An Aliens-influenced episode in Rebecca O’Brien’s latest look back at Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Ten years ago, George Lucas and Dave Filoni introduced the world to Star Wars: The Clone Wars, an animated series that filled in the gap between Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The story takes place during the Clone Wars, with the Jedi-led clone army facing off against the droid armies of the Separatist Alliance. With the announcement of a surprise seventh season by Disney, The Digital Fix will be revisiting the animated series, looking back at the most important episodes and story arcs of the show’s five seasons, highlighting the elements that made this show so beloved by Star Wars fans.
We return with the episode Legacy of Terror, which originally aired back in 2009…
Legacy of Terror, the seventh episode of season two, sees the Jedi and the Republic return to Geonosis for the first time since Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. After a lengthy battle, the Jedi are searching for Poggle the Lesser (the Geonosian leader who gave the Death Star plans to Count Dooku in the movie). The search takes Jedi Master Luminara Unduli to a Geonosian temple, but when she disappears, Anakin and Obi-wan have to search a series of catacombs to find her.
Ahsoka is absent from this episode, being sent away at the start with Barriss Offee (Luminara’s padawan) to get some rest. While I enjoy the character of Ahsoka very much, it is nice to have an episode where most of the arguing is between Anakin and Obi-wan; Matt Lanter and James Arnold Taylor, their respective voice actors, have a wonderful rapport with each other and it shows in every scene they have together.
Once the Jedi and clone troopers enter the catacombs, the episode quickly shifts into the horror genre as the tunnels are found to be swarming with Geonosian zombies (complete with a wobbling gait and sightless eyes). Like traditional zombies, they feel no pain and blaster bolts don’t hurt them. Combining Star Wars and zombies is unusual, but it actually works. Our heroes are genuinely unnerved to encounter an enemy that can’t be easily killed and it’s refreshing to see the Jedi forced out of their comfort zone (most of the time the Jedi are absolutely assured in their actions). It also provides another opportunity to highlight the differences between Anakin and Obi-wan when it comes to a potential conflict. Anakin prefers to charge in while Obi-wan tries negotiation first (or as Obi-wan likes to put it “I observe while you think with your lightsaber“).
It turns out the zombies are being controlled by an enormous Geonosian queen at the base of the catacombs. The queen is visually similar to the Alien Queen in Aliens (1986), down to the giant egg sac and the fan shaped growth on top of its head (it could easily be an homage to that character). The zombies are being controlled via a worm that crawls into the brain through the nose; in one of the episode’s more gruesome moments, it’s seen slithering in and out of the zombies several times.
My biggest problem with Legacy of Terror is Obi-Wan’s insistence on examining one of the worms to better understand it. While I appreciate that Obi-wan, as a Jedi, wishes to gain more knowledge, it also doesn’t make sense to try and keep an organism that is so obviously dangerous (though it does also remind me of the humans in the Alien films who insist on studying the xenomorphs).
While Legacy of Terror is actually the fourth episode in a five-part arc, it feels more like a standalone episode due to its shift into the horror genre. And it should be added that this is relatively mild horror; even if this genre isn’t to your taste, it is still a very enjoyable story.
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