that the Expanded Universe ruined Star Wars. The ‘Expanded Universe’ being anything other that the actual Star Wars movies, such as books, comics and video games. Granted, some of the things in this list were kinda stupid, even though I don’t think that they flat-out ruined Star Wars. It seems like Dorkly may have just not researched very well, but I, being a ridiculous Star Wars buff can help remedy that. I would definitely read their list here before you read the rest of my article. It will make more sense, trust me.
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!