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11 Characters Who Could Appear in The Mandalorian Season 2

By @HolocronGeorge, @HolocronJosh, and HolocronWilliam for @sw_holocron

Over the last couple weeks, the talk in Star Wars fandom has primarily involved the recent rumor of Rosario Dawson joining the cast of The Mandalorian season 2 as fan favorite character Ahsoka Tano, which would make this her first live-action appearance. We thought this would be a good time to have a fun look forward at the upcoming season of the Disney+ show, which is scheduled to premiere on the streaming service in October of this year. Along with Ahsoka, there are a variety of other interesting characters that could possibly appear in The Mandalorian at some point. This list is by no means exhaustive, but we thought we’d play around with the idea of previously seen characters appearing in the highly anticipated second season of the show and hypothesize as to their potential roles in the plot.

1. Boba Fett

It’s no secret that Boba Fett is a fan favorite, with the character’s popularity arguably paving the way for the creation of The Mandalorian in the first place. In canon, the last time we saw Boba was when he flew into the Sarlacc Pit and was presumed dead, but many believe that it is possible he could have escaped to live another day as he did in Legends. Many fans have theorized that the bounty hunter seen at the end of Chapter 5 of season one approaching Fennec Shand on Tatooine is Boba Fett, citing the sound of the footsteps as eerily similar to the sound of Fett’s entrance in The Empire Strikes Back. If he were to show up, he could have a number of different roles in the show. Boba could appear in a one-off episode like “The Prisoner” last season as a minor side character. Or he could play a more substantial role in the show as an ally of Din Djarin or a nemesis hunting after The Child. Boba could also appear in flashbacks to events on Mandalore or other flashbacks, potentially exploring a prior relationship between Boba and Din. 

2. Cad Bane

Speaking of notorious, deadly bounty hunters, Cad Bane is another logical choice for a character who could show up in The Mandalorian. The show is obviously about bounty hunters and has already introduced us to an array of people involved in this “complicated profession.” Bane’s inclusion in season two seems natural given his last known canon appearances are when Bane collaborated with Dooku to kidnap Chancellor Palpatine and when Bane paid Captain Sear for blueprints of the Jedi Temple in the Clone Wars era, and his character has yet to be seen since. It is possible that Bane, not Boba, was the bounty hunter who approached Fennec in season one and this is how he could be introduced. Not only is the prospect of seeing Bane for the first time in live-action crash with Din Djarin in a post-Empire era really exciting, but the potential for Cad Bane to be actualized in live-action in any capacity seems like a great opportunity.

3. Luke Skywalker

At the end of Return of the Jedi, the Jedi were reborn. Anakin Skywalker’s sacrifice meant that his son was able to live and restart the Jedi Order. As The Mandalorian is set 5 years after Return of the Jedi, which is arguably Luke’s prime, we could see Dyn Djarin and The Child meet him at some point, particularly as the latter does indeed have Force powers. As Luke was restarting the Jedi Order at this time, it’s possible that he may take an interest in The Child and see him as a potential apprentice. However, if Jon Favreau and co. don’t go down this route, it’s still possible that Luke could appear, with the Jedi helping The Mandalorian. Luke has already appeared in canon several times after the Battle of Endor and before his appearance on Ahch-To in The Force Awakens, including the Shattered Empire series, The Rise of Kylo Ren comic series, and the Battlefront II campaign. It’s not implausible to suggest that Luke could appear, in a very limited capacity, in The Mandalorian given his activities during this era, such as hunting for old Jedi and Sith artifacts and training young Jedi. Moreover, young Luke’s appearance in The Rise of Skywalker paves the way for the usage of old footage to portray Luke or Mark Hamill to reprise his role as a younger version of himself with some of the in vogue de-aging technology seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Either way, it’s possible that Luke’s path converges with Din and The Child in the show.

4. Maz Kanata

Maz Kanata didn’t have the substantial role in the sequel trilogy many predicted or was initially planned in The Force Awakens, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t ample room to delve deeper into the character’s background. Maz is centuries old, therefore making her appearance in the era post Battle of Endor that The Mandalorian is set in possible. Maz’s somewhat ambiguous connection to the Force is reminiscent of The Child’s abilities in the Force given that neither are Jedi, yet both exhibit knowledge of and bonds to the Force. The Mandalorian has already placed the viewer inside many bars and taverns across the galaxy in its first season, so it’s not unreasonable to suggest that Maz Kanata’s castle seen in The Force Awakens could be the next stop for Din and The Child.

5. Admiral Gail Ackbar

Din’s path has already crossed with forces of the New Republic and Din has expressed some unsavory opinions of the new regime in a conversation with Greef Karga last season. Although the show so far has primarily centered around Din’s bounty hunting and relationship with The Child, multiple reports prior to the release of season one explained that the show will delve deeper into the origins of the First Order, making it logical to assume that the New Republic could also play a more substantial role in the show moving forward. Given Ackbar’s relatively limited role in the sequel trilogy, The Mandalorian could be a perfect opportunity for the fan favorite character to reappear. The show has already hinted slightly at Ackbar’s appearance in the show when Greef offers the bounty puck of a Mon Calamari to Din. Not only does the hologram resemble Ackbar, but Greef refers to the bounty as a “nobleman.” Din’s pursuit of Ackbar or a relative of his could be a really interesting plot point in the show’s second season, even as a one-off episode akin to “The Prisoner” or “The Gunslinger.”

6. Iden Versio

While the casting of some characters from animated shows or video games may be difficult, this would not be the case with the protagonist of the Battlefront II campaign Iden Versio. Janina Gavankar, who has forged a successful career in TV shows and movies as well, portrayed the character brilliantly in DICE’s 2017 shooter and the possibility of her reprising this role in live-action is inticing. Recently, Gavankar coyly responded to a rumor of the character’s appearance in the upcoming season of The Mandalorian. And the timelines match up relatively well. Iden’s journey in the Battlefront II campaign spans many years, but kicks off after the events of Return of the Jedi. Similarly, The Mandalorian is set in the aftermath of Palpatine’s death and the fall of the Empire, with the remnants of the fallen Empire playing major roles in both The Mandalorian and Battlefront II. 

7. Snoke

Given the previous point about the potential for The Mandalorian to explore the origins of the First Order, Snoke’s inclusion is entirely plausible. It seems relatively clear from an array of different canon comics and books, in addition to some of the reveals hinted at in The Rise of Skywalker, that the First Order was born out of the desires of many Imperial officers and loyalists who wanted to continue the reign of their beloved Empire despite the Emperor’s death. However, at some point, the puppet Snoke, with Palpatine pulling the strings from the background, “hijacked,” for lack of a better term, the First Order and took them to another level of power and villainy. Eventually, the shards of the Empire we see in The Mandalorian will form into more of what we see in The Force Awakens as an organized First Order and Snoke obviously plays a large part in that. Not only could Snoke’s inclusion provide a great connection to the sequel trilogy, but it could also be an opportunity to delve a little deeper into the character’s origins that The Rise of Skywalker and The Rise of Kylo Ren comic series only touched the surface of. This isn’t to say Snoke could play a large role in the show as that is highly unlikely. However, a mere cameo or even mention of the Supreme Leader would be very interesting moving forward in The Mandalorian.

8. Q’ira

The incredible cliffhanger ending of Solo: A Star Wars Story featuring Q’ira’s fateful decision to adopt Dryden Vos’ position in Crimson Dawn, rather than leading a life with Han, is yet to be continued in canon following the 2018 film. Despite this, Q’ira remains an interesting character to explore, especially when Star Wars is delving deeper into underworld activities in projects like The Mandalorian. As Din Djarin crosses paths with bounty hunters, crime syndicates, mercenaries, smugglers and governments throughout the show, it could be that Crimson Dawn and, therefore, Q’ira become involved in the Mandalorian’s affairs. Q’ira would obviously be older at this point than when we last saw her and her inclusion in The Mandalorian may spoil aspects of her character arc taking place after Solo that we have yet to see. However, if there are no current plans for Emilia Clarke to reprise her role in a sequel to Solo or another project, The Mandalorian season two seems like a great opportunity to reintroduce her character into the fold.

9. Ezra Bridger

Given the cliffhanger that Star Wars: Rebels ends on in regards to Ezra Bridger, the young Jedi Padawan who was trained by Kanan Jarrus before his death, one can deduce that a follow up to these events is only a matter of time. It’s been rumored that an animated sequel to show to Rebels is on it’s way sooner rather than later, but even if this is indeed accurate, Ezra could still show up in The Mandalorian. If Ahsoka appears in the second season, then that could signal the creators behind the show are potentially following up the events of Rebels in The Mandalorian, meaning that the question of what happened to Ezra may be answered here.

10. Sabine Wren

From one Phoenix Squadron member to another, Sabine Wren comes next. There have been whispers about the famous Mandalorian and former wielder of the darksaber’s inclusion in the second season of this show. Sabine has been a fan favorite from her time on Star Wars Rebels and her connection to the darksaber, which she eventually handed off to Bo-Katan Kryze in the show, provides a tangible connection to The Mandalorian given Moff Gideon’s acquisition of the famous blade sometime during the original trilogy era. If Din Djarin and The Child ever journey to Mandalore or encounter more surviving Mandalorians, it’s a possibility that Sabine could make a much welcomed reemergence in canon.

11. Bo-Katan Kryze

Speaking of darksaber wielders, Bo-Katan’s inclusion seems to be one of the clearer cut choices to include on this list. As noted previously, Moff Gideon possesses the storied blade of Tarre Vizsla in the season finale of The Mandalorian, but it is unclear how he acquires this from the darksaber’s last known owner – Bo-Katan. Overall, Bo-Katan could play an integral role in The Mandalorian moving forward if the show decides to delve deeper into the fall of Mandalore, which I think it will. The last time we saw Mandalore, the planet was reunited under Bo-Katan’s reign as the clans came together to rebel against the Empire’s occupation of their plan and domination of their below. Some point thereafter, however, “the purge” occurred, leading to Imperial Security Bureau officers like Gideon presumably defeating Bo-Katan and reclaiming the planet and the darksaber. Whether it be in flashbacks to the tragic puge or if she is indeed one of the surviving Mandalorians scattered across the galaxy, Bo-Katan’s inclusion in the show makes a lot of sense.

As mentioned previously, this list is by no means exhaustive as we anticipate many more characters mentioned or seen in Star Wars canon will pop up in The Mandalorian at some point. From Dengar to Bossk to Palpatine to Han to Chewie to C3PO to Lando to IG-88 to Phasma to Mon Mothma, the list of potential characters that we haven’t touched on are endless. And that’s one of the best things about Star Wars, especially in the new canon era – the level of interconnectivity of events, characters and locations across different eras and projects. The Mandalorian season 2 is over 6 months away and our excitement will continue grow every day until it premieres this October.

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REVIEW: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, Episode 5 – “Gone with a Trace”

by @HolocronJosh for @sw_holocron

Ahsoka returned to The Clone Wars this week in an entertaining, albeit standard and lightweight episode. After leaving the Jedi Order, Ahsoka journeys across Coruscant when her speeder breaks down and her journey converges with Trace Martez, a young mechanic living on Level 1313.

One’s opinion on The Clone Wars as a whole is in large part determined by their opinion on Ahsoka as a character and how she fits into Star Wars canon, especially in the earlier seasons of The Clone Wars in which she has a more consistent, substantial role in the show. Over time, we’ve gotten to know Ahsoka more and more, including through the incredible Season 5 arc in which she leaves the Jedi Order, her intriguing role in Star Wars Rebels, and E.K. Johnston’s Ahsoka novel. And, while this episode does not offer the depth to the character seen in these installments of her story, this episode sheds light on Ahsoka’s values and personality now that she is not consumed by the Jedi Order’s way of doing things. Little moments in the episode like Ahsoka defending the Jedi Order against Trace Martez by saying that the Jedi didn’t start the war are great in their ability to highlight key parts of Ahsoka’s personality in relatively brief moments. The fact that Ahsoka, a woman who was not believed and felt betrayed by the people she considered family, defends the Jedi and their role in the war speaks volumes about her stance on right and wrong. So does Ahsoka’s willingness to help Trace on a somewhat shady task involving local gangsters and killer droids. This isn’t the squeaky clean Ahsoka we were introduced to in the 2008 film, calling Anakin “sky guy.” This is a more mature, calculated version of Ahsoka, who, now that she is not beholden by the doctrine of the Jedi, dictates her life as she sees fit, including helping people who helped her. In this sense, the episode was interesting in offering a new look at Ahsoka, bridging the gap between her falling out with the Jedi and the Ahsoka novel.

Exploring 1313 was also a highlight of this episode. Across the board, it seems that Star Wars fans have been yearning for more of Coruscant, in particular its underworld, for years now. And this episode delivers a little more on that, as has The Clone Wars show overall. Coruscant looks beautiful in this episode, truly echoing how amazing the planet looks in the prequel trilogy. From the colorful lighting of the streets to the different species populating the city to the griminess of the underworld, the animation this season is really impressive, especially in detailing environments.

Speaking of aesthetics, it’s interesting to see Ahsoka with the updated animation, as we did with several hallmark characters of the series in The Bad Batch arc. The facial animation adds a lot of nuisances to Ahsoka that compliments Ashley Eckstein’s consistently impressive performance as the character. The animation adds a certain maturity to the character, which aligns with her evolution since we last saw her (and her new outfit is great too). Other characters in the show, including the Martez sisters, look great, once again showing how the animation this season elevates the show to another level. This was probably best encapsulated by the climatic action sequence of the episode, speeding through the underbelly of Coruscant chasing after the droid. The action really evokes the feeling and tone of the prequel trilogy, in large part due to how refined and smooth the animation appears.

Although it’s entertaining to see Ahsoka return to the front, this episode was lacking a bit in regards to narrative and emotion, elements that this season of The Clone Wars has succeeded quite well in. That isn’t necessarily a negative, as this episode was clearly going for a light hearted, more child friendly re-introduction to Ahsoka. But, it would be nice to see more of the final episodes of this amazing show dedicated to dramatic character moments and key plot points as opposed to fun, yet lightweight and seemingly inconsequential episodes like this. That being said, this episode definitely succeeds in setting up Ahsoka’s journey for the rest of the show. She clearly still has strong feelings about the Jedi and is deeply affected by their “betrayal.” She’s a changed person, doing things and interacting with people she typically wouldn’t engage with as a Jedi. But she’s not a Jedi anymore. We know from promotional material and the E.K. Johnston novel that Ahsoka plays a major role in the Siege of Mandalore. So, it’ll be interesting to see how the show uses this episode as a springboard to launch her character into that more plot heavy arc with more broader narrative implications.

All in all, it was great to see Ahsoka again after several years since her final appearance in the fourth season of Star Wars Rebels. Ahsoka is a true staple of The Clone Wars show and era overall, so if there’s any character to spend a little more time exploring in a lighter, fun, less plot heavy episode it’s her. We’re definitely looking forward to the rest of season 7 of The Clone Wars and seeing more of Ahsoka’s journey leading up to the events in Revenge of the Sith in substantial episodes.

Score: 6.5/10

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm, Disney, Starwars.com, and Disney Plus

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REVIEW: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Home Release

by @HolocronGeorge by @sw_holocron

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker landed on Digital HD earlier than expected, with Disney releasing the final film in the Skywalker Saga a few days prior to it’s previously set Tuesday March 17th date. Along with the film, the release includes a variety of special features, including a full length documentary titled The Skywalker Legacy.

While the film itself was met with extremely divisive reviews, we at Star Wars Holocron enjoyed the film to varying degrees. One of us loved the movie, putting it in his top three Star Wars films, while I myself loved elements of the film, but found it slightly underwhelming. The digital release is great, however, in that it allows us to revisit and, therefore, reevaluate the film months after its theatrical release. Just the ability to pause the movie and rewind it to replay scenes is amazing for a film like The Rise of Skywalker as it has so many memorable, powerful scenes. From Ben’s conversation with his father to Lando’s arrival on Exegol to Rey adopting the Skywalker name on Tatooine, The Rise of Skywalker is full of rewatchable, emotionally resonant scenes that tie the trilogy together nicely.

Moving to the special features, the main attraction is the aforementioned documentary entitled “The Skywalker Legacy.” Most of the recent Star Wars releases have made a tradition of well edited, powerful documentaries detailing the making of the film more intricately and the broader themes of the film and the saga. In particular, the documentary accompanying The Last Jedi’s digital release was really interesting. “The Skywalker Legacy” follows its predecessor’s pattern by delivering another entertaining, insightful documentary. Little reveals in the documentary like Alec Guinness’ granddaughter making a cameo appearance, the black beans used for the quick sand on Pasaana, and Kurosawa’s influence on Kijimi, add so much to the enjoyment of the movie and really cements, regardless of one’s opinion of the film, how much thought and effort when into its creation.

As with other Star Wars home video releases, The Rise of Skywalker includes other special features dedicated to the creation of all the different creatures and aliens seen in the film. Interesting species have been a highlight of Star Wars since 1977 and it’s great to see this tradition continue with the sequel trilogy, emphasizing novel aliens and creatures primarily achieved with practical effects. The special features “Cast of Creatures” and “Aliens in the Desert” demonstrates this creativity in creature creation and offers new looks at characters only briefly seen in the background of the film.

Other special features included in this release are entertaining, albeit brief and more surface level. “Warwick and Son,” highlighting Warwick and Harrison Davis portraying Wicket and his son respectively in the film is a nice little tribute to Davis’ legacy in the franchise and worth a watch for die hard Star Wars fans. For those who particularly enjoy the mechanics behind the making of movies, the “Pasaana Pursuit” special feature offers unique insights into how the scene was filmed and the intricate planning it required to come off so smoothly. The John Williams special feature that is a digital exclusive is an Academy Awards-esque tribute to the composer’s eternal legacy with the franchise. It’s entertaining and moving, although quite short.

Lacking on the home release of The Rise of Skywalker are deleted scenes and a director’s commentary. I’m personally not a big fan of deleted scenes as they’re often hard to situate within a film and appear unfinished or unrefined, but it would’ve been nice to see some of the scenes left on the cutting board. We know from leaks, concept art, and the novelization that there are scenes that were filmed that did not appear in the final cut, such as Kylo speaking to an oracle on Mustafar, so it’s a shame that some of these scenes aren’t available for viewing (for the time being), especially given how relentlessly fast paced the film is overall. Moreover, hopefully a director’s commentary for the film is released at some point, similar to how The Force Awakens’ 3D release included a director’s commentary that the original Blu-Ray release did not. JJ Abrams’ and Rian Johnson’s commentaries of the previous sequel trilogy films were great as they gave a chance for the directors / writers to explain the reasoning behind some of the choices in their films and add little tidbits regarding the making of the film. Let’s hope that, at some point, deleted scenes and commentaries become available.

Overall, The Rise of Skywalker digital release is worth a look for even moderate fans of the film. Divisive films like this are ripe for revisiting as it provides the opportunity to reevaluate your initial opinion and notice things you previously missed. Most of the special features, in particular the commentary, are well worth viewing for even casual fans of Star Wars and hopefully add to one’s appreciation of the care taken to make these movies. As noted, the home release is distinctly lacking deleted scenes and a commentary, but, other than that, the special features are entertaining and interesting. Moving forward, it’ll be intriguing to see how The Rise of Skywalker is re-evaluated, as The Last Jedi and The Force Awakens were, now that people have access to the final installment in the Skywalker saga at home.

Score: 8/10

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REVIEW: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, Episode 4 – “Unfinished Business”

By @holoconJulie for @sw_holocron

The Bad Batch arc concluded with perhaps the best episode of the season yet with “Unfinished Business.” This episode saw the Republic forces, led by Anakin and Rex, use Echo’s tragic situation as a once Clone Trooper turned Techno Union confederate to their advantage by sneaking Echo aboard a Separatist ship and feeding them false information. This episode had what the last episode was lacking, which is emotional, interpersonal content that offsets the impressive action set-pieces. Once again, the heart of this episode was Echo, whose loyalties were questioned and debated by Clone Force 99, Rex and Anakin. Putting the audience in a unique position as to where they lie in this debate was smart given the unpredictability of Echo’s state of mind following capture. Especially given the way in which the last episode concluded, the resolution of this lingering question regarding Echo’s loyalties was interestingly explored in this episode and culminated in a tense final showdown with Admiral Trench’s forces.

Speaking of Admiral Trench, it was great to see the Harch admiral once again. Trench has always been an interesting fixture in The Clone Wars and continues the pattern of cool looking alien species in Star Wars. Anakin’s tussle with Trench showed a different side to the Jedi Knight’s mentality, one that more echoes his murder of Tusken Raiders than it does his playful interactions with Ahsoka and Obi-Wan. Anakin’s entrance into the bridge of Trench’s ship was very reminiscent of Anakin’s arrival on Mustafar and subsequent execution of the various Separatist leaders. It’s a shame The Clone Wars hasn’t delved deeper into some of these darker sides of Anakin’s personality, but, when it does, the show really thrives and further sets up his inevitable fall to the dark side in Revenge of the Sith. Hopefully, the remainder of season 7 will offer more moments like this that shed light on Anakin’s underlying darkness.

The final moments of the episode were quite powerful, with Echo choosing to align himself with Clone Force 99, rather than accepting a medal for his achievements. This distinction between “regs” and the Bad Batch has been quite poignant throughout this arc and adds more to the individuality of the Clones overall, even beyond what we’ve already seen throughout the show. The final salute to Rex from Clone Force 99 and their newest member really cemented how the show can deliver emotionally fulfilling moments amidst episodes full of action and humor. This adds yet another later to Rex’s character, who, across The Clone Wars and Rebels, is easily one of the most interesting characters over the last five years in Star Wars canon.

It was also nice to see more Jedi in this arc, with Obi-Wan and Mace featuring a little more substantially in this episode. Hopefully, the remaining episodes of The Clone Wars offer more moments with Mace as he’s been an underutilized character throughout The Clone Wars, the prequels, and broader Star Wars canon. His wisdom and power and resentment of Anakin are all really intriguing avenues to explore in future Star Wars projects.

Technically, this episode excelled once again. The voice acting, visuals, and animated choreography of action scenes was top notch. Dee Bradley Baker in particular continually performs at another level as a wide array of different characters, making each and every Clone feel distinctly unique. Matt Lanter and James Arnold Taylor as Anakin and Obi-Wan evoke Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor’s performances as these characters, while also bringing their own spin to these iconic figures in Star Wars canon.

All in all, this arc culminated in a satisfying, entertainment and emotional finale. It’ll be nice to progress from this arc into stories we’re not as familiar with for the rest of the season. We still haven’t seen Ahsoka, Maul, Yoda, and more, so the prospect of seeing this characters again in The Clone Wars is really exciting.

Score: 8.5/10

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REVIEW: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, Episode 3 – “On the Wings of Keeradaks”

By George William for @sw_holocron

The third episode of season seven of The Clone Wars entitled “On the Wings of Keeradaks” has arrived and continues the story of Rex, Anakin and Clone Force 99 as they attempt to recover Echo and prevent his mind from being used by the Separatists to further their war efforts. The emotional crux of this four-episode arc, as shown in the unfinished versions several years ago, is the relationship between Rex and Echo. The best parts of this episode aren’t related to the action or more technical components of its creation, but, rather, the tragedy in seeing Echo’s transformation and the reemergence of his brotherly bond with Rex. However, these emotional beats are often sacrificed in favor of more gorgeous looking action. In particular, the role of Clone Force 99 seems to have been reduced greatly, with their character dynamics being utilized for humor, narrative progression, or action, as opposed to exploring more nuanced differences between them and the other clones. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially given the impressive visuals on display this season. But, for those who realize prioritize the interpersonal dynamics on display in The Clone Wars and aren’t that moved by the action set pieces, this episode may be a little lacking.

Speaking of the action, long-time Clone Wars and Rebels director Bosco Ng once again excels in this department. This is best exemplified in this episode in an Indiana Jones-esque sequence in which Anakin, Rex and Clone Force 99 are trapped in the middle of a massive bridge between two groups of droids on either end of the bridge moving in on them. Not only is this scene visually stunning, but the tension built up through dialogue, sound design and music help to make this scene truly memorable. The episode’s climatic battle further highlights the impressive action in this episode, with all of the characters demonstrating their unique, individual strengths on the battlefield.

Although it wasn’t explored too deeply in this episode, the reintroduction of Echo provided some great moments. In particular, Rex’s speech to the natives about what the Techno Union did to Echo encapsulates many of the horrors of war seen in this show, which, coupled with insights yielded from other episodes throughout the show, suggest that both sides are responsible for the severity and brutality of this war to some extent. The last moment of the episode is a great tease for the fourth and final episode of this arc, with audiences who have not seen the unfinished version left guessed as to what will happen next in regards to Echo. All in all, this was another good episode of The Clone Wars, despite a disproportionate emphasis on action as opposed to meaty character moments as the previous two episodes of this season has given us. Check back next for our review of the final episode of The Bad Batch arc!

Score: 7/10

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm, Disney, and Disney Plus

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REVIEW: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, Episode 2 – “A Distant Echo”

by @HolocronJosh for @sw_holocron

The seventh season of The Clone Wars continued with “A Distant Echo,” the second installment of this four-episode arc featuring Rex, Echo and Clone Force 99. As noted in the review for last week’s episode, for many people, the major story points and character developments in this episode are already known given the unfinished version of the episodes were released in April 2015. However, the added scenes featuring new, poignant character moments in these episodes, in particular A Distant Echo, are, to quote Sheev Palpatine, a “surprise to be sure, but a welcome one.” This is best exemplified during Anakin’s communication with Padme and the way in which Rex covered for his general as to avoid Obi-Wan discovering this relationship. For starters, it was great to see Padme so early in the season, which was an unexpected surprise. Although Padme, like Anakin, in The Clone Wars takes a little getting used to given how she acts and sounds differently than Natalie Portman’s portrayal of the character in the prequels, Padme became a really interesting character in the series, especially when her character was used to expand on some of the political machinations of the era. This scene did not delve much into politics, however, but was a touching moment between husband and wife that emphasizes the strength of their relationship and the tragedy of its downfall in Revenge of the Sith. This scene was also noteworthy as it is probably the most explicit mention of the fact that Rex and Obi-Wan know about Anakin and Padme’s relationship. While this is played for humor in the episode, other Clone Wars episodes and even Revenge of the Sith subtly touch on the disturbing notion that Anakin did not trust or feel comfortable enough with Obi-Wan to tell him about Padme. All in all, the additions to the episode, in particular the interaction with Anakin and Padme, were highlights.
The actual story of the episode continues to be a really interesting arc. The mystery surrounding the origins of the algorithm predicting the Republic’s battleplans was resolved (slightly) at the end of the last episode, but to see this mystery elaborated on in this episode, including the big reveal of Echo at the end, were really well done.

Overall, the show has done a great job over the years of portraying a war that we all know the outcome to and that, for all intents and purposes, is entirely manufactured by Darth Sidious for his own insidious ends in a really interesting, unpredictable way. One wouldn’t think that an episode about a seemingly minor battle near the end of this three-year long war before Revenge of the Sith would be that intriguing, but the show is written in a way that the audience is truly invested in the developments of the characters during this time and how each event subtly or overtly leads up to the impending doom seen in Revenge of the Sith.


Expanding on what was said last week regarding the visuals, this episode of The Clone Wars continues to impress aesthetically. The movement is smooth, the environments are textured, and the facial features are textured. The refined facial animation actually reminded me a little bit of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s animation, which was impressive to say the least. Once again, the action was executed really well, in particular the final action sequence in which Clone Force 99, Rex and Anakin were fighting a barrage of droids in a hallway. Yes, these are sequences some of us have previously seen in an unfinished version, but they really come to life with such precision in animation. Kevin Kiner’s score was also superb in this episode. Kiner’s themes throughout The Clone Wars are underrated and it would be great to see him given a shot at providing the score for a TV show or even a movie down the line.
Regarding negatives, this is a criticism I have about some episodes of The Clone Wars overall – sometimes certain episode arcs feel like they warrant less episodes than they’re given. For example, this arc spans four episodes, but could probably be told just as effectively and more concisely in two, maybe even three, slightly longer episodes. Once again, a broader criticism of The Clone Wars, but I’d like to see more Jedi than Anakin and Obi-Wan. Obviously, this episode lends itself to that given Anakin’s journey and relationship with Rex, but it would be interesting to center episodes around the perspectives of more Jedi during this war.


Overall, this episode is another great installment to The Clone Wars that will definitely please fans of the show. Beyond the stunning visuals, this episode moves this four-episode arc along, culminating in a truly tragic, heartfelt moment, while offering new insights into the relationship between Anakin and Padme and the extent to which others are aware of this relationship, which has implications moving forward. Hopefully the next two episodes of this arc add new scenes like this as they add depth to the story and characters. Check out our review for the third episode of Season 7 of The Clone Wars “On the Wings of Keeradaks” next week!

Score: 8/10

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm and Disney

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NEWS: Star Wars: The High Republic revealed

by George William for @sw_holocron

At last, the long-awaited Project Luminous has finally been revealed as Star Wars: The High Republic, a series of comics, books and more set approximately 200 years before The Phantom Menace. Debuting this August, this publishing campaign will feature adult, teen and children’s stories from an array of publishers, including Marvel, Disney Lucasfilm Press, Del Rey, and IDW Publishing. Starwars.com notes that no currently planned films or TV shows will be set in The High Republic as to give the authors of these new works creative freedom to explore the characters and stories they want with fewer restrictions.

Star Wars: The High Republic will primarily follow a “group of heroes,” who are part of the Jedi Order at their peak power in the galaxy. The Jedi are akin to “Jedi Knights of the Round Table,” with the King Arthur legend clearly serving as an influence. The inspiration came from Ben Kenobi’s quote in A New Hope, “For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace.” The High Republic is this era in which the Jedi Order guarded the peace, and these stories will delve into this deeper.

Concept art of High Republic era Jedi

The emphasis is not only on Jedi in these new stories, however, as bounty hunters, smugglers and scoundrels will also feature in leading roles.

Concept art of High Republic era bounty hunters, scoundrels and smugglers

The villains in The High Republic will be the Nihil, referred to as “space Vikings,” a collective of pillagers from different species and homeworlds. The story will begin after a galaxy-impacting event known as The Great Disaster.

Concept art of The Nihil

The High Republic era was first referenced in the Dooku: Jedi Lost audiobook, before also being mentioned in Charles Soule’s Star Wars 2 and The Rise of Kylo Ren 2.

The initial projects set within this era will be written by a range of seasoned Star Wars writers, including authors Claudia Gray, Justina Ireland, Daniel José Older, Cavan Scott, and Charles Soule. Their projects include:

⁃ The High Republic: Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule (Adult novel)

⁃ The High Republic: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray (Young adult novel)

⁃ The High Republic: A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland (Middle grade novel)

⁃ The High Republic Adventures by Daniel José Older (IDW Publishing comic series)

⁃ The High Republic by Cavan Scott (Marvel comic series)

The High Republic era will kick off this August at Star Wars: Celebration Anaheim, where I’m sure there will be further announcements about future High Republic projects.

Concept art and news courtesy of Lucasfilm, Disney, and Starwars.com

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Star Wars Holocron Blog

REVIEW: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, Episode 1 – “The Bad Batch”

By George William for @sw_holocron

Hearing Tom Kane’s booming voice introduce us to “The Bad Batch” was all we needed to get us prepared for and invested in the seventh and final season of The Clone Wars. This first episode of the season felt different than premiere episodes for previous seasons of The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars Resistance, and The Mandalorian in that this episode was first seen with unfinished animation almost four years ago when it debuted at Star Wars Celebration and was soon thereafter released on starwars.com. Regardless of the extent to which the plot, character dynamics and mechanics of the episode were previously known to people who viewed the unfinished episode years ago, “The Bad Batch” was a thrilling, well crafted, intelligent installment of The Clone Wars.

From a technical standpoint, the episode is visually stunning. Every season of The Clone Wars progressively improved in regards to the animation and this season is no exception. The updated animations look incredibly detailed and smooth, a far cry from the imagery of the original Clone Wars film released back in 2008. While The Clone Wars as a show overall often leans a little too heavily into action, perhaps spending too much time in some action sequences, this episode balances intelligent story telling with engaging action that takes a different approach than some previous episodes. The build up to the action takes a slower pace at times and the music often cuts out in order to build tension with silence and subsequent warfare. This is best demonstrated near the end of the episode when Clone Force 99 and the other troopers raid the Cyber Center and the ‘camera’ continually tracks the action from the moment they enter the complex deep into the battle. Beyond the action, as demonstrated by some of the more recent trailers we’ve seen for this season, the character designs are once again really impressive. The detail rendered onto Rex’s face when he speaks to Cody about Echo or when Anakin asks Rex if he’s not telling him something, and countless other moments in the show are a huge improvement of already great looking previous seasons of the show.

The episode excels, however, in its character moments. The brotherly dynamic between Rex and Cody, Rex’s mourning of his old squad, and the combative attitudes of the different clone squads are all highlights in this episode. One of the best things to come out of The Clone Wars overall are how it has made clone troopers actual characters, rather than mindless soldiers blindly following orders. This is a pattern that began in the very first episode of the first season of The Clone Wars and has continued ever since. It has always been a strength of the show, to highlight the clones’ reactions to the war, their unique personalities, relationships with the Jedi and others, etc. This episode provides us with some of the best clone interactions of the show yet and something we’re looking forward to seeing more over the next several episodes in this arc. 

Without spoiling the ending of the episode for those who haven’t seen the 2015 unfinished version of the episode or this newly released version yet, the way in which the episode ends is a really intriguing cliffhanger moving forward. I don’t have many substantial complaints about this episode overall. If I’m nitpicking, I would say that it’s a shame that this season is only 12 episodes and 4 of those will be stories we’ve already covered with the unfinished versions released previously, especially given the fact that these episodes are only 22 minutes long approximately and are released weekly. This isn’t to say these episodes can’t still surprise us – “The Bad Batch” changes things up slightly, in particular the scene at the beginning in which Rex talks to Cody about Echo. But, either way, it makes me eager to see more of the new stories we haven’t seen yet, in particular the ones that breach into events covered in Revenge of the Sith as teased in the trailer. Overall though, it’s nice to welcome back The Clone Wars for a final season. Season Five did not naturally conclude and, even though Season Six was great at trying to wrap up many plot lines, it’ll be nice to have the rest of the Clone Wars fully fleshed out in order to conclude lingering plot and character arcs and seamlessly lead up to Revenge of the Sith and the fall of the Jedi. Looking forward to the next installment of this amazing show that is The Clone Wars and, if it’s anything like this premiere, we’ll be more than happy.

Score: 9/10

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Star Wars Holocron Blog

NEWS: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker home release details revealed!

Two months to the day since the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga arrived in theaters, Lucasfilm have now given fans a taste of what will be on the home release of the film. Releasing March 17th on Digital HD and March 31st on Blu-Ray, fans will be treated to a variety of extras and bonus content, including a feature length documentary titled “The Skywalker Legacy”, detailing the making of the film, something that Star Wars fans have come to expect after the home releases of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. There are plenty of other extras, including a feature detailing Warwick Davis’ return as Wicket, along with his son Harrison (we’ve included a full list below). However, there’s still no word on any deleted scenes being included. For US fans, there are a few different retailer exclusives on offer, including a 4K UHD Steelbook Edition, which comes with 4K, Blu-Ray, and DVD discs from Best Buy. Over at Target, buying the 4K disc can also get you a Gallery Book, which dives further into the word of The Rise of Skywalker and Star Wars as a whole.

  • The Skywalker Legacy: The story lives forever in this feature-length documentary that charts the making of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
  • Pasaana Pursuit: Creating the Speeder Chase: Dive into the making of the movie’s epic landspeeder chase and discover how this spectacular sequence was brought to the screen.
  • Aliens in the Desert: See what it took to create the Pasaana desert scenes, from the sheer scale and complexity of the shoot to its colorful details.
  • D-O: Key to the Past: Explore the ship that connects Rey to the mystery of her missing parents and get to know the galaxy’s newest, irresistible droid.
  • Warwick & Son: Warwick Davis, who played Wicket in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, dons the Ewok costume once more; this time joined by his son Harrison.
  • Cast of Creatures: The team behind the film’s memorable creatures reveal the puppetry, makeup, prosthetics and digital magic that bring them to life!
  • The Maestro’s Finale (Digital Exclusive): Composer John Williams reflects on his body of work for the Star Wars saga and shares insights on scoring Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

(Source: Starwars.com)

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Star Wars Holocron Blog

Why Anakin Really Turned to the Dark Side

Prior to the release of the prequel trilogy, the central question fans wanted the new films to explore was: why and how does Anakin turn into Darth Vader? And, while the prequels and subsequently The Clone Wars, offer valuable insights into this question, the answer is not directly, explicitly provided to fans on a platter. For better or worse, and to the dismay of many fans, the answer to this question requires more inference and extrapolation. On the surface, and as many Star Wars fans have argued, Anakin’s turn to the dark side may come across as weakly written in that the prequels, in particular Revenge of the Sith, fail to truly demonstrate how a seemingly good-hearted young Jedi very quickly progressed into a slaughterer of younglings and remained allied with Darth Sidious, despite an abundant failure to keep Padme alive. This is why we thought this would be an interesting topic to explore in this week’s blog post.

Reason #1: Palpatine manipulated Anakin to turn to the dark side.

This is perhaps the most clear explanation as to why Anakin lapsed into the dark side and evolved into Darth Vader. As has been demonstrated in his extremely detail-oriented, calculated plans to instigate The Clone Wars as a means to eventually gain more power and his similarly calculated, longitudinal plans to manipulate Ben Solo into becoming Kylo Ren, Palpatine is clearly extremely intelligent and plans everything out meticulously. If and the extent to which Palpatine was involved in Anakin’s birth remains a mystery, but, from his concluding line in The Phantom Menace in which he states to young Anakin, “We’ll watch your career with great interest,” Palpatine clearly exhibited an early interest in the prophesized Chosen One. Palpatine capitalized on the insecurities of Anakin losing his wife Padme, as he lost his mother Shmi, and, with the now infamous opera house scene, planted the seed in Anakin’s mind that the dark side of the force is home to a number of abilities “some consider to be unnatural.” Anakin’s attachment to and debilitating fear of losing Padme is the central motivation for his eventual fall to the dark side. He knows that the atrocities he will have to commit, including killing Mace and younglings and maybe even Obi-Wan, are necessary steps to delving deeper into the dark side, aligning himself closer to Palpatine, and learning these abilities from Palpatine in order to save Padme. Anakin explicitly states as much in Revenge of the Sith when he says, “Just help me save Padme’s life. I can’t live without her.” Many take issue, however, with the fact that Anakin remains as Darth Vader and, therefore, remains evil after killing Padme. In other terms, it may make sense that he turned evil in order to turn learn abilities to save Padme’s life, but why would he stay evil if this very pursuit led to her death? That’s where the other reasons to come in…

Reason #2: Anakin’s impulsive, unstable, aggressive personality.

There are shards of anger that shine through Anakin’s personality throughout the prequel era. From his outbursts about Obi-Wan to his vocal disapproval of the Jedi’s perceptions of attachment to his slaughter of Tusken Raiders to his brutal interaction with Clovis, Anakin often reacts to situations with aggression. And, like his son Luke, also reacts to situations with impulsivity, a failure to take a measured approach to calculating the benefits and pitfalls of actions. All of this is important to understand Anakin’s fall to the dark side as it’s not that these personality traits alone led to his transformation into Vader and betrayal of the Jedi order, but, rather, these personality traits make Anakin vulnerable to falling into Palpatine’s trap and poorly reacting to negative his events in his life. Without these underlying vulnerabilities in his personality, maybe Anakin would have been able to see through Palpatine’s lies and deal with his dismay over the Jedi’s values and his fears about losing Padme more productively. This is a core difference between Anakin and Ahsoka. On paper, Ahsoka has every right to turn to the dark side, or at least against the Jedi, as they swiftly cast her aside with little consideration for her perspective on things and tried to repair the relationship when it was too little too late. Unlike Anakin, Ahsoka did not react to the Jedi’s ways with aggression, but, rather, still stayed on the side of light, just not aligned with the Jedi. It’s the fact that she doesn’t have these underlying personality traits that she doesn’t respond to the Jedi’s actions with violence and aggression, like Anakin did. So, overall, Anakin’s aggressive and impulsive personality played an integral, underlying role in his path to the dark side.

Reason #3: A wish for a more just world

Coupled with these underlying personality vulnerabilities are core events in Anakin’s life that he reacts to in negative ways, none more evident than the enslavement and death of his mother. Anakin tells Padme in Attack of the Clones that he disapproves of the constant deliberation of a democracy, that someone intelligent should be able to unilaterally make good decisions on behalf of the galaxy to swiftly and sufficiently bring justice. When Padme says this is like a dictatorship, Anakin disagrees, almost viewing such control as necessary to bring justice to an unjust galaxy. An unjust galaxy that led to the enslavement of his beloved mother and eventual torturous death. Uniquely, Palpatine also shares these values, but for different reasons. This is a core component of their alliance – the belief that a “just” or “good” world can only be achieved through the unilateral control of one person.

Reason #4: The Jedi’s mistrust and conflicting values

With Palpatine pulling the strings, underlying personality traits, and a distorted view of how to bring justice to the galaxy, Anakin’s transformation still doesn’t fully make sense. That’s why his perceptions of the ways in which the Jedi order treated him is a key final step to his transformation to Vader and why he continues to be evil long after their destruction. First, there are the conflicting values between Anakin and the order. Anakin values attachment, to Shmi as a mother, to Obi-Wan as a brother and father-like figure, to Palpatine as a mentor and father-like figure, and most of all to Padme as a wife and future mother of his child. However, as he stated in Attack of the Clones, attachment is forbidden by the Jedi as they believe it will lead to the fear, anger, frustration and suffering associated with the Sith and the dark side. And while, in the case of Anakin, this is true, future information about the Jedi from Luke in The Last Jedi, Rey in The Rise of Skywalker, Palpatine in the Darth Vader comics and other canon sources show that, perhaps, the Jedi were misguided in how bluntly and definitively they rejected attachment. Perhaps, there was a healthy middle ground for Jedi to experience attachment without being all-consumed by it. But Anakin suffering under this discrepancy between his values and the Jedi’s. He desperately wants to be a Jedi and progress in the order, but at the same time desperately wants to be with and take care of his wife and his future family. Ultimately, this became a choice for Anakin and a choice that, ultimately, led him to the dark side. And, while well intentioned, the Jedi were arrogant – assuming they had all the right answers, that their rules were perfectly constructed and thus not up for debate, and, in their hubris, assuming they had a right to everything related to the Force. This is key to Anakin’s journey as he feels as if they are hiding secrets related to the Force and potential ways to save Padme from “certain death,” as he states to Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith. These things about the Force they’re not telling him is one of the core reasons Anakin turns to the dark side. If Anakin is endlessly devoted to saving Padme, the Jedi are apparently depriving him of ways to save Padme, and Palpatine is offering him a definitive way to save Padme, then it makes sense why Anakin would turn to the dark side, sacrificing his allegiance to the Jedi and doing the necessary evil in order to turn to the dark side and learn the abilities to save Padme.

Explaining why he continues to remain evil after Padme dies is the fact that Anakin feels as if he could’ve saved Padme if the Jedi had told him how to save her initially, making his allegiance with Palpatine pointless. If they divulged their secrets, he could’ve saved Padme, prevented her death and it would never have led to the destruction of the Jedi order. However, Anakin believes the Jedi did not trust him. Mace often acts antagonistically toward Anakin, Yoda and others questioned his Chosen One status and Anakin doesn’t take kindly to some of Obi-Wan’s overreaching mentoring style. Their growing distrust of Anakin and his relationship to Palpatine once again puts Anakin at odds with himself internally, caught in the balance between his loyalty to the Jedi and his loyalty to Palpatine, much like he is caught between his dedication to saving Padme and dedication to the Jedi Order. These conflicting values and sentiments directed toward Anakin from the Jedi further emphasize how he turned to the dark side.

Conclusion

Overall, Anakin’s turn to the dark side is a multilayered process that requires a lot of inference and interpretation. While the prequels could have done a better job fleshing out Anakin’s reasoning, fan interpretation and a wealth of canon materials since the prequels, including The Clone Wars, have added to his character substantially and made his transformation more logical and reasonable. Ultimately, Palpatine identified Anakin from a young age as a boy powerful in the Force and one he could manipulate into being his apprentice when he eventually took over the galaxy. Palpatine preyed on Anakin’s deepest vulnerability, his fear of loss, and this, coupled with already inherently aggressive and impulsitivity, set the stage for his transformation. On the other side of things, Anakin’s allegiance to the Jedi was dwindling as he thought they stood in his way of saving Padme and were wrong in their beliefs about attachment, in addition to their visible distrust of and doubt in Anakin. This culminated in Anakin siding with Palpatine in a desperate effort to save his wife, sacrificing many Jedi in the process in order to ensure Padme’s safety. When she died, Anakin’s personality traits and sentiments toward the Jedi did not go away. He was still fearful, angry, impulsive and he still hated the Jedi for forbidding his relationship, never truly trusting him, failing to intervene with Shmi, and preventing him from learning abilities that would’ve saved Padme. In the end, this culminated in Anakin’s transformation into Vader. Anakin’s arc is central to the Skywalker saga and one that is really interesting to explore and interpret. This is just one interpretation of his journey. There are many more that could shed light on arguably the most interesting character in Star Wars. Thanks for reading and may the Force be with you!

[All images courtesy of Disney and Lucasfilm]