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The Clone Wars: A legendary conflict that blazed across the galaxy, ravaging entire worlds. This was the age of heroes, when Jedi would lead the Republic's newborn clone army to war against the Separatists and their unyielding droid armies. This was the age of legends, as the light fought valiantly against the shadows cast by the Sith. Ultimately, this was the age of tragedy - as the heroes fell to betrayal most foul. They're also one of the most dearly-loved eras in Star Wars history — in large part because of a phenomenal animated series...
Now, at last, #Marvel is taking us back to the Clone Wars. They've just announced their latest Star Wars miniseries; Jedi of the Republic - Mace Windu! Set in the early days of the Clone Wars, this promises to face Samuel L. Jackson's Mace Windu with the reality of war. As writer Matt Owens reflects:
"No matter how well trained for battle the Jedi are, having to actually put those skills to use is another thing entirely. The preferred tools of the Jedi are diplomacy, harmony, education, peace. Now they find themselves leading troops on battlefields across the galaxy. They’re going to have a lot of thoughts about this. Is this really the way to peace? Is this the position I should be taking? Is this really the path the Jedi should be walking down. Doubt is understandable, but what each individual does with that doubt is very telling of who they are and where they will end up."
It sounds like a thrilling miniseries, but here's the thing; it's pretty clear Marvel's planning a lot more than a comic starring Mace Windu. Matt Owens's comment points to an experience that all the Jedi will be experiencing, not just Mace Windu; and the title of the comic strongly suggests that (should this book sell well) we can expect to see an entire Jedi of the Republic range!
Why Mace Windu Is The Perfect Launch For A Clone Wars-Era Range
Second only to Yoda himself, Mace Windu is the most beloved Prequel-Era Jedi. In large part, that's due to #SamuelLJackson's badass portrayal, complete with that wonderful purple lightsaber. Thus at first glance, starting out with Mace Windu is something of a no-brainer. And yet, there's another reason Marvel may have decided to kick this new range off with Mace Windu.
Back when Lucasfilm first began exploring the Clone Wars, they released a phenomenal series of books (now no longer canon) exploring the era. One of those was Matthew Stover's outstanding novel Shatterpoint, which dove deep into Windu's character. Stover added so many layers to Windu, establishing him as a unique Jedi. Mace Windu was a man who stood dangerously close to the dark side, and he channelled the seductive power of his character flaws into a unique new fighting style known as Vaapad. Complimenting this was another Force ability, a power to see "shatterpoints" — a concept that's recently returned to the new Star Wars canon.
Stover returned to write the novelization of Revenge of the Sith, and revisited the character of Mace Windu, particularly in the scenes where Windu duelled Palpatine. Working closely with #GeorgeLucas himself, Stover dove even deeper into Windu's character, and revealed his shatterpoint. You see, Jedi aren't supposed to have an attachment — and Windu does. He loves, and believes in, the Republic. That's why the idea that the Republic was under the control of a Sith Lord broke him.
The range bears the title Jedi of the Republic. And that description applies better to Mace Windu than to any other Jedi.
Who Else Could Star In A Jedi Of The Republic Miniseries?
Of course, the question on the lips of every Star Wars fan is a simple one; which other Jedi could star in their own Jedi of the Republic miniseries? With Marvel embracing the Prequel Era like never before, the Clone Wars offer so much potential.
It's surely only a matter of time before the much-loved Aayla Secura makes her comic-book debut. Beautiful and deadly, the Twi'lek Jedi's fluid combat style is perfectly suited to the comics. She's a firm fan-favorite, as is her old Master, Quinlan Vos. That said, given how prominent a role Vos played in the Clone Wars animated series, I'll be surprised if Lucasfilm give Marvel the okay to expand his story.
The same isn't true of Luminara Unduli. Another dearly-loved Jedi Master, Luminara played a prominent role in Alan Dean Foster's The Approaching Storm, intended to be the official prelude to Attack of the Clones. Of course, that novel is no longer considered canon either, meaning some of her most fondly-remembered moments have been written out of the canon. She has a strong fan-following, who'll be delighted to see her get a chance to shine. And who knows? Maybe we'll actually get a chance to explore the hints of romantic tension Foster gave between Luminara and her fellow Jedi Master: Obi-Wan Kenobi...
Given these are comics, I refuse to believe Marvel will be able to resist including Plo Koon. Koon is that perfect blend of warrior and mentor, and the Clone Wars animated series showed him develop a wonderful relationship with young Ahsoka Tano. At the same time, his Force-powers are perfectly suited to the visual style of comic books; he's particularly skilled at manipulating the physical environment with the Force, creating whirlwinds and even freezing water at will!
My final suggestion would be Kit Fisto, a Jedi Master with a very different style. Where most Jedi are serene and stoic, Fisto is an enthusiastic Jedi Master with a quick wit. A lover of action, Fisto's reaction to the Clone Wars will be very different to that of his fellows; he'll embrace the battle, and leap head-first into it. That could easily be used to present a study in contrasts.
Of course, these are only a few of the possibilities; my point is simply that the Jedi of the Republic range has phenomenal potential. The Jedi of this era are heroes and legends, even if their stories are doomed to end in tragedy. Now, at last, it looks as though we're about to see their feats for ourselves.