“When I was just a little Padawan, I asked my Master, ‘What will I be? Will I be pretty? Will I be rich?’ Here’s what he said to me: ‘Que Sera Sera. Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see. Que Sera Sera.’”
Fans of Alfred Hitchcock and Doris Day would know that tune anywhere. I’m not gonna lie, I was kind of hoping Ahsoka would start singing that at some point in the new Clone Wars episode. I mean, after all, it was titled “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much.” What’s funny is how relevant “Que Sera Sera,” the song that’s so prominent a part of Hitchcock’s 1956 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much, is to our little Togruta Padawan. Deep into her apprenticeship to Anakin Skywalker, she’s no longer the wide-eyed youth we first met on Christophsis five years ago. But she hasn’t completely come into her own, either. Is she a warrior? Is she a peacekeeper? In short, what will she be? And with the Dark Side obscuring everything, the future is really not hers, nor the Jedi’s, to see.
Based on Lucasfilm’s marketing of this arc, it seems that such answers are indeed on the horizon, and, even more so than last week’s “Sabotage,” “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much” seemed to set up those revelations. We began with a funeral. “Luminous beings are we,” Yoda said as he presided over the cremation of the Jedi who’d died in the Temple bombing. “But temporary vessels our bodies are.” Yeah, you can recite that over and over, but that never really gives much comfort. Palpatine was in attendance, and you can just imagine him scoffing internally when he heard that, obsessed with pursuing immortality as he is.
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After the funeral, we got a sense of just how hawkish Ahsoka’s become. Her “swift justice” attitude toward Letta, the confessed bomber, was even more hard-line than proto-fascists Anakin and Tarkin, who at least were arguing that she should benefit from due process. Tarkin, now an Admiral—by the way, whatever happened to Admiral Yularen?—suggested that the Supreme Chancellor wished to start separating the Jedi from military matters…even though they’ve been leading the charge as generals in the Grand Army of the Republic since the start of the war. Since clones were also killed in the Temple blast, the prosecution of Letta should fall to the Republic military and not the Jedi.
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I was glad to see Ahsoka bond with Barriss Offee once again. We haven’t really seen much of her since she turned into a zombie at the end of the Second Geonosian campaign way back in Season 2. Little Miss Tano could really benefit from being around someone her own age for once. What was interesting was that Barris was questioning one of the most fundamental tenets of the Jedi: the necessity of avoiding attachments. Is it right for a Jedi to move past emotion? On the one hand you avoid fear, anger, and hatred—emotions that lead to the Dark Side—but doesn’t compassion, supposedly the distinguishing characteristic of the Jedi, require some emotional commitment? Wouldn’t a Jedi be cold and callous rather than compassionate if he or she truly shunned all attachment? Wouldn’t that Jedi look and sound a lot like Count Dooku? Ahsoka stayed true to the Jedi line: yes, purging oneself of emotion, like how they rid themselves of fear when they thought they might die on Geonosis, does lead to greater clarity, she said. Of course, her actions throughout the rest of the episode completely contradict that sentiment.
NEXT: Please, if you’re a Jedi and someone in front of you is being Force Choked, don’t raise your hands like you’re the one Force Choking them.
The Separatists were launching a new offensive, this time in the Saleucami system. You know what that means: the Outer Rim Sieges! I’ve been saying for awhile that these battles that marked the last stage of the Clone Wars have been on the horizon, and now they’re really here. Order 66 isn't far behind. Obi-Wan headed to Saleucami, which was unfortunate given what was to come. Ahsoka, meanwhile, got a comm from Tarkin that the bomber, Letta, wanted to speak with her, and her alone. So she went to the military prison, a monolithic structure in the middle of a vast GAR staging ground.
The design of this building alone shows how much the Republic has changed. Whereas Classical arches, columns, and domes, even when forged out of gleaming transparisteel, used to be the defining Republic aesthetic, that’s all been replaced by hard angles and stark geometric patterns, all uniformly monochromatic. It’s like a cityscape made to look like the bridge of a Star Destroyer. Not to mention that the hallways of the prison look exactly like those in the Death Star’s detention block. There’s a line in James Luceno’s Darth Plagueis that’s a winking nod to all this polished Imperial chrome when Palpatine says that his taste in art “tends toward minimalism.” We’ve noticed!
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Once at the prison, Ahsoka had to surrender her comlink and lightsabers. She got her one-on-one with the accused, and Letta told her that she had been set up. Yes, she did feed her husband the nanodroids that turned him into a bomb, but it wasn’t her idea. Actually, it was a Jedi who cajoled her into doing this. Apparently, this Jedi was among those who believe the Order has lost its way, that they’ve become warmongers rather than peacekeepers. Still, it’s hard to imagine any Jedi who maintains a belief in the Order’s original mission of peacekeeping doing something as, you know, un-peaceful as bombing the Temple. Unfortunately, Ahsoka couldn’t get a name out of Letta because all of a sudden she levitated in the air, her hands clutching her throat in muted agony. Someone was Force Choking her, but the only Jedi around was Ahsoka, and the fact that she raised her hands toward Letta made it appear like she herself was Force choking her. This didn’t look good.
NEXT: What can parsing Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much(both versions!) tell us about ‘The Jedi Who Knew Too Much’?
And this is where we have the Alfred Hitchcock connection. In both versions of the film—Hitch originally directed The Man Who Knew Too Much in 1934 (just out through the Criterion Collection following a sorely-needed restoration) but remade it in 1956—a couple is vacationing in an exotic place. They become entangled with a foreign spy, who’s quickly killed. But before he dies, the spy tells the husband (who, in the ’56 version is played by Jimmy Stewart) that an assassination is about to take place. Of course, he dies before he can give anything more substantive, like the names of the perps. The spy’s enemies, fearing that the vacationing couple is now onto them, kidnaps their son to keep them silent. Obviously, in “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much” there wasn’t a kidnapping, but I do think whoever Force Choked Letta wanted to shut her up before she revealed anything more. Perhaps a bigger attack against the Jedi is still in the making. Also, just like the vacationing sap in The Man Who Knew Too Much, Ahsoka’s proximity to the deceased marks her as the mostly likely suspect in her death. Here’s an idea: if you encounter someone who’s been stabbed, don’t pull the knife out of the body, making it look like you were the assailant. And if someone’s being Force Choked in front of you, don’t put your hands up in the air, as if you are the one doing the choking. Anyway, check out the initial murder scene from the ’56 Man Who Knew Too Much to see just how similar this situation is to the one in which Ahsoka finds herself.
Tarkin quickly confronted Ahsoka with the evidence against her, particularly the holorecording of her with her hands up as Letta’s being choked. Not good. There were no other Jedi in the facility at the time. Really not good. And if there had been another Jedi there, why didn't she sense them? Really, really not good.
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Anakin, unfortunately, was'nt allowed in to visit her. I thought for a moment he was going to Force Choke the guard, to bust his way in. But he exercised some restraint. Nonetheless, Ahsoka suddenly saw a key card outside her cell. She used the Force to levitate it and swipe it so she could get out. She thought it was from Anakin. ‘Fraid not. She was only being set up further, which she quickly realized herself when she saw clone troopers lying about unconscious and her lightsabers mysteriously on the floor. The still-conscious clones, thinking she’d escaped and was psychotically homicidal, gave chase. And then she saw it…clones dead on the ground, obviously having been slashed apart by a lightsaber. Someone really was trying to make it seem like she was on a killing spree. Now, she couldn’t go back. But who would be setting her up like this and why?
NEXT: So just who is setting up Ahsoka and what is their motive? We think we have an answer!
Let’s think this through. Obviously, a Force User killed Letta. And it had to be a Force User who could either gain access to the prison as a matter of routine or who could remain totally undetected by all the clones stationed there. A Force User who also could enlist Tarkin as an ally. Oh, and remain invisible in the Force to Ahsoka. If Tarkin’s to be believed, there were no other Jedi there. So that leaves really only two suspects. It could be Darth Sidious, though why the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic would be at a military prison is a bit hard to explain. Unless he was using the Force to remain completely invisible even to his own troopers. Or maybe this is one of the “other uses” Sidious had in mind for Maul, and the tattooed Sith pretender was the one who Force Choked Letta, perhaps from the cell where he himself has been confined following that skirmish on Mandalore. That seems less likely, though, because Maul’s never been one to conceal his presence in the Force. The Jedi—and Sidious—could sense him from half a galaxy away. That's how big of an impact he made. But Sidious? Now he knows how to hide his Force powers. He interacts with the Jedi all the time and never have they suspected his true Sithliness. It’s gotta be him who killed Letta, especially since his confidant Tarkin would be so easy to loop in.
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But what possible motive could Sidious have for framing Ahsoka? Easy. The long game here is to isolate Anakin. Sidious plans to make him all the more ripe for seduction to the Dark Side by stripping away the people around him. First, he’ll get rid of his apprentice. Fabricate a situation that causes her to be in prison or, if she escapes, requires her to leave the Jedi Order. That’ll increase Anakin’s defensiveness, his feeling of injustice, which’ll be magnified even further when Yoda and Mace Windu refuse to make him a Jedi Master despite his seat on the Jedi Council. The subtext is kind of like, “Well, we can’t make you a Master because of that whole matter of your failed Padawan…” That’ll only increase his resentment toward the Jedi. Eventually then Sidious will rob him of Obi-Wan and Padme as well, so that all Anakin will have left is him…and the Dark Side.
But getting rid of Ahsoka is the first step toward making any of this happen. And that’s why I think Sidious has not only the means but the motive to be the real perpetrator here. To Letta, I’m sure he seemed like a Jedi. Most people couldn’t really tell the difference between a Jedi and a Sith. They both have powers that make stuff fly around and carry laser swords, what’s the diff? Anyway, that’s my theory unless all of a sudden The Clone Wars has decided to introduce a new character into the mix. But this seems rather late in the game to add an anti-Jedi Jedi like Sora Bulq.
NEXT: Yeah, about that whole “moving past your emotions” thing. Ahsoka needs to practice what she preaches.
So much for that whole thing about moving past your emotions. Ahsoka acted pretty irrational for the rest of the episode, somehow thinking that no one, absolutely no one, not even the Jedi Council, will believe that she’s innocent. So like Roger Thornhill in North by Northwest or Richard Hannay in The 39 Steps, she went on the run. The clones gave chase, including a couple K9 troopers with battle neks to sniff her out. If you ask me, though, vornskyrs would have been a better creature to use here since they can track Force-sensitive beings. Probably would have been a challenge to animate the six-legged beasts, though.
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Ahsoka headed to the industrial pipelines that feed water and fuel into the government district of Coruscant, presumably located right near the military staging grounds. These looked a lot like the massive pipelines I first saw illustrated by Ralph McQuarrie in Kevin J. Anderson’s The Illustrated Star Wars Universe. That mega-plumbing really gives a sense of the vast scale of the utilities needed to keep Coruscant running. I’m also pretty certain that those massive exposed pipes are located near The Works, an abandoned industrial area of Coruscant in which Darth Sidious maintained a secret hideout during the Clone Wars. Given his proximity, it’s all the more likely then that he was the one who killed Letta.
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Gotta love that Death Star-style turbolaser that fired on Ahsoka at one point. And there was even a Juggernaut! Finally, she sliced open one of those giant pipes and climbed inside to facilitate her getaway. She continued to elude the clones…but not Anakin. He finally cornered her in a dead end, as the pipe opened up onto a vertiginous cavern down into Coruscant’s underbelly. She screamed, “You didn’t even try to help me!” at Anakin, which seemed a bit unfair, though not as illogical as her “You know as well as I do that no one else will believe me.” Really? You can burn your bridges as a Jedi that quickly? This was a scene straight out of The Fugitive, and like Richard Kimble, Ahsoka took a leap of faith. She dove straight down into the abyss and hopped aboard a hover-ferry heading down into the lower levels…where Anakin himself obviously would dare not tread.
This is exciting, gang! We’re going to see the lower levels of Coruscant next week. Hopefully, there are some rakhgouls down there. And for all we know this could help introduce the environs of Star Wars 1313. A great set up though it was, “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much” was pretty great standing alone too, wasn’t it? Until next week, I leave you with this.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credit: Lucasfilm]
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Hey, if Marvel superheroes can create a cross-polinated movie universe, why can't Tom Clancy and his band of American spies do the same?
That seems to be the plan, with the recent casting of Kevin Costner in Paramount's upcoming Jack Ryan signaling an attempt to not only continue the Clancy-verse, but to expand and weave it all together. Rumors of Costner's involvement in the film, which stars Chris Pine as the titular CIA agent and Keira Knightley as his leading lady, have been swirling about for weeks, but according to Deadline, the deals are now set — and the plan isn't just for Jack Ryan.
Paramount is eyeing Costner as the connective tissue that could potentially bring together further Tom Clancy adaptations Avengers-style. In Jack Ryan, the actor will play William Harper, mentor to the young American hero. The hope is for Costner to also feature into another big screen version Clancy movie: Without Remorse, under the eye of Jack Reacher writer/director Christopher McQuarrie (also the man behind The Usual Suspects). Knowing that a blockbuster thriller needs a strong leading man (especially considering Costner's involvement), Paramount and McQuarrie are courting The Dark Knight Rises actor Tom Hardy for the lead role.
And the Costner-love doesn't stop there. There's even talk that the actor's William Harper could spin-off into his own film — an opportunity Nick Fury has not even been afforded. With a wealth of source material at their fingertips, Paramount is going to great lengths to strategically play their cards in the right sequence in hopes of luring audiences back time and time again for continuity-filled, high-ocatne adventures. To make it easier to swallow, they found a man with the right amount of gravitas. After the mega-success of his TV movie Hatfields & McCoys, Costner is at the top of his game. He's the perfect overseer for a brand as gigantic as Tom Clancy.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Request: New Line Cinema]
Keira Knightley Joins Chris Pine in 'Jack Ryan'
Kenneth Branagh to Play Villain in Chris Pine's Jack Ryan Movie
David Koepp Rewriting Paramount's Jack Ryan Reboot
Hugh Jackman, once attached to star as a successful make-up salesman in the 20th Century Fox comedy Avon Man, has dropped out to reprise his role as X-Men's Wolverine, Deadline reports. Although Jackman will remain on board to produce Avon Man, sources say the Australian has decided to spend this coming fall rebuilding his muscled physique in order to star as Logan in an upcoming sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which "tells a samurai story set in Japan." That means Fox's Wolverine 2 could go into production early next year, if Jackman is beginning his training now. Although no director is yet attached to the pic, Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, Valkyrie) will be writing the screenplay.
Avon Man, the Full Monty-like story of an unemployed car dealer who falls back on his charm and good looks to sell cosmetics door-to-door, is still set to begin production this October, though director Kevin Lima (Enchanted, Tarzan) and producer Hugh Jackman (along with producing partners John Palermo and Gary Foster) will have to find a new star before then - perhaps lookalike Gerard Butler?
Although the first X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie was pretty disappointing, the superhero pic grossed some $373 million worldwide, so I'm hardly surprised that Fox has a sequel in the works. And I'm excited to see a terrific actor like Jackman reprise his iconic role as Logan, even if I have justifiable reservations about the film itself.
Still, the idea of a Wolverine sequel set in Japan is intriguing - and Jackson's obvious enthusiasm for the project is reassuring as well. "There are so many areas of that Japanese story," Jackman recently told MTV News. "I love the idea of this kind of anarchic character, the outsider, being in this world -- I can see it aesthetically, too -- full of honor and tradition and customs and someone who's really anti-all of that, and trying to negotiate his way. The idea of the samurai, too -- and the tradition there. It's really great. In the comic book he gets his ass kicked by a couple of samurai -- not even mutants. He's shocked by that at first."
Time to start doing some push-ups, Jackman. Those pecs won't build themselves.
We all know Adolf Hitler did not die as a result of an organized assassination plot against him but this fact does not hinder the enjoyment of watching how that attempt by members of his own Nazi command plays out. Reminiscent of great ‘60s WWII conspiracy thrillers such as 36 Hours and Night of the Generals this film centers on the actions of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) a loyal German officer who nevertheless is horrified by what he sees Hitler doing to his country and is determined to find a way to stop him. In 1942 he tries to persuade senior commanders to overthrow Hitler and later in 1943 while recovering from combat injuries he joins the German Resistance a secretive anti-Hitler group comprised of several men in the highest ranks on the inside. Using Hitler’s own contingency plan labeled Operation Valkyrie to prop up the government should he die this group puts their assassination and take over plan in motion. As the eye patch-wearing SS colonel Tom Cruise is excellent. He comfortably manages to get to the heart of Stauffenberg and portray a man who clearly loves his country and feels it’s a patriotic duty to stop the madness. Wisely Cruise (who produced through his United Artists studio) surrounds himself with actors of the first stripe. Among those supporting the mission are: Kenneth Branagh in a relatively brief turn as an German officer; Bill Nighy as one of von Stauffenberg’s closest allies in the venture; and Eddie Izzard as a communications specialist charged with cutting Hitler’s contact to the rest of Germany. There’s also superb work from Terence Stamp as another high-ranking conspirator and the always great Tom Wilkinson as career officer Fredrick Fromm who seems to be playing all sides despite appearing to be a stern supporter of the Fuhrer. And as Stauffenberg’s loyal wife Carice van Houten (Black Book) looks lovely and hits just the right notes as her husband’s sounding board. Although he has guided big popcorn pictures such as Superman Returns and X-Mens director Bryan Singer has also given us intense thrillers like the Oscar winning Usual Suspects and Apt Pupil. So the command he shows in turning out this nifty thriller should come as no surprise. Clearly Singer knows how to grab hold of an audience and keep them on the edge of their seats -- no easy trick here since the outcome is never in doubt. He keeps this going like a speeding train ratcheting up the suspense at every turn and focusing his camera directly into the eyes and sweat of these courageous conspirators. Valkyrie is a pulse-pounding heart-racing excitement from start to finish.