The fate and direction of the entire galaxy shift in the latest Legendary Adventures, but so do my impressions on the Legends canon. We reach our third milestone, but second movie, Attack of the Clones, at the beginning of the explosive Clone War!
One of the reasons I set off on the Legendary Adventure was curiosity. I was curious to see the ways in which the Legends canon altered the way we see the films (intentionally or inadvertently). I think Attack of the Clones is significantly altered when reading it in light of the Legends canon. We might have expected the Legends novels to be concerned with the rise of the Separatist movement. Maybe we would expect to see many novels about legions of Jedi across the galaxy. Oddly enough, we don’t see either of those. There were only three novels between Episodes I and II. Two focus on extra-galactic threats, and only one focused on the Jedi and the Separatists. Let’s explore the ways that these three novels change the way that we read the movie.
First, Palpatine’s machinations are actually in a lot more danger than we thought. Attack of the Clones is primarily about Palpatine’s current or past plots. Obi-Wan’s side mission on Kamino leads him to discover the clone army commissioned by Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas. He has a hard time tracking down much information behind that order, though. This is because Palpatine, the master manipulator, has so well covered his tracks that there isn’t much information to find. We also see him, through Dooku, influencing the rising Separatists to come against the Republic, which would allow him to shore up his own power. Finally, we see him influence Anakin Skywalker, directly and indirectly, guiding him, hoping to turn Anakin to the Dark Side as his new apprentice.
The novelization, and the novels set in the Clone War, show Palpatine as a master manipulator, constantly in control, knowledgeable about literally everything going on around him. Obi-Wan on Kamino is about the only major kink in his plan, but even Obi-Wan’s search turns up few answers, instead bringing the galaxy into war. Instead, the Yuuzhan Vong and Thrawn become the biggest problem for Palpatine to overcome! I rarely think about those two names in relation with the Prequel trilogy, but if anything affected the state of the galaxy before the Clone War, it was actually these two groups. We recall that Palpatine expended a lot of energy to stop Fleet Commander Thrawn from drawing the attention of the Yuuzhan Vong. We also remember that he is, as Darth Sidious, working in league with Thrawn to figure out safeguards against the incoming invaders. Had Jorus C’baoth’s plan for Outbound Flight gone well, without interference by Thrawn and the Chiss, the Vong may have been alerted to this galaxy before Sidious’ plan to take over the Republic had a chance to come to fruition.
Speaking of plans coming to fruition, we also see the roots of the Death Star started even before the Separatist Council convened on Geonosis. Wilhuff Tarkin, with Rath Sienar, are already working on a mobile battle station. Sienar, who would later develop the TIE Fighter, went to Zonoma Sekot to discover the secrets of the living planet and its ultra-fast star speeders. Had Palpatine known about Zekot’s connection with the Vong, he may have altered this plan, as well! Even before the Clone War, the galaxy was teetering on the edge of chaos. It makes me wonder, though: what would have happened if the Vong invaded while the Jedi Order still stood? Would Palpatine have activated the clone army to fight them off? We may never know for certain, but the events of the movie are really interested when framed in light of the coming Yuuzhan Vong invasion.
Second, we see the ways in which the Jedi are already cozy with the government. Mace objects to Palpatine’s idea that the Jedi become too involved in the conflict with the Separatists. He says that to act as generals and warriors would be in opposition to their sworn “mission statement.” He is correct, but he may be too late to make most of these observations. Jorus C’baoth, a bold and influential Jedi, organizes the Outbound Flight project to explore the unknown galaxy and spread the Jedi Order further than it had gone before. He works closely with the Senate to make this happen, solidifying the interplay between the two. We might think that it is better for the Jedi to be separate from the Republic’s decisions, but early after the Crisis on Naboo, the Jedi and the Senate grow more and more intertwined. Now, when the Republic needs something of the Jedi, they won’t be able to separate as easily.
When Palpatine calls on the Jedi to become Generals after the Battle of Geonosis, it would be harder for the Jedi to turn it down. With such a momentous show of force on Geonosis to rescue Obi-Wan, Padme, and Anakin, the Jedi primed themselves to be warriors. Already having been granted permission to conduct the Outbound Flight mission, they were too closely tied to the Senate for an outright refusal. When the time came, there was no choice but to lead the newly discovered clone army. When Dooku and Nute Gunray hold the Jedi and Padme as hostages on Geonosis, it is tantamount to declaring war on both groups, forcing both to respond as one.
Third, it is becoming easier and easier to see how the galaxy would turn away from the Jedi. First, we get the sense of how few Jedi there are, and how rare it must have been to see one. While there were obviously a lot of Jedi in the Republic, seeing one may still be a rare sight. The Council authorizes barely more than a dozen for the Outbound Flight project, and Obi-Wan and Anakin have to be re-assigned from their current roles to serve on the project. This suggests that there may have been some Jedi simply more in demand than others, but it also suggests that they are already spread thin before the War even starts. Also, Jorus C’baoth is a vastly unpopular dictator on Outbound Flight, with public opinion turning against him and fellow Jedi Knights on board very quickly. While this is an isolated incident, the growing arrogance of the Jedi must have spread beyond the walls of the Jedi Temple. The Jedi go from spending most of their time meditating, to being lead by figure head Jorus C’baoth, to becoming generals.
This puts the Jedi exactly where Palpatine wants them. They are throwing themselves to the Senate, making it easier to start to gain some control over them. Then, they are doing their own work of making themselves unpopular. Following that, they are being destroyed before the start of the war (either disappearing, like Vergere, or being killed on Outbound Flight). When the Jedi lose almost 200 Knights on Geonosis, it isn’t the first major loss that the Order has suffered in recent memory. In their arrogance, they were already leading themselves down the dark path toward destruction.
Having reframed the Jedi’s involvement with the Republic, and how the Yuuzhan Vong hang over the events of the film, I want to comment on what we don’t see. We don’t see much of an origin for the Separatists outside of the border dispute on Ansion. Padme’s assertion that Dooku is behind her assassination attempt is, oddly, not backed up by any novel. In fact, Dooku appears back in Darth Plagueis, but other than that, he is off the novels’ radar. Rather, we see how the Banking Clan planned to destabilize the galaxy, sector by sector. I used to think that the Legends canon over-explained everything and every character that we see in a film. Do you know Willrow Hood? The Legends canon does, even if you did miss him in The Empire Strikes Back. But now, one of the major events of the Prequel era is not really mentioned at all outside of a single novel. I think, moving forward, I have less of an idea what to expect from the Legends canon.
I think Attack of the Clones is more of a major milestone than even I expected it to be. It shifted my perception of the Legends, whereas I used to think it was over-explanatory. It also shifted the way I saw the film, where the looming threat of the Yuuzhan Vong downplay, a bit, the hugeness of the Clone War.
Legendary Travel Tips:
-The movie novelization is preceded by The Approaching Storm and followed by Boba Fett #1: The Fight to Survive.
–The novelization contains an extended backstory for the Lars family, allowing us to know who they are before Anakin arrives on Tatooine.
-The movie, and novelization, wreaked a bit of havoc on the timeline. Pre-AotC stories (mostly comics) featured Jedi with spouses and revealed that there were big battles before the Clone War (such as the Great Hyperspace War). These became exceptions to the rules, and rather than being retconned, they were given different backstories to account for the discrepancy.
The Last Jedi
The Old Republic Era: Dawn of the Jedi: Into The Void | Lost Tribe of the Sith | The Old Republic: Revan | The Old Republic: Deceived | Red Harvest | The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance | The Old Republic: Annihilation | Knight Errant | Darth Bane: Path of Destruction | Darth Bane: Rule of Two | Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil
The New Jedi Order Era: Scourge
Star Wars Young Reader Reviews:
Adventures in Wild Space: The Escape (Prelude)
So You Want to be a Jedi?
Beware the Power of the Dark Side!
Poe Dameron: Flight Log
Princess Leia: Royal Rebel (Backstories)
Darth Vader: Sith Lord (Backstories)
The Force Awakens: Finn’s Story
Forces of Destiny:
Daring Adventures vol 1 | Daring Adventures vol 2 | Tales of Hope & Courage | Leia Chronicles
LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures Reviews:
“A Hero Discovered” 1×01 | “The Mines of Gabralla” 1×02 | “Zander’s Joyride” 1×03 | “The Lost Treasure of Cloud City” 1×04 | “Peril on Kashyyyk” 1×05 | “Crossing Paths” 1×06