It seems like all I write about on this blog is bad news (and Neimoidians...which may be bad news to some people); however, I'm beginning to feel like that all we are ever going to have now. Today, Disney/Lucasfilm announced the end of The Clone Wars, and the sentiment within the Star Wars community seems to be almost exclusively negative. In the weeks prior to this, people have sent letters, emails, and petitions to both Disney and Lucasfilm in an effort to save our beloved series...it may as well have fallen on deaf ears. While the show isn't to end immediately (there appear to be a "season-lette" six coming), it is, in the worlds of Dave Filoni "winding down."
Before I get to my own reaction, I want to address something which gravely concerns the majority of Star Wars fans. Since the bombshell was dropped on us in October last year, we have, literally, had nothing from Disney but cancellations, broken promises, and lies. The community is still divided over the upcoming Episode VII, and, from what I can see, very suspicious about these two standalone films. In January, it was announced that the other two 3D Prequels, which had confirmed release dates and everything, were being shelved for the time being so that Disney could, in their words, "focus their resources on Episode VII." Less than a week after that disappointing news, they announced the two standalone films. WHY, if Disney feels it needs to shelve the 3D Prequels, does it think it can manage two standalone films instead? Why do we even need them? Even now, people are unsure about this. Is Disney trying to make a point or a show of power? Or are they just so utterly clueless?
Moving swiftly on, last month, it was announced that Star Wars 1313, a video game which everyone was excited about and could possibly have been the next greatest piece of Star Wars, was being "postponed." Ladies and gentlemen, Battlefront 3 was "postponed;" we still have yet to hear about that. Finally, we got the news today that not only was Clone Wars going to be ending , but Star Wars Detours was canned too! Not ONE thing that we were promised in the past year has been spared by Disney! Their moves so far, as owners of this franchise, have been, at best, mind-boggling and, at worst, completely outrageous! It almost seems at this point as if they are going out of their way to do all the wrong things. All they had to do to keep the fans satisfied and the saga running smoothly was continue TCW, give us our 3D Prequels, and get started on Star Wars 1313. These were more or less guaranteed successes. TCW was already adored and going so strongly; while I still hear crap about Episode II, many people were looking forward to seeing the action scenes in 3D; and as for Star Wars 1313, there was already so much hype about it, and the game looked so amazing that even if it bombed, it still would have been a financial success. As someone put it, Star Wars has gone from being owned by one man to being a company's asset - just another cash cow. And if that's truly what Disney is concerned about, then certainly their profits were guaranteed. Not only that, but by making such a smooth transition, they would have endeared themselves to the fans, and proved themselves capable and respectable heirs to the Star Wars legacy. Why, then, do they put so much towards some experimental projects which could so easily be flops? What has happened isn't an immediate end to Star Wars...but what may come later could be. Leaving us with next to nothing for two and a half years put an awful lot of pressure on Episode VII, and if it goes badly...well...we'll come to that when (hopefully, only if) we come to that.
Now about Clone Wars...wow...where can I even begin? I became a fan midway through season 2 (having seen "The Senate Spy" with Lott Dod), and since that time, The Clone Wars has become SUCH an integral part of my Star Wars experience. I will admit, at first, I was unsure about it and even sceptical. I actually missed the premier of it, back in 2008, in favour of another show. It only took one viewing of "The Senate Spy" for me to realise that this was no mere "cartoon." It was detailed, it was sophisticated, it was well-planned, and even dark. The series just built on itself, as a whole, and got better and better with each season. The most recent Season 5 was nothing short of a work of art. Even just starting out with the Onderon Arc, I was amazed at how far the animation and detailing had come. Coruscant looked as deep and alive as it did in the films, the characters' motions were more fluid and realistic, and simple cinematic elements such as lighting, music, atmosphere, and arrangement were amazing. I think of scenes like Ahsoka speaking to Obi-Wan and Anakin while in the base on Onderon. Just her posture and the way she looked was, for me, full of feeling, and just brought something more to her character. The way she matured through the series was incredible, as was getting to see her change physically as well. Character development is a huge deal for me, and it was one of the greatest draws of the TCW. It makes the transition between Episodes II and III much more fluid and believable. Without a doubt, the way we now view the prequels, as a whole, is changed because of TCW. We now know the Jedi, slaughtered during Order 66, on a more personal level. We know what they've been through, their personalities. And the same with the Clones, all of whom have nicknames, distinct characteristics, and even emotions. We see the bond formed between the Clones and their Jedi leaders. Both go from being mere soldiers and Jedi to unique individuals, whom we've drawn closer to over the course of five seasons. While already dark and full of despair, because of TCW, Episode III makes a quantum leap from sad to completely heartbreaking.
Aside from merely appreciating the series by itself, The Clone Wars, for the longest time, represented an amount of hope I'd never felt in Star Wars before. I was AMAZED to see Season 1 absolutely filled with Neimoidians (you knew this was coming...), with Mar Tuuk, Lok Durd, and Cad Bane (a Duros, I know) making their debuts. Season 2 brought Lott Dod back, after 10 years, and Season 3 featured the activities of the Neimoidians and the Trade Federation relatively frequently, as well as giving us Sib Canay, his envoy, and Lott Dod's ADORABLE aide. I just loved what they did with the Neimoidians - the scenes with Nute Gunray in "Cloak of Darkness" are absolutely hilarious! TCW did exactly what I try to do with my own portrayals, by showing the malleability of Neimoidians. They're such reserved and formal beings, but they can just as easily be comic relief! Getting to see the Neimoidians used, appreciated, and even expanded upon was something I had wanted for years, even before becoming the insane Neimoidiophile I am today. Season 3 and onward, unfortunately, fell during some incredibly difficult times in my life; however, at the same time, it gave me an escape, it gave me something to look forward to, to wonder about, and, eventually, to see just how it had expanded the Star Wars universe that week. As a collector as well, TCW holds a special place in my heart. While I think the Vintage Collection of figures is the best ever made, The Clone Wars lines are probably my favourite figures ever. For me, here's just something "awesome" about having the Clone Wars figures made, and, for a time, Hasbro did an excellent job of giving a variety of characters. I'd even heard rumours at one point that we were having a Lok Durd figure. It obviously never came to fruition, although I did partially expect a Mar Tuuk figure at some point. Even if it's worthless, there's just no putting a price on hope.
Looking back now, I cannot imagine going back to a time where there is no Clone Wars. It's been such a fixture in both my everyday life and my life as a Star Wars fan. As I said before, my Star Wars experience has been forever changed by The Clone Wars, and changed infinitely for the better. It seems like such a mistake and a waste ending this beautiful series while it is in its prime, and I feel there is just so much more that can be done with it. While I look forward to seeing what "seasonlette 6" has to offer (and hold out SOME hope that we might see a Neimoidian), the day we get our last ever episode will be one of the saddest in my fandom experience. For now, all I want to say is thank you, Clone Wars!
Thank you Dave Filoni, for your tireless dedication and hard work on this series. You are more appreciated than you can possibly imagine and, without a doubt, you have changed the lives of millions of fans for the better. Thank you Matt Lanter; you are the best Anakin we have ever had, and are probably ever going to have. Thank you, Ashley Eckstein; you might just be the soul of this series. Thank you James Arnold Taylor, Tom Kane, Ian Abercrombie (RIP), Anna Graves, and Catherine Taber, for truly bringing your characters to life in ways we didn't think were possible. Thank you Tom Kenny, Corey Burton, and George Takei for truly doing my darling Neimoidians justice. Thank you Gideon Emery, for giving my favourite Star Wars character such a beautiful voice, and reminding the world of his existence, after 10 years. Thank you Clone Wars. Thank you for the endless amount of joy and hope you have given me, thank you for being a light during my darkest days, thank you for bringing so much to the Star Wars universe, thank you for changing my life for the better, and thank you for the Neimoidians.
May the Force be with you, always.
(In other news, I have lost a 3-year bet with my mother, that Lott Dod would die before TCW ended. I must now wear pink for a day. Joy...)