Friday, February 26, 2010

Clone Wars Mandalorians

Though I've only been sporadically watching it, this year's season of Clone Wars has actually been pretty darn good. They seem to have finally decided to stop straddling the line between 'kiddie show' and 'more serious stories'. And thankfully for me, they've tilted more towards the latter. In fact, over the course of several episodes, I didn't once have to endure any droid 'comic relief'. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not entirely sold on the series yet. They don't have my full trust—but they are slowly earning it.

The latest episode I watched detailed a planet and people who have become important in my campaign: The Mandalorians. I have to admit, I was skeptical at their initial presentation as pacifists, trying to sit out the Clone Wars. That goes against EVERYthing the Mandalorian culture was set up to be in the Knights of the Old Republic and indeed in all the comics. Thankfully, the show put an interesting spin on that—the planet Mandalore has evidently been ravaged over years of constant conflict and its current ruling party (and figurehead, the Duchess of Mandalore) are trying to change things—bucking the warrior tradition of their people in order to save them from their own violent impulses. And as you would expect, there is a group of extremists, the Deathwatch, who have a problem with this.

Thus, you have a whole setup that puts Mandalorians on BOTH sides of the conflict—the "Good" mandalorians on the side of the Republic and the "Bad" using the Separatists as a means to seize power from what they perceive as a weak regime. It all seems to work—rather well, even. And they didn't dumb down the story at all to make it digestible to younger children. This is good, because with the action in the show, there is plenty enough to keep the younglings entertained, even if they don't entirely grasp the story—I mean, you have Jedi and Armored Mandalorians battling eachother in the streets of Coruscant. How cool is that? (Answer: Very cool. Obi-Wan in a fist fight with a commando, great stuff).

What makes me most happy about this is that they seem to be adding some depth and value to an existing aspect of the series—without completely running roughshod over all the story that has been built up around them prior. A respect for the source material is refreshing. Oh, I'm sure they'll do SOMETHING that I don't like eventually...but for now? I'm going to sit back and enjoy this surprise boon of Star Wars that doesn't suck.

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