At last, we have the mighty Chewbacca.
In the epic two-part season finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars last night, everyone’s favorite Wookiee finally made his debut. But “Padawan Lost” and “Wookiee Hunt” didn’t just offer up a furry guest-star. They featured some of the most complex animation The Clone Wars has given us yet—and a thought-provoking look at whether the Jedi can maintain their ideals when cut off from civilization. Needless to say, it whet our geeky appetites for season 4, which supervising director Dave Filoni promises will “hit the ground running” in the style of the recent action-driven multi-part arcs.
But first, we head to Felucia, neon-colored jungle world and, along with Mygeeto and Saleucami, part of what Chancellor Palpatine declared to be the Separatists’ “Triad of Evil.” (Sound familiar?) It seems battle never ends on Felucia—previously we saw the planet in all its Day-Glo glory when Ahsoka and Anakin had to retreat in “Holocron Heist” and when they helped defend a village against Hondo Onaka and his pirates in the Seven Samurai homage “Bounty Hunters.” This time the alliterative duo teamed up with Plo Koon to storm a Separatist base before General Grievous could send reinforcements.
Anakin brought a little Han Solo swagger to his orders to his men. He followed up “Okay, scouts, find me a way down there, quiet like,” with an addendum for Ahsoka, “Don’t get cocky,” both paraphrased quotes from the scruffy Corellian smuggler. When I recently spoke to Matt Lanter, the voice of Anakin (and star of the CW’s 90210), he told me that Harrison Ford was more of a reference point for him in creating the character than even Hayden Christensen. “The challenge of what Hayden did in taking Anakin from an adolescent to Darth Vader shouldn’t be underestimated, but I felt I had to make the character my own,” Lanter notes about his desire to take Anakin in a different direction from Christensen. “I wanted to give Anakin some of Han Solo’s cocky swagger, since he was part of the Star Wars I grew up with.”
But back to Felucia. In battle, you must expect the unexpected—like a man-sized lizard trying to capture you in a stun-net. That’s just what happened to Ahsoka, who found herself the prisoner of Trandoshan hunters. For the uninitiated—although, really, why would the uninitiated be reading this recap?—Trandoshans are reptilian bipeds, like the bounty hunter Bossk (as in “You just got Bossked!”), who Darth Vader commissions to hunt down the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back. They’re also known as enemies of the Wookiees, who they helped the Empire enslave following the end of the Clone Wars. Apparently, Trandoshans also like to hunt even when they’re not receiving a fat Sith Lord-endorsed paycheck. They enjoy satisfying their reptilian instincts by capturing sentient prey and tracking them down Most Dangerous Game-style on one of their planet’s moons, Wasskah. I loved Ahsoka’s under-reaction to the news of being hunted for sport: “Hunt us down? Ugh.” Other than a New York taxi driver, no one’s more jaded than a Jedi. They’ve seen it all.
NEXT: Your recapper imagines a classic Disney showtune in honor of the Trandoshans. It’s been a long night.