The Clone Wars

I’m convinced that every word written in the Star Wars universe since Episode IV is one gigantic retcon. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of the Wars, but has anyone ever mined a single throwaway line like, “I fought with your father in the Clone Wars” for more material than this?

I’m just getting started on the Clone Wars series, six episodes down and only 800 left to go, but it has already helped fill in some of the blank spaces in my understanding of the Star Wars universe. Not being a fan of the Prequels, I’ve watched them mostly out of the corner of my eye. I also worked with someone who was an avid reader of the books — ALL the books — who generously laid down a synopsis over the course of a hundred days in hell.

But, I have to admit, I wasn’t hanging on every word so watching the Clone Wars is filling in some gaps. For instance:

  1. The Storm Troopers (Clones) are the good guys. This keeps confusing me. I’m programmed to hiss when I see them.
  2. The Storm Troopers still can’t hit the broad side of a goddamn barn. It must be a genetic flaw with the source they’re cloned from.
  3. Jar Jar Binks is aggravating even in animated form. I’ve never spent so much time wishing death would claim a fictional character.

But it also opens up some questions I hope will be answered in the next 800 episodes. For instance, how do the clones tell each other apart?  They can’t use biometrics, they all have the same DNA. In the show, they’ve taken to styling their hair as way to differentiate one another. But that just means all you need is a trip to the barber to impersonate someone.

Not that it would make any difference. Clones appear to be actual cannon fodder, meant only to take blaster bolts while the Jedi jump around and cut everything in half. At least in this series, the only creatures more useless than the Clones are the droid soldiers who seem to have been programmed with a Three Stooges AI that brings a whole new meaning to the word bumbling.

While it’s fun to watch the various Jedi tear through waves of these droid goofballs in their gravity-defying, physics-confounding acrobatics, it does have a tendency to deflate their sense of menace. You get the feeling that one lightsaber could cut its way through a whole army of these things without needing to spend the night on the charger. Sometimes they even employ video game logic, standing around completely unaware while the guy next to them is disassembled by a laser sword.

Also, one of the things that turned me off to the Prequels was the relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin. Beyond the wooden acting and bad writing, I just never got why Obi-Wan thought his padawan had any potential at all. I know, I know, midichlorians but that just seems like a reach by the writers to answer the question of why anyone would put a lightsaber in Anakin’s hand ever for any reason.

This series doesn’t fix that problem. Anakin is still as annoying as he was in the movies and, if anything, Obi-Wan seems even more oblivious. Not just to the evil lurking in his padawan’s heart but to everything. Unlike the wise Jedi we’re used to from A New Hope, he’s the first one to say, “Well, I assume they’re dead.” Since when does a Jedi make assumptions? And the constant bickering between the two reminds me too much of the Prequels.

I just read over this post and realized that I’m coming off like I don’t like this show or the expanded Star Wars universe and that’s not true. I mean, I hate the prequels with an undying hatred that will live on even after I’m dead, but the rest of it is pretty cool. And one of the biggest shames of the Prequels is that their general suckiness overshadows the sheer, diabolical cleverness of the Sith’s plan to have the Republic build the army they will use to repress it. I’ve always felt like this was a veiled comment on George W. Bush and the Neocons’ naked power grab after 9/11.

Clone Wars seems to be a kid’s show, but at the same time it also appears to be Canon and it brings up the same complex issues of right/wrong and peace/power that the original movies did.

One last thing bothers me: what kind of economy can withstand the continual loss of capital ships that would cost more than our entire Navy? The Republic is losing Star Cruisers at the rate of five an episode along with uncountable clones while the separatists are losing an equal number of gigantic ships and droids. I mean, could they have money or production left over to do anything but fight this war? It seems like that would put them both in a state of constant, unyielding recession…

Oh, right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *