Starwars The CloneWars Tributes
In this short series of posts I would like to review some of the astounding tribute videos that have been posted on youtube (and elsewhere) concerning parts of the Starwars Universe. The idea of these reviews is not to discuss how well they are made or anything like that, but rather how they depict crucial elements in and constituent of that Galaxy far far away that we all love so much. The first instalment of this series focusses on a much beloved show that had a slow but then massive impact among the Starwars fan community. A show that not only thoroughly expanded the Prequel Era collection of stories but managed to produce new characters that would become as loved and cared about as the lead characters or Original and Prequel trilogies.
Personally I loved the Clone Wars movie when it came out in 2008. When leaving the cinema in 2005 after seeing Revenge of the Sith for the fifth time the sense that probably never would we see new starwars-content again was palpable. For me it felt as saddening as when in 1983 Return of the Jedi seemed to close the book. I genuinely recognised how much the Clone Wars movie was real StarWars although it was also evident this was just the beginning of something much bigger. The response within the fan-community was far less positive, but fortunately George Lucas has a habit of doing what he thinks is right!
After season two however the Clone Wars truly got picked up by larger groups of Starwars fans, who also suddenly saw themselves confronted with new and younger fans who had been brought in by the Clone Wars series. For me from season 2 onwards watching the weekly episodes transitioned from a fun and great Saturday show to something that was captured beautifully by the tribute video of season three (and the first arc of season4) by ‘Tenkan Original’. Watching the Clone Wars became ‘an experience’ on so many levels. The animation reached stellar heights from season 3 onwards, story-telling was never dull or unimaginative despite the fact that not all episodes were universally liked. Clone Troopers increasingly became characters the viewers cared about deeply and the shallow current of commemorative videos about characters that passed away became a tidal wave. By season three we started to see the Galactic conflict on a scale that the Prequel Trilogy had only been able to hint at and with the Mortis Trilogy of Season 3 it became evident that this War was every bit as spiritual a journey as it was an armed struggle. Tenkan Original’s tribute captured that sense beautifully.
As the Clone Wars series dug deeper into the personal motivations and journeys of all our characters it was unavoidable that it would also address the moral and spiritual journey of the Clone Troopers themselves. And who would be better to illustrate that journey than the 501’st under Anakin Skywalker. All the big questions around the nature of the Clones, their view of the conflict and their moral and personal struggles find their focus in this battalion. The four episode ‘Darkness of Umbara Arc’ brought these issues out without holding back. Action sequences were animated exquisitely to reflect the intense emotional and physical strains on these troopers. In four 22 minute episodes this arc raises more questions than many lauded live-action war movies.
Fashemoi02’s tribute captures that by setting it to a perfect track. The Clone Wars are, for all its participants, a deep and dark riddle. It is more than mere manipulation by Palpatine that is going on here. The Galaxy is changing and they can feel it in the water, they can feel it in the earth, they can smell it in the air … and much that is, will be lost to a time where none will live who remember it. This sense of a mysterious but doomed fate casts a dark shadow over the series as it moves towards season 5 … touching on the notion that if one day this war is going to end, it will not be a victory for anyone.
Anyone who saw the finale of Season 5 must have been sensing that, even though this was not the End, it was definitely the end of something important. To me Lucas’s and Filoni’s story-telling reached extreme heights in Season 5 in terms of emotional punch as well as in terms of courage. I loved the Droids-arc every bit as much as the Ahsoka arc albeit for different reasons. With major characters passing away or ‘leaving’ the narrative the season imbued one with a real sense of escalation. Not just the Galaxy was falling apart, but also the Jedi Order itself. The imminent doom of Revenge of the Sith was screaming at us louder than Words from nearly every visual in the excellent animation … leaving us with a real sense of exasperation that the only one who seemed to see this resorted to the means of terror.
1jonde1’s tribute set to the ‘louder than words’ track beautifully captures that feeling that with the deterministic precision of an epic greek tragedy the show is spiralling towards its sticky end in many ways more subtle then we ever thought possible when watching Revenge of the Sith in 2005. It would be a full more year after the cancellation of the show until we saw that Master Yoda was on the verge of finding a way forward when the Galaxy succumbed to Darkness.