It’s been a long time since we had one of these, so let’s recap exactly what we aim to accomplish. Character Autopsy as a term means a deeper look into how a character is portrayed, digging into their subtext and motivations and trying to figure out what makes them tick. Thus far, the articles in this series have focused on characters from The Clone Wars and were focused on their portrayal within the show’s context to form a basis for how they could be portrayed in future media.
So let’s talk about Saw Gerrera. Saw appeared in four episodes of TCW, through one extended season five arc that took place on the classic Expanded Universe world of Onderon. It was just announced that he would be making the jump from the small screen to the big one as portrayed in Rogue One by the esteemed Forest Whitaker. But who is he? What makes him tick? And why would he stumble out of the shadows asking prospective rebel agents about what they will become if they continue to fight the Empire?
We first see Saw as the self-appointed leader of the resistance against the Separatists on his world, along with his sister Steela and Lux Bonteri, the recurring-not-love-interest to Ahsoka Tano. Saw is a reckless and straightforward sort of person, focused on fighting the enemy and relying on Bonteri and his sister to be the diplomat and voice of reason respectively. He has the infectious enthusiasm to lead, but lacks the tact to soften the blows he strikes for the cause. » Read more..
Our previous two articles focused on some of the villains of The Clone Wars, both of whom originated elsewhere but received the lion’s share of their development within the 100-plus episodes of the TV show. There were many notable characters who were created specifically for the show as well, on both sides of the conflict. But none of them received the spotlight as much or as harshly as Ahsoka Tano.
Behind the scenes, Ahsoka was created as part of the initial outline of the show, which involved her and an elder Jedi Master, along with other more motley crew members, traveling the Outer Rim and involving themselves with various adventures. George Lucas saw the concept art and initial sketches of her and proposed that she be apprenticed to a more notable Jedi instead: Anakin Skywalker. Ahsoka, in his eyes, would be the ideal tool to help Anakin develop from the brash, undisciplined apprentice he was at the end of Attack of the Clones into a more mature, reserved Jedi Knight in Revenge of the Sith.
Like Asajj Ventress before her, however, Ahsoka would grow into a full-fledged character in her own right. Though apprenticed to Anakin, throughout the show’s run she often left Anakin’s side and joined other Jedi on adventures through many scopes of the war. This, along with her unorthodox lightsaber style and penchant for giving nicknames (and snark) to everyone she met rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way as she made her debut in the Clone Wars movie. On the other hand, she has become a favorite character for a large portion of fans for some of those same reasons, especially among young girls. » Read more..
Last time, we looked at one of the leaders of the Separatist Alliance’s military arm. While General Grievous was urged to use the unorthodox in his fight against the Jedi, he was in the end a blunt instrument in Count Dooku’s hands, a hammer used to smash the opponents of the CIS. Of course, Dooku also had need of a scalpel during the Clone Wars, a more selective agent who would not mindlessly charge into battle, and in whom he could implant his own ideas and training, giving him a tool with which to possibly unseat his master one day.
Enter Asajj Ventress.
Ventress was created as a part of the Clone Wars multimedia project to give the Republic a mid-tier antagonist before Grievous was revealed, first appearing in the comics but making her mark in the Genndy cartoon series as well. It was in The Clone Wars, though, where she made her biggest impact, giving audiences a major female villain for the first time in Star Wars screen history barring the antagonist of the Ewok movie (because who remembers that?). But her gender was far from her only reason for her popularity. She was menacing, she was magnetic, she was intelligent and even funny at times thanks to her talent for sarcasm. She gave the heroes a run for their money, but was far from a one-dimensional villain, as we’ll see. » Read more..
This is the first in what (I hope) will be a semi-ongoing look into the cast of this era, specifically using the massive amount of material provided by The Clone Wars TV show to do an autopsy of sorts into the portrayal and development of characters through the show’s length. Why am I just using the TV show and not all of the rest of the Clone Wars EU? Because TCW, like it or not, is the only official canon portrayal of characters and events that existed in the era now barring the films framing it. Even the Genndy Clone Wars series, which debuted some of the war’s major players, was heavily stylized and exaggerated compared to both TCW and the movies even before its continuity was called into question. This article assumes that the events of the cartoon happened, but not necessarily precisely as portrayed. TCW strikes a balance between the ideas and plots George Lucas had in mind for the era and elements of the EU that came before it, making it the most accurate history of the era in its current state.
With all of that said, let’s talk about General Grievous.
As the hype for Revenge of the Sith grew, Grievous was advertised and hyped along with it. It was Grievous’ skeleton-like visage that greeted fans upon the reveal of the title of the movie he would appear in. In his initial (both in and out of universe) debut in the Genndy series, he was a stoic, dreaded presence not unlike those in a slasher movie, single-handedly killing or seriously wounding several Jedi and only driven off by a barrage of laser and missile fire from an ARC trooper squad. His fighting style in that appearance was graceful, flowing, more like a dancer than a brute, including balancing on one foot so he could hold a third lightsaber between his mechanical toes, and he spoke only long enough to assure the Jedi that he would give them the honor of a warrior’s death. The hope for the character was high. » Read more..
—–WARNING, VAGUE SPOILERS AHEAD–—
The Clone Wars dominated the landscape of Star Wars media for a good ten years or so, from the release of Attack of the Clones onward. The once-mysterious conflict referred to by Obi-Wan was fleshed out to an almost absurd extent. Once the Disney era of Star Wars publishing began, though, that focus shifted back toward the original trilogy era, leaving fans used to the focus on the prequels feeling left out. Then Dark Disciple was announced, and the combination of author and subject matter made most fans throw up their hands in either jubilation or utter despair. Christie Golden’s only contributions to Star Wars before now were in the Fate of the Jedi series, which has a rather mixed reputation among many readers. Not having read them myself, I sought to go into this book with as open a mind toward Golden as possible, since I try not to assign blame to authors for elements in books that are, often, works by committee to some degree.
What I did not expect from Dark Disciple was how much it resembles its other major building block (and something I do have familiarity with): scripts from Star Wars: The Clone Wars that never made it through production due to the show’s cancellation. » Read more..