We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us. Sadly, no one said that in “Kidnapped,” Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ kinetic, Tryptophan-dispelling post-Thanksgiving episode. Substitute “Zygerria” for “Plymouth,” though, and it’s pretty much what those poor enslaved Togruta colonists were thinking as Count Dooku and his wolfish Zygerrian ally hauled them away in chains.
That’s right, “Kidnapped” addressed that Galaxy Far Far Away’s ongoing problem with the peculiar institution itself: slavery. Considering that the central character of the entire Star Wars saga, one Mr. Anakin Skywalker, was himself once a slave, you’d think it would be something that would be addressed more often by George Lucas and his storytelling acolytes. How can the Republic still allow slavery? And how can Anakin feel comfortable serving a government that’s willing to turn a blind eye to it?
Lately, slavery is a topic that’s been popping up more and more in the Expanded Universe: first, in the ongoing Fate of the Jedi series, which in part chronicles an anti-slavery movement in the decades after Return of the Jedi; second, in the ongoing rollout of backstory surrounding the new Star Wars: The Old Republic videogame (especially in Drew Karpyshyn’s thrilling Revan); and finally, in a series of Clone Wars comics from 2008 called “Slaves of the Republic” about a Togruta colony that mysteriously vanishes after a visit from the Separatists…and a pack of Zygerrian slavers. Sound familiar? It should. By my reckoning “Kidnapped” is the first Clone Wars episode to adapt extant Expanded Universe material, and if you’re thinking it isn’t based on that 2008 comic arc, check out the title of next week’s follow-up: “Slaves of the Republic.”
“Kidnapped” began with Tom Kane telling us that the artisan colony of the planet Kiros created a society without weapons. “Instead of war, they pursued art and beauty.” But of course, in the Leone-esque chaos of the Star Wars galaxy, anything that’s beautiful risks certain destruction. No sooner had the Togruta colony leader informed Master Yoda that he would have to negotiate with Count Dooku, Serenno’s finest himself arrived with an army in tow to inform them that they would now be living under a “peaceful occupation.” Dooku really needs to work on his “Good Cop, Bad Cop” act because the moment he finished spewing his diplomatic double-speak his Zygerrian henchman, Darts D’Nar (possibly my favorite Clone Wars name ever—who wouldn’t want to be called “Darts”?) told his droids to round up the civvies. Dooku and his wolfish slaver apparently think that these artisans will really up the cultural capital of the Separatist Alliance, even when they’re in chains. Honestly, I can’t think of any other reason why the Seppies would want them—it’s not like they’re going to be valuable parts of the Confederate war machine with those mad basket-weaving skills.
NEXT: Obi-Wan Kenobi (a.k.a. The Negotiator) finds the only diplomatic solution before him lies in his fists, uncivilized though that may be.