I’ve been struggling with how to approach this arc, and I guess I wasn’t the only one. When these four episodes premiered at Celebration VI, it looked as if Lucasfilm wasn’t sure what to do with them. Maybe the Powers That Be™ thought the story skewed a bit too young, maybe they were considering it for a possible spin-off series, maybe they just didn’t know if it was any good. Those are all guesses, I honestly have no idea. All I know for sure is this: I won’t review this arc. I can’t.
Here’s why. If you haven’t seen this arc, it’d be a crime to ruin any of it for you. This is the flat-out best work this show has ever done. The characterizations are smart and layered, the action is breathtaking, the emotions are earned, the gags are funny, the pacing is superb, the casting is brilliant and the voicework in general is a joy to hear. In short, each and every creative decision is terrific. Even characters who should be tired by now feel fresh and surprising. So instead of a review, consider this a challenge: if you don’t watch The Clone Wars, take my word for it and check out these four episodes. I’ll burn you a DVD if you can’t find them on your own! This show keeps managing to top its own high-standards, and this storyline really illustrates just how far the series has come.
One of the weird realizations about The Big Announcement is that if they’re going to make Episodes VII through IX, there’s no reason they won’t make Episodes X through XII as well. And if you find the idea of endless Star Wars movies a bit jarring, well, you’re not alone. But the truth is, we’ve already seen new Star Wars movies, because that’s what The Clone Wars has become: a series of longer-form stories, told over several installments. Yes, there are some standalone episodes throw in (and they’re almost always terrific), but it seems like these mini-movies are now the dominant mode. And that can be good. And that can be bad.
Editor’s note: This review covers the whole Onderon arc, episodes 5.02 – 5.05: ‘A War on Two Fronts,’ ‘Front Runners,’ ‘The Soft War,’ and ‘Tipping Points.’
Everyone’s mouthing off about Adi Gallia in this episode, so allow me to join in the chorus. Though my complaint isn’t quite the same as everyone else’s. I mean, c’mon folks, it’s Adi Gallia. Maybe she’s someone’s favorite character in the history of ever, but to me, she’s always been a big pile of whoop-dee-doo. True, I once wrote a limerick in which I charmingly rhymed her name with diarrhea, but her appearances in this show and elsewhere in the EU have left me with exactly zero impression of her. So it’s hard to get emotional about a dullard, even a dullard who just happens to be a famous prequel Jedi. (Is that redundant? I kid, I kid.)
Interviews. Mark at Jedi News chats with new author Tim Lebbon, who’s writing the Dawn of the Jedi novel Into the Void for next year. Meanwhile, John Jackson Miller chatted with fans on Facebook last week. There’s another chat this afternoon with Leland Chee.
Street date shuffle. The release of Reaves and Bohnoff’s The Last Jedi has moved up by a month on the Random House catalog. It’s now scheduled for February 26, making it likely to be the first release of 2013.
Meanwhile, there are several early non-spoiler reviews already up. Knights Archive’s Bry Dean says “Aaron Allston built a great new adventure like only he can do, utilizing known characters in a way that was familiar, yet fresh.”
Peter Morrison at Lightsaber Rattling “particularly enjoyed” the book. He goes into a lot more detail on both new and returning members the X-Wing cast (though he doesn’t spoil the plot!) saying that “the characters are allowed to shine.”
Star Wars Report’s Aaron Goins is completely new to the X-Wing books. He does caution that you may want to read the old stuff, but praises Allston’s characters… Though he did find the humor a bit much at times. Still, he says “I was not expecting to like this book nearly as much as I did. It was the characters and storytelling that won me over. ”
To mark the end of the fourth season of TCW, we organized a little email discussion to talk about what went right, what went wrong, and the unsinkable Darth Maul. Here is an abridged version of our discussion (edited for clarity and length):
Well, it’s the final Fate of the Jedi release day, and thus comes a few more links – and one discount offer. I’m not really a fan of how Barnes & Noble only offers coupons on certain books, but today they’ve included Apocalypse for 40% off, which puts them on equal ground with Amazon. The online coupon code is C8M3R4E, but I believe it will only work if you have a membership with them. (It’s 33% off cover for non-members.)
The blogside. With a title like ‘We Don’t Need George Lucas,’ the latest Action/Reaction over at EU Cantina was was bound to be controversial. Chris has some interesting points (yes, George Lucas worship does get out of hand from some aspects of fandom) but I don’t really agree with everything he says (I have no regrets on our coverage of Red Tails or Amanda Lucas) And course we’ve always had coverage of thingsoutside the realm of Star Wars and the Expanded Universe. I’m not so fond of the ‘telling other people how to be a fan’ aspect, but it’s certainly an issue worth giving some thought.