‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’: Season 3 DVD review

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It’s incredible to think now that The Clone Wars has received more screen time than its source, the six-film saga. It’s even more incredible considering the short time frame the Star Wars computer-generated animated spin-off is set in (between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith).

But most incredible of all is just how assured and confident the series has become, whilst also branching out, telling stories and exploring themes not previously covered by George Lucas in Episodes I-VI.

For example, let’s look at the Mortis Trilogy – a mini arc that may or may not have actually existed. These three episodes saw Anakin and Obi Wan thrown out of their time and space and into a new universe where The Force itself was personified on the planet Mortis by a family at war – a family where the Balance of the Force was maintained until the son, strong with the Dark Side, felt the need to break out on his own.

It’s a truly fascinating story, where the Jedi seem so incomparably small in comparison to these Force creatures. The Mortis arc also sees the return of Qui Gon Jinn (voiced by original actor Liam Neeson), but he’s not the only icon from The Phantom Menace to return – enter Darth Maul!

Well, not quite. At the end of the brutal Nightsisters Trilogy, where we meet Maul’s “brother” Savage Opress, a tantalising glimpse in a crystal ball, of sorts, conjures an image of the slain Sith from Episode I.

The story saw some pretty violent imagery with female would-be Sith, Asajj Ventress, torturing the Maul lookalikes with some glee and much abandon. Pretty dark stuff for a cartoon. Especially as she’s doing this as part of her revenge on Count Dooku, who has foreseen that Ventress is growing too strong in the Dark Side of the Force and duly dumps her (or tries to kill her at least).

Throw in a wonderful two-part opener with some lovely Clones bonding, a fearsome finale featuring Chewbacca in fine form and some of the best visuals you’ll see on telly anywhere and you’ve got yourself a must buy.

Yes, it does sag somewhat in the middle with a few Padme-centric and overtly political tales, but all in all, this outing is just a few episodes short of perfection.

Extras: Pleasingly there’s over an hour’s worth of interviews and behind the scenes fun. Director Dave Filoni is a joy to watch as his enthusiasm for the show spills over. Likewise, we get delightful contributions from Nightsisters Trilogy writer Katie Lucas as well as glimpses of her dad George meeting with the production crew, complete with Star Wars bible containing his original treatment.

One of the features teasingly explains why there is no discussion of the season’s highlight, the Mortis Trilogy. Filoni states, mysteriously, that there is more to come from this other world of Star Wars and he will leave it a secret for the time being. Bah! Is it Season 4 yet?

Released on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday 17th October 2011 by Warner Home Video.

> Buy the DVD boxset on Amazon.

Watch the Season 3 trailer…