Five Ways Star Wars: Clone Wars makes the prequel Trilogy better

1. Yoda looks like the badass Jedi Master he was meant to be.
Everyone loves Yoda. From his first appearance as Luke’s magical helper in The Empire Strikes Back, to his hilarious fight with Emperor Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith, Yoda is the unlikely symbol of the light side of the force. Who would have thought this weird little Henson puppet would grow into such an icon. One of the many criticisms of the prequel trilogy is how ridiculous Yoda looked in action scenes, a remember in the cinema all those years ago the audience laughing their heads off at Yoda and Palpatine. What should have been a fight with real dramatic stakes was turned into farce by the special effects. There’s none of that the Clone Wars. Due to the stunning animation, Yoda no longer seems out of place. No longer a puppet, or a CGI creation; Yoda is shown in all his Zen warrior glory from the very beginning of the series.

2. Count Dooku is more than a one note Christopher Lee
Relied on great casting to try and hide George Lucas’s ropey writhing. Christopher Lee’s Count Dooku was a prime example of this- a thespian actor whose only role was to be an obstacle for Obi Wan and Anakin. In the Clone Wars he is given greater purpose as the visible leader of the Separatists, and the man behind great villains like General Grievous and Asajj Ventress.

3. The less Jar Jar the better
The writers of the Clone Wars really know what Star Wars fans want. Spectacular space battles, exploration of a densely populated galaxy, and oh yes, less Jar Jar. They know that they can’t write him out completely as he is now Senator Jar Jar. Instead his rare appearances in episodes present viewers with many Final Destination style scenarios in which Jar Jar could get himself killed. There is no more satisfying outlet than to shout at the screen about how much you want this characters latest mistake to lead to his death.

4. One word, Ahsoka
Ahsoka is by far the best character in the Clone Wars. Introduced as Anakin’s young Padawan, Ahsoka is a long overdue female Jedi knight. George Lucas envisioned her character as a means of showing how Anakin transformed from the reckless Jedi of Attack of the Clones, to the more level-headed Jedi of Revenge of the Sith. Ashoka is the epitome of Anakin’s student, a creative risk taker, and moral leader in the making. She starts off the show purely as his pupil but quickly outgrows that role; so-much-so that any episode she appears in is sure to have an “Ashoka’s badass moment of the week”. The show puts a lot of effort into her and Anakin’s relationship, also the first master/apprentice relationship that we see the over a long period of time. She makes Anakin a better Jedi, and The Clone Wars a better show.

5. Obi Wan and Anakin as buddy cops
The most pleasurable thing about the Clone Wars is the relationship between Obi Wan and Anakin. Gone is the cinematic short-hand of the movies that paints their relationship in broad strokes.In its place we have the nifty banter and tactical prowess of Butch and Sundance in space. In the Clone Wars we see their partnership as Jedi knights of almost equal stature as both are Generals in the ongoing war. Their commitment to each other throughout the series serves to deepen the events of the future films. Watch a season of this show and tell me it doesn’t give their fights in Revenge of the Sith, and A New Hope more dramatic weight. Go on, I dare you.

The Hidden Stories behind Star Wars Background Characters

Luke. Leia. Anakin. Obi-Wan. Vader. Palpatine. Most of Star Wars’ biggest characters can be identified by one name, and generate some emotional reaction for us, potentially good or bad. However, the Star Wars cinematic universe has generated many other characters that, at first glance, challenge us to muster up anything more than apathy. However, examining a couple of characters relegated to the background may help us to better understand the struggles of the common man (or droid… or alien) in this galaxy far, far away.

TC-14

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TC-14 has the notable distinction of being the first character to appear in The Phantom Menace with female characteristics (if you don’t count Obi-Wan’s ponytail). Others may best remember her for only being a silver-plated copy of the beloved protocol droid C-3PO. However, once you get past your looks, you start to gain sympathy for TC-14, employed by a couple of Trade Federation scumbags.  According to canon informational material, TC-14’s mind was routinely wiped so she wouldn’t develop a conscience, which implies that TC-14 was quick to realize that she wasn’t in the best line of work. Her intelligence is further proven when you notice that, in the movie, she’s the one to point out that the “ambassadors” are Jedis, while the ship captains, apparently thinking that robes are a fashion statement, are relatively ignorant of the impending danger up to that point. TC-14 is truly the brain of that operation.

Biggs

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In A New Hope, Luke mentions his friend Biggs offhandedly several times before he actually appears onscreen. You hear him very little and he dies during the Death Star attack; it appears to affect Luke emotionally even though we barely knew what was under that checkered helmet of his. This was later explained by the release of deleted scenes from this seminal movie. One scene was filmed where Biggs has returned to Tatooine after graduating from the Imperial Academy, the school that Luke wishes he could attend. Biggs explains to Luke that he had decided to seek out the Rebellion, which gets Luke hyped up. So Biggs probably played a bigger role than we imagined in Luke developing a hatred for the Empire. (Of course, that whole murder of his aunt and uncle probably didn’t help.) In a restored scene in the Special Edition, Biggs also vouches for Luke, calling him one of the best bushpilots in the Outer Rim. All this helps us to understand that Luke’s friend, who we barely get to understand, had an important influence on his life even before his encounters with the Force.

Gragra

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 She’s probably the most background of all characters on this list, appearing for approximately two seconds in The Phantom Menace as the vendor who gets angry at Jar Jar Binks (OK, I can already identify) for eating her gorgs, a lizard-like food, without paying for them. However, according to Star Wars Galaxies, Gragra, like many of us after dealing with a problematic customer in the retail industry, despairingly thought to herself, “Am I really going to do this for the rest of my life?” Somehow, this stupid Jar Jar moment impulsed her to begin a spinoff sauce business in addition to her gorg selling so that she could buy a ship and leave Mos Espa to start a new life. If only the rest of The Phantom Menace were that inspirational.

Salacious Crumb

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This lizard is most remembered for causing annoyance to Return of the Jedi watchers by means of his incessant cackling. However, Card Trader explains that Crumb was enlisted by Jabba the Hutt to serve as his jester. Working for a crime lord is usually a dicey proposition, and more so for Crumb, who would be killed by Jabba if he was unamused by Crumb for an entire day. Of course, with your life at stake, you’re gonna treat every remotely funny action like an 80s sitcom, with laugh track all over the place. Crumb is forced to do a thankless job, and truly embodies the sad clown in our society.

As you can see, life in the Star Wars universe is just like life for us: a couple of huge characters that dominate the news while the majority of people live out their lives fighting their own personal battles to stay alive, get ahead or defeat a giant spherical ship.