I’ve been watching Clone Wars more Saturdays than not since October, and despite it sometimes being simplistic I’ve really been enjoying it a lot, from the extended multiweek storylines(appropriate, since Star Wars was originally inspired by this kind of serial), to the breadth of the galaxy we’re getting a look at, to the nods and references to famous movies and current politics that appeal to older viewers, to a female character whom clearly a lot of work and development has been invested; they’ve never put that level of sheer effort into a female character in the movies. Though last week I discovered the downside; I’d gotten invested without noticing it and was more anxious over the outcome of the season finale than I’d been over the outcome of a fictional story I think since the final Harry Potter came out.
I was actually terrified they were going to kill Ashoka. After all, she had to go at some point, and it seemed to make too much sense; it would be just the thing that would leave Anakin inclined to turn against both the Jedi and the Republic in ROTS, if he saw them as betraying her to her death(and certainly this storyline does help with the lead-in to Episode III, since those two organizations really were doing just that when Anakin thankfully stopped them). But the rest of it I honestly didn’t expect. Of course, Barris proving the villain is automatically a shock because it invalidates a bit of EU, but if this series does indeed reserve the right to go against lesser canon, it was at least a little less disruptive due to her kind of being right in her sentiments; the Jedi have shown in this episode alone how they have degenerated when they decide to kick Ashoka out without giving her a chance to speak first, clearly out of fear of how they’ll be viewed if they don’t.
Watching that scene, I actually tweeted that if Ashoka survived that episode, she ought not to return to the Jedi. They certainly didn’t deserve her forgiveness, not to mention, of course, that her walking out of the Order meant she wouldn’t have to be killed off. But I was honestly stunned when she actually did refuse to come back at the end, when they did take that route. With the ending of the season finale, the hard choice to make for a series aimed at the 7-12 demographic but absolutely the right one, and so well executed in writing and voice acting, and even getting Cartoon Network not to put any previews over the credits but just let them roll with sadder music than the usual theme, Star Wars: The Clone Wars has now proven once and for all that whatever flaws it might have shown in its beginning, it has proven itself a worthy addition to the Star Wars universe.
So now two questions remain. The first is if it’s a good idea to let the series do a final season on the Disney Channel. Presumably the creative team will be the same, but still one remains wary of executive meddling, especially since this is Disney we’re talking about. There are some hanging plot ends that need wrapping up, of course, so I suppose they’ll have to. Hopefully they’ll be allowed to do it right, and not have to turn the series edgeless. The other is if they’ll have Ashoka in Episode VII. One problem might be that a lot of time will have passed, especially if they are indeed bringing back the original actors. Though I don’t think Togruta lifespan has ever been specified, so they could probably make it work. It might be a good way for those who have come to love her to get a look into her later life. If Abrams elects to use her, he’ll take on good material. But I wonder if he can put her to as good a use as her original Clone Wars creators have.