Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Clone Wars Somehow Managed to Fix the Prequels

Okay. So for a while I've believed that the Star Wars Prequals actually have made some positive introductions to the Star Wars Universe.

Wait. Wait. Come back.

I never said those introductions were well executed. I just meant that certain ideas had good story opportunities sure the movies may have wasted them but you know what didn't.

Having sat through most of Clone Wars I can say the stories it told justified a lot of the previously thought stupid stuff people had to sit through the prequels. Oh and I generally think of Star Wars Rebels as basically being the same show but with a time skip and updated character designs. So everything I say about Clone Wars goes for Rebels too.

So let me go through a run through.

Anakin Skywalker
Okay one of the worse crimes the prequels made was taking one of the all time greatest movie villains and turning him into a whiny teenager.

But I could see where they were going with this.

Anakin is one the most talented force users who ever lived. But he's also a hot blooded little bastard. Which is worrisome to the guys upstairs because he'll disobey orders in a second if he feels like it's for the greater good. He's unable to divorce himself from a situation and look at the bigger picture. Which makes him unpredictable at best and unstable at worse. And considering how much power and influence The Jedi Order has he scares the crap out them. One day he's going to fly off and do something stupid no matter how hard of a no they give him.

He's Starbuck.

The movies are good at showing the drawbacks of a personality like that. Anakin is an arrogant bastard that takes everything personally. So good that they make you forget why you might want to have somebody like that around.

Anakin is not going to let The Jedi Order put strategy over people. He's not going to just let them walk away when they could save a life. And his habit of doing that has turned him into a hero.

In both Clone Wars and Rebels you see the tragedy of the fall. In the original trilogy they have to keep the past of Vadar a secret for ONE OF THE ALL TIME BEST MOVIE REVELS.

But here you see how hurt everybody that knew him is by his betrayal. He was the best of them. And in Clone Wars specifically. You see it.

He and Obi Wan are each other's ace in the hole. When ever an episode or arc focuses on one the other will be their to get his ass out of the fire by the end of it.

In the movies when he complains about how despite all the stuff he's done The Jedi Council still treats him like a red-headed step child you understand what he means.

Politics, Amidala and Satine Kryze

I'll say it Amidala is too good a character for the prequels. And I don't mean that in the prequels are bad. I mean that in another movie the basic concept of her character would be made of win.  And one of the reasons why is because after the fanboys complained about C-span in space her roles were more and more diminished in the sequels.

Taken as a whole despite what all the marketing said Star Wars is not the story of Anakin Skywalker but about the rise and fall of The Galactic Empire.

Amidala is the only person in the entire prequels who saw the dissolution of The Galactic Republic coming and was in a position to do something about it, to save the Senate from itself.  

We get to see more of that in Clone Wars.

But what really redeems her is Satine Kryze. Who is more or less a incontinuity character reboot showing the audience how cool Amidala could have been if we had just given her half a chance. She pretty much has the same basic plot, personality, and backstory as Amidala the story just treats her differently.

And she is awesome.

The Clones
Everything about the clones as envisioned in Attack of the Clones is blatant fanboy pandering. They are there only to make the prequels feel more like Star Wars by being a callback to an offhand comment by Obi Wan in the original trilogy as well as to a character that somehow became superpopular despite not getting all that much screen time, and they gave the series an excuse to bring back storm troopers.

And that sucks because the clones are a pretty big element of the story they are trying to tell. Without the clones there is causally no Star Wars. Nothing after episode one in that logic chain happens.


For starters the show makes clear why they are so hyped up as being better than droids. In Attack of the Clones and to a lesser extent Revenge of the Sith Lucas favored spectacle over narrative.

Lots of explosions but you can't see worth a damn what's actually going on.

Compare to this. Where its much clearer who's doing what and why.

You get it.

Droids are computers. Computers that can mimic human interaction but still need to be told to do every damn thing. Which makes them slow and stupid in the field. Troopers on the other hand can improvise. They can survey a combat situation, react to it and create a tactical plan.

And the focus on platoon level action fixes another problem.

The clones are actually treated as people in this. One of the big questions left unanswered by the prequels is how do the clones feel about everything. They are the heroes of the clone wars yet still bring the destruction of The Republic they fought so hard for.

Order 66 is dumb. 

About the only way you could make that work is if all the clones were some how mind controlled to kill their Jedi Commanders. OH WAIT!

Okay but back to that treating the Clones like people thing. The clones actually manage both being clones and having distinct character personalities. Seriously this is brilliant voice acting as the guy can't do any of the normal tricks to disguise he's playing different characters because in a way he isn't.

Furthermore the designs make it clear that these are all genetically the same guy. They might have different body language, musculature, hairstyles, or battlescars but when you look at them you can tell they are all brothers of the vat.

And doing that in way where they are all distinguishable from each other took a hell of a lot of creativity.

Moreover the series later managed to distiguish between Clone Troopers and Storm Troopers undoing one of the things that made them kind of suck by having the balls to tell the fanboys, no Clone Troopers are trained from birth to be soldiers.

The Empire with it's constant expansion and use of force discontinued the clone program BECAUSE it doesn't have enough time and money to fully train its cadets so concentration on ninjutsu is in full effect.

And that actually manages to fix some fridge logic in the orige trige.

Oh and clone armor is just plain cooler than Storm Trooper Armor.

Ashoka Tano
I don't want to so much get into Ashoka Tano's character as much as talk about her inpact on the pre-original plot.

Stuff that happens in the series furthers the split between Anakan and the Jedi Order so that when Palpatine asks who who's he's going to believe it's more plausible for him to think, "Oh not again".

So his betrayl of the Jedi Order doesn't just come out of nowhere.

And having a mentee around let's Anakan show off a little. The change in framing turns  him from being a whiny teenager to being a cool big brother.

AAAND it adds another fully realized character who knew him before the fall creating greater pathos than just Obi Wan and Yoda. Speaking of which.

Warrior Jedi
One of the things that bugs people about the prequels is how martial the Jedi, Yoda in particular are. One of the reasons why this thing stuck around so long is that the Jedi kind offers an outlook on life. And part of that is that force, not THE force, is generally to be avoided, that peace comes when you are comfortable not being certain of the outcome of a course of action. That's kind of what makes a Jedi a Jedi.

Not the force, not light-sabers, but serenity. (By the way Anakin's lack of that is why he bugs them so much and is the flaw that leads him to the dark side.)

Forcing the universe to bend to your will is kind of a Sith thing.

Hmmm. Let's make that a thing and call out the prequels on one of the BIGGEST THINGS THEY GOT WRONG ins a way that actually give them more pathos.

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