Sunday, February 3, 2013
Begun the Outer Rim Sieges Have: The Impact of "Lawless" on Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Star Wars: The Clone Wars the series will never be the same again. With season five episode 16, "The Lawless" the trajectory of the show is both altered and is rapidly accelerated towards the fall of the Republic and her Jedi.
The deaths of Satine presents the ultimate test for Obi-Wan's self-control and loyalty to the Republic and the Jedi. Any buried desires for a different life that he may have kept well hidden inside his heart have now been destroyed. This relationship in the show however serves to humanize Obi-Wan while now returning him to the path he is destined to follow in the films.
Satine's death, the rise and fall of Death Watch, and the conquest of Mandalore by Darth Maul presents us with an interesting if uncertain future for Mandalore.
The death of Savage Opress and the defeat of Darth Maul also provide interesting potential story paths for Maul, Sidious and the Sith as we gear up for their revenge. Traditionally a weaker Sith apprentice would often attempt to overthrow his master by seeking the assistance of his own nominal apprentice or minions. Attempting to use the power in numbers to overcome the singular power of the ruling Sith Lord.
As a result of recent events it appears likely that the fate of Maul and Mandalore are inextricably linked for the foreseeable future.
"Lawless" closes with two storytelling jumping off points. In the first we have the big reveal that Bo-Katan is actually the sister of the recently departed Duchess Sative. Bo-Katan guides Obi-Wan to a ship that allows him to escape the civil war on Mandalore to return and bring word to the Republic about the Sith conquest of the planet and seek Republic aid. Bo-Katan remains behind to lead the rebellion against Maul and his red Mandos.
In the second we have Sidious slay Savage Opress and then defeat and incapacitate with Force lightning Maul. Sidious tells Maul that he isn't going to kill him because he has other uses for the rival Sith Lord.
Where will the story go?
Mandalore sits at the inner edge of the Outer Rim. At the close of The Clone Wars, the Jedi and Republic forces were spread to the far reaches of the galaxy far from the center of power on Coruscant. This made Sidious' ultimate plan with Order 66 easier to implement by isolating each Jedi surrounded by multiple executioners.
If I had to hazard a guess we just saw the launch of the Outer Rim sieges and that Darth Maul based will play a central role in those battles.
In season six we will see a Republic invasion of Mandalore. The question is whether or not Bo-Katan and her forces remain on Mandalore proper or if they retreat to Concordia. In the future it seems pretty clear that patriot Bo-Katan is shaping up to be the future leader of Mandalore. One thing that has me curious is whether or not Boba Fett will circle back into the Clone Wars as the story of Mandalore continues, it would make sense but it would have to be handled deftly in order to avoid continuity nightmares.
For Sidious, Mandalore will serve as to enticing a lure for the Jedi to resist. This will result in a large force being sent to the planet to seek out the Sith and to liberate Mandalore. This will allow Sidious to extend The Clone Wars by diverting the Jedi attention temporarily away from the Separatists and onto Maul. It is to early to tell if Maul will remain on Manadalore or if he will attack other neutral planets in the area, doing his masters bidding by spreading chaos and violence across the Outer Rim.
It appears that Maul is being demoted to a level similar to General Grievous, as leading minions in Sidious' plans. With both Maul and the Separatists on the agenda, this also allows Sidious to increase the optempo and put further strain on the Jedi and on his apprentice in waiting Anakin Skywalker.
The likelihood that Ahsoka and Rex end up embroiled in the Outer Rim sieges and featured heavily in season six of The Clone Wars seems an absolute certainty. Further it seems likely that as the series races towards it's conclusion, it seems virtually impossible that they can continue past a seventh season at most. We are just far to close to the end point of the Clone Wars themselves to keep the series rolling indefinitely.
Will Season Six of The Clone Wars be subtitled, "The Outer Rim Sieges," I would bet my credits on it.