The Clone Wars Rewatch: A Secret Weapon and “Rising Malevolence”

The Separatists test a terrifying new ion canon in the start of the Malevolence arc.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

6: “Rising Malevolence” (Season One, Episode 2)

“Belief is not a matter of choice, but of conviction.”

Plo Koon, Clone Commander Wolffe, and clone troopers Boost and Sinker in The Clone Wars.


A devastating attack by the secret weapon aboard the starship Malevolence leaves Jedi Master Plo Koon and his clone troopers, led by Clone Commander Wolffe, floating aimlessly in space and struggling to survive.


In the span of a single episode, the Separatist battle droids go from bumbling, malfunctioning fools to terrifying murder machines thanks to the Separatist’s powerful new weapon and a directive from County Dooku to leave no witnesses. Humming cheerfully while they work, the droids hunt survivors, left defenseless in escape pods and floating aimlessly through space in the hopes of being rescued.

Well, not entirely defenseless. Rather than sit by and let the droids rip open their particular pod, Master Plo Koon and his men take offensive action, buying enough time for Ahsoka and Anakin to come to their rescue. Even in their most desperate hour, Plo Koon never gives up hope that help will arrive, throwing his energy into the task of surviving long enough to greet those saviors.

Ahsoka Tano watches a transmission from Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Clone Wars.

And Ahsoka, who demonstrates a strong connection to the master through the Force and on a personal, emotional level since he was the Jedi who first brought her to the Jedi Temple to be trained, similarly refuses to back down. Ahsoka’s stubborn insistence that Plo is a survivor perhaps inspires Anakin’s own, more subtle, disregard of the Jedi Council’s orders. He won’t boldly speak out against them, but he’s a schemer and he does sneakily dispatch himself while sending the rest of the soldiers he commands ahead on their actual mission.

An experimental ion cannon fires purple lightning.

The aftermath they find upon arrival is brutal, the latest evidence of a deadly three-pronged attack in which the Separatist’s ion cannon neutralizes enemy ships then pulverizes the powerless vessels before sending the battles droids to mercilessly pick off any last survivors. This savagery is no fair fight, and both the tactics and the weapon itself herald the future that is the Empire and the Death Star. Bathed in the red glow of the planet below, the Malevolence and its terrifying might live up to its name.

By leaving no witnesses, the Separatists can maintain secrecy around their weapon, granting their attacks the power of surprise and a sense of fear that can only be born from the anticipation of something wicked that has yet to be unmasked and understood. But they have made a critical error.

Master Plo Koon could have gone down with his ship. (He didn’t.) He could have been killed in the hunt. (He wasn’t.) He could have been left for dead and slowly slipped away alongside his men as the pod’s life support fizzled out. Thanks to Ahsoka and Anakin, they were rescued and able to outrun the cannon’s next ion blast.

The Separatists have been careful to leave no witnesses. Until now.

As Plo himself puts it: “When you ask for trouble, you should not be surprised when it finds you.”


  • The greeting exchanged between Ahsoka and Plo Koon — “koh-to-ya!” — is a throwback to an early attempt at constructing a Kel Dor language.
  • And the dialogue between Booster and Sinker as they attempt to restart the escape pod’s power grid is a direct callback to an exchange between Han and Chewbacca as they tried to fix the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back Tuesday when the battle to destroy the Malevolence continues in “Shadow of Malevolence.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

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