The Clone Wars Rewatch: Beware the “Brain Invaders”

StarWars.com

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

35: “Brain Invaders” (Season Two, Episode 8)

“Attachment is not compassion.”

A scene from "Brain Invaders."

Synopsis:

While the Jedi Knights transport Poggle the Lesser as a prisoner to Coruscant, Padawans Barriss Offee and Ahsoka Tano are dispatched to escort a medical frigate to its destination. But when Geonosian brain worms take control of the clone troopers aboard their supply ship, Ahsoka and Barriss must stop the vessel from unleashing the deadly plague upon the galaxy.

A scene from "Brain Invaders."

A scene from "Brain Invaders."
A scene from "Brain Invaders."

Analysis:

Clones betraying and trying to murder the Jedi. A Jedi turning against one of their own. These are the shadows of things to come, in the future of the galaxy and when parasitic brain worms invade a supply ship.

A scene from "Brain Invaders." A scene from "Brain Invaders."

With her master far away and Barriss as well as many of the clones plagued by the infection, Ahsoka is largely left to her own devices. In a battle with her beleaguered friend, she must make the most difficult decision of all: fulfill Barriss’s plea to put her out of her misery by ending her life, or trust that the actions she’s taken to contain and kill the brain worms will be successful.

If Ahsoka is wrong, it means endangering the galaxy, unleashing the deadly plague currently contained aboard the small ship. But Ahsoka, plainly, couldn’t bring herself to kill her friend.

A scene from "Brain Invaders."

In the medical bay, recovering from the traumatic ordeal, Ahsoka is plagued by doubt over her choices. But in a touching moment of compassion and kindness, Anakin allays those fears, consoling his Padawan by assuring her that she trusted her instincts and did what she thought was best.

A scene from "Brain Invaders."

When any big decision presents itself in life, it’s tempting to think there’s only one right choice. We can be paralyzed by fear and doubt about making the wrong decision. But as Anakin demonstrates, and as Star Wars teaches us again and again, trusting in your instincts will lead you to a solid course of action.

And most of the time, there’s no real wrong choice. Right and wrong, after all, are subject to your point of view.

Intel:

  • Look closely at the Padawans’ pillows. The pillow cases are printed with the Republic cog logo, which is also emblazoned on the clones’ undersuits.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when Jedi Master Eeth Koth is taken hostage and tortured by General Grievous in “Grievous Intrigue.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

The Clone Wars Rewatch: Beware the “Brain Invaders”

The Clone Wars Rewatch: A “Legacy of Terror” in the Tunnels of Geonosis

StarWars.com

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

34: “Legacy of Terror” (Season Two, Episode 7)

“Sometimes, accepting help is harder than offering it.”

A scene from "Legacy of Terror."

Synopsis:

Jedi Master Luminara Unduli disappears while tracking Poggle the Lesser, leading Obi-Wan, Anakin, and a platoon of clone troopers deep into the hive of Karina the Great.

A scene from "Legacy of Terror."

Analysis:

An army of undead warriors is somehow the least creepy thing about this episode, which ventures into the stuff of nightmares quite skillfully.

A scene from "Legacy of Terror." A scene from "Legacy of Terror."

Between the gray-skinned zombie Geonosians, the reveal of the bloated and egg-birthing queen, and the brain worms, the underground throne room of Queen Karina the Great is a horror show for all who enter.

There’s a sense of claustrophobia from the beginning of the story as Luminara enters the blinding sandstorm, which continues on the journey deep into the catacombs.

A scene from "Legacy of Terror." A scene from "Legacy of Terror."

Few things in the galaxy can best a Jedi’s lightsaber, but neither the ancient weapon nor a blaster bolt to the head can kill the lurching, dead-eyed soldiers, mere husks controlled by the secret queen thanks to the brain worms that create a hivemind connectivity.

The Jedi’s only hope is distraction and suffocation, taking out supports to collapse the walls and ceiling that create the queen’s chamber in an effort to buy them time to escape with their captive, Poggle the Lesser. Ultimately, their only hope isn’t to kill the bugs, but rather just to slow them down, and important reminder that even Jedi sometimes come up against a foe they cannot beat.

Intel:

  • Anakin’s reaction to the discovery of the zombies is almost an echo of Luke’s response to Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back: “That can’t be true. That’s impossible!”

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

A scene from "Legacy of Terror."

Next up: We haven’t seen the last of the brain worms after all. Come back next Thursday for “Brain Invaders.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

The Clone Wars Rewatch: A “Legacy of Terror” in the Tunnels of Geonosis

5 of the Most Romantic Scenes in Star Wars

StarWars.com

There is a lot of, well, war, in Star Wars, what with all the fighting against the Empire, First Order, dark side, and the Sith. But to paraphrase a wise character, you don’t win a conflict by fighting what you hate, but by saving what you love. And there is also enough romance in the saga to keep you cozier than the inside of a tauntaun.

So, for Valentine’s Day, let’s take a look at five of the most romantic scenes in Star Wars. We love them all. But you know that.

Hera and Kanan's first kiss in Star Wars Rebels.

Kanan and Hera’s First Kiss (or “Kanera” Confirmed) (Star Wars Rebels, “Kindred”)

Much of Kanan and Hera’s history is left untold, and I prefer it that way. But when Hera lands a kiss on the Jedi — after his attempt earlier in the episode was interrupted thanks to Ryder — it was a moment worthy of an air-punch and a “Wahoo!” Sadly it happens as the two are separating, and Hera is off to Yavin 4 while Kanan stays behind on Lothal. Theirs has always been an interesting relationship between two complex individuals. So when they finally kiss (for the first time on screen), it simultaneously feels surprising, but entirely natural.

Sy Snootles and Ziro the Hutt kiss in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Sy Snootles and Ziro the Hutt’s Uncaged Passion (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, “Hunt for Ziro”)

While a Hutt gangster and Pa’lowick singer may make for an odd pairing, even villains fall in love, and the heart (or fluid sack) wants what it wants. The reunion on Nal Hutt between Ziro and former lover Sy Snootles initially appears pretty sweet since their time on Coruscant was the happiest of her life, and he…well, he claims the separation was all Jabba’s fault. Things end badly, mainly for Ziro, but only after a passionate kiss between bars of a prison cell. Sy truly seemed to love Ziro, but she was not one to be betrayed or toyed with.

Attack of the Clones - Anakin and Padme in the Geonosian Arena

Padmé and Anakin Face Their Fate Together (Star Wars: Attack of the Clones)

Things don’t get off to a smooth start for Anakin and Padmé’s relationship, what with his vow as a Jedi, and her duty as a senator. When they first kiss, he reacts as coarse as the sand he doesn’t like, and the two decide not to talk about love, or to live a lie — until right around the time they’re about to die on Geonosis. Padmé’s confession that she “truly, deeply” loves him, followed by a passionate kiss is intense. She is owning her emotions at a time when their fate appears sealed, but they will face that fate together, in love.

Jar Jar Binks reunites with Queen Julia in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Jar Jar Binks Saves Queen Julia of Bardotta (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, “The Disappeared, Part II”)

It is a challenge determining which scene between Jar Jar and his lost love Julia is more romantic. When he first reunites with her on Bardotta, to come to her aid and stop the Frangawl Cult, it is touching to see her place so much trust in the Gungan. They “meditate,” which also involves a passionate smooch. But I think the more romantic moment occurs when Jar Jar gallantly charges in (with a Force-assist by Mace Windu) to release Julia, and fight the cult leader. After saving her, she in turn saves her beloved, and they fall to the ground. She assures Jar Jar she always knew he’d be her hero.

Han and Leia kiss before Solo is frozen in carbonite in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

Han and Leia’s “I Love You / I Know” (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back)

The most romantic quote thus far in the saga, and one of the best in all of movie history, this exchange between Han and Leia is tragic, funny, and lovely all at once. After all the flirtatious banter, and fighting, when the chips are down and Han is about be frozen in carbonite, these two have their honest exchange. Of course the emotional bond existed between them, and if they miss the chance at this moment, there was no telling if they’d have another (and they did reverse it later on Endor). Plus, the scene is romantic because it’s so Han to reply the way he does. For me, the entire exchange is echoed when Han and Leia reunite in The Force Awakens. The two are older, more mature, and have a deeper appreciation for their love. But this moment stands as a beacon of what real love is and means.

Aaron Sagers is a tiki-loving, NYC-based journalist, TV host, author, comic-con mod, and professional nerd with endless curiosity. He loves geeking out with fellow fans about sci-fi, horror, and paranormal pop culture on Instagram and Twitter, and his karaoke song is “Yub Nub.”

5 of the Most Romantic Scenes in Star Wars

The Clone Wars Rewatch: A Matter of Trust Inside the “Weapons Factory”

StarWars.com

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

33: “Weapons Factory” (Season Two, Episode 6)

“No gift is more precious than trust.”

A scene from "Weapons Factory."

Synopsis:

Anakin, Ahsoka, Luminara Unduli, and her Padawan, Barriss Offee, lead a mission to destroy a droid factory on Geonosis. While the masters act as decoys diverting a group of super tanks, Ahsoka and Barriss infiltrate the plant via a labyrinth of catacombs beneath the city.

A scene from "Weapons Factory." A scene from "Weapons Factory."

Analysis:

Together, Ahsoka and Barriss are ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good, destroying the plant while almost certainly dooming themselves to death by suffocation, buried far below the surface.

But, hand in hand, they never lose hope. Ahsoka has faith that her master will not leave them for dead, and she’s right to believe in Anakin and his legendary levels of attachment and bullheaded perseverance despite dismal odds.

A scene from "Weapons Factory."

A scene from "Weapons Factory."

The two young Padawans are perfect foils for each other: Ahsoka, prone to recklessness yet also adept at pivoting when a plan fails and devising a new, unconventional solution, has learned much from her master, while Barriss is more measured like her calm and even-keeled mentor, a studious learner who is thorough in planning and preparedness.

As a team, these qualities allow Ahsoka and Barriss to overcome the odds and not only fulfill their mission to destroy the factory from the inside out but continue working together even after they’re buried alive.

If this is your first time watching the series, you’re in for a shocking and fascinating arc for the friendship forming here between Ahsoka and Barriss.

A scene from "Weapons Factory." A scene from "Weapons Factory."

But knowing where Barriss is headed makes some aspects of this episode stand out more sharply, sometimes subtly in the dialogue, like when dependable Barriss utters two simple words as they venture into the catacombs, where sleeping enemies lie: “Trust me.”

Intel:

  • It’s hard to make out, but the nose art on Luminara’s gunship shows a clone trooper giving County Dooku the boot.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when the undead come to the defense of Geonosis in “Legacy of Terror.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

The Clone Wars Rewatch: A Matter of Trust Inside the “Weapons Factory”

The Clone Wars Rewatch: Carnage and Chaos in “Landing at Point Rain”

StarWars.com

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

32: “Landing at Point Rain” (Season Two, Episode 5)

“Believe in yourself or no one else will.”

A scene from "Landing at Point Rain."

Synopsis:

Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ki-Adi-Mundi lead an invasion to stop Poggle the Lesser and the Geonosians from rebuilding their droid army, but crash off-course, forcing each general to overcome their own set of challenges.

A scene from "Landing at Point Rain."

A scene from "Landing at Point Rain."
A scene from "Landing at Point Rain."

Analysis:

Hordes of enemy troops, from Separatist clankers to the winged natives, and a massive energy shield stand between the Republic army and victory over Geonosis in an invasion intended to shut down Poggle the Lesser’s “factories of terror.”

A scene from "Landing at Point Rain."
A scene from "Landing at Point Rain."

A scene from "Landing at Point Rain."

The camera work and animation here exquisitely captures the disorienting chaos of the battlefield. Perhaps more so than any episode we’ve seen so far in the series, alternating points of view in the air and on the ground during this heated skirmish brings a visceral weight to the reality of the war.

In the midst of all of this, two important lessons emerge.

A scene from "Landing at Point Rain."

As Anakin advises Ahsoka when they first learn Obi-Wan may be in trouble, worrying has no place on the battlefield. To prevail, they must keep their focus on where they are, what they are doing, present in the here and now. Wandering minds are a liability and they’re no good to Obi-Wan if they’re dead.

A scene from "Landing at Point Rain."

In a contradictory spirit, Ahsoka and Anakin also treat these battles as something of a game, a spirited match to tally the highest number of enemy kills, flattening battle droids and keeping track for the purposes of future bragging rights. As the injured and exhausted Obi-Wan remarks, he doesn’t understand how they can simplify the carnage of war into a contest, something of a sport.

A scene from "Landing at Point Rain." A scene from "Landing at Point Rain."

But just as important as staying in the moment, to keep a clear mind despite the emotional burden inherent for soldiers participating in a prolonged war, there must be some allowance to blow off steam, to laugh in the face of it all, a release valve for stress found through the absurdity of reducing combat to little more than target practice. Even Ki-Adi-Mundi, a Jedi Master who always seems to have a very serious expression, can see the value in that.

A scene from "Landing at Point Rain."

Intel:

  • Designers added some personality to the gunships in this episode, including an illustration of a nexu with the phrase “Bad Kitty” scrawled beneath it, an homage to the ILM animation crew who nicknamed the creature just that during the making of Attack of the Clones.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when the mission continues in “Weapons Factory.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

The Clone Wars Rewatch: Carnage and Chaos in “Landing at Point Rain”

The Clone Wars Rewatch: A “Senate Spy” Among Us

StarWars.com

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

31: “Senate Spy” (Season Two, Episode 4)

“A true heart should never be doubted.”

A scene from "Senate Spy."

Synopsis:

The Jedi Council suspects that Senator Rush Clovis, an InterGalactic Banking Clan delegate and former colleague of Padmé Amidala, may be working for the Separatists. Against Anakin’s wishes, Padmé accepts a mission to accompany Rush to Cato Neimoidia to uncover clues about the Senator’s true allegiances.

A scene from "Senate Spy." A scene from "Senate Spy."

Analysis:

Personal feelings and professional obligations collide in a rare, quieter episode dedicated to political intrigue and secret romance.

Inside the senate chamber, Padmé and Anakin grapple with their identities as individuals, their duty to each other and the Republic, and ultimately the trust that relationships must be built on to survive.

A scene from "Senate Spy."

Anakin is constantly putting himself in the line of fire, a general on the frontlines of the war, and a Jedi who reacts more by gut instinct than tactical plan. But when it comes to his wife, Padmé, he’s protective to the point of being suffocating, jealous to the point of being infuriating. “I’m not going to let you do it,” he says, as if he has the right of the choice to decide for her.

What he fails to realize in this moment is that Padmé has always been a formidable force, capable and intelligent, dedicated to protecting the people she represents whether as a queen or a senator. She’s not afraid to put herself at risk when the needs of the many are at stake.

A scene from "Senate Spy."

Anakin’s folly is ultimately in trying to control Padmé’s decision instead of acting as concerned spouse who ultimately trusts her and supports her choice. By trying to assert his own dominance and leaking some intel Master Yoda had failed to mention, he inadvertently helps to persuade her to agree to the mission to spy on Senator Clovis.

As Anakin and Padmé both put it, with varying degrees of snark, “Duty comes first, especially in war time.”

A scene from "Senate Spy."

And in the end they’re both at least partially right in their assessment. The mission is dangerous — Padmé’s poisoning could easily have been deadly. But it’s nothing she couldn’t handle (with some help acquiring the antidote, of course.) And the information they uncover is vital to the war efforts.

Hat tip to Obi-Wan, who doesn’t even try to control his face when Anakin shows a suspicious level of interest in Padmé’s personal life.

Intel:

  • This episode is a departure from most of the series, standing out for the elements it lacks: No blasters are fired, no lightsabers are ignited, and there’s not so much as an explosion.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when things go terribly awry on Geonosis in “Landing at Point Rain.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

The Clone Wars Rewatch: A “Senate Spy” Among Us

Why the runDisney Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon is Perfect for Runners of All Skill Levels

StarWars.com

As a runner, I was never a marathon or half-marathon guy. I would typically run three to four miles, and enjoyed participating in Turkey Trots and 5Ks and 10Ks, including those at runDisney events. But a half marathon? Not for me. My knees and I are fine sipping hot cocoa and cheering from the sidelines, thank you.

Then, last year, I learned about the runDisney Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon. I’d never heard of “virtual” runs before, and wondered if this meant I’d be putting on something that looks like Luke’s training helmet from A New Hope for some kind of futuristic experiment. Turns out that’s not the case.

2017 runDisney Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon medal.

Here’s the gist: you can run 13.1 miles (the length of a half marathon) any way you want, all on the honor system. You can run one mile today, three miles tomorrow, four miles three weeks later, etc. You can walk it, or walk some of it. You can run in Central Park or on a treadmill in your basement. Whatever. It’s a simple yet really smart idea, and it made me excited. Here was a half marathon that anyone, really, could participate in. The promised medal — featuring Poe Dameron and a movable X-wing (!) — only sweetened the deal for this Star Wars obsessive.

So I signed up.

But first, a little backstory.

I’ve always loved running. Finding the perfect sneakers and putting them to use until they’re scuffed and worn out, a reminder of how hard you can push yourself and succeed. Getting out in the open air and clearing my head and testing my limits. Jumping on the treadmill, turning up the speed and incline while watching the Yankees or, when it was on, an episode of Little House on the Prairie. (I have wide-ranging tastes.) When you’re a runner, running is a big part of who you are.

Then one day you wake up and realize you’re not 35 anymore.

That’s what happened to me. I loved and love running, but my knees (the jerk on the right side, in particular) had a change of heart midway through my fourth decade. When I’d go on a run, I could make it about five minutes before experiencing a shooting pain in my right knee, which was more or less debilitating. (In Star Wars terms, I’d put the feeling I had somewhere between a Mustafar lava burn and suffering the consequences of telling the Emperor that you’re a Jedi like your father before you.)

StarWars.com's Dan Brooks running.

Galactic running in the Presidio outside Lucasfilm.

Thanks to some physical therapy, my knee improved, but I still have to watch myself. So the prospects of a half marathon that I could do on my own terms was really exciting. And I was eager to get started.

I normally run around Golden Gate Park’s “panhandle” — so called because, on a map, it looks like an actual handle to the park’s larger pan shape. It’s mostly flat, which is a rarity for San Francisco, and is filled with trees, cool air, and curving paths that I really enjoy. And it measures about 1.6 miles per lap, meaning my normal two-lap route is 3.2 miles. I could pull this off in four sessions, which would be manageable and put me back in a routine. I decided I would do this over the course of one month, running my normal two laps each weekend, with a little extra distance on the last trip out to complete the 13.1-mile tally.

In keeping with the spirit of things, I wore a Star Wars shirt for each run. (It was a simple expression of fandom and my excitement for the runDisney Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon, and a reminder that I was working toward something.) While I still faced (and face, today) lingering issues with pain, the format of the half marathon made the experience not just possible, but enjoyable. There was no pressure to keep a certain pace or to even run in each of my four sessions. When my IT bands felt like they were tightening, I walked. If my knee started acting up, I slowed down. Ultimately, I finished those 13.1 miles in a way that worked for me, and finishing let me know that I can still run.

As any runner will attest, there’s a great feeling of accomplishment upon finishing a race, and this one was, surprisingly, no different. I’ve amassed more miles from my panhandle route than I can count, but I’m especially proud of those 13.1 from the runDisney Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon.

runDisney medal

Now, I have an amazing medal. I’m looking forward to placing the 2019 edition next to it.

Learn more about the runDisney Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon at the official runDisney site. Registration ends March 31, 2019, so punch it!

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Why the runDisney Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon is Perfect for Runners of All Skill Levels

The Clone Wars Rewatch: “The Zillo Beast Strikes Back”

StarWars.com

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

30: “The Zillo Beast Strikes Back” (Season Two, Episode 19)

“The most dangerous beast is the beast within.”

Synopsis:

The Zillo Beast arrives on Coruscant and Chancellor Palpatine orders Dr. Sionver Boll to study and then kill the creature. Instead, the Zillo Beast escapes from the lab with devastating consequences for the city and its inhabitants.

Analysis:

In the shadow of the rampaging Zillo Beast, Chancellor Palpatine looks genuinely frightened, scrutinized by the glowing green glare of the animal he ordered sacrificed for his own gain.

A scene from "the Zillo Beast Strikes Back."

Every time I watch this episode, I feel worse and worse for the poor creature. Its quiet existence below ground disturbed by war, chained up and taken from its home planet against its will for cruel scientific testing, and ultimately killed in the defense of the millions of residents of Coruscant as it waged a terrified rampage against the one man who sought to harness its powers for himself.

A scene from "the Zillo Beast Strikes Back."

Padmé, true to form, sees the humanitarian plight in the midst of the chaos, showing a deeply empathetic view of the poor creature and offering to help stand up for the Zillo, which has no voice and has had no choice in the matter.

A scene from "the Zillo Beast Strikes Back."

But Palpatine thinks of the Zillo as “just an animal,” a scornful comment suggesting that this mammoth, invulnerable beast is somehow lesser than he. By performing experiments on the creature, Palpatine hopes for knowledge to lead him one step closer to the thing he craves most in life — unlimited power.

A scene from "the Zillo Beast Strikes Back."


A scene from "the Zillo Beast Strikes Back."

Animals are intuitive, and from the start the Zillo Beast has a clear dislike for the chancellor. Perhaps the beast sees through Palpatine’s facade, divining his cruel intentions and evil machinations long before even the Jedi can suspect his double life as a Sith Lord. Sadly, in trying to escape, the Republic is forced to act on Palpatine’s wishes to exterminate the last of its kind in defense of the millions of innocent lives caught in its (unintentionally) destructive path.

A scene from "the Zillo Beast Strikes Back."

Technology cannot contain it, but poison can annihilate it. Still, the ever-calculating Palpatine has plans to bring the suddenly extinct species back to life through cloning experimentation.

Intel:

  • A billboard of Palpatine is repeating the same holographic address broadcast in another episode – “Lightsaber Lost.”

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when Padmé takes the lead on a mission to investigate her former flame Senator Rush Clovis in “Senate Spy.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

The Clone Wars Rewatch: “The Zillo Beast Strikes Back”

The Clone Wars Rewatch: “The Zillo Beast” Awakens

StarWars.com

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

29: “The Zillo Beast” (Season Two, Episode 18)

“Choose what is right, not what is easy.”

A scene from "The Zillo Beast."

Synopsis:

On Malastare, Chancellor Palpatine orders troops to drop the Republic’s newest superweapon — an untested electro proton bomb — in the hopes of disabling the Separatist droid army to win a strategic alliance with the Dugs. Instead, the bomb’s blast awakens the ancient Zillo Beast, a monster of legendary size and ferocity.

Analysis:

We have a bad feeling about this.

A scene from "The Zillo Beast."

A scene from "The Zillo Beast."
A scene from "The Zillo Beast."

The Republic’s doomsday bomb obliterated one problem, that being the approaching droid army, but it was replaced by two more, the massive crater that swallowed many clone troopers and the beast the emerged from the depths.

A scene from "The Zillo Beast." A scene from "The Zillo Beast."

Like other radioactive and radically invulnerable monsters that have dominated legendary tales, the Zillo Beast serves as a warning about disrupting the natural order of things. A lightsaber does nothing to penetrate its ancient scales, a startling revelation for Anakin Skywalker. Although the planet’s natural fuel resources are thought deadly to the beast, dousing it seems to only provoke an enraged attack, inspiring the beast to climb out of the crater where it had been cornered.

A scene from "The Zillo Beast."

Mace Windu would see the creature saved, not out of any soft-hearted concern for adorable noodle-armed beasts, but because he’s a man of high morals. “It isn’t the creature, it’s the principle,” he says. “Allowing the Dugs to kill it violates what we stand for as Jedi.”

A scene from "The Zillo Beast." A scene from "The Zillo Beast."

However, defending the creature jeopardizes a valuable political treaty with the Dugs. Ultimately, Palpatine and the Republic instead hatch a scheme to seemingly satisfy both outcomes. The creature is neutralized and removed from the planet, its limp body taken away to be studied, and the Dugs have their freedom from the last of the beasts that once devoured their ancestors.

But how often can you really please two opposing groups? Even if this is your first time watching, you can see where this is going. An incapacitated, indestructible ancient beast transported to the very heart and capital of the galaxy. What could go wrong?

A scene from "The Zillo Beast."

Intel:

  • Supervising director Dave Filoni snuck in quite a few homages to the Godzilla films in this arc, including tiny nods on the helmets of Clone troopers Goji and Rod.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when “The Zillo Beast Strikes Back.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

The Clone Wars Rewatch: “The Zillo Beast” Awakens

The Clone Wars Rewatch: Honor Among Jedi and “Bounty Hunters”

StarWars.com

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

28: “Bounty Hunters” (Season Two, Episode 17)

“Courage makes heroes, but trust builds friendship.”

A scene from "Bounty Hunters."

Synopsis:

After a crash landing on Felucia, Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka seek aid from the local spice farmers only to learn that the villagers are the ones who are in real need. Beset by Hondo Ohnaka and his band of pirates, the farmers have contracted four bounty hunters to protect them.

Analysis:

As Ahsoka says, “You don’t have to look tough to be tough.”

A scene from "Bounty Hunters."

Or, you know, size matters not. It’s training and collaboration that counts in a conflict, and this episode explores both through the unlikely alliance between Jedi and bounty hunter as well as the perseverance of the at-first timid villagers.

A scene from "Bounty Hunters."

When we first meet Casiss and the other farmers of Felucia, they are literally cowering in hiding, beaten down by the onslaught of attacks by Hondo Ohnaka. Their only recourse is paying bounty hunters to act as the first line of defense — a hired blaster to ward off a pirate’s gang. They see the crash-landed Jedi as a ray of hope in the conflict, three more soldiers to add to the ranks of their security and defense forces.A scene from "Bounty Hunters." A scene from "Bounty Hunters."

But like the freedom fighters they’ll later train on Onderon, the Jedi know that they cannot stay on Felucia and fight the battle for the villagers. Their only recourse is to train them to be independent, confident in their own abilities to stand up for themselves, defending their land against the pirate gang and any other raiders that come along.

A scene from "Bounty Hunters."

Anakin and Embo patiently give the villagers the most basic skills, teaching them how the simple tools they already possess can be repurposed as weapons. It’s an important lesson in parenting and mentorship — defend a village from raiders and they will be safe for a day. Teach them to fight and they will be protected for a lifetime. Although the farmers don’t have much confidence in their own abilities, it’s not surprising that a village attuned to the need for hard work and cooperative collaboration to prosper would flourish in self defense given the right tools and training.

A scene from "Bounty Hunters." A scene from "Bounty Hunters."

Jedi and bounty hunters don’t normally wind up on the same side, but a war will do that — shift alliances and agreements until sometimes the person you’re fighting with is simply the enemy of your enemy. And this gang is hardly the type of mercenary scum we’re used to seeing. They’re more like self-interested scoundrels, working a job to get paid but not devoid of all feeling toward the innocents they defend, as Sugi suggests.

A scene from "Bounty Hunters." A scene from "Bounty Hunters."

Like the farmers, the bounty hunter Serapis is scared and in hiding, ensconced in an intimidating armored suit to disguise his small stature and nervous demeanor.

And just like the farmers, he’s far more powerful than one might expect judging him by his size.

A scene from "Bounty Hunters."

Intel:

  • The bounty hunter Embo has at least two things in common with Dave Filoni — the supervising director provides the voice of the alien and they both favor cool hats.
  • The episode pays homage to Akira Kurosawa in tribute to the film The Seven Samurai.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when war awakens a massive creature in “The Zillo Beast.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

The Clone Wars Rewatch: Honor Among Jedi and “Bounty Hunters”