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The Clone Wars: Refocused [2 episodes upgraded to v2.0, 3/5 seasons released to v1.0]


Our special ‘episode zero’ comprising the Muunilinst, Yavin and Hypori arcs from the Tartakovsky Microseries.
Running 51 minutes.
Source video is Numeraljoker’s upscaled version, used with permission and credited.
Download link in the tracker spreadsheet, PM me for access.

I focused on the characters and elements which best support and enhance the remainder of my Clone Wars: Refocused show, so that this can be viewed as a pretty necessary episode zero.

  • Anakin is a major focus, highlighting his strength, relationship with Palpatine, and hints at his darkness, and with far more faith from Obi-Wan bringing their relationship far closer to how it appears in TCW proper. (Thanks Delpheas for a lot of the inspiration here.)
  • Dooku’s machinations are the secondary focus. We see him train Ventress (far earlier, for balance, focus and story flow) then send her to challenge Anakin, then we see him train Grievous (from the second part of this microseries) then send him to Hypori to kill Jedi and spread fear (as Dooku taught Grievous in their sparring session).
  • The remaining focus is on showing at least some clone competency, focusing on their training and hardware, and the elements we’ll see later in TCW. I tended towards favouring the more grounded action, like we see outside of Tartakovsky’s eccentricities.
  • The whole is quite radically reshaped, so that it flows nicely and feels more like a single narrative, with the Republic reacting to Dooku’s bold moves. We intercut both a little more and a little less in places as felt appropriate and natural.
  • The clones no longer follow Anakin to Yavin, with the scenes there reworked so that Ventress simply removes his escape, forcing their conflict. Obi-Wan doesn’t send the clones - partially due to having to wrap up matters on Muunilinst, and partially due to trusting Anakin despite his (now reduced) disobedience, which is more in line with his later trust.
  • I moved the shot of Yoda having an “oh shit” meditation moment to right after Anakin’s just completed his rage-fueled attack on Ventress. Now in context, he’s reacting to feeling the darkness rise in Anakin. A viewer could choose to imply that it’s this feeling which compels him to agree to Knight Anakin and later grant him a Padawan, in the hopes of keeping him on the right path.
  • No Dirge/Lancers, since they’re not referenced in TCW again and feel aesthetically very different.
  • No TPM Anakin/Qui-Gon vision, since it had no place here and I’ll use some of its dialogue in other episodes.
  • No Dantooine/Ilium/Mon Cala, because they distract from the core narrative. (These have been included in a ‘Tales from the Clone Wars’ bonus episode, s03e00.)
  • No Nelvaan or kidnapping of Palpatine, because they are set later in the war. (I may eventually turn these into later bonus episodes.)

The episode is now fully wrapped in my usual TCW:Refocused trappings, the first of the ‘2.0’ versions. It has a variant ‘Clone Wars’ microseries logo and a slightly alternative approach to the end credits, hopefully straddling the middle ground between being part of TCW:R and respecting that the source content was its own thing.

The Clone Wars: Refocused [2 episodes upgraded to v2.0, 3/5 seasons released to v1.0]

Sorry that it’s been so long since I’ve output something guys. I’m not managing your expectations well - nor my own - and have found less time lately than I was expecting.

That said, I’ve got a good chunk further through s01e00 Dark Force Rising today. I ended up making far more changes than I anticipated.

I went for my option 3 above, as it’s a lot cleaner. Anakin lands, Ventress sabotages his escape, Anakin’s angry, they fight. No clones on Yavin.

I’ve got two small audio enhancements to make that rearrangement work, then two simple trims elsewhere, to have this finished off.

I’m sure you’ll all enjoy the final result, I’m just sorry it’s taken so long!

Idea: The value of shifting Iron Man 3 to after Age of Ultron...

This is an idea I’ve had percolating for a long while and become really passionate about.

Let’s consider the value of making Iron Man 3 follow Age of Ultron:

  • Firstly, thinking about the Avengers story. Working chronologically, phase one gives us all of the individual Avengers solo, bringing them together in the first Avengers movie. At this point, they’re a super-team who have handled Earth’s first galactic threat. That’s pretty huge. Why do they not then handle all of Earth’s domestic problems? Well, because fairly quickly, in Captain America 2, it turns out that SHIELD, who are tied to the US military and brought the Avengers together, were really Hydra, the resurgent Nazis. Age of Ultron continues and concludes this thread, implying that the Avengers have been focused on tracking and defeating Hydra in the intervening time. That’s a good, large-scale (offscreen) focus for the Avengers.
    • Age of Ultron also concludes with Rhodey (who was still aligned with SHIELD/Nick Fury/US military) joining the Avengers.
  • What follows Age of Ultron? Most importantly, tension between the new Avengers and Tony Stark, where he leaves the Avengers since he created Ultron. Then a few more solo origin stories, but primarily, Captain America 3: Civil War. A few of the new solo players get roped in here and/or expanded on later, but in terms of the Avengers and Iron Man, Civil War comes next, followed by Infinity War/Endgame.
    • But also importantly, in Civil War, Rhodey has actually switched back from the Captain America Avengers to the side of the US military/regulation, apprehending the Avengers after the Lagos incident (where the Avengers caused collateral damage, triggering the Sokovia accords).
  • So ulitmately, in Civil War, which establishes that the (new, Captain America-run) Avengers HAVE been focusing on more serious international threats, both Tony and Rhodey end up on the side of “superheroes need to be regulated”.
  • So, now let’s consider Tony Stark’s story throughout these films. Iron Man 1 & 2 give us his formative solo missions. The first Avengers movie, via the attack on New York, gives him both his first Avengers gig and his first realisation that the alien threat is huge and real. Then Nazis pop up, so sure, that’s an easy bad guy to decide to fight. But in Age of Ultron, we see that (quite rightly) he’s still obsessed with the alien threat. He wants “a suit of armour around the world”, so he invests in his AI, building his network of drones.
  • Then discovering the Mind Stone’s AI mind, he egotistically tries to merge it with his Jarvis AI to create Ultron, his intended super-AI to defend the world, which becomes genocidal, and takes over his AI drone network, becoming a global threat of his own creation. He gets lucky with the birth of Vision, a combination of Wakandan vibranium, Jarvis’ AI, the Mind Stone, and Ultron’s own design, (and Thor’s, uh, lightning?,) but ultimately Ultron remains a huge fuck-up by Tony.
  • Now following this by the Iron Man 3 story, Tony’s huge guilt over Ultron (and rejection by the Avengers after Age of Ultron) has forced him to go solo again. He still fears the alien threat, and now AI/drones also, so instead he’s invested in only himself, creating dozens of custom Iron Man suits. He’s anxious, and without friends, and over-planning for every possible threat, because he knows what’s out there, and he knows the Avengers aren’t focused on it. (He is, of course, proven right by Infinity War, where the alien threat wins, and as Steve Rogers so sanctimoniously told him, “we’ll lose together too”, which they actually do apart.)
  • So Iron Man 3 gives us the opportunity to show not just a Tony Stark scared by the events of the original Avengers, but also (from his perspective) scarred by the rejection of his friends in Age of Ultron. Across Iron Man 3 he comes to accept that he is just one man, destroying his multiple suits, removing his arc reactor, and ultimately becoming Iron Man - just one guy.
  • Doing it this way explains a few things:
    • Why didn’t the Avengers get involved when the Mandarin was terrorising the USA? Because they’d cut ties with the US military after the reemergence of Hydra, going more independent/international under Captain America’s guidance after Age of Ultron.
    • Why didn’t the Avengers get involved when Tony was in danger? Because they’d just kicked him out of the Avengers for the Ultron incident and weren’t taking his calls.
    • Why did Rhodey join the Avengers in Age of Ultron but then hunt them in Infinity War? Because as soon as they started acting independently/internationally under Captain America he defaulted back to US military (since Hydra/Nazis were defeated), formented by a legitimate threat to the US president, in time to start sympathising with Tony/regulation again.
    • In Iron Man 3, Tony has a positive relationship with a technically and morally competent child. When we see him next, in Civil War, he’s invested heavily in a similar child, Peter Parker AKA Spider-Man.
    • In Age of Ultron, Tony is still with Pepper. But in Iron Man 3, she goes through some real trauma at Tony’s hands. In Civil War, they’ve broken up. In this order, she’s got a far better reason to have split from Tony.
    • In Iron Man 3, Pepper successfully uses the Iron Man armour. They’re split for a time, but when they’re together again in Infinity War/Endgame, he’s built her the Rescue armour.
    • In Age of Ultron, Tony invests in AI/drones, to disastrous effect. In Iron Man 3, Tony invests in multiple suits, which is overcompensation that he realises is unhealthy. What’s the next natural development? A single suit with multiple functions. In Civil War he hasn’t made a major change, but by Infinity War, he’s built the nano-suit - all suits in one, and only he’s in control. To Tony, this is (psychologically) very different to AI/drones or multiple suits.

So, what would it take to achieve this change? Well, a lot, but it’s not unachievable:

  • You don’t need to make any changes to Age of Ultron. It does feature Tony’s multi-part armour, which appears first in Iron Man 3, but not in a major enough way to appear as a successor.
  • You’d need a voice actor to replace Jarvis with Friday in Iron Man 3. Jarvis is quite generic here, so you could ultimately just re-record all of Jarvis’ lines with a good imitation of Friday’s voice.
  • You’d also need a Tony voice actor in Iron Man 3 to replace every time he references ‘Jarvis’ with ‘Friday’. There’s quite a few of these, but thankfully both words have the same mouth movements, at least.
  • You’d want to add a little to the references to ‘New York’ as Tony’s trauma to also include ‘Ultron’/‘Killer Robots’/‘AI’
  • You’d have to cut the fact that Tony’s narrating to Banner, since Banner by this time has left in the quinjet to star in Thor: Ragnarok. But you could still have the narration as a frame.
  • You’d probably want to use the opportunity to change Tony’s opening narration, to establish something like:
    • “A famous man once said ‘We create our own demons’. Well, I tried to create a guardian for the world and sure enough, I created a demon. I called him Ultron. Ugh… I need to start again. Let’s track this from the beginning, back when I really was a villain.”
    • [Killian/Maya opening, where Tony’s a dick to Killian, triggering his personal vendetta]
    • “So anyway, where am I now? I joined the Avengers, fought some aliens, tried to defend the world, made a demon, and for that? Got kicked out. At least Rhodey’s still got the sense to play both sides, but Cap won’t even take my calls. So I turned back to the only people who’ll have me, and the only thing I was ever good at.”
    • [Back in the garage, building the new Iron Man suit]
  • The end narration you could tweak too, but it’d be more minor, since it already wraps up everything fairly well.

What do you think? Is there anything there that I’ve missed? Anything there that doesn’t work? Anything that would need fixing?

The Clone Wars: Refocused [2 episodes upgraded to v2.0, 3/5 seasons released to v1.0]

Right, I’m actually properly editing now! I’ve made some good progress through my episode zero, Dark Force Rising. This takes the Muunilinst/Hypori plots from the Tartakovsky microseries, and the intention is to give background to Anakin/Ventress/Grievous in advance of TCW:R proper.

I’ve been working through my notes, your feedback, and the suggestions for tightening Anakin and Obi-Wan’s relationship so it’s more in line with TCW. So far:

  • I’ve brought it all up to my TCW:R 2.0 standard in terms of presentation.
  • I’ve tidied up the transitions, and some frames which flashed white (in the original, but it was distracting). This includes fixing the shot I was never too happy with where Obi-Wan lands on the roof and the music cuts a bit too sharply.
  • I’m also listening to this all on my TV with soundbar so I can best affirm the audio mix.
  • I’ve cut out the young Anakin/Qui-Gon dream sequence, which never had a place anyway, but which might be additive to my Mortis and Yoda Quest episodes.
  • We now open on the scene in Palpatine’s chambers, establishing the plot, and I used Delpheas’ ideas and a few tweaks to sell the group’s confidence in Anakin. Now, Palpatine suggests including Anakin (“His exceptional skill will be quite useful”), Obi-Wan agrees (“Indeed”) and then Yoda does too (“True. With his master, a padawan’s place is. AND undeniably strong he has become.”) Palpatine then agrees (“Then it is decided.”)
  • I’ve reordered a little more of Muunilinst’s land and space battles, so that Anakin’s success in the air comes before Obi-Wan gets the Muun’s unconditional surrender, giving his skill a bit more weight. The air forces are just on mop-up when Anakin chooses to pursue Ventress. The whole flows a bit better now too, and is a bit more compelling.
  • Trimmed a “roger, roger”.
  • I’ve tightened up Anakin and Ventress flying over Obi-Wan, to make Anakin more responsible but still bold. Now, Obi-Wan says “Anakin, you’re supposed to be in space commanding our forces!” to which he immediately replies “Master, the battle here is more than won. [responding to settle Obi-Wan’s concerns and show he focused on the priority first] This is no droid pilot, and the force is with him. I can’t let him get away.” Obi-Wan warns him he’s being baited, but doesn’t order him to stay - Ventress is escaping so Anakin simply follows her very quickly.

Now, this is where I’ve stopped, and could do with some advice.

The scene in question is where Anakin and Ventress arrive on Yavin. Currently it plays as follows:

  1. Anakin arrives on Yavin
  2. Anakin explores the forest
  3. Anakin hears an explosion near his ship, and returns to it [[what is this?? there’s a burnt mark on the ground but no obvious target?? did the clones do this?? unclear]]
  4. The Clones sent by Obi-Wan land
  5. The Clones disembark, and Anakin and the Clones start a search
  6. The Clones get picked off one by one
  7. Anakin chases the last screaming clone back into the clearing
  8. The Clone ship explodes
  9. Anakin shouts “R4!” [[without really a reason to believe R4 is in trouble??]]
  10. Anakin’s ship (and R4) explode
  11. Anakin looks up from R4’s broken dome
  12. Ventress emerges

Now, You’ve got three options here:

  1. Keep it as is. Obi-Wan sent Clones after Anakin, and Ventress picks them off one by one before blowing up their ship a while later. This means Obi-Wan sent the Clones (less trusting/more protective of Anakin?) and Anakin’s got a good reason to be angry at her.
  2. Trim the scene of the Clones getting picked off in the woods. That’s quite a goofy scene, which is charming and Tartakovsky-like, but it does make Ventress more powerful than we see her again in TCW, in terms of picking up and throwing masses of people. Instead, you could have the Clone ship land, and as Anakin watches, it explodes before they even disembark. (There’s one Clone on the ground when it explodes, but I think you could just about work around that if you didn’t mind a few quick cuts here.)
  3. Trim the Clones altogether. Anakin lands and goes into the woods. His ship and R4 explode, which makes him run back to the clearing. This one’s very clean, though means that Obi-Wan didn’t send Anakin support (is that OK? It both makes Anakin a bit more reckless AND Obi-Wan a bit more trusting, or perhaps implies that Obi-Wan doesn’t have the means to track Anakin). It also means that Anakin’s mad at Ventress even though he didn’t just see her kill a squad. (Though he has been fighting her in the skies for an hour or so, so it’s pretty understandable that his blood’s boiling.) This would be most elegant, and also fixes those weird questions from the above list, if you guys think the Obi-Wan’s inaction and Anakin’s anger ramifications work.
The Prequel Radical Redux Ideas Thread

Agreed, I’ve also found myself coming back to the idea since first reading about it.

It doesn’t even need to break wider canon, really. Having him not kill the kids IMMEDIATELY doesn’t mean that he wasn’t involved in later inquisitorial behaviour with a touch of child murder. It just means that we drop the element of “I have doubts about the Jedi” “OK how about becoming a child murderer?” “Yep.”

The Clone Wars: Refocused [2 episodes upgraded to v2.0, 3/5 seasons released to v1.0]

Thanks very much! I’m hoping to get the next episode released this weekend. That should be the first of my polish pass through the series up to the new 2.x standard. The first couple of episodes - Tartakovsky, Christophsis, Malevolence, and then Ryloth - will take a little longer as I’ll be rethinking their plots a bit more, but the remainder of the existing ~30 episodes will be much more of a tightening than a re-edit, and then I’m back on with proper new stuff.

Glad you enjoyed the Tartakovsky episode. I won’t be making many changes to that, mainly just some dialogue trims to strengthen Obi-Wan’s opinion of Anakin.

That said, regarding Christophsis, I don’t want to make it any longer, and indeed I want to make it a little tighter. One of the pillars of my approach to this series edit is “Quality over length”, and I don’t want to artificially enlarge an episode to make it feel more cinematic. Cat & Mouse is fairly decent but focuses on the stealth ship, which I think raises too many questions this early in the show since it’s not seen again. It also delays our show’s focal protagonist (Ahsoka) and one of our season’s focal villains (Ventress). And Hidden Enemy had decent Ventress scenes, which I did include, but its other plot was the traitor clone. While decent, I didn’t want to have a traitor clone in focus so early in the show before we’ve got to know more of clone culture - though I did include that content in my season two clone individuality anthology episode.

The changes I think I’ll be making there though are some tightening of the start around the blockade and space battle situation, which is a bit muddy right now, and the partial or full removal of Bail, as much as I like his character. We’ll get through this episode fairly quickly - Ventress is there to distract/delay so that the Seppies can drop ground forces, then Ahsoka will join and help the Republic counterattack. It’s not a strong episode either way, so I think it’s best to get through it quickly rather than try to add to it.

I had considered merging Cat and Mouse and Hidden Enemy into a later ‘return to Christophsis’ episode too, where in context the traitor clone had leaked the stealth ship specs (to help explain why it doesn’t return), but ultimately still the stealth ship raises more questions than the value it gives us, and the Hidden Enemy stuff grouped with other clone focused stuff allowed me to produce a very strong little anthology which helps the viewer get used to clone variety and Rex, which was a useful focus going forward.

I did originally think I’d do something like Smudger and maybe mix my Christophsis episode with another (like the Domino Squad arc), but I think my recent reordering of the first season (not yet released) with a focus on how the season flows as a whole will go a long way towards making the beginning of the show more compelling and cohesive, much in the way a movie that hits many good connected beats would.

Regarding aspect ratio, it’s not something I’m really considering changing, mainly since the whole show is like that and if I’m changing the ratio I’m needing to think about framing in every scene. Plus, I think it’s something the viewer can accommodate quickly. I did consider using NumeralJoker’s sources initially - indeed they were the spark for this entire project since they presented each arc as a whole episode - but ultimately I found that I didn’t need the higher resolution because outputting any higher gave such little benefit relative to file size (looks great on my huge TV as it is, plus editing would have been slowed massively by using such large source files) and I didn’t think I needed the new colour timing, since to me it was relatively minor plus I could apply changes myself if needed.

Oh and Imhotep, I wanted to thank you once again for yet another wonderfully detailed post. This stuff is so so valuable to me in working on this project. I’d just had my second jab so I was full of the free trial of covid at the time, hence no reply, but it was a great read, and naturally I’ll be giving it lots of thought!

The Rise of Skywalker: Ascendant (Released)

I think because “I am a Jedi” feels like it’s more appropriate as a conclusion to Rey’s story across the trilogy. She’s got her abandonment as a child and lonely life, her lessons with Luke, and the Kylo Ren and darkside temptations, and declaring herself a Jedi brings all of those together into her taking bold ownership of her position in the galaxy.

That’s why the change is accompanied by other changes to Palpatine’s preceding dialogue, where his lines are reshaped into effectively taunting her that she’s nothing.

As a lesser consideration, another factor is that “All the Sith”/“All the Jedi” feels a bit like it’s a cool thing to say but doesn’t quite hold up to scrutiny, and like she’s ONLY (or mainly) strong in the moment because she’s channeling all of the Jedi. It’s kind a comparison between a cool statement in the moment versus something that better ties together her arc across the trilogy.

The Rise of Skywalker: Ascendant (Released)

I can’t wait. Selfishly, I’ve only seen TROS at the cinema the once when it first came out, and have resisted dipping back into it until the completion of this project.

I know we’re all here for the exact same reason so this is hardly a radical thing to say, but- FUCK MAN don’tcha just love the power of fanediting? With this edit and the other sequel tweaks to make them all that much more cohesive and smoothed out, this trilogy might well end up being as enjoyable as it always deserved to be, without that ever-present asterisk of ‘damn, that just didn’t hit right’.


I’m in favour of the inclusion of the Imperial March. This project has often called itself ‘what the special editions should have been’. They’ve never been particularly purist; they’ve been about bringing up the originals to a lovely, more modern standard. Vader in ANH was a lesser villain, yes, but his character was more striking than Lucas anticipated on ANH’s release, so much so that the saga from that point grew around him. Whether or not Lucas/Williams paired Vader with the Imperial March on his first appearance, the two are now paired. It’s entirely appropriate that a project that seeks to polish the original trilogy pair the two in ANH retroactively.

The Clone Wars: Refocused [2 episodes upgraded to v2.0, 3/5 seasons released to v1.0]

JackNapier said:

That sounds great. An option could always be to put some of the unused episodes in a bonus season.

Yeah, absolutely. That’s long been the plan. All of those episodes I’m wanting to “cut out”, I’ll still be producing and making available.

I want there to be one ‘master’ version of the show, which is the tight, ‘complete’, best version of TCW, especially for the first-time viewer, or the Clone Wars skeptic.

And then I’ll produce all of those extra episodes - including fitting them properly into the chronology - for either people who know they like those episodes or who just have a bit more of a tolerance for quality, who just want more content even if it’s at the cost of breaking the flow a little.

I think it’s important to release the ‘core’, which turns TCW the anthology show into TCW:R the serial drama (in the vein of Bad Batch), first. That is one of the main missions of this project. But there’s no reason I can’t ultimately do both, and let people choose.

The Clone Wars: Refocused [2 episodes upgraded to v2.0, 3/5 seasons released to v1.0]

I’ve continued reviewing and planning like a madman, working my way through the conclusion of the show. Thoughts and challenges:

  • Thinking about the very finale, the Siege of Mandalore quadrilogy splits neatly into two episodes of 45 mins each. That’s all well and good, but I think I should consider that really Revenge of the Sith is a necessary part of the Clone Wars journey as well. So really, at the end of your TCW:R journey, you’re watching both RotS and SoM (for four hours of content, or about five episodes in terms of me balancing the seasons) to conclude the show.
  • I don’t know how to present that finale. You could go RotS then SoM to best preserve SoM’s intensity. That’s the easy path. If you wanted to intercut them it’d become a hassle. There’re a lot of edits which combine the two into one super movie, of which I’ve only watched Delpheas’, but I think my preferred option would be to take a chronological intercutting of both and then turn them into ~5 individual episodes. Interested in ideas.
  • I wonder what’s the right balance between breaking this show by balanced seasons versus the overall flow. I’m also really torn on a few episodes I’ve always been unhappy with:
    • I think I have season one really tight now. There’s a potentional Ryloth follow-up episode focusing on Cham and Orn, with Obi-Wan, but I really don’t want to break the flow of season one for it.
    • Season two has a long period without the Anakin/Ahsoka relationship, though all of the episodes in that lull are strong and follow our established main plots. The only other place the Cham/Orn Ryloth episode could go is season two due to the Ahsoka model, but I think it’d push that lull too far.
    • Season three is tight and well balanced. I do not love the Citadel arc, which balances out the season, though I could potentially put the Kadavo arc there instead. There’s a chance I could use the Echo’s death audio here, and refer to the Kadavo palace as ‘The Citadel’, if we really wanted to have Echo die onscreen. Bear in mind that his death is already super throwaway in the Citadel arc. (I’ll check references to Echo’s death.)
    • Seasons four and five are both loose. The big plots are Ahsoka’s fall (and absence) and all of the mysteries. The mysteries do a lot of heavy lifting, but there’s not much of a throughline now. If Kadavo shifts, and if I drop the Ventress/Boba episode and the Younglings/Hondo episode, which I’d really like to do, we’ve got 12 episodes excluding the finale (in whatever form that takes). 12 feels OK for a season, whereas 17 (including the finale bits) feels like a lot. Then again, it is a finale, maybe we don’t give a shit, since shows can have variable seasons.
    • We also need to contend with the fact that this period of time has a lot more mixed media, with the ‘Anakin/Obi-Wan fireside chat’ (from the unfinished episode, so either as audio or using that HD youtube render with permission), then the audio comic for the Darth Maul episode, then the finale incorporating the live-action movie. So there may be a feeling of brokenness that I’d like to avoid as much as possible.
    • I feel like we’d get more value out of a tighter 12-episode season four (+ big finale), than two seasons of ~10. Treating the finale as its own thing probably makes some good sense too, since there’re a few options.
  • I did also think about breaking the show from 5 seasons of 10 episodes into 4x12 or 3x16. There were benefits to both, but ultimately I think the tightness of the first three seasons, where the show needs momentum and focus the most, remains sensible.

Thoughts, as always, very welcome.

(Oh, and sorry for being such a tease about returning to editing! I promise I’ll be actually producing actual content soon…)

The Clone Wars: Refocused [2 episodes upgraded to v2.0, 3/5 seasons released to v1.0]

Slight change of plans - I had the opportunity to binge a lot more these last couple of days, so I decided to keep my ‘big picture’ hat on and review the season four and five content, plus some cut stuff, to continue to refine and plan for the whole.

We follow a season of shades of grey, temptation and compromise. Our third parties are on the rise. The Republic have successfully trained rebels on Onderon.

The theme of the season is “the Clone Wars challenge even the strongest wills”, as all our strong characters face their greatest struggles.

Currently I think season four is looking like this (note that episode names are their originals, not my final choices):

  1. SHADES OF REASON, where, after coming together near the end of season three, Maul and Death Watch take Mandalore. This doesn’t feature our main characters but placed first in the season it serves to elevate the tension, and turn those two long-running plotlines into a major focus for the remainder of the show.
  2. SLAVES OF KADAVO, which brings all our characters to Kadavo to traumatise the lot of them. Aesthetically, this is quite similar to Onderon, which is a shame, but after the opening focusing on Mauldalore, I think it’s right to start the season with all our main characters. And to give Kenobi a break until his next major trauma. I’ll pretty much skip the entire first episode, as that’s mainly action and exposition, and we’ll just dive into the slavery stuff quicker.
  3. BOUNTY, where Ventress meets with a free Boba Fett, and he’s a little bitch, but she does the noble thing. This is quite a weak episode, I think, because it’s almost all action with low stakes. Boba’s really weak and it doesn’t set up his future strength nor the ‘noble code’ or ‘ruthless bounty hunter’ traits he ends up with, so I actually think it’s a net loss for him. And Ventress’ small bit of growth, whilst technically setting her up for the Fall of Ahsoka arc, is really light touch. I could almost get rid of this entirely.
  4. YOUNGLINGS vs HONDO is also not super. Sure, it shows more of Ahsoka’s competence in training Younglings, but in a less dramatic way than her Trandoshan arc. The kids are fairly throwaway now they’re not getting their own spinoff. Grievous and Obi-Wan are OK, but I’d cut most of the space battle focus. I can tighten this one up, but it won’t be amazing. I’ll be cutting the first episode (where the younglings get their crystals) entirely, since it’s not a value add to our story. That’ll end up in the pool of ‘bonus episodes’ I produce later.
  5. MORTIS, as I discussed above, I’ll try to make mainly visions, but again it’s not great. At least it shows our main characters, which kind of balances the season out, but I don’t think it’ll land too well. Either way, I definitely think that here is the best place to put it - as late as possible before everything goes to shit.
  6. THE LAWLESS, where Obi-Wan and Satine’s arc concludes, and Maul’s dreams are destroyed by his master. Now we’re back in the real good shit. I think this works fine paced a few episodes after Shades of Reason.
  7. (/8) AHSOKA’S FALL. This can play out as two episodes - one up to the point where Ahsoka goes on the run, and the second where she’s recaptured and put on trial. I did think I might split this one around probably The Lawless, just to let a bit more time pass, and to further balance the season, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Though I might take the very first scene, of Anakin and Ahsoka on Neimoidia before they get called back to the Jedi temple, and use that elsewhere if I need to beef up another episode. It’s a nice moment to show their relationship’s maturity, but not strictly necessary here.

The only real issues I have with this season are the string of three weaker episodes (Ventress & Boba, Younglings vs Hondo, and Mortis), and the fact that it’s quite light on Anakin and Ahsoka’s relationship before her fall. Ideally there’d be something in this period of time which shows off their strength together and really gives Ahsoka a period of doubt in the Jedi order, but I don’t think there’s anything that’d do that nicely that fits in this period of time.

(Likewise, I actually think that my season two suffers from this as well, not having enough of the main squad together, much Obi-Wan, or much Anakin/Ahsoka time in the middle, and there’s no great option there either.)

The Clone Wars: Refocused [2 episodes upgraded to v2.0, 3/5 seasons released to v1.0]

OK, having reviewed Mortis, there’re lots of opportunities to make that work, so I will pull that content out of this episode so that Mortis can use it.

I haven’t worked out how I’m going to break Mortis yet - that’s a long way away - but I definitely want to minimise the father, son, and daughter. There’s a lot of visions in there, and lots of content which could be turned from explicit activities into visions, so I think I’d rather keep it as a vision sequence. Sometimes Qui-Gon will show up (using the existing footage), and sometimes just be a whisper in their ear (using the above content).

In my headcanon, and the interpretation I’ll be aiming for with this content, Qui-Gon will have guided them to this area of dark force sensitive space (with ties to the World Between Worlds), to warn them and test them, and guide them through some challenges too. In the original newsreel, they were described as tracking a signal broadcasting a personal code from a 2000-years-ago Jedi, but I think I’ll make it explicit that it’s Qui-Gon’s code that’s being used as a mysterious lure. Also, one of Ahsoka’s visions here features her talking to future Ahsoka, which actually could be interpreted as Ahsoka from Rebels (guiding in parallel with Qui-Gon a little), since she does intersect with the World Between Worlds at one point. Or not, if the viewer prefers.

I’ll skip showing the diamond-shaped planet at all, skip the first landing and escape, and only use the second (crash) landing, since more happens around that point. Having the characters end the episode by just waking up on the ship with no time passed and acknowledging it’s weird solves a lot of potential problems. I probably won’t use the scene (or at least the shot) with the actual Darth Vader mask appearing, because it’s just way too HEY HAVE YOU SEEN STAR WARS?

The question then - one for another day - becomes what content to include in their visions, and in what order, and how much to balance it being a dream versus it being real. It’s odd that they just drive around this dreamscape on regular speeders, for example.

I know Morai is important to the future of Ahsoka, so I will preserve the scene of Anakin using the daughter to heal Ahsoka, but that’ll be tough as I’d really like to remove all of the surrounding Father/Son/Daughter family drama. I want those characters to be loosely-defined metaphors, so I might end up having to lean heavily on foggy VFX and audio reverb. One thing I might add to the sequence of Anakin’s visions of the future might be the audio of Palpatine saying “use the force to create life”, to better set up his later choice to do the daughter/Ahsoka thing. I’ll also see if I can simply have Sister called Morai instead.

Before I properly work on this I’ll also review all of the Family/WBW content in Rebels too.

Anyway. I can put all those thoughts to one side for now. Onwards to s01e00.