Star Wars: The Clone Wars [Film], Part I
As of this writing, I have been your faithful (if sometimes a bit lazier than I’d like) Star Wars recapper for just over four glorious, mildly embarrassing years. In advance of this occasion, I asked readers to let me know what content they’d most like to see get added in the near-term. The survey responses yielded a pretty clear Top Five, and of that Top Five, today’s entry — the first installment of the Clone Wars movie — was decisively in the top slot. With TCW’s swan song season about to premiere in just a handful of days, and with Snark Wars’ fourth anniversary having only just passed, I thought there’d be no better way to mark both occasions than to deliver on this oft-requested recap. Whether you’ve been reading since the blog’s early days, or if you’ve only just accidentally stumbled on it while trying to get an actual serious summary of something from Star Wars and are wondering what the hell you’ve gotten yourself into, I thank you all so very, very much for joining me here. I cannot possibly tell you how much I appreciate your readership, your wonderfully kind feedback over the years, your telling your friends about this silly corner of the Star Wars Internet. Writing this blog is a pleasure, and you all make it that much more so.
With that moment of sappiness out of the way, let’s talk Clone Wars! This ridiculous delight of a movie kicked off our introduction to this wacky era of the Star Wars timeline, which we’d later be getting more of in 5, then 6, now 7 seasons of television. The film is set a bit after the events of Attack of the Clones, where we left the Jedi and the universe at large staring down the fact that all-out galactic war wasn’t merely a possibility they should all be wringing their hands about, but was now very much a Thing That Was Happening. It’s also set after one Anakin Skywalker, Galaxy’s Biggest Pain in the Ass, has been promoted from Jedi Padawan With a Terrible Haircut to Jedi Knight Who’s Growing It Out, Thank God. This, evidently, is not stopping him from still being a human barnacle on the side of his definitely platonic best friend/”former” master Obi-Wan Kenobi, since as we will see both in this movie and in the entire Clone Wars series that followed, Anakin was only separated from Obi-Wan for like a grand total of 27 minutes during the entire war, and he used 5 of those minutes to turn to the Dark Side and murder everyone. So, like, I’m not saying it’s actually Obi-Wan’s fault that the universe collapsed since he had the audacity to think that Anakin could hold himself together unsupervised for part of an afternoon, but I’m not NOT saying it, either.
Yes, Anakin’s a Full Fledged Jedi now, and he’s also Secretly Romantically Involved with his dream girl Padme Amidala, something that absolutely no one in the entire galaxy ever suspects (according to Anakin, who is an idiot). He’s ALSO about to have his world shaken up a little bit more in today’s recap, because as it turns out, Obi-Wan’s decided that it’s time for The Team to take things to the next level. By which, of course, I mean that he’s quietly signed the paperwork, and the boys are about to become dads! Hijinks await us, so let’s get to it!
Recurring Theme: The Ridiculous Plotlines of The Clone Wars
We open with Voiceover Recap Guy doing his thing and yelling at us about the war and what everyone’s been up to since the Battle of Geonosis, namely: flying around and getting shot at, mostly, while Ultimate Evil continues gaining strength. We’re shown Team Handsome zipping around in unison in their little Jedi Starfighters and I already want to cry. Then we’re told some Shocking News About Hyperspace Lanes:
That brown robe seems pretty off-brand for a Sith, no? Was his evil cape at the cleaners and he had to go dig out his old Jedi getup?
This Hyperspace Lane Seizure has had the unsurprising effect of making things a wee bit difficult for the Republic:
I am feeling SOME KIND OF WAYS about Obi-Wan and Mace standing there all supportively behind Sheev. FUCK THIS GUY.
Yes, the Republic has been forcibly separated from its own Grand Army, which ain’t good. This has meant that the Jedi can’t seem to gain much of a foothold in the Outer Rim, and more and more planets are throwing in with Team Dooku.
…I’m sure this isn’t going to end in tears or anything! And I’m sure this wasn’t the intent all along of Whoever Is Behind This Terrible War!
So, we’re told that crime is running rampant across the galaxy, because the Jedi are too busy trying to keep everything from falling apart to go chase down parking violations and jaywalkers and thwart Hondo Ohnaka’s latest fraudulent check scheme. And, as a result of this Wild and Out of Control Crime Spree…
LOL. I genuinely, truly forget that this is the plot of this movie like EVERY TIME I’ve sat down to watch it, and then this bit pops up in the intro and I remember JUST how utterly silly this movie is and I get excited all over again. Yes, a major portion of the plot here is that Jabba, a terrible gelatinous blob/space mob boss, not only has a son, but said son has been kidnapped. And ANAKIN has to go help him. It is completely TERRIBLE that Anakin, both pre- and post-Dark Side Fall, has found himself in situations where he’s had to HELP THE HUTTS in some capacity. PLEASE RECALL THAT ANAKIN WAS LITERALLY ENSLAVED BY THEM AT ONE POINT. That said, it IS always objectively hilarious whenever Anakin, as Anakin or as Vader, has to go back to Tatooine, because sand, so, there’s that.
…I’m getting ahead of myself (again, as usual). Apologies. So Jabba’s son has been kidnapped, and he’s put out a call for help:
So, let me get this straight: Jabba, a mobster who probably has a zillion underworld connections, is asking the feds to intervene and help him? Why doesn’t he just send out some goons or hire one of the 68 bounty hunters that hang out in his palace at all times to go snag the kid for him? Ah, Star Wars: when will I ever stop asking you to make sense.
Recurring Theme: Sheev Palpatine, Always Catching a Break
Well, you guys will NEVER GUESS who might be thrilled by the idea of sending the Jedi to get mixed up with a criminal cabal of slave-owning, sand-dwelling giant slugs who JUST HAPPEN to be on Anakin Skywalker’s list of Top Mental Breakdown Triggers (along with “Mom Death”, “shirtless nightmares/remote possibility of Padme Death”, “Clovis”, “Favorite soap opera got cancelled” and “Obi-Wan too handsome”, among others. It is admittedly a very long list.)
WHAT A SURPRISE, Palpatine thinks this could be the big break they’ve been hoping for! My goodness, this all couldn’t have gone better if he’d planned the whole thing in meticulous detail himself over a span of several decades.
Mace has a Bad Feeling About This:
He declares this whole thing to be a “dark day for the Republic”, to which Palpatine is oh so very sympathetic oh yes obviously he too is very very concerned:
THIS ASSHOLE. I just…like, IMAGINE how often he probably just burst out laughing uncontrollably for hours at a time, a la Mr. Burns in that one Simpsons episode:
Sheev’s justification here is that, since the Hutts control the Outer Rim, they need use of their hyperspace lanes, since the other ones are blocked by that other army Sheev totally doesn’t run from the shadows or anything. Mace says ominously:
Mace, I like you, so I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: there is more to EVERYTHING AROUND YOU RIGHT NOW than it seems.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan and Anakin, May Have Oversold Their Own Legend
Palpatine replies that, if that’s the case, then it seems like the Jedi ought to send as many people as they can to definitely not get murdered on this mission! AND TO MY ENDLESS AMUSEMENT, THIS IS MACE’S REPLY:
OK OK OK, I HAVE TO ASK: WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN SO MANY TIMES. How is it that like 99% of the time, during this ENTIRE WAR, the ONLY two people the Jedi can spare are Obi-Wan and Anakin?! Aren’t they supposed to be like, SUPER BUSY and VERY IMPORTANT and THE REPUBLIC’S MAIN GUYS or whatever? HOW are they LITERALLY ALWAYS AVAILABLE? I am dying. Are…are they maybe not as good at their jobs as they’ve been trying to convince us all that they are? Are they usually just lounging around in Padme’s apartment wearing sweatpants, watching reruns and periodically making out? Are they the Jedi Order’s, like, 87th-stringers? The guys you only call up when ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE ELSE IS BUSY? I cannot stop laughing about this, as I picture the Council being like “…OK…did we send out that squadron of first-year initiates? We did? Shit, OK, well…then who…can we send…on this mission…” while Obi-Wan is sitting there in the room all “Anakin and I can go! We’re not busy!” while they continue to ignore him. GOD. I know this is news to exactly zero people who have ever read this blog before, but making fun of those two is one of my FAVORITE THINGS IN THIS GODFORSAKEN WORLD. My love language is dragging them ceaselessly.
All right, at any rate, apparently the REAL reason Team Handsome is getting picked for the job because they’ve just captured the planet Christophsis, and so I guess the Jedi just assume that they’re kicking back and partying or staring into space vacantly as they await a new assignment.
Recurring Theme: Yularen Is Already So Very Tired
Mace holo-Skypes with Yularen, asking to get in touch with Obi-Wan. I do so very much love that if Obi-Wan and Anakin are together somewhere and someone needs to get in touch with them, no one EVER asks for Anakin. Yularen explains that they can’t get ahold of him, possibly because of a solar storm. Please enjoy this shot I accidentally got of him making the face of a man who is already so done with Skywalker Shenanigans, and has many MANY years ahead of him to deal with it still:
Yoda pipes up on the call and tells Yularen to tell Obi-Wan that they’re sending a “messenger” to him, and to see that she reaches him safely. Intrigue! Whoever COULD it be.
Yularen is like OK, sure, we’ll get right on that after we load up supplies, and Yoda counters that this is an ASAP kind of a situation:
Yeah, Yularen! We’ve got a weird family to cobble together, mmkay? GET MOVING. Yularen agrees to help this mysterious messenger to her destination posthaste.
Recurring Theme: The Kenobi-Skywalker Marriage
We then cut to Anakin Skywalker, who is handsomely running around amidst a great deal of pew-pew-pew. He ran too fast for me to get a good shot, so please enjoy this view of his new hairdo instead:
…it’s growing out nicely, sweetie!
Anakin takes stock of the situation and, angrily (of course), yells over to Obi-Wan that “they’re baaaaack!”
Obes comes running and these two dweebs stand there looking ready to stab something:
Naturally Obi-Wan’s first line of dialogue in this film is an “I told you so” aimed at Anakin. LOL, God I love them so much. LOOK AT ANAKIN’S FACE.
I am going to pass away. This movie has been on for LESS THAN FOUR MINUTES and we’re already getting Married Bickering.
Hilariously, Obi-Wan refuses to engage with this further, which means either A) he remembered that it was his own idea to send the ship back in the first place and he just played himself, or B) he knows if he continues to talk Anakin will continue to whine at him literally until time stops and/or they get murdered by the oncoming battle droids, and so he’s just going to stop feeding the fire and hope that Anakin doesn’t bring it up again later. He starts barking out orders, and Anakin follows suit with his own men, and then there’s a whole bunch more blasterfire and running and yelling:
Because I care about my readers, please enjoy this shot of Obi-Wan looking glorious:
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Loves Anakin
Obi-Wan’s informed, as he and his men come under heavy fire, that Anakin should have attacked by now! Obi-Wan, because his faith in Anakin is absolute and endless, is like “don’t sweat it”:
Yeah, Anakin will never fail him! He never has! I AM FINE.
The camera pans up in THE MOST DRAMATIC POSSIBLE WAY to Anakin, standing above all of this, with Rex asking him about the next steps here:
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Hopeless Drama Queen
Anakin smirks and simply tells the boys to “follow [him]” before DIVING INTO THE FUCKING SKY AND POSING AS HE DOES SO:
Honestly? Poor Rex. Poor ALL OF THE CLONES. THIS is the kind of Jedi Bullshit they were made to put up with day after day after day. I’m tired just watching this.
Fortunately for the 501st, the clones have jetpacks, so after Anakin does his little Diva Swandive, they fly down to join him and start firing on the enemy:
Obi-Wan leads his dudes forward into the melee, and Anakin does YET ANOTHER fancy flip into the air, and a whole bunch of clones get injured or killed and there’s really just a whole lot of shit going on at once here.
After some time, the Bad Guys, led by a character for-real called General Whorm Loathsom (LOL) decide the time has come to pull back and put up their deflector shields. As Anakin notes that they’re retreating, he and Obes notice a shuttle approaching:
Recurring Theme: Anakin Loves Obi-Wan
Obi-Wan, who 10,000% knows WAY MORE than he is letting on here, somewhat smirkily (of course) notes that it “looks like help has arrived”.
HahahahahaHA. Yes, all your problems are solved, boys. All of them. Obi-Wan then continues…
I know I’ve already said this once before in this recap, but LOOK AT ANAKIN’S FACE. HE IS SO FREAKED OUT ABOUT THIS, YOU GUYS. HE IS. Because Obi-Wan’s gonna get a NEW Padawan and he’s gonna love someone else other than Anakin AND THIS IS VERY MUCH NOT OK. (“Obi-Wan getting new Padawan and thus paying attention to someone other than Anakin”, incidentally, is almost certainly ALSO on that aforementioned list of things that cause Anakin to have a breakdown.)
Anakin wonders aloud if this marriage is really ready for kids:
I mean, it’s a fair question. These two do have their problems, and you can’t just expect a child to magically fix all that. Oh, he means bringing her into the WAR. Heh. Uh, obviously.
Let’s make this all hurt that much more by reading Anakin’s Canon Inner Feelings during this scene, helpfully fleshed out for us in a flashback in E.K. Johnston’s Ahsoka novel:
So, that’s fun.
Obi-Wan smiles and tells Anakin he’s amazing because Obi-Wan is hopeless:
I mean, OK: Anakin does do a good job with Ahsoka? But also, Anakin “I have zero patience and enjoy yelling” Skywalker is not the FIRST person I think of when I think “people who would make a good teacher”, Kenobi. YOUR BIAS IS SHOWING. AGAIN.
Anakin agrees with me:
Joke’s on Anakin, though, because LOL OBI-WAN AND YODA ABSOLUTELY WERE IN CAHOOTS HERE AND FORGED HIS NAME ON SOME PAPERWORK.
Here Comes Our Girl
The shuttle doors open, and out comes Wee Ahsoka, here to meet her dads. Obi-Wan is momentarily taken aback at her being “a youngling”, which is pretty damn rich coming from a dude whose student was NINE when he started, but OK. Anakin, hilariously, says this:
LOL. This is the first thing Anakin ever says to her. Funny story, the LAST thing he ever says to her is this:
…sorry. I know, I’m a monster. I blame Anakin, personally.
Ahsoka doesn’t let Anakin’s ongoing lack of social skills prevent her from answering the question politely:
She tells the boys that Yoda wants them both home right damn now because there’s an emergency. She leaves out the part about how the emergency is that Sheev wants them to go rescue a kidnapped Huttlet to save the universe.
Anakin snottily retorts that UH I DON’T KNOW IF YOU’VE NOTICED…
Anakin, could you please stop being a dick to a child you just met? Thanks. Obi-Wan says that they’ve been unable to get through, but they’ve actually been calling for help, because things have taken their patented Turn For The Worse over here.
Anakin gets pissy(er) and is like waaaaaaah, they don’t even KNOW we’re in trouble:
I like that Ahsoka has known these two for all of 30 seconds and in that time Anakin has been basically whining the entire time while Obi-Wan stands there looking concerned about him. I guess they were really going with a “what you see is what you get” approach to introducing themselves.
Ahsoka suggests that they try to relay a signal back home via the cruiser that just dropped her off, which Obi-Wan reacts to with a small hopeful smile, and Anakin reacts to with a BRATTY POUT that seems both impressed and also deeply annoyed that someone else had the nerve to have a better idea than him:
There’s a Big Ol’ Space Battle happening above them, but Yularen and Co. are indeed able to patch them through to 1-800-YODA.
Obes tells his grandpa that they’re not in any position to leave the planet for whatever craziness they’re serving up to him next, and they’re trapped. Yoda starts to say something about sending reinforcements, but the transmission breaks up.
Contacting the cruiser again, Anakin is told they’ve gotta haul ass out of town:
They tell them they’ll get back to them when they can, and the holo-Skype ends. Anakin remarks with some annoyance that it looks like they’ll have to keep waiting for reinforcements.
Now having established that they’re gonna be here for a while, and realizing what a disaster first impression they’re making here, Obi-Wan cheerfully shifts gears while Anakin continues to look like he honestly can’t even believe he has to put up with being alive:
Ahsoka introduces herself as “Ahsoka Tano, the new Padawan learner”, and Obi-Wan affably introduces himself as her new Master. Ahsoka nervously explains that, while she is at Obi-Wan’s service, there’s uh, been a definitely-not-on-purpose mix-up here:
Recurring Theme: My Two Dads
Obi-Wan calmly stands back, smiling placidly, to watch the ensuing freakout:
Anakin sputters, pointing accusingly at Obi-Wan, that HE was the one who wanted the Padawan! Ahsoka firmly replies that Yoda was very specific:
Well gee, Anakin, what’s wrong? The idea of getting a Padawan dropped in your lap when you had no plans to begin teaching anytime soon seem a little daunting to you? AT LEAST YOUR MASTER DIDN’T ASSIGN HER TO YOU WITH HIS DYING WORDS.
Speaking of Anakin’s Master, he looks over at Anakin with a smile that seems to say “welp, let’s see how he takes THIS”:
Anakin is baffled. Baffled, I say!
Yeah, it makes no sense HOW WEIRD! I love that at the slightest insinuation that Something Is Amiss Here Who Authorized this, Obi-Wan conveniently decides that we’ve all had enough discussing THIS particular topic for now, I mean REALLY who can SAY how Anakin ended up with a Padawan certainly not Obi-Wan so no point in continuing to chat about THIS totally random anomaly that has occurred!!
So Obi-Wan pivots them back to the fact that they are still in a literal warzone, and Anakin grumbles that he’ll go talk to Rex. Obi-Wan gently and with GREAT amusement tells him to take his Padawan with him:
Things I Am Living For In This Shot:
- Obi-Wan’s face and sassy pose. He is enjoying this SO MUCH AND IT IS VERY FUNNY TO ME
- Ahsoka, who has obviously already figured out 2 minutes in that this whole “having a Master” thing is going to be a hilarious Two-For-One Deal, smirking conspiratorially at Obi-Wan
- ANAKIN’S FACE (again) as he calls on the Force to end his suffering
Recurring Theme: The Unbearable Sadness of Obi-Wan
Say, friends: have we felt bad for Obi-Wan and his terrible life lately? Hmm? Just to make sure we all remain in a constant state of sadness, please look at his face full of pride and hope and happiness as he watches his new little family walk away:
Anakin’s got a STUDENT! He’s all grown up! Obi-Wan is so proud! They have a little spitfire daughter now, who’s gonna keep him on his toes! And absolutely everything is going to end so badly and also Maul is going to come back from the dead in a couple of years or possibly months, I have no idea how long anything in this show covers so who the hell knows. My point is that OBI-WAN DID NOT DESERVE ANY OF THIS.
Asajj Ventress, Huttnapper
We now cut to Ventress, who’s holo-Skyping with Dooku:
Oh my gosh I am super shocked that it’s the Sith, and therefore goddamn Sheev, behind the kidnapping of Jabba’s son! Sometimes I genuinely wonder how the hell Palpatine kept track of all the different people whose lives he was screwing with at any given time. I stand in awe of his organizational skills. He probably had a REALLY impressive Excel spreadsheet.
Dooku’s like “k, great, that’s all according to plan”, Ventress is like “roger that Count D”, and then like the diva he is, Sidious swoops in there to make a guest appearance and drop some more nuggets about his Evil Plans here:
Well then! Good. I mean, the Jedi Order had it coming and all, what with their…[checks records] commitment to peace and compassion and standing in giant gusts of wind while wearing oversized robes for maximum drama. Sigh.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Thinks Rules Don’t Apply To Him
Back on Christophsis, Rex is conferring with Anakin about how the Separatists are gearing up for another assault, but that things are quiet for now. He then notes that Anakin has someone with him:
Ahsoka, without missing a beat, is like oh HELLO, YES, I am Master Skywalker’s PADAWAN Ahsoka Tano, like as in his STUDENT WHO HE IS ASSIGNED TO.
Rex makes a hilariously skeptical face:
Anakin instantly replies that OBVIOUSLY this is ALL ONE BIG MISUNDERSTANDING that definitely didn’t involve Obi-Wan being a sneaky bastard like he always is:
Ahsoka, delightfully, is having absolutely no more of this bullshit:
I appreciate that she was giving Anakin shit from the MINUTE she got there. Yoda knew what he was doing when he matched these two up, for SURE.
Rex, like me, finds this very humorous and busts out laughing right there AT HIS OWN GENERAL. Anakin, though? Well, let us YET AGAIN savor another Great Moment in Anakin Skywalker’s Face:
He leans over and Anakin Skywalker, Padawan at Age Nine, has the audacity to say THIS:
…because obviously HE wasn’t too young to be a Padawan oh NO, but he’s DIFFERENT, HE’S ANAKIN SKYWALKER also he’s the only Jedi who should be allowed to get married AND the only Jedi who should get to use dangerous welding tools in his dorm room even though it’s a clear violation of his housing contract and the only Jedi that Obi-Wan Kenobi should EVER be allowed to teach.
Ahsoka holds her ground and is like “well maybe I AM too young, but MASTER YODA doesn’t think I am so nyah nyah nyah”, and Anakin is like “FINE, prove it!”
This from a man who backtalked through his ENTIRE apprenticeship and at least once threw a giant fit that included yelling about how his Master was “holding him back”. But again: the guidelines of proper Jedi conduct are for other people, I guess. Whatever you say, Skywalker!
Rex leads Ahsoka away, while Anakin continues to look annoyed. I love how Anakin has been parenting for less than 5 minutes and he’s already offloading the work onto someone else. Such dedication and commitment to duty!
And with that, since we’re at a nice logical break point, we’re going to call it a day on this recap! Join me next time for some more Space Family Bonding Time, with all the Sass and Complaining and Giant Explosions that come with it.