My father didn't fight in the Clone Wars. He was a navigator on a spice freighter.
January 5, 2013 9:35 PM   Subscribe

The Best Of Star Wars: Clone Wars - The CGI Star Wars spin off that made the franchise fun again for young and old reached it's 100th episode today.
posted by Artw (35 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I do love me some Clone Wars.
I could live without D Squad.
posted by Mezentian at 10:12 PM on January 5, 2013

man this show is amazing. I thought I was up to date but there was some stuff in there (the room with the crystals?) that I don't remember from the show. I am a hard-core multitasker, but when I watch this show I make myself turn off my second monitor because, although it's a liiiiiiitle bit boring and predictable, the graphics are really top notch.
posted by rebent at 11:21 PM on January 5, 2013

Expensive, fully orchestrated score. And lots of it.

Expensive, detailed sound design.

Exciting lightsaber combat.

posted by Moistener at 12:38 AM on January 6, 2013

So Overthinking It kinda has a thing for the Clone Wars.

The Bittersweet Dramatic Irony of Cartoon Network’s Clone Wars
The Clone Wars are not the epic struggle between good and evil the cartoon makes them out to be. They’re not even a real conflict. To the people fighting them, they’re real enough, but there aren’t even two sides; just a single commander, ordering his troops to attack each other. Imagine if Gargamel was secretly working for Papa Smurf.
The Bioethics Of The Clone Wars
So let’s get this straight. Presumably, the Republic has the resources to build its own robot fighters. But humans are better fighters than robots, so the Republic chooses to use clones, genetically engineered to have limited free will. This allows them to avoid a draft, which would be politically tricky. And they then dehumanize their clone army by making them wear helmets at all times. In any other work of science fiction, this clone army would be terrifyingly evil and tragic, not plastered all over paper plates for birthday parties.
The Clone Wars: Asking Geopolitical Questions to Pre-Teens
The last time the Republic got involved in the internal matters of Onderon, it led to a galactic war. The Republic decided, considering how many civil wars there are that fall along Separatist versus Republic lines, to use Onderon as a trial case. Send the Jedi to equip, resource and train the pro-Republic forces and have them overthrow the relatively legitimate government of Onderon without direct attacks on the Separatist-backed Onderonian government led by King Sanjay Rash.

In other words, whether NATO should have intervened in Libya.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:05 AM on January 6, 2013 [7 favorites]

THIS is what I wanted when I was 11 years old. THIS RIGHT HERE!
posted by PapaLobo at 1:06 AM on January 6, 2013

Sadly, I thought this would be about Genndy Tartakovsky's Clone Wars, which after the bait-and-switch which was the cliffhanger into ROTS, left me with so much 'bad will' for the franchise, I haven't bothered following this iteration. I like the criticism above, however...
posted by mikelieman at 2:09 AM on January 6, 2013

Tartakovsky's Clone Wars was great, and its Grevious kicked butt, but the CGI version is - arguably - better overall.
The CGI version can be deep, detailed and nasty (especially to the clones), and if you saw the Clone Wars movie (with Gay Cliche The Hutt and Stinky The Hutt) it's not like that at all.

I mean, for one thing, the Republic is clearly rotten, and they are basically the bad guys.
posted by Mezentian at 2:26 AM on January 6, 2013

In the first clip in the first link in the FPP, when they call up the clones military record, why would more than half of the display be a picture of the clone? Doesn't really make sense when all your soldiers are identical.
posted by biffa at 4:00 AM on January 6, 2013

The Clones aren't identical. They use tattoos and hairstyles and the like to make themselves individuals.
posted by Mezentian at 4:39 AM on January 6, 2013

So now that this series is prolific enough to live on in syndication, what about that other television show we were supposed to get? Whatever happened to that plan? Disney, did you hear about that?
posted by trackofalljades at 6:48 AM on January 6, 2013

They use tattoos and hairstyles and the like to make themselves individuals.

Haristyles are not usually regarded as a reliable identifying feature. IIRC the early order was for 10 million clones. It would take a lot of tattoos to differentiate that number of identical faces.
posted by biffa at 7:39 AM on January 6, 2013

The clones struggling for identity, and the show occasionally touching on the fact that they're basically slaves, has been one of the stronger themes throughout.
posted by Artw at 7:52 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Don't they have a shelf-life or does the whole "locked in a struggle with faceless killbots" thing shorten their life-span enough?
posted by FJT at 8:35 AM on January 6, 2013

They age at an accelerated rate, so the clones on the show are all about 10. Boba Fett, the first clone, doesn't grow at the same rate.
posted by Artw at 8:52 AM on January 6, 2013

While I'm not hugely into the current "D-Squad" storyline, may I just mention how damn BEAUTIFUL it is? This is one thing this show has gotten better at over time. It's been hugely enjoyable seeing how the look and feel of the show has really evolved over the past 100 episodes. This scene put a big big smile on my face, just a big cheesy grin.

The Clone Wars has its ups (zomg the lightsaber battles and general badassery, very little wooden Padme and Anakin romance BS, and Cad Bane the bounty hunter would kick Boba Fett's ass and then tell his momma about it) and downs (Jar-Jar does appear a couple of times, the chronology of the episodes is muddled) but overall it's the best Star Wars ever made. There. I said it.

And for those that don't know, the character models in the show are very definitely based on those used in Tartakovsky's work. The two shows are telling the same story in different ways.
posted by PapaLobo at 9:32 AM on January 6, 2013

Moody look of 'Clone Wars' inspired by '70s classics

Aron and his team also were inspired by the first incarnation of "Clone Wars": the mini-episodes done by Genndy Tartakovsky. Tartakovsky didn't work on the 3D-CG half-hour "Clone Wars" series, but Aron says its influence shows in such elements as the shapes of explosions and smoke, and the use of dramatic silhouettes.
posted by Artw at 10:30 AM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

I haven't watched any of the new season yet (it's piled up in my Apple TV) but I have to chime in with my love for the show. I was completely burned out on Star Wars, but it brought my love back.
posted by immlass at 11:01 AM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

This thread has convinced me to give the Clone Wars a shot, which given my hate-on for CGI-Animation is pretty impressive.
posted by bswinburn at 1:01 PM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is a pretty timely post - thanks, as always, to Artw. I can always count on you to get some cool nerd stuff mixed in with my MetaFilter.

Anyway, I was a VERY lapsed Star Wars fan up until a few months ago. The first movie I saw in the theatre, at the age of 5, was Empire Strikes Back. I think the first videos we rented when we got a VCR were the movies from the Star Wars original trilogy. After Return of the Jedi came out, though, I had become more interested in superhero comics, Transformers and other toy lines, so I never really kept up with Star Wars. When the new movies came out, I did see them all in the theatre, but I didn't rewatch them after that. I did get the Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars on DVD and loved it, but again, I didn't rewatch it.

Then, a few months ago, there was a link, either on here or on BoingBoing, to the "Top 10 Lightsaber Battles of Clone Wars." I checked it out on a whim, and thought "This show looks better than I would have thought." So, then I checked out some of the discs from our local indie rental store and was further impressed - the show was fun!

I ended up getting the Star Wars movies on Blu-Ray for Christmas as well as Season One of The Clone Wars. My wife and I have already rewatched the movies and I have seen the first two or three episodes from Season One. Having just rewatched the second trilogy (movies I through III), I really agree with the link regarding "the bittersweet dramatic irony" of the Clone Wars show. I think, especially with the move to Disney, the Star Wars universe may need to split into comic book style flexible continuities.

In other words, I think future story creators will have to start treating the six movies as a template within which to tell Star Wars stories in much the same way the comic book writers and artists tend to treat character's past continuity as a template, rather than strict history, for future stories. An example of that would be the origin of a character like Spider-Man or Batman. In both cases, there was a single issue in which some version of that origin first appears, but the story has been told and retold countless times with subtle and not-so-subtle variations.

In Star Wars, the Anakin / Darth Vader story of the movies really doesn't fit in with the tone of the TV show to my mind. Anakin as a character himself on the TV shows is actually more nuanced, calmer and more hero-like than the Anakin of the movies. While you could conceivably bring the TV show audience along with Anakin's evolution to being an evil character, I think it would be hard to transition every single character over to being dead (Ahsoka, Kit Fisto, Plo Koon, etc.), brainwashed (the clones) or disgraced (Obi-Wan and Yoda). As a viewer, I think I will end up watching The Clone Wars TV show as its own continuity - the adventures of some Jedi in the Star Wars style. As a comic book reader, I have gotten so used to just discarding character continuity that doesn't make sense, that I am quite ready to pretend that maybe Anakin and Darth Vader aren't the same person.

Generally speaking, too, I thought the movies hung together pretty well, but there are lots and lots of pieces that don't quite fit since the stories were created and told in a quasi-reverse order. Rewatching A New Hope, for instance, after movies I through III, leaves one with all sorts of questions... Obi-Wan doesn't recognize R2 and C-3PO? Obi-Wan hasn't helped the rebellion in 17 years, but then is suddenly ready with a cryptic message from Leia? Darth Vader takes orders from Grand Moff Tarkin? Vader recognizes Luke through the force somewhere during the first or second movie, but he never recognizes Leia, even though he's had much more contact with her? Again, this all makes sense from the logical standpoint of how the movies were made, but from the story standpoint, it creates some weird breakages. One of the commenters suggested that all six movies could be remade to make the story fit together better and I agree. Again, that would be in fitting with how comic books and comic book movies tend to function...

Great post! I look forward to getting caught up on The Clone Wars!
posted by Slothrop at 3:44 PM on January 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

Obi-Wan hasn't helped the rebellion in 17 years, but then is suddenly ready with a cryptic message from Leia?

Technically he is helping the rebellion by keeping an eye on Luke, which is why he is not that far from Luke's homestead. Leia's adoptive father was aware of this and Luke's location so may have pointed her in that direction, though I agree it would still be weird unless there had been some contact in the meantime.
posted by biffa at 2:18 AM on January 7, 2013

The other (live action) Star Wars show, with its 50 scripts ready to go.... probably ain't gonna happen. Especially now there are movies.

Unless you mean Danna Dantooine.
posted by Mezentian at 5:08 AM on January 7, 2013

Big +1 for love of this series. I am curious to see what happens to Ahsoka Tano.
posted by 13twelve at 5:27 AM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

biffa, I probably wasn't clear - I think it's okay that Obi-Wan has been hiding all this time, and your explanation makes sense. But, to me, the momentum that is built up in Episodes I-III is lost by having Obi-Wan and Yoda just totally hide for 17 years. If I had power over the franchise and was remaking the six movies, I would move the general Clone War story to Episode I, make Anakin's fall be Episode II and then have Episode III be the slow rise of the Rebellion, plus the fallout from Anakin's transition to Darth Vader. In that structure, Obi-Wan could help with the rise of the Rebellion, shepherd Luke and Leia along with more specific contact and then step aside at the end of Episode IV as he does. Plus you could establish a parallel structure like this :
Episode I (drop us in the war between the Republic and the Separatists) : conflict, chaos and high adventure.
Episode II (Anakin's fall) : mystery, mood and danger.
Episode III (the rise of the Rebellion with an aging Obi-Wan and a growing Princess Leia) : a light in the darkness, some hope.
Episode IV (now a full-on war between the Empire and the Rebellion) : conflict, chaos and high adventure.
Episode V (Luke vs. Vader, the return of Yoda) : mystery, mood and danger .
Episode VI (Luke's triumph over the Dark Side, the re-establishment of a fragile Republic) : a light in the darkness.

Obviously, Obi-Wan is my favorite character in the Star Wars mythos :). But there are lots of weird discontinuities in his story.
posted by Slothrop at 6:44 AM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

If i was making the six episodes over I think I would stop at three. Out of interest, who would you fancy to play Obi-Wan if you were remaking them? I love Guinness but McGregor spends too much time trying to be Guinness which means he loses any sense of making Obi-Wan an actual person.
posted by biffa at 6:58 AM on January 7, 2013

biffa, I thought about cutting the story down to fewer movies, also. I think the trick would be that you are trying to show two different generations, each with their own set of arcs of development. So, if you had three movies, it seems that some stuff would have to be compressed. For me, there is potential in changing Anakin from a good to a bad character, and that should be at least one movie. Then you'd have to kinda rush through getting Luke ready to face and redeem him. I'm sure it could be done, but I think a longer set of movies is quite an interesting challenge, too.

I do agree that McGregor is a bit hamstrung in trying to copy Guinness, but McGregor and McDiarmid are the most charismatic actors in the first trilogy to me. I have reflected, upon watching the movies again, that Obi-Wan is fairly hidden from the viewer in terms of motivation. What does he really want? Is he really just an unreflective "soldier" of the Jedi Council? That's why a movie between Episode III and IV would be interesting - Obi-Wan at the very end of III is broken, but at the start of IV he seems to be calm if not a bit addled.

As for actors, I don't know. I don't know that I follow Hollywood close enough to make a good suggestion. McGregor is only four years older than I am, so at the moment he is 41ish. He could still be an Episode III and III.5 Obi-Wan quite easily.
posted by Slothrop at 8:27 AM on January 7, 2013

Expensive, fully orchestrated score. And lots of it.

Fun fact: I have it on good authority that the majority of the Clone Wars' musical cues are produced entirely with sample libraries...i.e. no full orchestral recording is actually happening for each episodes, everything is produced in a computer. Which makes sense because that would be insanely expensive for a television show. Nevertheless the fact that they're using samples makes the score all the more impressive for how lush and "Star Wars-y" it sounds.
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:06 AM on January 7, 2013

Slothrop: One thing I think would have made the prequels better films would be if Yoda had been shown to be more evil. I have come to think that Yoda is not the good guy he was made out to be in V & VI. The prequels tend to just have him sort of of hrumphing whenever something happens without really taking any responsbility for wider happenings, despite his senior position, supposed wisdom and general force-iness. Or if not evil at least proper incompetent. More on the Jedi as a corrupt secret police also would be nice.
posted by biffa at 12:26 PM on January 7, 2013

biffa, I agree with what you are saying and I think you're getting at the heart of the greatest ambiguity in Star Wars - are the various insights and sayings related to Jedi teaching supposed to be taken at face value? In other words, are the Jedi "right" and do they speak with narrative authority?

To me, the biggest tension is the constant dialogue about freeing oneself from fear and attachment. This sentiment is repeated frequently in the story, and Anakin's downfall is supposedly brought about by his attachment to Padmé. However, when Yoda tells Luke not to go help his friends in Empire, Luke disobeys and presumably the audience supports his choice. To me, one of the things that Anakin sympathetic in opposition to the Jedi is that he has a relatable human attachment - he experiences romantic love and decides to value it over his duty. I would do the same thing in his position. So, when the moral of the story is partly that Anakin made a wrong decision, but Luke made the right decision, are we supposed to think that Yoda and Mace Windu and Obi-Wan are/were all wrong?

I really think initially Lucas was just borrowing some Pop Buddhism, just as his first movies borrowed a fair amount from Japanese samurai films and aesthetics. Then as he had to expand on Jedi "teachings" he wasn't able to make it sophisticated enough to stand up to scrutiny. However, if you revised the Star Wars story, this would be something I would bring to the forefront. In a new telling, for instance, could one contrast the motivations of Obi-Wan and Anakin? This is of course requires creating more motivation for Obi-Wan of course.
posted by Slothrop at 3:28 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

So, when the moral of the story is partly that Anakin made a wrong decision, but Luke made the right decision, are we supposed to think that Yoda and Mace Windu and Obi-Wan are/were all wrong?

I personally thought the difference was that Luke could justify a non-selfish positive duty toward Han and Leia, where Anakin seemed to have a more selfish interest in Padme. But that's just my reading.
posted by immlass at 4:03 PM on January 7, 2013

immlass, yes, I think you're reading is a good one. I do think the movie tries to support that idea since Luke's closeness to Han and Leia is an important feature of IV-VI, while Anakin's love of Padmé is often given a more nuanced picture. For instance, he seems to be jealous of Obi-Wan's minor connection to Padmé by the end of III. Both films II and III gave a menacing edge to Anakin's love for Padmé, too.

Where I think I support biffa's thoughts, though, are in regards to Yoda. Yoda gives Anakin and Luke the same teachings basically, with regards to attachment. Freeing yourself from attachment is the goal of Buddhism (at least as far as I understand it), so I can see how that crept into the movie. But I'm not sure the movies give a very understandable picture of why that is an important theme for the movies or the Jedi.

I never knew I could have fun Star Wars conversations on Mefi, too!
posted by Slothrop at 4:43 PM on January 7, 2013

Just watched the awesome one in which Prince Xizor appears. With the black lightsabres. And the Mandalorians. And the Hutts. And it is good.
posted by Mezentian at 5:20 AM on January 22, 2013

wait, mezentian is that this week's episode? I don't remember seeing Xizor.
posted by rebent at 6:04 PM on January 22, 2013

Maybe it wasn't Xizor? I assumed he was the guy left alive to run Black Sun.... It could have been his dad.

Wookiepedia suggests I was wrong and it was Ziton Moj.
And I was so excited.
posted by Mezentian at 6:11 PM on January 22, 2013

I had no idea how much I needed to see a Darth Maul/Darth Sideous bitchfight.

A show that is prepared to torture its main characters, and kill significant characters off in the one story (including a beheading, which you can watch in some detail if you step through slowly enough) is the kind of show I want to subject small children to.

Although the Sideous fight was a bit too much of a callback to the Yoda fight in the prequels. I did love the callbacks to Star Wars though. Although the familial revelation was a bit eh, and there were some major plot holes. Really? The Chancellor can just flit off when he wants?
I am glad this was made.
posted by Mezentian at 11:17 PM on February 2, 2013

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