Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited - 2.17 Bounty Hunters
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 Bounty Hunters, which originally aired back in 2010...
Bounty Hunters is a special episode in Star Wars: The Clone Wars because it is an homage to Seven Samurai, a film directed by the legendary Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998) that tells the story of seven samurai coming together to protect a small village from bandits. George Lucas has acknowledged many times that Kurosawa's work (especially The Hidden Fortress) served as a major influence on the creation of Star Wars, so it seems only fitting that an episode would pay tribute in this way.
Anakin, Ahsoka and Obi-wan come across a remote village after being stranded on Felucia that is being terrorized by a band of pirates. The three Jedi reluctantly join forces with four bounty hunters that have already contracted to protect the village and come up with a plan to save the inhabitants from the pirates.
The four mercenaries: Sugi, Embo, Rumi Paramita and Seripas are an interesting group because, unlike most bounty hunters in the Star Wars universe, this group sticks to a code of honor (which is why they resist Hondo's attempts to bribe them into abandoning the village). My favorite in this group is Embo; he has a large circular hat that doubles as a weapon and shield. There are serious trust issues between the Jedi and the bounty hunters at first and part of the episode is devoted to the two groups learning to trust each other.
As it turns out, the pirate leader is someone Anakin and Obi-wan already know: it's none other than Hondo Ohnaka, the same pirate who captured the Jedi and Count Dooku back in season one. If the episode has one flaw it's making Hondo the leader of the pirates threatening the village.
Having personally first met the character in Star Wars: Rebels (where he's more of a comic figure), I have a hard time viewing Hondo as a serious threat. This is because, no matter what threats he makes, I know that Hondo won't follow through if push comes to shove (he's more interested in profit than anything else).
Continuing the similarity to Kurosawa, much of the story follows the seven bounty hunters and Jedi as they teach the villagers how to defend themselves. It all comes down to a fight between the villagers (led by the Jedi and bounty hunters) and the pirates. Despite being severely outnumbered, the villagers put up such a fight that Hondo decides the potential profits aren't worth it anymore and he orders the pirates to leave. In a departure from the original film, only one of the seven protectors is killed in the fight (as opposed to four in the original story).
This is something of a unique episode as well, because apart from a droid attack at the beginning of the episode, the Clone War itself really doesn't come up. The pirates are in business for themselves, not the Separatists. It's a nice break from the never-ending battle against Count Dooku and the legions of battle droids and a fitting tribute to Kurosawa's work.