For many Star Wars fans, essential arc number three in my Clone Wars countdown is likely to be the most essential arc they need to watch if nothing else. Lots of threads are wrapped up and begun during the final three aired episodes, and all of them deal with our little green friend, Jedi Master Yoda. Without further adieu, we begin….
#3 // The Destiny of the Force
Season 6, episode 11 — Voices
Season 6, episode 12 — Destiny
Season 6, episode 13 — Sacrifice
Why it’s essential watching (without giving it all away….):
- So much to unpack – there is a TON of information on the Force as we know it, the future of the Star Wars galaxy, the fate of the Jedi & the Sith, and Jedi Master Yoda himself in this arc. From a storytelling perspective it is certainly one of the highlights (if not THE highlight) of the entire series, and everyone shines here – especially Yoda. There is not a single Star Wars fan that would not enjoy this particular arc, and if you don’t want to watch The Clone Wars for whatever reason do yourself a favor and WATCH THIS ARC!!! Sorry, had to shout…
- Animation team FTW – yeah, I say this a ton about The Clone Wars, but truth is truth – it was a freaking beautiful show. Some of the animation and backgrounds are literally better than the ones in The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, I shit you not. I’m no expert in these kinds of things, but I would wager they were created with the same technology, just in a more advanced and cost-effective manner. And the final (aired) stories of TCW are as good as it gets, namely the scenes in the Wellspring of Life and Valley of Extinction. Yoda hopping over huge, bouncy mushrooms in an other-worldly setting? Yeah. It’s crazy this isn’t even one of the main reasons to watch this arc, though, that’s how good it is. Read on.
- Yoda knows the end is near – an old friend (more on him below) visits Yoda and starts him on a quest, a quest that will forever change the future of the Jedi and the entire galaxy, and a quest for immortality of sorts. Even though the Jedi Council (especially Mace Windu and Ki-Adi Mundi – I know, shocker…) doubt what Yoda is experiencing he trusts in his vision and his instincts and embarks on a quest through the galaxy (and some parts most likely NOT of this galaxy) to discover the truth for himself. What he discovers is that the dark side has grown omnipotently powerful, and the Jedi may not be able to stop the Sith – at least now how they think they will stop them. He also learns the name of the Sith Lord, Darth Sidious, although he is not able to ascertain exactly who it is. Lastly, he glimpses visions of possible futures, some of which will come to pass exactly the way he sees them (and they are very cool to see unfold in animated form, as well) and some that will not come to pass for obvious reasons. In the end, this is a huge journey for Yoda and it was very poignant to end the run of the series with these episodes, in my opinion. Also, while not overtly stated, it is here in the timeline and canon that Yoda realizes that the Jedi have completely lost their way and do not truly understand the Force and the way it works. Their dogma and strict adherence to a ‘code’ has led they astray, and has ultimately brought about their undoing. It is also during this arc that I believe Yoda realizes another truth the Council had been blind to during the entirety of the Prequels and before – Qui-Gon Jinn had it all figured out. Yeah.. More on this in a bit.
- Anakin and Artoo – during the course of the first episode in this arc, Voices, Yoda finds himself in the care of the Jedi Temple’s chief medical doctor, Rig Nema (who was based on the original concept art for Mace Windu from The Phantom Menace, after having visions and hearing voices. She puts Yoda through a deprivation exercise, during which he finds his path but also nearly dies. Hospitalized and under guard by the Jedi Temple Guards, he enlists who else – Anakin Skywalker – to help him escape. Anakin then enlists R2-D2 to serve as Yoda’s astromech during his journey and Yoda and Artoo are off on a big adventure. It was cool to see Yoda recognize one of Anakin’s many talents, and one that in the past has cost Anakin to run afoul of the Council. Yoda gets it, although he gets the big picture too late I feel.
- Yoda’s big adventure – we see Yoda embark on an epic adventure during this arc, accompanied by Artoo in his (tiny!!) Eta-2 Actis-class Intercepotor, which is pretty rad in-and-of-itself. At Qui-Gon’s suggestion he starts his quest for knowledge with his first-ever visit to Dagobah, then ventures into the Deep Core, stopping at what many call the ‘Force Planet’, where he meets the Force Priestesses. Lastly he heads to the Sith homeworld of Moraband (yeah, in Legends/EU it WAS called Korriban, we get it, move along…) where he is left to face to hard truths and glimpses a vision of the future – a vision that’s not quite what he thought it might be. Overall, it’s an epic adventure, befitting everyone’s favorite diminutive Jedi Master, and gave us a glimpse at amazing locales we had never seen onscreen.
- The continued re-mystifying of the Force – as has been a theme through The Clone Wars since the season three Mortis arc, we continue to see George Lucas and the story team continue to re-mystify the Force. More on my thoughts on GL’s involvement in those below, but for now I just want to say I think this was all part of the long-game that Lucasfilm was playing throughout the Prequels and obviously into TCW. Again, like I’ve said on multiple podcasts in regards to the Prequels – great ideas, great story, beautiful design – poor execution. We continue to see this in greater detail in the new films and in Rebels, which further reinforces my believe in this long-game.
- ‘Part of me, you are not’ – while on the ‘Force Planet’ in the Valley of Extinction, Yoda encounters a dark side version of himself. An epic battle and struggle ensues, and it’s visually pretty awesome. It ends with Yoda letting go of all fear and forcing the ‘Dark Yoda’ (or Creature as he’s billed in the credits) away. Much of this arc deals with Yoda and acceptance of fate, which is awesome to me. We think Yoda has it all together, but he was the most lost of all the Jedi, as he could feel what was coming but was powerless to stop it.
- Visions and more visions – so many rad visions are laced throughout this arc. We get a glimpse of a possible future in which Qui-Gon never died and Dooku never turned. Yoda has a vision of Order 66 and the slaughter of the Jedi at the Temple (it pretty much plays out exactly as it did in Revenge of the Sith, which was cool to see in animation form). Last but certainly not least we see a vision where Anakin, Rex and the 501st lead a charge with Yoda to arrest Dooku and Sidious, during which Anakin kills Dooku in the same manner as he will eventually in RoTS even after Yoda shouts for him not to, and we see an EPIC duel between Yoda and Darth Sidious foreshadowing the actual duel that will happen about six months later in the Senate Chamber. Yoda makes the ultimate sacrifice during this last vision and therefore passes the test the Force Priestesses had set up for him. They also give him another MAJOR clue about the future and the Prophecy in the form of a simple line that goes…..
- ‘There is another Skywalker’ – how awesome it was to hear these words uttered again in Star Wars canon. The culmination of Yoda’s journey and these words also end with Yoda rethinking what he thought he knew in regards to the Prophecy of the Chosen One and exactly what the end of the Clone War will bring. I believe it’s at this point he realizes he has to fully trust in the Force, and that things will not end well for the Jedi Order. Acceptance of fate is a huge theme in this arc, and we see it come to fruition for Yoda at the end. It’s a poignant moment, but the music also lends itself to the door being left open for hope, another key word in the Star Wars universe.
- Hello Darth Bane, we think – we get our first canon glimpse of the legendary Sith Lord, Darth Bane, in this arc. Although it’s revealed this is a vision manifested by the Force Priestesses, it was awesome to see him in the ‘flesh’ for the first time. I will say I’m not a fan of his mask and armor (think Grievous-esque…) and I’m hopeful when he makes a bigger canon appearance we see him look closer to the vision we’ve seen in comics and the Darth Bane trilogy of novels (one of the few very good Legends worlds that doesn’t contradict the new canon. Yet)…. And while we’re on the Sith, let’s talk about the Sith homeworld of…..
- Moraband – no wait, it’s Korriban isn’t it? No, not anymore. George decided to rename it, although the aesthetic is pretty much what we’ve always heard it was. My theory on this is that it’s an homage to Lord of the Rings and Mordor. Even the Sith Warriors resemble the Nazgul/Ring Wraiths to no small measure.. That’s my theory on that and I’m sticking to it until proven otherwise, because it’s just like George to do this. It’s also worth noting that as soon as Yoda enters Moraband and the ancient Sith Temple Dooku and Sidious are alerted via a ripple in the Force. They combine forces and perform some Sith Alchemy in an attempt to manipulate Yoda and ultimately do away with him. This had never been seen on screen before and was pretty amazing to view. It’s also noted that they can attempt this because Dooku was once Yoda’s apprentice, so there is a strong connection there. Just another theory here, but maybe that’s why Sidious sought out Dooku in the first place. I had never really considered it until I recently rewatched these episodes, but it makes perfect sense.
- More proof George got it – while I think George deserves a ton of criticism for how the Prequels played out, I also think he deserves some credit for the story and vision. I also think George had an amazing and complex long-game in play here, but he did a shitty job of executing it. No examples of this outshine the introduction of Midichlorians into the Star Wars mythology as a way to measure ones Force potential and abilities. Everyone hates Midichlorians, that’s common knowledge. However, I think George wanted to used them to symbolize how the Jedi had lost their way from a spiritual point-of-view, in essence de-mystifying the Force in the process. However, he didn’t do it and/or he didn’t get the point across. Enter The Clone Wars. George and his team set about to correct those mistakes (hey, give the man credit where credit is due) and sat about re-mystifying the Force again and painting the Jedi as having lost their way as they adhere to this overly strict code and dogma, which ultimately helped to aid in their undoing at Sidious’ brilliant hand. Another example of this is the character of Qui-Gon Jinn. He was perhaps the only Jedi (with Anakin being the other possible exception) that saw the mistakes the Jedi had made for generations, choosing to follow the Force, not a code of ethics and a dogmatic path. There is absolutely no doubt that by the end of this arc of stories Yoda realizes this full-well, but there is little he can do at this point but take the guidance Qui-Gon offers him from beyond the grave. Yes, Qui-Gon was the first Jedi to learn about the possibility to retain consciousness after death via the Living Force, bucking the Order’s belief that when one passes on their essence becomes part of the larger Cosmic Force. Again, we heard these terms ad nauseam in The Phantom Menace but they never really reappeared until The Clone Wars. Sometimes I wonder if Lucas really did listen to the fans and altered the original Prequel stories a bit? Who knows, and I certainly don’t think we will hear that story told anytime soon….
- Sidious, Dooku, and the Grand Plan of the Sith – ‘Let him die, and you can stop all that I will do’ — Darth Sidious. ‘Tempted I will not be, sacrifice all I am ready to do’ — Yoda. These are two banger quotes from the final episode of this arc and of the series that aired, Sacrifice. They really symbolize the difference between Sidious and Yoda to me. Sidious is always manipulating things, using his cunning and wit to get anything and everything he wants. He yearns for Yoda to let Anakin fall, as it wouldn’t be the Jedi way. Yoda instead saves Anakin and sacrifices himself in order to kill Sidious. Even though this is only a vision it is a huge moment, and a moment after which Sidious realizes that Yoda is much stronger than he anticipated, and that the Sith are not quite ready to execute the final stages of their Grand Plan.
- ‘There is another Skywalker…’ – huge, huge line from the Force Priestesses to Yoda at the end of his trial on Moraband. After this long and arduous journey, Yoda finally realizes that there is no actual victory to be had in the Clone War, and that true victory will come much later – and not in the fashion the Jedi believe it will. Again, the Jedi Order has blown it, taking an acient prophecy in it’s most literal sense. His conversation with Mace Windu and Obi-Wan upon his return to the Temple is telling, and ominous. And hopeful.
- Jaime King, again – find this girl a proper role in Star Wars, ok? She was the voice behind some iconic characters in TCW, and ends the series in banger fashion as the voice of all the Force Priestesses. She’s a queen, let’s make it official Lucasfilm, OK? Thanks!
- The Force and religion – just a personal observation here, nothing more. But… when Yoda enters the Valley of Extinction during Destiny and sees the fall of the Jedi Temple, he has a conversation with a dying Ahsoka Tano. I found and still find her simple question to him about her becoming one with the Force when she dies interesting, from a religious point of view. As she left the order, does the Jedi dogma allow for this? Is it even their decision? I found the juxtaposition of this and modern religion interesting, and I can’t imagine this is coincidental. Perhaps GL and the story group were putting their views on the hypocritical nature of modern organized religion into the story at this very moment. It makes sense to me and beyond that, it really works. Anyways, just a random thought.
- Rad canon connections – tons, just reread the entire post, LOL. I’m not kidding, though.
Again this is a huge arc not only in The Clone Wars, but in Star Wars mythology as a whole. Every single fan NEEDS to watch these episodes, if nothing else out of TCW. Please. In the meantime, enjoy these pics I’ve assembled from the official site: