Thursday, September 23, 2010

Clone Wars Season 3: Clone Cadets & ARC Troopers

This weeks two part season premier showcased the clones of Domino squad previously seen in Season 1 episode #5: Rookies.  We see Hevy, Echo, Cutup, Fives, going through there final stages of training on Kamino.  We are also given the introduction of Jedi Master Shaak Ti, Clone 99, Lama Su, Bounty Hunter Training Sergeants Bric and El-Les, and some ARC Troopers.

In the first episode we see the character development of all the characters, in the second episode we see the invasion and (at least one) the Battle of Kamino.

Visually the Clone Wars has gone to a whole different level from season one, the details of the characters and environments, the movements of characters is simply awesome at this point.  When the series first started I had my doubts about how well the style of animation would work, but as the animation has matured it works very well.  To truly be appreciated the show has to be seen in HD or on Blu Ray.

Dee Bradley Baker is the voice actor for all the adult clones, he is a tour de force in this episode and is the vocal foundation for the series.  Most of this episode is him acting multiple characters interacting with each other in most every scene.

S3:EP1 Clone Cadets

The messages of Clone Cadets, is clear that diversity is a strength rather then a weakness, that team is more important then the individual, and that all life has value.  We see the disabled Clone 99 who while he may not be a Trooper is as wise as most Jedi we have seen.  We see a gang of screw ups with different personalities and skills, come together in the crucible of battle training and becoming a successful team.  We also see the discussions between Shaak Ti and Lama Su regarding clones, and Bric and El-Les regarding the clones as well.  The Shaak Ti/Lama Su scene was very well done.

S3:EP2 ARC Troopers

One of the coolest sets of characters created by the EU are the ARC Troopers, half soldier half bounty hunter, all kinds of awesome.  If the first two episodes are any indication, I think we will see ARC Troopers (even if its not the same ones) as recurring characters in the series going forward.

The best part of either episode was Assaj Ventress.  She was the evil star of the show.  She is scary, Sexy, and very entertaining.

Aqua droids, cool new ships, dramatic battles, and sick lightsaber battles make this an episode not to miss.  Only one question, where is Ahsoka? 

Continuity Issues?

Karen Traviss no departed from the stable of Star Wars EU contributors did a ton of work on the backstory of clones, their training, culture, etc.  Also the development of the Null-ARCs a rejected early group of suped up Jango clones.

It is with some relief that because of the way the episode was presented some ideas from Traviss' work fit in and some was neither included not contradicted.  We had bounty hunters training clones.  In Traviss' Republic Commando series, Jango Fett  recruited a group he called the Cuy'val Dar ("Those who no longer exist") to give up there lives and in secret go to Kamino to help him train the clones.  While its made clear that Bric and El-Les are bounty hunters, it is not mentioned whether either is Mandalorian, though I am assuming that neither is.  This is not a problem because the Cuy'val Dar were not exclusively Mandalorian, though the majority of them were.  But this is also not a problem because the Cuy'val Dar story is mostly about what happened before the war kicks off in terms of training.  Its perfectly reasonable that as the Republic took control of the army it brought in more trainers that it had a hand in selecting, and that Bric and El-Les could either be original Cuy'val Dar or later additions to the roster of training instructors.

Bric does also have some similarities to another of Traviss' characters in Walon Vau, who took a very much tough love approach and physically and emotionally battered his clone trainees.

How does Clone 99 related to the idea that Kaminoans destroyed defective clones?  It would be easier to fit 99 into the continuity if he wasn't so physically deformed.  If he was just a shade below spec, it would make sense that they may keep him around and not recycle him.  However, I think a ready explanation exists in the EU, in later of Traviss' books we see that the Kiminoan economy is not doing well and that the Republic is not exactly paying all its bills.  Keeping around defective clones for menial labor makes sense as a cost control measure.

I am happy to see that overall it looks like George Lucas and Dave Filoni have told a clone centric story based on Kamino that tells a parallel story to what we see in the Karen Traviss novels without any major direct continuity conflicts.

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