Welcome back to another edition of Expanding the Clone Wars where we explore the latest episodes of The Clone Wars and see how they fit in with current Star Wars Expanded Universe lore! This week in Episode 5.02 “A War on Two Fronts,” a small band of rebels have taken refuge in the wilderness of Onderon plotting to take back the fortified city of Iziz from the Separatist backed King and seek the help of Anakin, Obi-Wan, Ahsoka, and Captain Rex to train them successful guerrilla tactics. In this edition of Expanding the Clone Wars, we will explore Onderon, the rebels, the Jedi Council, and more!
Look for EUCantina’s review of “A War on Two Fronts” on We Talk Clones later this week.
First appearing in the comic Tales of the Jedi: Knights of the Old Republic, Onderon is a temperate planet made up of brutal fauna and savage beasts that the human population seek refuge from behind the giant walled city of Iziz. 4,000 years before The Clone Wars, criminals were exiled into the Onderon wilderness without any protection from the animals and these outcasts soon learned to defend themselves and eventually tamed the Drexl flying warbeasts. The beasts the rebels fly in this episode are different creatures than the Drexl we saw in Tales of the Jedi, now is this because the beats hunted to extinction or are they still on Onderon but no longer used as beasts of burden during The Clone Wars?
The city of Iziz made a brief appearance in this episode and while it doesn’t have the giant mountain in the centre of the city like we saw in the Tales of the Jedi comic, it still takes existing visual cues while adding in the unique Clone Wars style. The people of Onderon rely on beasts of burden in both the rebel camp and city market which is what we have seen before in existing Expanded Universe material.
This is the first episode in what is most likely going to be an exciting four-part series and we have yet to see elements like the moon of Dxun, which was the largest of the four moons that orbited the planet and once a year the atmosphere’s of Onderon and Dxun would connect, which allowed the vicious Drexls, which inhabited Dxun, to settle on Onderon. In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, the Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders had a sprawling military complex built on the dangerous moon and used it as a base of operations during the Mandalorian Wars. Perhaps the Death Watch have used the Dxun outpost as a staging area for their growing military and since Lux Bonteri was born on Onderon, he could have originally come in contact with Death Watch on the moon.
The rebel faction on Onderon has a very similar vibe to the ancient Beast Riders who in Tales of the Jedi: Knights of the Old Republic rose up to challenge the Naddists who controlled the city of Iziz eventually claiming the city from the dark siders. Both the Onderan rebels in this episode and the ancient Beast Riders were forced to live in the wilderness and use wildlife and guerrilla tactics to their advantage.
Anakin assisting the Rebels of Onderon and claiming they “can be a great new weapon for us” is very intriguing considering many years later he tells his apprentice Starkiller in The Force Unleashed to assemble an army of rebels and dissidents to oppose the emperor while Darth Vader was in fact using Starkiller to unify all the rebel groups across the galaxy under one banner so it was easier for the Sith Lord to find and kill them all.
However, in the entry for The Force Unleashed novel in Star Wars: The Essential Reader’s Companion, the Onderon story arc will explore an idea that George Lucas had for the formation of the Rebel Alliance. “Lucas’s alternate explanations for the roots of the Rebel Alliance appear in season five of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which take precedence over Starkiller’s involvement”. We shall see as these episode play out how they fit into the current Expanded Universe background of the Rebellion.
A Tholothain Jedi makes an appearance on the Jedi High Council this episode. Since Adi Gallia was killed in Episode 5.01 “Revivial” and assuming these episodes of The Clone Wars are now in chronological order this must mean Stass Allie has already been voted by the Council to take Adi Gallia’s place. The other explanation is Adi Gallia survived her battle against Savage, which is highly unlikely as we explored in last week’s Expanding the Clone Wars.
It is interesting to note the two empty seats on the Jedi Council this episode. We have to assume they are the seats of unannounced or yet to be created models for the show but it is easy to say these mysterious Masters are on very important missions during this time of war and unable to show up to the meeting. This gives us room to guess who these seats belong to.
The only Jedi Masters not yet revealed on the Clone Wars are Oppo Ranchisis, Agen Kolar, and Coleman Kcaj. In the the comic Republic 75: The Siege of Saleucami Part 2 Oppo Ranchisis would die in a battle against Anzati assassins and Dark Jedi Sora Bulq, Coleman Kcaj takes Oppo Ranchisis’ place on the Council, and Agen Kolar most likely won’t make an appearance until Eeth Koth’s fate is decided on the show. There are two Jedi Masters, a Gran and a purple-skinned humanoid Jedi who appeared on the Council during the Clone Wars in the comic General Grievous whose fate have yet to be explored in any other Expanded Universe materials and perhaps, however unlikely, they will make an appearance on the Council in the show.
This is not the first time Jedi have taken part in training rebel insurgents during the Clone Wars. In the novel Shatterpoint, Jedi Master Depa Billaba was sent to the jungle planet of Haruun Kal to train the the local guerrilla resistance forces to fight against the Separatists and their droid armies in its strategic star system. After a brutal massacre, Depa Billaba fell to the Dark Side of the Force and was arrested by Mace Windu. It is interesting that Mace Windu nor anyone on the Council mentioned this incident while discussing options regarding Onderon.
Finally, the Separatists’ use of probe droids to search for the hidden Onderon Rebels is much like the Empire did against the Rebel Alliance many years later. The recon droid used by the Separatists also has a very similar design to the Viper probe droid used by the Empire since they were both produced by Arakyd Industries and had that very familiar warble while they were on the prowl.
Thanks for joining us this week as we expanded Episode 5.02 “A War on Two Fronts” and make sure you join us next week as we explore Episode 5.03 “Front Runners” and delve deeper into the rebellious world of Onderon!
Shatterpoint, General Grievous, Republic 75: The Siege of Saleucami Part 2, The Force Unleashed, The Essential Reader’s Companion, Tales of the Jedi: Knights of the Old Republic, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
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