Avatar and The Clone Wars: ‘Trespass’

So pretty much the entire world has heard of James Cameron’s monument to 3-D visual effects, Avatar, and quite a few have ended up comparing the story to Dance with Wolves, or The Last Samurai, or other white-guilt storylines. But, really – most of the story elements have been seen in the first season episode ‘Trespass’ in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

  • Blue-skinned people – Check.
  • A technologically advanced culture coming to raid a planet – Check.
  • Indigenous primitives who are forced to fight back – Check.
  • Primitives riding on beasts in battle, while the invaders have high-tech vehicles – Check.
  • Female characters seeking a diplomatic solution while the male character in charge just tries to wipe them all out, but is killed. – Check
  • Natives win, and invaders are forced to leave – Predictably Check.

And the kicker: Home planet of the Blue People: in ‘Trespass’, it’s Pantora. In Avatar, Pandora. (Although why anyone would name a planet after an online music player is beyond me – just opening a box of trouble.)

Sure, the roles are reversed between the TCW episode and the blockbuster – the Pantorans are the military invaders bent on conquering the planet of the native Talz, while the Na’vi of Pandora are the indigenous people fighting back. And Endor, Kashyyyk or Felucia are probably closer to Pandora than the frozen ice-ball of Orto Plutonia – but didn’t Muftak, the Talz seen in the Mos Eisley Cantina have genetic memories of a lush colorful jungle world?

Who else is blue with envy about this? Drop off the first letter of the planet of blue-skinned people, and you might end up with the icy planet of Andoria, homeworld of this blue man’s group.

6 thoughts on “Avatar and The Clone Wars: ‘Trespass’

  1. Scoke

    It’s really easy to forget about any of these episodes. But methinks the uber-creative minds of TCW read up on Cameron’s new flick on IMDB before penning this episode.

  2. JediTrilobite

    Huh, that’s an interesting comparison, James, although there are some differences – Avatar had a huge anti-corporation theme to it.
    That was one of my favorite episodes though.

  3. jawajames

    the similarities are mostly superficial – the themes behind the storylines are definitely different, like Trilobite points out.

    And the main technical conceit of the film – being able to have avatar bodies, has no analogue in ‘Trespass’, while Trespass has a third interest – the Jedi, while ostensibly on the side of the Pantorans, have an agenda different than the Pantorans.

  4. Stooge

    Wow — those planet names are hilariously similar! I thought J Cameron was going for some overwrought symbolism with the name Pandora… who knew he was just continuing the trend?

  5. Toph

    Haha, good call. Case in point: I initially scrolled right past the first picture without so much as a double take. Jake fits right in.

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