Friday, February 06, 2009

In Defense of the Clone Wars

Alright! I made it to post #3 in a week. So the movies are all done (though in about six years I would not be surprised if we start seeing special editions for the prequels), and the live action Star Wars TV show seems to be a pipe dream. Thus, the only place to watch new Star Wars stories is on cartoon network's the Clone Wars, and the overall fan reaction to The Clone Wars (especially "the movie") has been negative. This comic strip sums up the reaction fairly well:

So other adult Star Wars fans, here is the thing about the Clone Wars: It is not made for you. There is a good chance that if you are reading this and you consider yourself a Star Wars fan (not a "I like the movies" fan, but a "I know what you are talking about when you drop references like IG-88, Mon Calamari, and Dantooine" fan) then you probably found yourself loving a galaxy far, far away when you were a child (or possibly a pre-teen/teen). The Clone Wars is made for kids, and it does a great job of meeting their target audience. When I saw the Clone Wars in the theater there were several children, and while waiting for Abigail to use the restroom it was cute to see these kids tell their parents why they thought what they just saw was so awesome. Over Christmas listening to my 2nd (at least I think it is 2nd) cousin talk about how much she likes the Huttlet ("stinky" if you want to use its name)further confirmed who the target audience is for the Clone wars. For stories made for children, they are actually fairly good. Since getting cable I have been watching the Clone Wars on TV, and they are not bad. The stories are a little simplistic, but extremely competent and genuinely entertaining. I am fairly sure that the plot and story telling is better than the cartoons I watched growing up.

I also think that the Clone Wars is one of the better ways that the Star Wars mythos is currently being expanded. The current major book series, Legacy of the Force, is not a good move in my opinion. At this point, the established Star Wars story line has been moved 40 years after the original Star Wars, which puts Luke, Leia, and Han all in their 60s (well technically, Luke and Leia would be 59, but whatever). Several of the comic series are good, I especially like "Empire" and "Dark times", but "Legacy" which takes place a couple of hundred years after the battle of Yavin is garbage. In my mind right before the New Jedi Order the Star Wars story ends with "and they lived happily ever after." I suppose this was a bit of a side tangent, but the point is that I don't mind the Clone Wars as a way of expanding the Star Wars story.

From the Star Wars geek standpoint, I am a little concerned with what the series will do to the the already established Clone Wars stories. Since Anikan already has his scar, I assume that this series takes place after his fight with Asaj Ventress in the original Clone Wars shorts. Also, since The second series of shorts leads right up to Episode 3, I assume those all still part of the Expanded universe chronology. However, the comics filled in much of the middle of the Clone Wars and it seems like that is going to be "erased" and the TV series will become official chronology.

The Clone Wars maybe kiddish, but that is the target audience. Instead of complaining about that, uptight Star Wars fans should really let go of their entitlement and realize that the Clone Wars is transporting a new generation to the same galaxy far, far away that they love.


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