by Joseph Sweeney | staff writer

In 2018, singer and actress Ariana Grande would announce her engagement to SNL comedian Pete Davidson, and, similar to the deal made between Lucasfilm and Disney, would ultimately result in a messy and dramatic relationship, culminating in both producers worst release yet. Despite this, both groups would see massive success in terms of sales, and, while Grande’s singing is still as insufferable as Yoko Ono’s high pitched screaming, Star Wars has now found its place on TV, with the new Disney+ platform. The Mandalorian has already proved a massive success, showing that Star Wars still has a few new ideas left in it, and the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars is about to follow suit.

The Mandalorian

After the fall of the empire and a crash in the economy, an unnamed Mandalorian struggles to survive as he undertakes jobs as a bounty hunter. This changes however when he receives a highly classified and mysterious job to capture a high value target on a desert planet. Upon finding his target, it is revealed that, though biologically 50-years-old, they are actually only a child. He then goes out of his way in order to save the child, baby Yoda, who is revealed to be force-sensitive.

The Mandalorian prioritizes action over story, with not much dialogue being spoken throughout each episode. This show also follows what is mostly an anthology based episode format, similar to the earlier seasons of The Clone Wars, where each episode follows the Mandalorian facing a new foe, while retaining the overarching plot between him and baby Yoda.

The Mandalorian himself, often referred to as “Mando,” and baby Yoda, who does not speak at all in the series, are really the only returning the only returning characters you’ll see from episode to episode, with some side-characters making brief appearances here and there. Despite this, the dynamic between the two is almost perfect. While Mando is depicted as an entirely faceless and soft-spoken character, in the vain of characters like John-117 of the Halo franchise, his relationship with baby Yoda feels real in the sense that, though clearly a lone-wolf, Mando still cares for the child and knows that whatever his bosses want with him, it’s obviously not something deserved.

Mando himself feels like a very deep and yet subtle character. The series follows him as he struggles to fit into the world, as he is not a Mandalorian by birth; he was adopted, and he is not able to feel safe anywhere when caring for the baby Yoda. A large part of the character revolves around his helmet, which he cannot remove except in complete privacy. When he does show his face, it is meant to signify his acceptance of the people around him, and it feels very real when in moments in episode four when he comes close to removing the helmet, but ultimately does not as he knows he can’t make this home.

The series as a whole definitely helps to explore the culture of the Mandalorians, something that has not yet been done in the movies beyond characters like Jango and Boba Fett. We are introduced to them as small in numbers, though brutal in nature, able to take on larger groups of enemies with relative ease. Though hiding underground, the group still manages to make a name for itself via the bounty hunter trade, for which they work for Beskar metal, the material from which they assemble their signature armor-plating.

Here, the world after the fall of the empire is also explored. Though there is a government is in place in the form of the New Republic, as well as many imperial-remnant factions; the one Mando works for, no real form of law enforcement exists, nor any sort of universal currency. This shows the lengths the Mandalorian and his tribe must go to to survive, and what they must do to preserve their culture.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars | Season seven 

Taking place in between Episodes two and three, The Clone Wars primarily follows the trio of Anakin, Obi-Wan, and newcomer Ahsoka Tano, Anakin’s Jedi apprentice, with select episodes focusing on other Jedi, all during the eponymous era. Season seven serves as a conclusion to the series, which previously aired on Cartoon Network after the release of the 2008 movie of the same name, before being abruptly cancelled in 2014 due to the Disney acquisition. This season will have repurposed story-lines and other concepts from the original second half of season six to help wrap up the show’s plot, before ending in a story arc taking place during the events of Revenge of the Sith.

While the early seasons are more for kids than all ages, starting with the new direction the series took in season three, the show definitely felt more in line with the tone of the prequel movies. As the series progresses, it explores more of Anakin’s struggle with the Jedi and the dark side, which would ultimately manifest in episode three. While his turn feels almost too sudden in the movies, the show makes it more believable through his treatment by the Jedi Council and through his sibling-like relationship with his Padawan Ahsoka, which is tragically ended during the end of season five.

After being falsely accused and prosecuted on acts of terrorism by the Jedi Council, Ahsoka would leave Anakin and the Jedi Order, seeing their flaws and zeal for the Jedi Code. This definitely echoes Anakin’s wish to be able to leave the Jedi Order, which was previously explored in the Expanded Universe books, where Anakin despises the Jedi due to their abandonment of his mother and insistence on a lack of personal relationships: what Anakin desires most in life. The sixth season would then go on to show Anakin’s grief after Ahsoka’s departure, and then explore plot-points later seen in Revenge of the Sith, such as Order 66.

The final season will feature the return of Ahsoka, where she joins Anakin, Obi-Wan, and the 501st Legion of Clone-Troopers in the siege of Mandalore. The final battle has been confirmed to be between Ahsoka and former Sith Lord Maul, the new conqueror of Mandalore, as seen in her character-centered book from 2016. It will also focus on a storyline about the “Bad Batch” of Clone-Troopers, officially known as Clone Force 99, a group of defective and unorthodox clones, as they find Clone-Trooper 1409 “Echo,” whose apparent death was shown in an earlier season. These episodes, four in total, have technically already been released in their prototype form. Now though, the episodes have been fully animated to tie in with the rest of the new season.

While it is great that the series is getting to see its intended conclusion, it is also disappointing to see that certain planned plot-lines will never see the day, such as the duel between the bounty hunters Boba Fett and Cad Bane, and a conversation between Anakin and Obi-Wan talking about Ahsoka’s departure. Both these scenes had rough outlines animated with voice-work done, though are not to be featured according to Disney’s planned episode lineup for the new season.

Regardless of the lost material, it is a miracle the series was finished at all, as previously, with the first half of season six, episodes were not able to be aired due to conflicts between Disney and Cartoon Network, and were made exclusive to Netflix, while the second half was not fully animated and was instead released via starwars.com. This season will serve as a nice way to finish the stories of Maul and Ahsoka, as their character-arcs had previously been incomplete as to their whereabouts during major events in episodes three and beyond.

Verdict

For those wanting to see something new from the Star Wars franchise, The Mandalorian showcases new aspects without including series-wide like lightsaber and force battles. While the show is certainly slower-paced than most other Star Wars T.V. shows, it is still great with its impressive live action set pieces, featuring large scale shootouts not really seen in the main series. If you’re looking to see more of a traditional Star Wars romp, The Clone Wars is for you. While The Mandalorian introduced new characters, The Clone Wars focuses on exploring the lives of those we are already familiar with, helping to add depth to the characters while reintroducing old favorites such as Darth Maul. Regardless, both are amazing shows that will likely receive follow-ups in the form of new seasons or full-on sequels, and are something great to hold fans over before the inevitable return of the movie franchise.

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About The Author

Joseph Sweeney is a junior entering his fourth year as a student journalist. He now serves as the editor-in-chief of My Jag News and has also started working with Jag TV. When not in school, Sweeney can typically be found taking orders at the nearby Burger King.

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