The Clone Wars Rewatch: Lost Hope in the “Sphere of Influence”

Chairman Papanoida launches his own investigation into the disappearance of his two daughters.

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.

49: “Sphere of Influence” (Season Three, Episode 4)

“A child stolen is a lost hope.”

A scene from "Sphere of Influence."

Synopsis:

Chairman Papanoida‘s daughters, Chi Eekway and Che Amanwe, are kidnapped and held for ransom and it’s up to Ahsoka Tano and the Senator from Pantora, Riyo Chuchi, to aid the new chairman and his son in recovering their family members.

A scene from "Sphere of Influence."

Analysis:

Riyo Chuchi really came into her own on Orto Plutonia, and she and Chairman Papanoida both emerge from this episode as fierce and formidable defenders of Pantora and its people.

A scene from "Sphere of Influence."

Like Padmé Amidala, Chuchi is young and idealistic, but also fearless and tireless when it comes to standing up for what is right. She bravely joins Ahsoka on a harrowing quest to go deep into enemy territory to free one of the kidnapped daughters instead of assigning this dangerous mission to another.

A scene from "Sphere of Influence."

And under questioning she dares to stand up to the Trade Federation, shrewdly brokering a deal that helps to end the suffering of her people isolated by the blockade.

A scene from "Sphere of Influence." A scene from "Sphere of Influence."

Baron Papanoida, for his part, isn’t exactly a timid bureaucrat content to let others do his dirty work. Instead of waiting for the authorities, who move too slow for the dedicated father’s liking, he takes matters into his own hands with the help of his son, Ion, without a second thought for his own safety.

A scene from "Sphere of Influence."A scene from "Sphere of Influence."

He studies the crime scene and finds the blood evidence, enters the wretched hive of Jabba’s Palace armed with the proof of Greedo’s interference, and expertly flips a table during a good old fashioned cantina shoot out. And it’s clear he’s raised all of his children to be just as bold when Che Amanwe grabs a blaster and joins the fight despite still being locked in binders.

A scene from "Sphere of Influence."

The chairman’s charisma even moves Jabba to listen to the father’s plight. After all, a father himself to little Rotta, it wasn’t long ago that Jabba was seeking help to have his precious child returned to him amid a Huttnapping plot.

Intel:

  • George Lucas originated the role of Chairman Papanoida in a cameo appearance in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Here, the animated version is voiced by actor Corey Burton, who based his performance on the voice of another famous director, Orson Welles.
  • The episode was written by Katie Lucas, who appeared on film alongside her father and originated the role of Chi Eekway.

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

Next up: Come back next Thursday when a simple errand leads to a droid kidnapping in “Evil Plans.”

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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