The value television shows bring to the table cannot be overstated. For one thing, having more episodes means more opportunities to tell stories and that means taking risks is more possible. It leads to seeing elements like brain worms and undead soldiers. No, really. In its second season, Star Wars: The Clone Wars went to Geonosis, the place the war started. “Legacy of Terror” and “Brain Invaders,” two episodes in a bigger arc, brought a horror angle into the Star Wars universe.
The whole parasites and body snatchers situation has been covered in multiple films; the most well known being Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The idea of having an outside entity finding its way into your brain through food or simply a poorly timed yawn is disconcerting. Okay. It’s beyond disconcerting. To imagine a parasitic creature planting a flag in your central nervous system and taking the wheel is terrifying. The idea represents a complete loss of control, an idea which makes many people fall apart. So, this is the kind of story that will always resonate.
Think about the damage a parasite could cause you do. It could use you to inflict hurt upon others in myriad ways. But what if you were a powerful Jedi? If the infection spread to a group of trained Force users, the results have the potential to be catastrophic. (More on that later.) But at their base level, these two episodes have maybe the highest creepy-factor in all of Star Wars, making them perfect for Halloween viewing.
Brain worms were introduced in “Legacy of Terror.” The Jedi encountered the don’t-care-about-personal-space creatures right after fighting a swarm of undead Geonosians. Reanimated, zombie-like Geonosians. They were controlled by Karina the Great, the Geonosian Queen. She was able to use the brain worms to keep a grotesque personal guard fighting to protect her. Being animated rather than live-action didn’t do anything to soften the disturbing visage of the zombie Geonosians. They were shudder-inducing with their white eyes; it didn’t help that you could spy an occasional glimpse of a brain worm wriggling through orifices. No, thank you.
“Brain Invaders” took the yuck to the next level as some of the parasites claimed the Tango Company clone troopers as hosts. They turned the clones against Ahsoka Tano and Barriss Offee and made them say ominous quotes like, “If it’s one thing we clones know, it’s how to stop a Jedi.” Foreshadowing hurts. Actually, Ahsoka and Barriss shared a conversation about the role of the Jedi that will make you think about their dynamic at the end of Season Five. But, we’re digressing from the brain worms! Because look:
Did you ever imagine you’d see a shot like the above in Star Wars? I certainly didn’t.
The presence of the grub-like parasites wasn’t just for show. They did make an impression — you’re made of strong stuff if you didn’t feel compelled to blow your nose at least once during the episode — but they also played a part in Ahsoka’s development. Thanks to Anakin, she learned cold temperatures were the solution to stopping the worms. She might have had assistance gaining the knowledge, but she had to think on her feet to save the infected Barriss and the clone troopers. The episode went to a place beyond horror when Barriss asked Ahsoka to kill her. Barriss thought being dead would be a better option than being controlled.
On the surface, “Legacy of Terror” and “Brain Invaders” are rare, horrifying tales in the galaxy, but buried in the scares, you can find lessons about friendship, decision-making, and attachment. This makes for classic Star Wars and horror — you’ll learn from the stories, and also have a blast squirming in your seat.
Amy Ratcliffe is a writer obsessed with Star Wars, Disney, and coffee. Follow her on Twitter at @amy_geek.