Though we at Star Wars: The Completionist Saga have been writing about each piece of screen media in the universe’s chronological order this week we must break the trend for Volume 2 of “Star Wars: Clone Wars.” Sort of.
“Star Wars: Clone Wars” Volume 2 (or Season 3 if you’re going with the original airing schedule) is an hour-long story of five individual animated episodes, essentially covering events from the end of the first traditionally-animated “Clone Wars” right up to just before the beginning of Episode III. It covers General Greivous’s rise to prominence, Anakin’s promotion from Padawan to Jedi Knight, and the events that occur just before “Revenge of the Sith.” “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (the CGI animated series we’ve been writing about more recently) is encapsulated on both ends by the 2-D “Clone Wars,” which I am henceforth going to call CW so we can avoid more confusion with the completely different show of a very similar name.
Overall, I wasn’t impressed. CW Volume 2 covers some interesting stories: like the specifics of Anakin’s promotion and how Greivous captured Palpatine. It’s nice to know, but there was no meat to these stories. The majority of the content in CW is (mostly) unimaginative fight scenes. Most of the story is contained elsewhere and relies on the viewer’s knowledge of the rest of the events of the Clone Wars to fill in the gaps and significance.
Part of the story centers around Anakin journeying to a Separatist lab, where the Separatists are turning the natives into mind-controlled beast warriors. The story presents itself as one of the trials for Anakin on his way to becoming a Jedi Master, but it fails because the adventure seems no more meaningful than Anakin’s other exploits. Anakin does have a vision foreshadowing his fall to the dark side and ending with the mask of Darth Vader, but it has little impact on him and really doesn’t impact the rest of the mission. It is only meaningful in the broader context as a setup to “Revenge of the Sith.”
The other half of the story involves the siege of Coruscant and the capture of Palpatine just prior to Episode III. This is essentially one extended fight scene, with little unique to offer. Jedi fight Greivous’ body guards. Grevious fights Jedi. Jedi fight droids. Ok, we get it. The one element that really stands out is Mace Windu riding a vulture droid, which is probably the best part of the entire hour.
The production elements of CW don’t stand out either. I’m not wild about the Tartakovsky animation style, and the voice acting is fair at best. Anakin sounds bored, regardless of what he’s doing. Sometimes the humor works, although C-3PO showing off his new gold plating to the tune of stripper music was particularly strange.
Ultimately, CW Volume 2 comes off as inessential, an animated version of the Episode III crawl stretched out for diehards. While this website is dedicated to completionism, viewers need not be, unless they really want to know how Palpatine got captured before the beginning of “Revenge of the Sith.” Everything else is just noise.