Following the cancellation of Star Wars: The Clone Wars in March 2013, the burning question fans were asking was whether unaired scripts from season six would appear in another form. Then, we discover through a Rebels Report interview with writer Brent Friedman that The Clone Wars series had concepts and storylines stretching as far as season eight, making the cancellation all the more bitter. The question of what would happen to those stories persisted, but we finally got an answer.
Through an interview with Newsarama, Star Wars comic book writer and former editor Jeremy Barlow revealed that he will be adapting original Star Wars: The Clone Wars scripts that feature Darth Maul following his capture by Darth Sidious in season five. Needless to say, the news stirred up the fan community–mainly because the Newsarama article mistakenly stated that the final arc of the series will be adapted into comic book form. To reiterate, this four-part limited series published by Dark Horse Comics, entitled “Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir,” will solely focus on the Darth Maul storyline as originally envisioned by George Lucas, Dave Filoni and the Lucasfilm Animation crew.
…Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir sees the full-scale return of Darth Maul to the Star Wars universe and into a head-to-head battle with his former master Darth Sidious – aka, the Emperor. Barlow promises to fully delve into the world of Dathomir, as well as some of its inhabitants like Nightbrothers and even a new character called Brother Viscus.
Having straightened out the facts, what does this all mean? To be honest, adapting a selection of the scripts into a comic book is reinforcing the fact that Disney and Lucasfilm have simply moved on. All of the attention and production are now being aimed towards Star Wars Rebels and, most especially, Star Wars: Episode VII. Is there still a chance that the remaining stories of The Clone Wars may appear as a straight-to-home movie or television mini-series? Or compiled into a concept art book? I would like to think so. Perhaps sometime in the future when the creative minds behind Lucasfilm want to look back and focus on said stories. Until then, however, we should be happy with what we’re given because the other option is having nothing at all.
That said, I am excited to have one aspect of The Clone Wars story continue in comic book form. Comic books have always been an incredibly rich medium that combine narrative with visual elements. In my history as a comic book reader, I’ve found that some people look down upon them and view them as a lesser form of storytelling. I certainly saw those kinds of sentiments yesterday when news broke out about the Darth Maul comic. I was disappointed to see that reaction, originally assuming that people would be bursting with joy. To label a comic book as an inferior product, though, is a narrow-minded perspective. Of course, a comic book does have its limitations, especially an adaptation, which is an edited and redesigned version of the original. However, even with those limitations, a comic book still has the power to inspire and initiate conversation as would any other form of literature or media.
Whether you reject the approach or fully embrace it, one thing is certain and U.S. news editor for Jedi News Justin LaSalata expressed it in less than 140 characters:
Regardless of view, let's remember what all the tweets yesterday revealed: Fans REALLY care about @TheCloneWars future.—
Justin LaSalata (@JustinL81) January 08, 2014
Will other Clone Wars stories follow the same approach? I hope so. I would love to see some novels in the mix, but the future is always in motion. For now, the 4-part mini-series comic on Darth Maul will give fans the closure we need, even if it’s just a sliver of The Clone Wars era with many more stories to tell.