I am currently on a rewatch of the 2008 The Clone Wars series and realized that S1E08, ‘Bombad Jedi’ is an absolutely fascinating episode! Not only funny, it gives room to some major development for two of Star Wars‘ most interesting characters: Padmé Amidala and Jar Jar Binks. ‘Bombad Jedi’ works on a lot of different levels, reintroducing the political element of the Clone Wars and showing how war leads to suffering and betrayal. The episode, directed by Jesse Yeh, starts with the fortune cookie-esque ‘Heroes are made by the times‘, but rather than focus on our accepted heroes, Anakin Skywalker or Obi-Wan Kenobi, the episode goes out of its way to show that heroism exists on different levels and can be found in everyone.
From the very start of the episode it is clear that Padmé is in control of this mission. Her unwavering loyalty to her friends has brought her into dangerous territory and yet she goes there believing in the strength of diplomacy and peace, in itself the start of a very heroic quest. In choosing Jar Jar as her companion, she also reveals her recognition of similar principles in Jar Jar. Chancellor Palpatine functions as a good point of contrast to her behaviour when he mocks Jar Jar’s “qualifications”. He not only disregards JarJar but also looks at him with contempt, unable to see the potential Jar Jar holds. Palpatine respects martial strength and Jar Jar’s own brand of strength is not something he recognizes, initially. In some ways this is similar to how he considered Padmé naive in The Phantom Menace only to have to admit by the end of the film that she is a lot stronger than he thought.
Continue reading “‘Bombad Jedi’: Working Against Stereotype”
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.
Continue reading “‘I am fear’: Asajj Ventress and the Strong Woman”