The Clone Wars, Book 2: Wild Space by Karen Miller
Chapters 1 and 2
Make no mistake: I’m all about giving my readers what they want. And what many of them want, according to a number of communications I’ve received in the past few months, boils down to the following:
- Obi-Wan Being Sad About Things;
- Obi-Wan and Anakin Being Obviously Into Each Other;
- Anakin and Padme Drama;
Well, let me tell you all something (that some of you obviously already know): the subject of today’s recap, Karen Miller’s now-non-canon Wild Space, pretty much operates with only these three bullet points to guide it. (That, and “give anyone enough time and they will end up falling in love with Obi-Wan Kenobi.”) (Also “Anakin probably does shirtless backflips when he gets bored.”)
This book? Lives up to its title. It IS Wild. There are moments in this book that had me laughing out loud, and questioning whether or not Star Wars was playing an elaborate joke on me (or, alternatively, if the very same nerds who make and write for Star Wars are just as entertainingly weird as I am, which in fairness seems entirely likely. Star Wars seems like a pretty solid case study in “the inmates are running the asylum.”)
Right then: this novel takes place immediately following the first Geonosis Throwdown, i.e. That Time Team Handsome Had To Have An 800-Something-Year-Old Fight a Bully For Them and Anakin Lost An Arm. In today’s adventure, Padme will be so not interested in what anyone in the Jedi Order is selling unless it involves the healing powers of getting into Anakin’s pants, Palpatine will take a moment to savor his latest Moment of Triumph, and Obi-Wan will get a talking-to from his great-grandpa about trying to make everything regarding Anakin Obi-Wan’s fault. (Keep fighting the good fight, Yoda.)
Later in this book, to my great delight, Padme and Obi-Wan will have what I can only describe as a “you stay away from my man, bitch!” confrontation, Anakin will wind up dramatically sobbing in Obi-Wan’s arms at one point, and then Ahsoka and half the Jedi Order will gather ’round to watch Obi-Wan and Anakin have a sassy, sweaty, outlandishly sexual sparring match that almost reduces Ahsoka to tears of joy on Anakin’s behalf. You think I’m exaggerating about all or some of this, dear reader. But lucky for you, I am not. You’ll want to stick around as I make my way through this one. With that — let’s get wild!
Recurring Theme: Yoda Already Thinks They Might Be Screwed
As the Clones remove the bodies of a number of dead Jedi from the Geonosis arena, Yoda and Mace talk it out as dispassionately as possible because Oh No Feelings. Mace says that he doesn’t regret coming here, but…today did not go so well. Yoda sadly acknowledges that they might be forced to start Knighting younger and younger Jedi since they were down to record-low recruiting levels to begin with and now a whole bunch of Jedi just got the ax.
Why, they’ll have to start Knighting people who aren’t ready. People who are, oh, say, impulsive. And maybe super highly suggestible. People, like, oh…I dunno. Anakin Skywalker, for example!
Ah. Anakin. Yoda reflects for a moment on how badly injured our beloved human disaster is, and how at this moment he’s on his way back to Coruscant with Obi-Wan and Padme — whom he also worries about. He feels like something bad is in the cards for those crazy kids but he just can’t seem to put his wrinkly green finger on what.
Mace shakes him out of his inner thoughts and tells him to go on home to meditate: Mace will take care of the rest of the work here. The Jedi Order needs Yoda’s guidance to be able to survive all of this! Yoda feels like crap about this, because He Is Getting Too Old For This Sort of Thing.
He watches as the clones carry off yet another body and ruminates on how Ethically Probably Not Very Good this whole Clone Army thing is, but wonders if they have any choice now but to use them.
Recurring Theme: Disappointing Apprentice
Mace interrupts Yoda’s thoughts again: is it Dooku that’s bothering him? Yoda shudders: great, don’t make me think about THAT now on top of everything else! Poor Yoda. He is having a really bad day at work. Yoda declines to answer this question, and just states that he’s leaving for home now. As he flies off from Geonosis, he’s hit by a wave of grief that he forces himself to let go of. He knows he’s got work to do, and from what I can tell from all of TCW it mostly involves giving Palpatine the Stink Eye for the next handful of years while not fully grasping the impending Skywalker Disaster.
Recurring Theme: Padme Amidala Does Not Take No For An Answer
Back in the Healer’s Halls at the Jedi Temple, Padme is making a mild spectacle of herself. She’s in a waiting room of sorts and she is like LISTEN HERE: I need to see Anakin Skywalker and TAKE ME THERE RIGHT NOW just for like 5 minutes!
The healer, Vokara Che, replies that Anakin’s been gravely injured and put into the Star Wars equivalent of a medically-induced coma, rendering him less likely than usual to understand what’s going on, and so he’s not accepting guests at the moment. Padme is like I KNOW HE WAS GRAVELY INJURED. I WAS THERE. She gestures at the ripped-up arena outfit she is STILL wearing, and briefly considers showing the healer her hand, which is all bruised up because Anakin squeezed it so hard from the pain he was in on their ride home.
She decides against showing them this, though, because OMG Anakin Surely Cannot Be Holding Anyone’s Hand, Let Alone The Hand of A Pretty Young Lady Like Herself! Um, OK, fine Star Wars, but I’m guessing even the Jedi Order doesn’t really consider “I reflexively gripped someone’s hand because I was in extreme physical pain BECAUSE MY ARM GOT SLICED OFF BY A SITH” to be an unacceptably romantic gesture.
Recurring Theme: The Skywalker Family Sure Likes Making a Scene
The healer advises her to go get her own injuries taken care of, which she then proceeds to detail out. Padme cuts her off and pronounces that there’s nothing wrong with her that “five minutes with Anakin won’t fix!” Wow! Hello there, indeed. Padme is a woman who knows what she wants, I’ll give her that.
Vokara is like “ohhhkay then, ignoring that — Anakin is FINE, we are his family, we’ll take care of him would you PLEASE CHILL OUT or do we have to escalate things here, Senator? You’re not even supposed to be here!” Padme is like HOW DARE YOU WHERE ELSE SHOULD I BE BUT AT THE SIDE OF A GUY I PROMISE I DON’T LIKE IN THAT WAY LOOK HOW JUST-FRIENDS I AM BEING ABOUT HIM and just as she’s really starting to make a scene, Obi-Wan sidles up behind her, probably because he senses that someone in Anakin’s orbit is about to make a spectacle of themselves and that is pretty much what he has trained for.
Padme Amidala, Has Not Been Paying Attention
Padme turns around and is like UH OH, Captain Bringdown is here. Obi-Wan is described here as clinging to the doorway because he can barely stand due to his injuries, and he looks fatigued and…could it be? He looks like he’s in despair? Padme chides herself: no way. The Jedi don’t feel stuff like despair! At least, “not this Jedi”. WHICH STAR WARS HAVE YOU BEEN WATCHING, AMIDALA? That guy runs on despair.
I love that Obi-Wan dragged himself half-dead over here just to insert himself into some Skywalker Drama. The healer is like YOU! Kenobi! What the hell are YOU doing here, you’re ALSO supposed to be in a coma right now! Obi-Wan, to nobody’s surprise, declares that he has foregone his treatment for now because he wants to see Anakin first. Oh my God. Padme and Obi-Wan are so hopeless, and the best part here is that ANAKIN IS SUCH A TRAINWRECK and yet they are both so bent out of shape about this guy. It’s like Anakin is a very handsome and goofily sweet tornado who likes fixing robots, and they’ve been sucked in to his path of destruction.
Obi-Wan then asks to see Padme alone, and the healer walks off in a huff, declaring Obi-Wan to be “as bad as [Padme] is”. THAT HEALER? IS SMART.
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Dance Chaperone Here To Ruin Your Good Time
Padme looks Obi-Wan over and tells him that the healer was correct about one thing: Obi-Wan looks terrible. How dare you, Padme.
Obi-Wan tells her, in turn, that the healer was also right that Padme should leave. She needs to clear outta here before Yoda gets back and things get “…complicated.” LOL: so Obi-Wan is just like a really strict prom chaperone telling Padme to break it up? He totally caught them standing too close on the dance floor!
Padme feels compelled to yell and pitch a hissy fit about this, but she relents and leaves in distress.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan and Anakin, Jedi Power Couple
Yoda, meanwhile, is on his way back home, but he’s gotta stop to chat with The Good and Noble Palpatine first. As he departs his ship, the Padawan who was driving him stops and asks him if it’s true: have a lot of Jedi really been killed? Yoda confirms that yes, this is true. The Padawan, T’Seely, then starts to ask a follow-up while looking stricken: he’d heard that Obi-Wan and Anakin might have been…
Yoda cuts him off: no, they’re not dead, but they did both get hurt. And at this Yoda acknowledges to himself that while normally it’s not considered good form to elevate one Jedi over another, this is Obi-Wan and Anakin they’re talking about, and their reputation is THAT amazing that he understands why this padawan thinks this is a big-ass deal. Nevertheless, he tells the padawan plainly:
LOL, oh RIGHT: no one in the Jedi Order would ever think to gossip about anyone, LEAST OF ALL ABOUT OBI-WAN AND ANAKIN, WHO I AM 1000% SURE ARE THE SUBJECT OF A GREAT MANY RUMORS AROUND THESE PARTS.
Bail Organa, Has A Bad Feeling About This
Yoda gets to Palpatine’s office, which the book goes out of its way to mention is weirdly dark and red and opulent and “threatens to oppress” which is SUPER WEIRD FOR WHAT A GREAT AND NICE AND HUMBLE GUY HE IS (hahahaha,) and he happens to see Bail is there to meet with our pal Sheev, too. Bail asks him if it’s true what he’s heard, and Yoda confirms that yes: the Jedi have had better days than they did at Geonosis. Bail then asks if it’s also true that the clone army was useful, and again, Yoda confirms. Bail’s like well that’s…good, I guess, except that now the Separatists know we HAVE an army, and Padme was totally right! They are absolutely just going to see this as an invitation to go to war against us!
Yoda, depressingly, pretty much just says, “…yup, we are in for a bad time”, which is of course TRUE, but let us not forget all the many hilarious moments that are ahead of us in the Clone Wars TOO, Master! What about Ziro the Hutt’s Space Fanboat? What about that time a bunch of Jedi kids put on a circus show for pirates? WHAT ABOUT PADME’S FRUITCAKE CRISIS!? It wasn’t ALL suffering and sadness. We had some laughs in there, too. Sort of. Until everyone died.
Bail begins to say that they can’t allow this to happen, that somebody’s gotta stand up for democracy and so on, and just when Yoda’s about to reply, Palpatine calls them in.
Darth Sidious, Loving Every Minute
Regular readers are well-aware that I have a special place in my cold black heart for the absolutely delightful wickedness that is Darth Sidious, and MAN the scene that opens up Chapter 2 is a goldmine. Bail and Yoda walk in and our pal Sheev is like “oh, YODA, I AM SO GLAD YOU SURVIVED” (ha!), then goes on to be like “and the JEDI NEVER EVEN SAW IT COMING, DIDJA?” THIS GUY. He said that! What an asshole.
Oh, but there’s more: Palpatine is VERY concerned about how fares our dear young friend Anakin Skywalker, and after he asks, he immediately apologizes to Yoda — he DOES hope that his attachment to the young man doesn’t make the Jedi feel uneasy! He just cares OH SO VERY MUCH ABOUT ANAKIN.
Yoda, internally, thinks to himself that WELL, YES: the Jedi DON’T actually especially like how interested this old creep is in Anakin. But he doesn’t really want to get into it now with everything else going on, and Bail standing right there, and in any case Palpatine is well-meaning (AGGGHH GUYS NO COME ON,) and he IS the President of the Universe so…Yoda doesn’t want to hurt his feelings or whatever. Missed Opportunities, Thy Name is The Jedi Order.
So they go on and on for a bit longer about Anakin and then Sheev is like “he lost his ARM?! HOW? WHO COULD HAVE DONE SUCH A THING???!” Yoda admits that it was Count Dooku, something Palpatine Totally Did Not Already Know, and as he pretends to be utterly shocked by this he’s like BUT HOW?!
Tell Me EVERYTHING
Yoda doesn’t want to say the S-word in front of Bail Organa (side note: I am not 100% clear on exactly why the Jedi have to keep the Sith a total secret, or why no one else in the universe seems to know that they even existed at one point. I mean, I know it was supposed to be 1,000 years ago that the Sith were last vanquished, but aren’t there history books in this universe? Who am I kidding: this is the same galaxy that forgot the Jedi Order was a thing by the time Obi-Wan was in HIS FIFTIES, despite the fact that he was the Universe’s Handsome JEDI Hero less than two decades earlier. I guess in-universe this makes total sense.) He simply tells Palpatine that Dooku’s Lust for Powah made him maim Anakin.
Sidious is having like the BEST day right now, and so, feigning extreme pain at doing so, asks Yoda to tell him everything that happened at Geonosis. Omit no detail, Yoda! He can handle it. Honest.
Yoda gives him the 50,000-foot overview and after he finishes, Palpatine just sort of stares out his giant picture window, surely just suppressing the biggest grin ever. He heaves a sigh at long last: you know, everyone, there are times when Poor Palpatine just doesn’t think he can CARRY ON with all the suffering in this world! And…you guys, he just…feels so…responsible for everything that’s happened at Geonosis! Ha. Ha. Ha.
Aaaaanyways once Palpatine’s done with this grotesque charade for now, he gets Bail to agree to set up a committee of Senators to talk about Republic Security, and asks Yoda to join a separate one for them to talk about Ending This War swiftly. Yoda is uneasy about having the Jedi get MORE involved, but relents. As he prepares to leave, he tells Uncle Palpatine that if there’s anything else he needs, just give him a jingle. Sheev is like OH DON’T WORRY:
Unnecessary, Sidious. Now you’re just showboating.
With that, the meeting is adjourned so that Yoda can go have a heart-to-heart with his favorite grandkid, and Sheev and Mas Amedda can pop the cork on some expensive champagne (I presume.)
Master Yoda, Parent of Difficult Children
Yoda arrives in the healer’s ward, and talks to Vokara Che. First, they discuss how Anakin had to be given a prosthetic arm, which Yoda feels terribly about. Then, after he asks about Obi-Wan, Vokara Che is like OH YEAH, ABOUT THAT GUY:
UGH. Thanks, book. Yes, it is common knowledge amongst everyone in the Star Wars universe that Obi-Wan will find a way to take something bad Anakin did, or something tragic that happened to Anakin, and make it All Obi-Wan’s Fault. I love that Yoda has the resigned “…yep, that would be Obi-Wan, all right,” attitude here of a parent who knows his son well. Yoda asks to see Anakin (who’s still knocked out as he recovers,) after which he’ll go deal with Kenobi.
His brief pop-in with Anakin completed, Yoda walks into Obi-Wan’s room and finds him anxiously pacing back and forth, trying to come up with a way to get them to let him see Anakin. OBI-WAN, GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF.
Recurring Theme: Your Shitty Fate Will Be The Same As Mine Because Reasons
Yoda is like, “Look here, Kenobes: remember how I was not super into you and Anakin pairing off at first? Do you know WHY I didn’t want you guys to be The Team? BECAUSE YOU ARE BOTH EMOTIONAL WRECKS, THAT’S WHY. Attachment! All those dates you guys keep going on! Etc.”
Yoda goes on to explain that both of them suck at the attachment part of being a Jedi and that Anakin’s attachment to his mom is why Anakin ran off to the desert in the first place in the last movie. Obi-Wan is like B-B-BUT HE DIDN’T TELL ME! Um, when exactly would Anakin have gotten around to that? He has his My Mom’s In Trouble Nightmare on Naboo, and he goes straight to Tatooine from there, and THEN the next time he sees Obi-Wan is when they’re about to be murdered on Geonosis. What exactly was Anakin supposed to do? “…then we decided to come rescue you OH AND BY THE WAY MY MOM IS DEAD AND I MURDERED A BUNCH OF SAND PEOPLE ON TATOOINE ANYWAYS I JUST WANTED YOU TO KNOW BEFORE WE DIE.” I mean, I guess Anakin could have called him from Naboo but wasn’t Obi-Wan pretty much RIGHT in the thick of the whole Space Detective Gig at the time? (Unless it’s just normal for Anakin to call Obi-Wan while he’s at work to tell him about his nightmares, which…OK, yes, I suppose that actually does sound entirely plausible for these two.)
Yoda goes on and on about how Obi-Wan has also always had a problem with attachment, and really: I am no Yoda Hater here, but he is ALL OVER THE PLACE RIGHT NOW. He spent the first part of this discussion being like “you’re being way too hard on yourself, pumpkin; Anakin’s problems aren’t because of you” and now he’s like “YOU WERE TOO SOFT ON THE BOY; ALSO REMEMBER ALL YOUR TRAGIC BACKSTORY?” PICK AN ANGLE AND GO WITH IT, PAL.
Do What Must Be Done
Yoda’s like AND ANOTHER THING: Amidala. You know Anakin totally likes her, don’t you? Obi-Wan is like “…goddamnit, the troll knows about that, too.” Yoda tells Obi-Wan that this whole thing needs to be shut down with a quickness. YOU KNOW HOW IT IS, KENOBES:
Swell. Thanks, as always, Star Wars.
Obi-Wan sighs, and then is like but, uh, we have a problem here — I think Padme totally likes him back? OH MY GOD THE JEDI ORDER HAS SOOOOO MANY THINGS TO BE WORRYING ABOUT RIGHT NOW AND TWO OF THEIR BEST GUYS ARE LITERALLY WASTING TIME TALKING ABOUT WHO SOME TEENAGE KID IS MAYBE DATING.
Yoda’s like “yeah, about that? I don’t care. Like, at all. We don’t do “privacy” here at JediCo, and so you’re gonna go to Padme’s house and you are gonna tell her to back the hell away from Anakin. You hear me?” Wow. Great talk, gramps!
As the second chapter concludes, Obi-Wan feels a whole bunch of ways about all of this, but concedes that he has no choice but to meddle in Anakin’s personal life when he’d really rather just be napping somewhere or hanging out with his bantha family. Awww. My poor baby.
And on that foreboding note, that’s a wrap for this installment of Clone Wars Drama: The Novel. Join me next time, when the Feelings and Angst get turned up to 11, Padme gets MIGHTY pissed off, and Obi-Wan A) confesses that he loves Anakin out loud and then B) slaps him in the ass. (I am not making any of this up. I told you we were in for a wild ride.) See you then!