Tarkin at last makes his Clone Wars debut in a thrilling homage to the Original Trilogy.
There’s only one man other than the Emperor who could hold Vader’s leash: Grand Moff Tarkin.
However, twenty years before he commanded the Death Star, Tarkin was just another captain in the Republic Navy. On last night’s episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the future Destroyer of Worlds made his long-anticipated debut. When EW ran an exclusive clip of Tarkin from “The Citadel” a couple days ago, I mentioned that I had suggested to Dave Filoni that he make an appearance. After all, twenty years before A New Hope Tarkin would be in his prime, pulling the strings and crafting the power plays that would ensure him a prominent place in the Emperor’s New Order. Frankly, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be a major character on this show. But enough with my Tarkin obsession for now. On to the episode!
“The Citadel” opened with one-eyed, crabapple-faced Jedi Master Even Piell getting captured by Separatist forces. Piell’s a member of the One Shot Club—characters from the Star Wars movies who, despite only appearing in one shot, have spawned their own storylines in the Expanded Universe of comics and novels and inspired intense fan devotion. It’s a tradition going back at least to the bounty hunters who appear on the bridge of the Executor in The Empire Strikes Back.
Piell carried with him top-secret intel on a new hyperspace lane, the Nexus Route, that could connect the Republic and Separatist capital worlds, Coruscant and Raxus. In Republic hands, knowledge of this route would allow the Jedi to strike deep behind enemy lines. In the hands of the enemy, Coruscant itself could be attacked.
Plo Koon, another member of the One Shot Club, led the Jedi briefing on the plan to rescue Piell. I love Star Wars briefing scenes. What’s so great about A New Hope is how remarkably free of plodding exposition it is. It just drops you into that Galaxy Far, Far Away and lets you discover it for yourself without explaining through dialogue what’s happening every step of the way. That said, my favorite scene in the whole movie, oddly enough, has to be that great briefing Tarkin gives the other Imperials onboard the Death Star. Though just a dialogue scene, there’s such an economy to it and sense of flair. It’s the first real exposition scene in the movie, but it doesn’t feel like it’s just there to help you get your bearings. Not to mention that it also features The Clone Wars’ own Admiral Yularen. (How long before Conan O’Brien’s namesake, Admiral Conan Antonio Motti, shows up on the series?) That Death Star conference sets the template for all future Star Wars briefing scenes, including the one Plo Koon gave last night.
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