If most ‘Clone Wars’ fans had to choose just one story arc to make it into Season 7, it would be the Siege of Mandalore! Mandalore is one of the most culture-rich, popular, and interesting planets in the ‘Star Wars’ Canon. Looking back throughout the Clone Wars series, one can easily see that many characters and plotlines have emerged from this one-time warrior planet.
The Siege of Mandalore – Part 1
In the first seconds of this week’s episode, ‘Old Friends Not Forgotten,’ there are several ‘Clone Wars’ firsts. Notably, the Lucasfilm Limited Production title card that is seen in the first versions of the original trilogy, and, the classic Star Wars theme heard in all three trilogies are present. Also, the ‘Clone Wars’ logo is in red, a reference to Maul, as well as the episode being listed as ‘Part 1’, which is another first for the ‘Clone Wars’. The moral fortune cookie usually shown before the episode background information was also missing.
I liked how Executive Producer and Supervising Director, Dave Filoni, tied together ‘Revenge of The Sith’ with this episode showing Plo Koon on a mission and Aayla Secura on Felucia. Another great moment was the scene in the war room in the Jedi Temple, a holographic Jedi Master Depa Billaba was present at the meeting, and beside her; her Padawan, a young Caleb Dume! This marks Dume’s first appearance as a child in the Star Wars universe. Fans recognize this character who will later appear in the next animated series, Star Wars Rebels, where he is then called Kanan Jarrus. We even hear him as a voice who calls to Rey in, ‘The Rise of Skywalker’.
Then in the episode, we get some classic cocky Anakin on the planet Yerbana, a newly introduced planet, where he lures out the tactical Separatist droid by pretending to surrender as Commander Cody and Obi-Wan poke their heads out over their makeshift cover, comically, to watch. In this scene we also get a real throwback to the music from ‘Return of The Jedi’, as Filoni uses a version of the Pit of Carkoon battle theme.
One detail that I definitely liked was the detailing on the 501st specialist troopers, who came out from under the bridge at Anakin’s command. The detailing on their armor corresponded with the design of a jetpack trooper’s armor from the video game, Star Wars Battlefront II. Yet again, Filoni ties together beautifully different elements from different branches of the Star Wars universe.
Anakin’s reaction to first seeing Ahsoka in hologram was priceless, and the animation set the mood perfectly! Anakin had literally no words, and he just stood there stammering. The last time he saw Ahsoka, she was a Padawan blamed for the bombing of the Jedi temple in the season five episode, ‘The Wrong Jedi.’ Now she’s a Togruta warrior in Mandalorian dress.
When the Mandalorian Gauntlet fighter ship arrived with Ahsoka on board, it felt like Anakin and Ahsoka were coming full circle. Anakin expected to see the same young Togruta girl he’d trained for years, and instead meets more of a woman than a girl. Ahsoka is a warrior fighting for the common people, with the common people, and she’s seen a lot more of the galaxy from a different perspective than she ever could have within the Jedi Order.
Before heading out to hunt for Maul, Anakin brings Ahsoka to her new squad including Captain Rex. Ahsoka is surprised at the clones who still salute her and refer to her as commander, which is referenced in E. K. Johnston’s amazing novel, ‘Star Wars: Ahsoka’, which includes a prologue that takes place during the Siege of Mandalore. Ahsoka is even more surprised when she sees a division of clones with helmets painted with her facial design as a symbol of loyalty to the ex-commander. Personally, I really would’ve liked to have seen the clones with full sets of Ahsoka-patterned armor, as seen in early concept art for the story arc, but the clones didn’t have much warning that Ahsoka was coming, so unfortunately they wouldn’t have had time for that.
Why are Ahsoka’s Lightsabers Blue?
One major inconsistency with the novel is Ahsoka’s ‘improved’ lightsabers, as Anakin would say. In the novel, it specifically references Ahsoka having green lightsabers, though I won’t say anything more about that so as not to spoil the story arc. In this episode, however, she receives blue lightsabers. Anakin obviously had something to do with the color change, but what? There were theories that Anakin’s more aggressive aura changed the color of the crystal, but we know that Jedi auras don’t change lightsaber colors, or else Anakin would’ve had a red blade during Order 66. It is possible that Anakin replaced Ahsoka’s crystals with two blue ones, but there are several reasons why this wouldn’t work. A: Why would he do that? B: How could he know how to take apart Ahsoka’s lightsaber as a Jedi’s lightsaber is designed from their connection with the Force, in a way only they know how? Finally, C: Only a Jedi or one who has a connection with the Force can find their unique kyber crystals, because they call to the Force within the Jedi. Hopefully, the reason for this change will be revealed, but if not, it will simply be added to the vast collection of Star Wars mysteries.
Ahsoka accepts her lightsabers and Anakin says goodbye and leaves with Obi-Wan to save the chancellor. Ahsoka leaves with the newly-promoted Commander Rex and a fleet of Jedi cruisers to capture Maul. Not to kill Maul, mind you, but capture, for as Obi-Wan advises, “He doesn’t seem to stay dead.”
The Siege of Mandalore Begins
Finally the epic moment we’ve all been waiting for arrives! Countless Republic gunships, AT-OTs, and Mandalorian Gauntlet fighters enter the atmosphere of Mandalore. Clone jetpack Troopers and Maul’s Mandalorian warriors deploy in mid-air to do battle. Ahsoka and Rex race to the surface of Sundari, the Mandalorian capital, in a classic display of friendly rivalry. Ahsoka even takes a moment to help a clone pilot in a moment of need by slicing off a jammed windscreen to save him, showing her compassionate side.
Gar Saxon, a character originally from Star Wars Rebels, lures Ahsoka into the depths of the capital, where clone Captain Vaughn is killed before Ahsoka can warn him of what she suspects to be a trap. Things become worse when Ahsoka’s clone squad is brutally killed, and she finds herself surrounded by Death Watch, and who should emerge from the shadows but Maul, demanding to know why she is there, and not his personal arch-enemy, the Jedi that sliced him in half in ‘The Phantom Menace’, Obi-Wan Kenobi!
I can’t wait to see how things play out with Ahsoka and Maul, and I’ll be here again next week to report my review again! Next week’s episode is ‘The Phantom Apprentice’, and we’ll finally see the anticipated duel between Maul and Ahsoka!
The episode airs April 24th on Disney+.
Author Bio – Jonathan Marroquin
Hi, my name is Jonathan Marroquin and I am 14 years old. My first memory of Star Wars is seeing a VHS tape and my grandpa explaining that it was a sci-fi movie. I fell in love with it immediately. In the next few days, I watched Star Wars: A New Hope more times than I could count. I like to say Star Wars was my first love, and it’s stayed true to me ever since. A LEGO enthusiast and stop-motion animator, I enjoy writing fan fiction in the Star Wars and Harry Potter universes. May The Force Be With You, Always!