Here at Star Wars Celebration VI, we were given the privilege of watching the Season 5 premiere of The Clone Wars.
I did the red carpet and interviewed many of the actors and crew behind the show and we’ll see those appearing on the site over the course of the next few weeks. Then, we were led into the Digital Stage and were shown three episodes back to back. The first two we saw were the season finale episodes involving Darth Maul from Season 4. (You can read my review of those episodes here and here.)
Then we were shown the first episode of Season 5.
Darth Maul and Savage Opress had no problems escaping their entrapment on the abandoned ship where Obi-Wan and Ventress left them. They are marauding around the galaxy, causing as much havoc along the outer rim as possible.
Maul, taking cues from his old master, The Phantom Menace himself, begins hatching a plan to lead the Jedi to him, to bring them out and become a major player in the larger conflict. To that end, he seeks to subvert Hondo Ohnaka and his pirate men to marshal the beginnings of an army.
Obi-wan and Adi Gallia are sent to deal with the situation.
I’m not sure how much more I want to say beyond that as far as the story of this episode goes.
Fights ensue, and they are amazing. Obi-wan faces down with two lightsabers against Maul and Opress and it was one of the most impressive fights I’ve ever seen on the show. It was clearly choreographed, it was exciting, and the stakes of the episode were raising the stakes on the entire series.
Obi-Wan and the heroes spend half of this episode on the run, outmatched by a superior foe. Filoni has said many times before (and he reiterated this time in the Q and A afterward) that the episodes where the good guys are on the run are always the best and this episode was no exception.
The show is getting even better and more mature than we’d seen. And, from the looks of the trailer for the rest of the season, this episode is only the tip of the iceberg.
We also were treated to a new model build of Yoda. When I spoke to Tom Kane on the red carpet, he promised Yoda was going to find himself in some action situations in Season 5 and afterwards, Filoni said the new model was a hint that the character is going to be doing lots more. It looked great.
As far as this episode goes, Aaron Goins pointed out that there will be another Even Piell level of continuity outcry concerning Adi Gallia. I’m sure that by the time next season rolls around, everyone will go back to not caring. Again, I don’t think it’s a big deal, Star Wars is what you make of it, but others will be livid. Particularly fans of the Dark Horse comics.
And did I mention that Snaggletooth has an appearance? It was great and the crowd loved it.
This episode premieres on September 29th. The Clone Wars is moving to a new time slot with that premiere: Saturday mornings at 9:30 am. I’m not sure how I feel about the change. I really like the feeling of watching something like a movie in the evening, but the morning doesn’t give the same feeling… Maybe if it were a matinee at a movie theatre, then I’d be on board.
After the episode, Filoni answered some fan questions and there were some interesting tidbits of information. For one, Tikkes will not be appearing in this season, though we will be seeing Muuns. Stories involving Muunilist are of great interest to me.
Mother Talzin was another topic of discussion, especially given some of the visual cues we were shown when Maul or Savage took damage in their fight. “We won’t see much of Mother Talzin for a while,” Dave Filoni said, “And she’s tricky in a way Grievous didn’t understand.” He went on to explain that the Nightsisters are not so easily defeated. “They have an older magic than the force. They’re nature wielding creatures.”
Filoni also said that we’d be seeing lots of odd pairings and alliances this season.
A question was asked about Ian Abercrombie, the late voice of Palpatine/Sidious, but Dave assured the audience that Ian completed almost all of Season 5 before his death and there will be no announcements or discussions of his replacement until the entirety of his work on The Clone Wars is released.
Then… We were shown a trailer for the rest of season 5.
Saying that it blew my hair back would be an understatement. It seemed as though there were many episodes we were given tastes of. There appears to be an episode where Artoo is given an entire squad of droids to infiltrate the Seperatists on a secret Mission. Maul’s story seemed to be taking him in different places, and we saw him going to Death Watch, offering to start Civil War on Mandalore. But we were also shown footage of Maul fighting Pre Viszla. Filoni has long talked about Mandalore being the powder keg of a planet, like Europe before World War I, and it seems as though Darth Maul is the spark they need.
There were many shots of two characters in disguise. Whether it means those two characters are teaming up (which would be incredibly fascinating) is beyond me, but it certainly places them on the run from someone. Those two characters? Asajj Ventress and Ahsoka.
There could be some fascinating stuff there.
There were also many shots in the trailer of Anakin being angry and tossing people about, but there seemed to be Padme in the shots or the context… I can’t be sure because the whole thing moved so quickly… And it seemed like they’d be addressing more of his jealousy and rage issues.
But, the piece de resistance?
This trailer truly sets up the idea that the political nature of the Clone Wars are shifting. Maul has created so much strife and a second front of war for both the Republic and the Separatists that he’s interfering with Sidious’s machinations. At the end of the premiere episode, Palpatine insists to the Jedi council that dealing with Darth Maul is a distraction from the war, and to a large degree, I think he’s right.
But when Sidious comes to take care of business?
He does so with a lightsaber.
The brief glimpses of him fighting Darth Maul were breathtaking.
I get the idea that this is truly going to be the best season yet.
I can’t wait for you all to see it. Hell, I can’t wait for me to see the rest of it.