Exploring the Clone Wars VIII: “Crystal Crisis on Utapau”

Anakin and Obi-Wan defending the kyber crystal

Anakin and Obi-Wan come to Utapau to investigate the death of a Jedi
Anakin and Obi-Wan come to Utapau to investigate the death of a Jedi

While “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” was cut short, there were still stories still being made when the decision to stop production was made. Fortunately for fans, some stories have come to light. One such story was even made available for viewing (and I was beyond happy when I found out about it)! Three months ago today, Star Wars made available their four-episode story arc, “Crystal Crisis on Utapau” for viewing, which is super exciting for fans!

The four episodes, “A Death on Utapau”, “In Search of the Crystal”, “Crystal Crisis”, and “The Big Bang”, are all voiced by the regular voice actors and are ready for television in the sense of timing, even if not in visuals. As Dave Filoni tells us in a video, “What you’re going to watch here is something we call a ‘story reel’ on the production unit. A story reel is the script shot, compositions, characters blocking, this has final voice actors in it, which is exciting, but it’s bringing the script to life, visually.” While it’s noticeably not in a visually
-completed form, fans will be excited to see these four bonus episodes of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”, nonetheless.

In another video (“Star Wars: The Clone Wars Legacy”), Dave Filoni says, “The stories were there, were written. Some of them were completely designed by Killian’s design team, some of them were shot, they just weren’t animated and lit.” and Pablo Hidalgo says in the same video, simply, “What you’re seeing is a work in progress.” And despite “those Clone Wars episodes did not get publically revealed,” says Hidalgo, “we still look at their core stories as having happened.”

The story arc explored in “Crystal Crisis on Utapau” is “actually, one of the arcs that we really wanted to capture the kind of spirit of the original trilogy in the prequel era and see Obi-Wan and Anakin working together in a way that, when we do see it, it’s always special and it’s always fun and really defines what The Clone Wars is about at its core,” says Matt Michnovitz in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars Legacy”. And having it take place on Utapau, says Hidalgo, is an interesting place: “Utapau is a fantastic environment that, on the surface, you think it only exists to fit a particular purpose in Episode III, but I think George is particularly enamored with Utapau and its story is not done yet. This is what’s great about StarWars.com – we know we have a built-in audience that is willing to overlook the unfinishedness of it if it means that this is an opportunity to understand what that story was.”

The first episode, “A Death on Utapau”, finds us watching Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker investigating the death of a Jedi on the supposedly neutral planet, Utapau. During the course of their investigation, they discover that the death of the Jedi had come about while trying to watch a meeting take place between locals and MagnaGuards.

Anakin and Obi-Wan discussing Ahsoka
Anakin and Obi-Wan discussing Ahsoka

In the second episode, “In Search of the Crystal”, the pace picks up and leads Obi-Wan and Anakin to go after particular locals who are arms dealers. After fighting them, then while searching for the arms dealers, we see this telling interaction:

Anakin: “I’ll contact Ahsoka.”
Obi-Wan Kenobi: “Anakin.”
Anakin: “Forget about it. She’s gone.”
Obi-Wan Kenobi: “Anakin, do you want to talk about it?”
Anakin: “What’s there to talk about?”
Obi-Wan Kenobi: “Nothing, I suppose.”

From this dialogic interaction, it is clear that Anakin has gotten so used to Ahsoka available for backup and as part of the team, yet has not immediately readied himself for her having departed. Later, Obi-Wan senses Anakin’s struggling with the absence of Ahsoka:

Obi-Wan Kenobi: “Anakin, dwelling on Ahsoka’s decision won’t bring her back.”
Anakin Skywalker: “I miss her, okay? Is that what you wanted me to say? I still can’t understand how she could’ve left the Order.”
Obi-Wan: “It was a surprise decision to all of us.”
Anakin: “It was wrong – she’s a Jedi; she belongs with us! She’s one of us.”
Obi-Wan: “She made the decision, Anakin.”
Anakin: “Well, what choice did we give her? The moment there were any suspicions about her loyalty, the Council turned their back on her.”
Obi-Wan: “I will grant you mistakes were made, but she chose to leave. Part of the Jedi way is not letting emotion cloud your better judgment. And that’s precisely what Ahsoka did, even in her most critical moment.”

And we are treated to one final conversation about Ahsoka:

Obi-Wan Kenobi: “You can’t take responsibility for Ahsoka’s decision, Anakin.”
Anakin Skywalker: “How would you feel if I turned into a major disappointment?”
Obi-Wan: “It’s not the same.”
Anakin: “It’s precisely the same: you took me under your wing and practically raised me. I’m your padawan, just like Ahsoka was mine. How well would you sleep knowing that I failed you?”
Obi-Wan: “Not very well, I imagine. Luckily, that isn’t true and never will be.”

These final lines are, of course, an amusing foreshadowing, as all fans know that Anakin ends up turning against Obi-Wan.  This also raises the question of how Obi-Wan coped after losing Anakin in “Revenge of the Sith”.  As mentioned in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars Legacy video, Matt Michnovitz said, “It was really important that we address the Ahsoka issue and to show that Obi-Wan was there for Anakin when he needed it and that Anakin ultimately opened up to Obi-Wan about how he really felt in her leaving.”

Anakin and Obi-Wan discovering the huge kyber crystal
Anakin and Obi-Wan discovering the huge kyber crystal

Towards the end of the episode, Anakin and Obi-Wan discover a massive crystal:

Anakin Skywalker: “Master, you better come look at this. What is it?”
Obi-Wan Kenobi (in a shocked manner): “It’s a kyber crystal, but I’ve never seen one this big before.”
Anakin: “What do you suppose Grievous wants with it?”
Obi-Wan: “Grievous, or Dooku, I don’t know, but it’s for something much bigger than a light saber, that’s for certain. Let’s get out of here.”

Anakin and Obi-Wan defending the kyber crystal
Anakin and Obi-Wan defending the kyber crystal

After taking possession of the massive kyber crystal, Anakin and Obi-Wan try to move the massive crystal (despite the lack of a ship) in the next episode, “Crystal Crisis”. After fighting off the arms dealers, the two Jedi have another challenge. We see that, despite the professed neutrality of Utapau, the leadership of Utapau is in league with General Grievous.  Anakin and Obi-Wan are able to move the crystal to the port, although they have to deal with MagnaGuards and battle droids. Eventually, they have to give the crystal up at the behest of the Utapauan authorities.

General Grievous and Obi-Wan Kenobi battling on Separatist Ship
General Grievous and Obi-Wan Kenobi battling on Separatist Ship

In the fourth and final episode, “The Big Bang”, we see Anakin and Obi-Wan track down the crystal to a Separatist ship and, eventually, we see General Grievous and Obi-Wan engage in a light saber duel, somewhat presaging their eventual battle on Utapau in Episode III, although, this time, Grievous gets the best of him pretty easily, and has him taken as a prisoner.

Anakin tossing Obi-Wan his light saber
Anakin tossing Obi-Wan his light saber

After Anakin rescues Obi-Wan and handing him his light saber to him, this amusing interchange occurs:

Anakin Skywalker: “Oh hey, I got something for you. Try not to lose it again. You know, this weapon is your life.”
Obi-Wan Kenobi: “I see that you listen to somethings I tell you.”
Anakin: “Just the good things.”

Explosion of Separatist ship with the massive kyber crystal onboard

Finally, following Anakin’s and Obi-Wan’s successfully escaping the Separatist ship, while it is exploding with the crystal on it, Anakin and Obi-Wan report to the Jedi Council:

Mace Windu: “It is unfortunate that you were unable to capture the crystal. We may never know what plans Grievous had for it.”
Yoda: “Not Grievous. The work of the Sith lord this is. Better in the end that, destroyed, this crystal was.”
Obi-Wan Kenobi: “I’ve never seen nor heard of a kyber crystal like this one. Was the council aware of their existence?”
Mace Windu: “Master Yoda?”
Yoda: “Out of the stories of old this crystal comes. Long ago, in forgotten times when the Sith and Jedi fought for control of the galaxy weapons there were, of unimaginable power. Always at their heart, a kyber crystal was, just like the one you described.”
Anakin Skywalker: “You’re speaking of childrens’ stories, fairy tales.”
Yoda: “In legends, we often find great truths, Skywalker. A warning, this is: powerful, the Sith lord has become. With great designs for our destruction. If, find one of these crystals, he can, another he will seek.”

Obi-Wan and Anakin reporting to the Jedi Council
Obi-Wan and Anakin reporting to the Jedi Council

In all, we should be thankful that Star Wars has released these four episodes on their website, even if they are as story reels, which is good enough for us fans, especially since one can easily use one’s imagination to consider what it really should look like. Storywise, it’s an opportunity to see more of the interaction between Anakin and Obi-Wan prior to Episode III, we finally see Anakin struggling to deal with the loss of Ahsoka as his padawan, and we get not only a pre-Episode III duel between Obi-Wan and General Grievous, but also a better sense of Utapau. In all, thank God for Star Wars releasing these 🙂

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