Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Complete Season Five
“Ready he is to teach an apprentice. To let go of his pupil, a greater challenge it will be. Master this, Skywalker must.” – Yoda, Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
All Good Things…
On October 3, 2008, George Lucas’s CG-animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars premiered on cable’s Cartoon Network. The 3D animated show aired two months after the theatrical release of the eponymous animated feature directed by Dave Filoni, the man tapped by Lucas as the TV show’s supervising director.
After five seasons on Time Warner-owned Cartoon Network and 108 episodes, Star Wars: The Clone Wars ended its run on March 2, 2013. Lucasfilm, now owned by the Walt Disney Company, decided to wind down Star Wars: The Clone Wars in order to focus on the new live action Sequel Trilogy of Episodes VII-IX. Lucasfilm also needed its animators to start production on a new animated series, Star Wars Rebels.
(Star Wars Rebels will begin airing in Fall 2014. It will be introduced in a one-hour special on the Disney Channel; regular episodes will air on Disney XD.)
A batch of 13 episodes intended for the series’ sixth season has finished production and is (as of this writing) being broadcast on Germany’s Super RTL. Known as Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season Six – The Lost Missions, this batch will introduce several new characters and continue the Rush Clovis story arc which began in Season Two. Lucasfilm/Disney have not announced when or in what format The Lost Missions will be released in the United States. (Note: The Lost Missions was eventually made available on Blu-ray and DVD in the spring of 2014.)
The Dark Side Rises
Maul: To continue, we need one singular vision…my vision.
Savage: Brother, let us share our strength. There is no need for dominance between us.
Maul: Always two there are, my brother—a Master, and an apprentice. And you are the apprentice.
Set in the three-year gap between the live-action Star Wars prequels Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith,* Star Wars: The Clone Wars chronicles the conflict between the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems, known colloquially as the Separatists. The Republic is defended by the Jedi-led clone army introduced in Attack of the Clones, while the Separatist forces are led by Count Dooku, a former Jedi Master who has turned to the dark side and become a Sith Lord. Dooku is aided by several minions, including the cyborg General Grievous.
Though The Clone Wars often features story arcs about lesser known Jedi Knights such as Plo Koon, Kit Fisto, and Luminara Unduli, its main characters are Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter), Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor), and Anakin’s Jedi apprentice Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein). Other major characters from the live action Episodes are featured in their own story arcs, including Padme Amidala (Caterine Taber), Yoda (Tom Kane), Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), R2-D2, and a young Boba Fett (Daniel Logan).
In Season Five, the show’s narrative tone is darker as the storyline draws closer to the events of Revenge of the Sith. This can be discerned both by the stories told and by the look of the characters themselves.
Season Five’s thematic title is “Army of Revenge” and its 20 episodes make up five story arcs. These arcs are:
The Onderon Rebellion
The Younglings and the Pirates
Droids on a Mission
These story arcs push the story closer to the “Twilight of the Jedi” scenario George Lucas depicted in Star Wars – Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. They also subtly plant the seeds for the birth of the Rebellion against the nascent Galactic Empire.
In the four Onderon Rebellion episodes, writer Chris Collins describes how the Jedi help a group of freedom fighters in their struggle against a tyrannical ruler who is in league with Count Dooku. Although the Jedi are forbidden to intervene directly because Onderon is not a member of the Republic, they provide training, strategic advice, and help the rebels to purchase weapons. According to Dave Filoni, the series’ supervising director, the Onderon arc shows the emergence of armed groups that will later coalesce into the Rebel Alliance. (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story fans: This arc also introduced a young and hot-headed character named Saw Guerera.)
In the Younglings and the Pirates arc by Christian Taylor, we follow a group of Jedi younglings in a series of adventures that start on the ice world of Ilum and lead to encounters with pirates led by Hondo Ohnaka and, later, General Grievous. The first episode in this arc, The Gathering, shows the Jedi ritual in which trainees gather the crystals for their lightsabers. Though its main characters are youngsters from various species,The Gathering’s emotional tone will remind Star Wars fans of The Empire Strikes Back’s Jedi training sequences.
Though the four episodes which feature R2-D2 and a motley crew of droids led by Col. Meebur Gascon in a covert mission against the Separatists are enjoyable, Season Five is worth watching for the Sith Brothers and Ahsoka Framed arcs.
Sith Brothers continues the plot thread of Nightbrother Savage Oppress and his brother, the long-lost Darth Maul. Thought to have died on Naboo at the hands of a young Obi-Wan Kenobi over a decade ago, Darth Sidious’ former Sith apprentice survived his bisection-by-lightsaber and rescued by his brother. Now, thirsting for revenge against Obi-Wan and Sidious, Maul forms an alliance with the Mandalorian terrorist group Death Watch. With Mandalore under the Sith brothers’ control, Maul and Oppress set in motion a plan that will lead them on a collision course with Kenobi and Maul’s former Sith master.
Charles Murray’s four-episode story arc answers the question “Why doesn’t Anakin have a Padawan inRevenge of the Sith?” Murray, who gave his episodes titles based on those for movies by Alfred Hitchcock, begins the arc with Sabotage, in which Ahsoka Tano and Anakin investigate a bombing at the Jedi Temple. In true Hitchcock-like style, Ahsoka becomes the prime suspect as a result of a frame job and flees into the underworld of Coruscant while trying to prove her innocence.
My Take: Though the Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie which launched the series in 2008 was at first dismissed as being geared more for kids than for general audiences, the TV show enjoyed both popular and critical acclaim. Even fans who do not like the live-action Prequel Trilogy seem to have embraced the series’ strong narrative sensibility. The scripts have gotten better with each passing season, and the animation techniques reflect subtle but significant tweaks that improve the show’s look, especially in high definition formats.
The home media (DVD and Blu-ray) sets of Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Complete Season Five break with the pattern established in the previous four home video releases and present the 20 episodes in chronological order. When they were first aired on Cartoon Network in 2012 and 2013, they followed the old anthology format, partly because Revival is the follow-on episode to Season Four’s Revenge. However, Lucasfilm and Warner Home Video decided to put all the story arcs in chronological order.
This is a seemingly trivial change, but to some fans, The Clone Wars’ anthology approach could often be confusing. Viewers have to pay attention to detail when they watch Seasons One through Four in order to keep the series’ internal chronology straight. In Season Five, each story arc flows in a more logical and easy-to-follow order.
Though the series aired on kid-friendly Cartoon Network, it was rated TV-PG for good reason. Unlike most "cartoons" where characters can go through battles and other nasty situations virtually unharmed (as in the 1980s' GI Joe series), Star Wars: The Clone Wars features many episodes in which clone troopers and even Jedi Knights are injured or even die.
On Animation: For first-time viewers, the animation (which was inspired by the British animated series The Thunderbirds) does take some getting used to. It's rendered in three-dimensional computer style and done in a slightly exaggerated style (Count Dooku, for instance, has a decidedly knife-like look in his face-and-beard) reminiscent of both the 2003-2005 Clone Wars series and anime.
Once the viewer gets used to the visual style, though, the strength of the writing will win over almost all Star Wars fans.
Season Five Episode List
A War on Two Fronts- Written by Chris Collins, directed by Dave Filoni
Front Runners – Written by Chris Collins, directed by Steward Lee
The Soft War – Written by Chris Collins, directed by Kyle Dunlevy
Tipping Points – Written by Chris Collins, directed by Bosco Ng
The Gathering – Written by Christian Taylor, directed by Kyle Dunlevy
A Test of Strength – Written by Christian Taylor, directed by Bosco Ng
Bound for Rescue – Written by Christian Taylor, directed by Brian Kalin O’Connell
A Necessary Bond – Written by Christian Taylor, directed by Danny Keller
Secret Weapons – Written by Brent Friedman, directed by Danny Keller
A Sunny Day in the Void – Written by Brent Friedman, directed by Kyle Dunlevy
Missing in Action – Written by Brent Friedman, directed by Steward Lee
Point of No Return – Written by Brent Friedman, directed by Bosco Ng
Revival – Written by Chris Collins, directed by Steward Lee
Eminence – Written by Chris Collins, directed by Kyle Dunlevy
Shades of Reason – Written by Chris Collins, directed by Bosco Ng
The Lawless – Written by Chris Collins, directed by Brian Kalin O’Connell
Sabotage – Written by Charles Murray, directed by Brian Kalin O’Connell
The Jedi Who Knew Too Much – Written by Charles Murray, directed by Danny Keller
To Catch a Jedi – Written by Charles Murray, directed by Kyle Dunlevy
The Wrong Jedi – Written by Charles Murray, directed by Dave Filoni
Created and Executive Produced by: George Lucas
Supervising Director: Dave Filoni
Produced by: Cary Silver
Score by: Kevin Kiner
Original Star Wars Themes and Music by: John Williams
*Interestingly, Star Wars: The Clone Wars also fits in the timeline between Chapters 22 and 23 of Cartoon Network's 2005 animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars. This "microseries" is also set between Episodes II and III, and some elements from it were refined in the 2008-2013 series.
Recommend this product? Yes
© 2014 Alex Diaz-Granados. All Rights Reserved