The Clone Wars Rage On!

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Even the most jaded Star Wars fans have to admit that the first season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars was a lot better than most people expected it to be. With a quirky animation style, compelling stories and some of the most explosive action on television, The Clone Wars found a substantial audience early on, and deservedly so. Those viewers—young and old—have been eagerly anticipating what  supervising director Dave Filoni has in store this season, and judging by the two-part premiere, this  series is only getting better.

The one-hour premiere—comprised of “Holocron Heist” and “Cargo of Doom”—marks the beginning of the season-long “Rise of the Bounty Hunters” storyline. After making a splash in last season’s finale, nefarious bounty hunter Cad Bane is back, enlisted by Darth Sidious to infiltrate the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and steal a Jedi Holocron—an ancient storage device. Coincidentally, Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan Ahsoka Tano is placed on guard duty at the temple as punishment for disobeying a direct order, putting her directly in Bane’s path.

With his wide-brimmed hat, glowing red eyes and high-tech weaponry, it’s no wonder why Bane is already a fan favorite. There’s not a whole lot that we know about the blue-skinned bounty hunter, but it’s obvious that so far he is a credible threat to the Jedi. We’ll be seeing lots more of him in the future. As evidenced by the massive fan following that Boba Fett has garnered over the years, it’s pretty clear that Star Wars fans love their mysterious, badass bounty hunters.

While The Clone Wars is still aimed squarely at kids, this season is already entering some very dark and violent territory. In addition to the occasional clone trooper death, we see a Jedi tortured to death on-screen, while Sidious’ plot to eradicate the Jedi involves using the Holocron to hunt down Force-sensitive children. There’s still humor in these episodes—most of which comes from Bane’s diminutive droid sidekick Todo 360 (voiced by Robot Chicken creator Seth Green)—but Filoni and his team do not shy away from showing the horrors of war.

This episode also hinted at the potential danger in the student-teacher pairing of Ahsoka and Anakin. The Padawan is already picking up on her master’s cavalier attitude toward the rules, while Anakin’s emotions continue getting the best of him in combat situations. Hopefully, this season explores this seemingly volatile relationship further.

In addition to its impressive story, the two-part premiere is a feast for the eyes with some incredible space battles and plenty of lightsaber action. For those that have yet to jump on the Clone Wars bandwagon (or is it a landspeeder in this case?), this phenomenal season premiere is a good place to get started.

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