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The Clone Wars: Refocused [THREE episodes upgraded to v2.0, 3/5 seasons released to v1.0] — Page 55

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CMMAP said:

Welcome back Eddie, hope you’d had a good time. Finally the polishing is starting 😉

Thanks buddy! It’s like settling into a warm bath, all that lovely Star Wars is being loaded back into my brain. I’ve already had a couple of new ideas I think will help near the start of the show, so I might post up on them in a few hours once I’ve written up my changelog document.

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I’m glad it sounds like a break helped.

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Absolutely. No big update today since I’m still crunching through all of the feedback here, but I’m going to start a rewatch of season one based on Imhotep’s great ideas about how it could flow. It feels like his suggestion could make the first season feel much more deliberate and cohesive, and I’ve got some ideas for how I could amend some of the crawls to enhance that further.

For a while I’ve been wanting to get the scenes of Ahsoka training in the Jedi temple while the others are busy fairly early in this season, and this watch will help me nail which of a few options I should follow.

I’m already getting excited about getting started on Season One v2.0!

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Well, I didn’t expect to have a larger update for you guys today, but it turns out that I do. I’ve just rewatched the first five episodes again, in the order (and mindset) suggested by Imhotep, and I’m definitely going to adopt that approach. I’ve already got two pages of notes on how to make it work.

Essentially, Imhotep suggested ‘focus on the villains’ and to let them link the first few episodes. That ultimately emerges as making Grievous a more present and credible military threat, with Ventress as a competent specialist and fighter. Therefore, we now have:

  1. Christophsis, (re)establishing Ventress as an assassin/enforcer for Dooku, and introducing Ahsoka
  2. Malevolence, establishing Grievous as a strategic commander with no morality, and developing Ahsoka more. In this episode’s crawl, I’d use the wording of “emergency”, allowing Grievous’ attack to implicitly be the emergency that Ahsoka was sent to Christophsis to tell Anakin about in that episode, retroactively allowing him to overshadow that episode too, and filling in that gap.
  3. Mandalore 1, pulling Obi-Wan (and later Anakin) into the Mandalore plotline. I’d rename this ‘The Duchess of Mandalore’ (instead of Death Watch) because that implies an interesting change to what we know of Mandalore, and encourage us to focus on the relationship angle. In this episode’s crawl, I’ll mention that Anakin and Ahsoka are pursuing the fleeing Grievous after the destruction of his flagship, emphasising his threat.
  4. Cloak of Darkness, dealing with Ahsoka alone on the sidelines of the Grievous pursuit as Anakin and Obi-Wan get distracted by Mandalore. I’ll change the crawl to state that in pursuit of Grievous, the Republic have captured Nute Gunray, who they plan to interrogate specifically for the location of Grievous. This fits nicely with their behaviour. I’ll also make it clear that Luminara is covering for Anakin in his absence. Here Ventress is now being deployed specifically to protect Grievous (and his strategies) at the behest of Dooku, emphasising both of their strengths.
  5. The 501st Legion, focusing on our core clones and culminating in both Grievous and Ventress attacking Kamino, for some big drama where all the threat is clear.

This way, these five episodes focus on the threat of Grievous as a droid general and Ventress as an assassin, with the less focused episodes still contributing to that arc. It’s not super tight, but it’s not much looser than this season of Bad Batch. The downside of this coherency is that it now puts my two worst episodes first, but I think I’m just going to make the disclaimer more prominent…

As I say, I have notes for the improvement of all of these episodes too.

I also watched the episode normally titled ‘Duchess of Mandalore’ (where the Death Watch attack Satine on Coruscant, which I might rename to ‘The Death Watch’ or ‘Revenge of the Death Watch’ [yes, I know I’m essentially flipping the two episode names]), which I have as 108 but Imhotep suggested as 106 “to have the main cast regroup”. This one only shows Obi-Wan and Padmé (and a little Anakin) though, so I might give the Kamino attack a bit more time to breathe by keeping it a little later.

That said though, as per my previous post, I’d like to show Ahsoka returning to her studies in one of these episodes, which could be that episode. It could also be the 501st, to explain why Ahsoka’s not in that one during all the big drama. We shall see.

In terms of thoughts beyond the restructuring, I feel like distance has given me some new perspective (and these are on top of all of the existing feedback, all of which is going to be processed):

  • I don’t think Bail in Christophsis adds anything, so I’ll take him out
  • I’ll streamline the start of Christophsis a little, to make the orbital/separatist/comms situation a bit more straightforward
  • I can streamline a little of Malevolence to make it a bit better paced and give it a bit of time to breathe
  • I have a few cuts to tighten and smooth both Malevolence and Cloak of Darkness
  • I’ve spotted a few bits of polish in audio and transitions I can give to 501st

Whee!

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With that same intention of making the first season as smooth as possible, I’m going to add two scenes from Assassin into our now episode three, the first Mandalore episode.

In the crawl, I’ll explain that as the Republic begins the hunt for Grievous, Anakin’s escorted Ahsoka back to Coruscant to begin her studies as Obi-Wan’s come to Mandalore.

Then, probably at the first time skip (when Obi-Wan and Satine travel to Concordia) I’ll show Ahsoka studying in the temple, being a bit bored and sleepy.

Then, after Obi-Wan and Satine defeat Pre Viszla and before they return from Concordia, I’ll show Ahsoka asking to come with Anakin, but him telling her to focus on her studies.

This gives us a few benefits:

  • Firstly and mainly, that we now understand that Ahsoka might not be invited on every mission, explaining some of her later absences.
  • Secondly, a bit of bonus Ahsoka to make this episode’s new placement a bit less of a black sheep, and to keep her presence felt early.
  • Thirdly, it’s good to actually see and understand that as a junior padawan she does still have school, she’s not just a kid Jedi.
  • Fourthly, a nice bonus: In the new dialogue, she tells Anakin she’d like to come with him so she has his back. Anakin’s main action here is that he kills the Mandalorian traitor in cold blood - perhaps with Ahsoka by his side things might have gone differently? It’s a nice hint at how he’ll behave in future without her moderating influence.
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The other thing I’m considering is actually taking the start of my Holocron episode and putting it at the start of my Duchess of Mandalore episode.

Holcron currently starts with the Republic abandoning Felucia and Ahsoka fucking that up, leaving her to be told off by the Jedi council and being put on Holocron guard duty.

Putting that at the start of the episode where the Death Watch attack Satine on Coruscant achieves a few things:

  • It gives the Mando episode a bit more Anakin and Ahsoka, again maintaining their presence throughout the season.
  • It puts a nice chunk of action up front in the Mando episode (and the Holocron episode doesn’t need more action).
  • It gives a good reason to drag the main party back to Coruscant, where they stay until the Holocron heist in the following episode, allowing Obi-Wan and Anakin to both steal away to spend time with their love interests.
  • But most importantly, it sets up Ahsoka as being punished by guard duty an episode early, making her punishment (and Mace Windu’s line of “longer [guard duty] now”) feel a bit more meaty, and making the holocron heist more of a suprise than the convenient assignment of Ahsoka there in that episode.
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These ideas are fantastic. You’re giving these episodes a coherence that obviously wasn’t there before since these episodes are from totally different places. I hadn’t even had the chance to start season 1 yet (beyond the first version of Christophsis) but I’m really excited to see how this new ordering works!

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EddieDean said:

With that same intention of making the first season as smooth as possible, I’m going to add two scenes from Assassin into our now episode three, the first Mandalore episode.

I think this is a great idea, especially considering that we want Ahsoka in most of the early episodes. Conceptually, it’s a slam dunk. The only concern would be if it feels out of place or breaks the pacing too much. That being said, I’m excited to see it in practice as you do your polish pass!

I am no Jedi

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There are two good breathing points so with luck it’ll just be about getting the transitions right.

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This project sounds awesome! I binged through all of TCW for the first time not long after Season 7 came out, and I’ve been tentatively thinking about re-watching it; this sounds like the perfect alternative.

I particularly like the sound of what you’re doing with the villains - making Maul a more constant threat will definitely raise the series as a whole and augment its conclusion, and Grievous could definitely do with being more threatening - and I also like your approach of giving each season a greater episode-to-episode continuity, something the original series, in retrospect, sorely lacks at times. Can’t wait to see how it turns out. Good luck!

“I don’t believe it.”

“That is why you Yoda.”
Master Fail

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Welcome DrV! I’ve produced the first three (of five) seasons covering ~30 (of ~50) episodes already, if you’d like to check any of that out now. But currently I’m doing that polish pass that’s being discussed in these last few posts before returning to season four. It’s unlikely I’ll tighten up seasons two and three in the same way as I’m currently looking at season one (because there are simply fewer options), but it’s season one that needs it most. Still, you could watch S1 now in its current state if you wanted to get your teeth in. It’s complete for a v1, I’m just working on a v2.

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I’d love a PM of your progress so far! It would be great to get a sense of the series’ new general style.

Also I just realised you’re using music by Samuel Kim!! I love his stuff! All the more reason to watch.

“I don’t believe it.”

“That is why you Yoda.”
Master Fail

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Right, so I finished rewatching my season one bearing in mind Imhotep’s suggested order and mindset last night.

He emphasised using Duchess of Mandalore as the episode where they all ‘regroup on Coruscant’, which on review I think doesn’t quite give us a punctual enough moment to make it worthy of bringing forward just for that. However, using Duchess to return them to Coruscant does work - but I feel it belongs a little later.

My main change to Imhotep’s idea and my own original ordering is that I think I don’t quite need to force Maul’s plotline (starting in Nightsisters) to be the ABSOLUTE earliest possible, so after The 501st Legion (my Domino Squad arc) I’m going to play the Ryloth episode then Nightsisters.

This gives us a better pacing of Ahsoka, and also implies that her schooling and the events with Luminara and Ventress has now earned her her first battle command. Ryloth’s space battle is also smaller and slightly lower stakes than the Sullust shipyards seen at the start of Nightsisters.

This also works nicely from the villains angle. Grievous and Ventress are involved in the attack on Kamino in The 501st, then it’s a good strategic move for the Wat Tambor / Neimoidian fleet to also be attacking the strategic/political target of Ryloth almost at the same time, or just after. There’s a real sense now that Dooku’s pulling the strings, and using all of the Separatists to attack as many targets as possible, to keep the Republic off balance. (I’ll also, in the crawl, emphasise Ryloth’s ‘refineries’, since we see an ‘Imperial Refinery’ as a strategic location on Ryloth in the Bad Batch.) Then, there’s enough time for Ventress to regroup before her appearance at Sullust.

The other benefit of this ordering is that King Katuunko is now killed in the right order. Previously, I had to fuck about with having Katuunko die in Nightsisters, then Bail Organa in the Ryloth episode have to deal with random Toydarians. Now, Katuunko provides his aid to the Ryloth crisis, and as soon as Dooku’s tested Savage he sends him off for revenge and to remove that tactical threat. This means I’ll be able to use more of the original Bail-Katuunko scenes, which smooths over Ryloth, and also takes off some pressure from Christophsis.

During Nightsisters I might mention that as Obi and Anakin join the Sullust crisis, Ahsoka’s off with either Luminara or Plo Koon establishing a small defensive force on Felucia, to pay off in our next episode.

After those two episodes, we’ll drop into Duchess of Mandalore (NOW bringing them all home, but with the inclusion of the Felucia escape from my Holocron episode, as per my previous post). Then they’re all back in Coruscant properly as the Republic now rethinks things after that initial phase of the war, and Ahsoka’s being disciplined. Then we get the Holocron crisis, which I think will feel a lot better paced without the Felucia content as that episode’s main plot only really got started halfway into the episode previously.

So now then, the seasonal ordering would be:

  1. THE NEW PADAWAN - (Re)introduces Ventress, introduces Ahsoka. Separatist target is the crystalline ray shield factories of Christophsis. Ahsoka mentions an “emergency”.
  2. MALEVOLENCE - (Re)introduces Grievous, gives Ahsoka’s Plo Koon background, gives us a taste of caring about clones. Separatist target is wounded clones and clone medical facilities. (This is the “emergency” mentioned last episode.)
  3. THE DEATH WATCH (from the first two Satine/Mandalore episodes on Concordia and the Coronet) - Introduces Satine, focuses on Obi-Wan, puts Ahsoka in school, hints at Anakin’s darkness, and kicks off the Mandalore subplot. Separatist target is alliance with Mandalorians, postponed as Mandalorians are kicked off Concordia, but leaving the threat of Mandalorians hanging over the season. In the crawl, explain that the Republic are how hunting for Grievous. [I think I want to rename this to THE DUCHESS OF MANDALORE even though that’s an existing episode name, since she’s really the core of the episode, and it implies a very different Mandalore to the one you know from other media.]
  4. CLOAK OF DARKNESS - Faces Ahsoka alone against Ventress. Separatist target is to stop Gunray from revealing Grievous’ location/plans. In the crawl, explain that Anakin and Obi-Wan are now spearheading that effort. [I might rename this episode to ASSASSIN, to emphasise the Ventress angle.]
  5. THE 501st LEGION - Introduces the key clones, and pits Anakin and Obi-Wan against Grievous and Ventress after their large introductions. This is now the first episode where Ahsoka doesn’t appear at all (it’s too dangerous for her and/or she’s busy wrapping up her last episode), but we’ll go Ahsoka-heavy in the episodes before and after this one. Separatist target is Kamino, enhanced by milking the hunt for Grievous a little in the prior episodes.
  6. THE BLOCKADE OF RYLOTH - Gives Ahsoka’s first failiure at a cost of many lives. Bail Organa and Cham Syndulla appear, and Katuunko helps the Twi’leks. Separatist target is the refineries (and people) of Ryloth, enhanced by this attack coming immediately after the Kamino one.
  7. CHILDREN OF NIGHT - Explores Ventress more, introduces Dathomir, kicks off the Maul subplot, and gets more Sithy. Separatist target is the shipyards at Sullust, and later revenge against Katuunko. In the crawl, explain that Ahsoka’s with the 501st establishing a force on Felucia.
  8. DUCHESS OF MANDALORE (from the third Satine/Mandalore episode originally called Duchess of Mandalore) - (Re)introduces Padmé, gives more Obi-Wan/Satine, and gives Ahsoka’s second failiure at a cost of being formally disciplined. Separatist target is Felucia and mainly the alliance with the Mandalorians again, which properly fails this time, closing the potential threat of a Separatist/Mandalorian alliance but keeping the Mandalorians on the board. [I might rename this episode to THE DEATH WATCH, to keep that name as a title in play, and since we now know who the Death Watch are so we can anticipate their return.]
  9. A STRIKE AT THE HEART (pt1) introduces Cad Bane, and brings all our main characters together. Separatist - no, SITH - target is the Holocron/Children, via a distraction and competent bounty hunters.
  10. A STRIKE AT THE HEART (pt2) has all our main characters chasing Bane, with some bonus Mace Windu and showing how much Ahsoka’s come to mean to Anakin. It gives us Ahsoka’s patience, her moderating influence on Anakin, hints at Ahsoka’s future direction as a wise teacher, and gives us the first chronological hint at Sidious’ multi-generational plan for an army of force-sensitive agents and other forcey plots. [I might rename this episode to THE FUTURE OF THE FORCE. (1) The kids are the future of the force, (2) Ahsoka training the next generation is the future of the force (see Mandalorian), and (3) Sidious fucking about with force sensitive DNA is the future of the force (see TROS).]
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A couple of overflow points from the current discussion:

  • Since the Bad Batch has recently explored Cham Syndulla (and Orn Free Taa a little), I’m going to review the other Ryloth episodes from TCW which I haven’t included in my own edit. (As a reminder, my ‘Quality Cut’ is what I consider the core main version of my TCW:R, but I’m also producing extended ‘Continuity’ and ‘Complete’ cuts for those who want a bit more content which might be lesser quality.) There’s one episode in particular which shows a little tension between Cham and Orn, and continues to highlight Cham’s resistance, so I might produce a simple cut of it soon just for the completionists. I don’t think that episode will be considered part of my Quality cut still (because I don’t think it’s likely to be VITAL to the enjoyment of the Clone Wars and surrounding franchise), but perhaps it will be worthy of the Continuity cut - for those who want the most ‘connective tissue’.
    ** Interestingly, Orn Free Taa actually appears twice already in my season one - firstly as a guest of Satine on the Coronet as she returns to Coruscant, and secondly in Palpatine’s office during the hostage crisis. Both appearances are speaking roles. If a viewer were to watch ‘Ryloth 2’ during this season, they’d get a little extra value there.
  • If I rename ‘Cloak of Darkness’ to ‘Assassin’, then that leaves me needing a new name for the existing Complete Cut (least important) episode already called ‘Assassin’, which I’ve already butchered for parts but plan to butcher further. The replacement name isn’t super important since it’s not an important episode, but perhaps for simplicity I’d call it ‘Visions’. Unless anyone can think of anything better.
  • The above proposals feel like they give us a nice tight coherent season as an introduction to the series. They contain my show’s worst episodes, but I think they’re far less awful than in the original presentation, and you get everything that’s important to launch you into the series. They give you almost all of the elements from the prequels, and in many ways do them justice, before putting them to bed as the clone wars expand in ideas in the later seasons.
  • However, the next few seasons can’t flow quite as nicely as this plan - though they don’t really have to. The theme of the second season is absolutely ‘opportunists/bounty hunters/scum and villainy’ as we highlight the chaos of the spreading war. Though there’s far less of a throughline. I might gently remind the viewer that we’re not seeing the Separatists much at all, with the ‘big reveal’ at the end of the season being those huge extra droid factories. The third season becomes ‘shades of grey’, as the complexities emerge, but again with less of a throughline, though it does give us Lux Bonteri. Either way, from season two onwards, the episodes are far stronger.
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DrVibble said:

I’d love a PM of your progress so far! It would be great to get a sense of the series’ new general style.

Also I just realised you’re using music by Samuel Kim!! I love his stuff! All the more reason to watch.

PM sent. Yeah, I love Samuel Kim too, I’m using him in a couple of places, and McFibb from these forums did a few additional arrangements for me.

I would have loved to use Samuel Kim’s ‘Clone Theme (sad)’ for my credits but ultimately it just didn’t hit quite right, though I’ve been thinking about using it to back a trailer if I produce one.

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And I dunno, just for the sake of sharing it (in case it generates any ideas), here are my current list of jobs before I kick off polishing each episode:

  • Update community credits list and style (or at least size on the page)
  • Create new franchise title combining Mandalorian and Bad Batch
  • Experiment with different credits timing - maybe just so the second image hits the main beat of DRAMA in the music
  • Work out exact credits timing - I was doing this backwards from the ending for each episode rather than consistently for all of them, which never quite satisfied, though it is very minor
  • Work out exact wipe timing - my wipes are based on a very early TCW wipe, and they changed the standard a little later. I’m going to have mine match the modern (and even Bad Batch) timing perfectly instead
  • Rethink season one ordering - pretty much done
  • Rethink remaining ordering - unlikely to change but I’ll give it a review just in case
  • Rethink episode titles
  • Rethink the seasonal ‘first line’ in my opening texts, to better highlight the themes
  • Re-rethink including good cut content (like putting those Ahsoka schooling scenes into the first Mandalore episode)

Then for absolutely every episode, on top of the specific fixes I’ve listed from all of your unactioned feedback to date, I’ve got to:

  • Replace the franchise title with my new one
  • Review the intro text, accounting for the new ordering
  • Rethink the episode title
  • Replace the end credits timing with whatever I come up with
  • Replace my own credit as EDDIE DEAN (I’m better known in fanediting by this name)
  • Replace the community credit with the new slide
  • Review and update all wipe transitions
  • Review all music transitions via outputting the sound on my TV, to better test it all

So this phase of the project will probably take a while, but (1) seasons four and five will be far more light touch, and (2) it should result in final-final versions of those episodes.

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Delpheas said:

I like that. I’m personally up for trying out those changes ED, while you’re on break, and I can send you it to share and we can see how the two versions go over with people?

Hey Del, any news on this idea?

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And hooray, that’s me having aggregated all of the detailed feedback to date per episode, so I can get on with fixing them.

Thanks in particular to Imhotep, Delpheas, and Sonofabinadi, for the volume and level of detail. It’s HUGELY useful, so please do keep it coming.

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Here’s a preview of TCW:R’s new franchise logos, borrowing content from both Mandalorian and Bad Batch.

I prioritised elements of TCW, then the prequel era, then the wider impact of TCW, and finally the wider Filoniverse.

I thought it was a nice touch to end on Vader.

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The proposed reordering sounds great, all the major characters are nicely introduced and get at least one big part to play making it plausible as a hypothetical first season that Lucasfilm could have been produced and released in this order.

As a nice side effect it also holds up better with canon, namely having Katuunko alive for the Ryloth arc.

Also I’m so glad to see you’re willing to take retroactive feedback from The Bad Batch to further tighten your cut!

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EddieDean said:

Here’s a preview of TCW:R’s new franchise logos, borrowing content from both Mandalorian and Bad Batch.

I prioritised elements of TCW, then the prequel era, then the wider impact of TCW, and finally the wider Filoniverse.

I thought it was a nice touch to end on Vader.

You´d had me at “…utter bull****” 😄
Nice order for the franchise logo and vader as the end - just perfect.

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Hal 9000 said:

EddieDean said:

Here’s a preview of TCW:R’s new franchise logos

lol, very nice. Was that a DHMIS reference?

Not consciously! I thought I’d throw in a little Monty Python for you all though.

Knight of Kalee said:

As a nice side effect it also holds up better with canon, namely having Katuunko alive for the Ryloth arc.

Yeah, I’m suprised I previously forced myself into the wrong order for that. Some distance has allowed me to ‘reset’ some opinions here, and see my work afresh.

Also I’m so glad to see you’re willing to take retroactive feedback from The Bad Batch to further tighten your cut!

Absolutely! This was always the plan, to tweak if things changed. I still don’t think we need to lean too heavily into the second Ryloth episode, so Cham vs Orn Free Taa will remain a Continuity Cut episode rather than Quality cut, but I’ll produce that sooner rather than later, for the sake of the completionists.

CMMAP said:

EddieDean said:

Here’s a preview of TCW:R’s new franchise logos, borrowing content from both Mandalorian and Bad Batch.

I prioritised elements of TCW, then the prequel era, then the wider impact of TCW, and finally the wider Filoniverse.

I thought it was a nice touch to end on Vader.

You´d had me at “…utter bull****” 😄

Haha, I’ve been meaning to do a stupid opening text for a while, this was a better opportunity than putting it in a proper episode that people will download. Wish I hadn’t buggered up the fade on the second line though, that could have made this dumb joke land a little better.

Nice order for the franchise logo and vader as the end - just perfect.

Super, glad that seems to be the consensus. The two franchise logos are actually quite different, I found - not just the resolution, but the Mandalorian one is heavily cropped, so I had to crop the Bad Batch one to match. They’re not even perfectly timed to each other or the music, so I found I had some leeway.

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Random thought: In line with my current reordering plans, I might rename 1x06 ‘The Blockade of Ryloth’ to ‘Resistance on Ryloth’, just to give a little extra weight to Cham’s side of things, and to emphasise the emotional stakes for Ahsoka in the air.