In a previous post we looked at one of my favourite characters Darth Maul (which many people seemed to really enjoy reading) in which I mentioned Asajj Ventress. They are very similar when looking at their birthplace and the people they initially grew up around. However towards their adolescent years they both start to take completely different paths. Both owe their start in the use of the dark ways of the Force mostly to mother Talzin. Throughout the Clone Wars series we learn a lot about the young woman that Ventress is and the conflict she constantly feels within herself; where does her alliance lie? While the CW series does not give us her whole story, it is known from outside sources so in this post we will have a look at her timeline, her big turning points and what eventually became of her.
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Asajj Ventress, as voiced by Nika Futterman, is a character that fascinated me, and many others, from the first moment she graced our screens in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, both film and series. Initially introduced as a Commander in the Separatists’ army and an apprentice to Count Dooku, Asajj Ventress is a feared force in the galaxy during the Clone Wars and the nemesis of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. Although this post will largely focus on her portrayal in the 2008 TV show, it is worth mentioning that many of the things briefly mentioned below are worked out in great detail in comic books and novels which are all worth reading. This post will contain spoilers for those who haven’t watched Star Wars: The Clone Wars in its entirety.
In the comic series Star Wars: Obsession Asajj says of herself:
“I am fear.”
Ingeniously, this applies to her character in two ways. On the one hand she is a woman feared throughout the galaxy because of her strength and her ruthlessness. On the other hand, she is a woman who is terribly afraid herself. Asajj is a character who is frequently used as a pawn by others. Most notable in that respect is her relationship with Count Dooku, starting when he presents her to Darth Sidious who sends her out to kill Anakin Skywalker. She is used by both men to further their own agenda. Dooku shows his loyalty to Sidious and Sidious is able to trigger Anakin to use his anger as a way of defeating his enemies. After this defeat, Asajj becomes an assassin for Dooku while always hungering to be trained as a full Sith. She is kept on the periphery by Dooku and Sidious, never fully trained, never fully accepted, which means she is constantly striving to prove herself to others and fearing that she is lacking. This comes to a close in the 12th episode of the third season of The Clone Wars when Sidious starts to consider her a threat and orders Dooku to eliminate her. He does so by betraying her during the Battle of Sullust and she is left for dead.
Three days ago, director Colin Hanks posted the following note on his Instagram account:
So, the other night, on May the 4th to be exact, I sat down with my 4 year old daughter and showed her Star Wars: A New Hope. It was her first time watching it. She loved it. Her favorite character was Princess Leia. She kept asking “Where is Princess Leia? Where is Princes Leia?” A few nights later, I show her Empire Strikes Back (or as she called it “The Emperor stripes back) and within four minutes of watching the movie she says, “It’s so tiring watching these movies. It’s always boys, boys, boys and there’s only one girl.” I could not of been more proud of her. So today I take her to Toys “R” Us to buy her a light saber and a Princess Leia toy. After being told that light sabers were “in the boys section”, she picks out the light saber of her choosing and asks about the Princess Leia toy. One problem: they only had the “slave Leia”. As you can see, sad depressing, “slave Leia”. So wrong. The only good to come from this is that, once again, my daughter makes me look at the world in a new light. #HelpusJJyoureouronlyhope
Hanks’ post has garnered a lot of attention, rightfully so, and joins the increased media attention for the severe lack of female merchandise. After the release of The Guardians of the Galaxy the hashtag #WheresGamora was started and since Age of Ultron came out there has been justified outrage over the lack of Black Widow merchandise. With The Force Awakens film coming out this year, Star Wars will be bringing out new merchandise as well and this is an issue that Disney should be very aware of. Before going into it more, I want to share a personal experience.
I am a twenty-one year old, female Star Wars-fan. Star Wars, like the Force, is strong in my family and I have been watching the films from the tender age of two. However, when I was seven I had an experience in a toystore which left me feeling marginalized and excluded without even knowing what those words meant. I walked in, looking for either a knight or a storm trooper. As I was looking up and down the walls covered in amazing toys, I was incredibly excited. Shortly afterwards, a male cashier came up to me and asked me whether I was looking for something. When I responded with an enthusiastic ‘yes’ he continued to guide me away from all the toys I wanted to the “girls”-section which was full of barbies and everything pink. Not only did I not like pink, but the male cashier made it very clear that this was where I belonged and that the other section was for boys, no matter what I liked. I was crushed and when I told my father, he was furious. If it hadn’t been for him, I might have accepted what I had been told rather than continue to love Star Wars. Instead, I got the toys I wanted and continued to be a raging Star Wars fan.