The Clone Wars Rewatch: Lessons from Teth in the Theatrical Release (Part 2 of 3)

Ahsoka and Anakin rescue Rotta during the Battle of Teth in the feature-length Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated film.

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.

Ten years ago, Star Wars fans flocked to movie theaters for the release of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a feature-length spectacle that ushered in the animated series. Now, we’re breaking down the film into three acts, deconstructing the introduction of Ahsoka Tano, the Battle of Teth, and the unraveling of the nefarious Huttlet kidnapping plot.

Synopsis:

The fight moves to wild space as Anakin and Ahsoka rush to rescue Jabba the Hutt’s son, Rotta on the planet of Teth. But it soon becomes clear that the kidnapping is only one facet of a larger plot to turn the Hutt clan against the Republic.

Analysis: 

A Jedi arriving on Tatooine to make a deal with the Hutts. A daring escape in a beat-up old freighter with some help from Artoo. A Skywalker letting his emotions distract from his mission. Key moments in the second act of The Clone Wars film evoke the Star Wars lore that came before it with elegant nods to the storytelling of the saga.

Take, for example, Obi-Wan’s arrival at Jabba’s Palace, part of the rescue of Jabba’s son. The scene is reminiscent of Luke Skywalker’s journey before the most gracious Jabba to rescue his carbonite-encased friend, Han, in Return of the Jedi. They’re both there to make a deal, but Obi-Wan’s success in negotiating a treaty has even more far-reaching implications for the future of the galactic war.

And that war is raging. The battles have become so expansive that now conflict has come to Teth, a distant planet in wild space, bringing destruction to the galaxy’s backwater residents just as assuredly as it has to more centrally-located planets. In the aubergine-hued tropical jungle, we find a troubling sign of how all-encompassing the war really is. It forces us to consider the difficulties of managing a conflict that is so sprawling that it stretches supplies and forces to their limit, while bringing new challenges with a variety of climates, native creatures, and troublesome terrain.

Case in point: the old monastery where Rotta is being held is located at the pinnacle of a tall mesa, an arduous climb that calls for scaling a steep vertical cliff. It seems impossible that the Republic, or the Separatists for that matter, could adequately prepare equipment and train troops for every possible scenario and landscape. But with General Anakin Skywalker leading the charge, the two sides mount a gravity-defying, sideways battle complete with AT-TEs using their magnetic feet to clomp to the top. The visuals and the score are a departure from everything we’ve seen in live action, a nod that this series will have the heart of the Star Wars we know and love but with a visual interpretation perfect for an animated approach. That one of Ahsoka’s first trials as Padawan should be to race through the jungle carrying someone in a backpack is a joyful callback to Luke’s own training on Dagobah (although I find it hard to believe anyone would deign to insult Master Yoda by calling him “Stinky” or any other disrespectful nickname).

Ahsoka’s tenderness toward her helpless charge, Rotta, is in direct opposition to what Anakin will become, and despite a moment of hesitance, in the end they choose the mission over fighting alongside the troopers. It’s a sign of growth for Skywalker, who only recently in the space above Christophsis had chosen to disobey commands to deliver aid to the planet’s surface when he saw an opening for a tactical victory in ship-to-ship combat. In that case, he was able to do both. This time, he has to leave Rex and the rest of his men fighting for their lives while he moves his Padawan and their charge a safe distance away.

The rescue mission is all too easy, playing into Count Dooku‘s hands. As soon as Obi-Wan takes his leave, Dooku arrives to warn Jabba that the Jedi are actually behind the plot. The tin-plated traitor, spy droid 4A-7, has captured footage of Ahsoka and Anakin forcing the rotund Rotta into a trooper’s pack.

From a certain point of view, Dooku’s recorded evidence seems to support his claims irrefutably with more success than a Jedi mind trick. The Jedi are playing into his hands, saying just the wrong things at the right time as he weaves a tale of faux corruption. That old mind trick, of course, still works on the weak minded and Ventress is quick to utilize Captain Rex as a pawn.

As Ventress and Obi-Wan battle in the picturesque twilight, Anakin and Ahsoka make the jump with the Huttlet safely in tow. If anybody can fly a bucket of bolts through hyperspace, it’s Skyguy.

Intel:

  • After Rotta’s rescue, it quickly becomes clear that the tiny Huttlet is sick. Nicknamed “Stinky,” a combination of the stress of the abduction and the move from arid Tatooine to the cool, wet climate of Teth has made him gravely ill.
  • The Republic gunships display a variety of stylized nose art in an homage to the pinups and paint jobs inherent in real-world fighter planes from World War II, including a buxom Twi’lek in formfitting white armor.

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

Next up: Come back Thursday as we delve into the third and final installment of our rewatch of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars theatrical release.

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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