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Stories of Light and Dark Rehashes Tales [REVIEW]

If you want to revisit Star Wars‘ Clone Wars, and the characters of Padme Amidala and Obi-Wan Kenobi, specifically, you’re going to want to check out Star Wars: The Clone Wars –Stories of Light and Dark. Besides its stories being taken from episodes of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television show, the music from Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Stories of Light and Dark is from the Star Wars films.

What’s interesting in the latest Star Wars audiobook? It provided a great opportunity for voice actors of the series to reprise their roles. Also, the authors of the stories must have had more difficult tasks in their careers since they were taking from existing material.

It Repackages What We’ve Seen

There’s no need for spoiler alerts because the tales have come before. Since the show was so popular, it seems that Disney and Penguin Random House are trying to squeeze whatever dollars they can from the show’s stories. What they have done is repackage the stories as an audiobook and tried to pass it off as something you need, though you’ve already heard the tales.

However, in using what has been used in Star Wars before, it has that sweet Star Wars DNA, and thus, overall, it’s excellent.

Maul; Clone Wars;; Stories of Light and Dark
Image: Lucasfilm Publishing

For instance, the music is remarkable and comes from “the secret sauce of Star Wars,” to quote George Lucas, in John Williams.

With the audiobook taking from the show, there are excellent lessons. For example: clones are more than numbers; there is a gray area between the Republic and Separatists; the problem of war and the Galactic Senate continuing to feed war.

Among the characters, Padme (voiced by Catherine Taber) shines the brightest in her story, Pursuit of Peace. That’s because it gets into important lessons about politicians and gray areas in opposing sides in wartime. Kenobi’s Shadow, featuring Obi-Wan (voiced by James Arnold Taylor) also carry intrigue, as it features a conflict between the Jedi Council and Obi-Wan.

Padme And Obi-Wan Shine; Voice Acting Key In Stories Of Light And Dark

Maul is voiced by Sam Witwer in Star Wars: The Clone Wars -- Stories of Light and Dark. (photo credit: JediNews.com)
Maul is voiced by Sam Witwer in Star Wars: The Clone Wars — Stories of Light and Dark. (photo credit: JediNews.com)

Story and voice acting are keys to the audiobook. Below are takes concerning both, going story-by-story for the commentary on the former.

The Stories

Jedi Master Yoda ponders in Sharing the Same Face how clone troopers are still children in the Force. While meditating, the green friend decides that clone troopers must be treated as more than droids or the Jedi would lose something worse than the war. This is an excellent lesson in humanity.

In Dooku Captured, Count Dooku considers turning embarrassment to his advantage. It reveals a side of Dooku we hadn’t seen (how often does the distinguished Sith Lord get embarrassed?).

One line in Hostage Crisis says the galaxy should consider a Jedi without a lightsaber as dangerous as a Jedi with one. What?

Then there’s Pursuit of Peace. It’s the compelling tale of Padme trying to convince the Senate to vote against a bill to commission more clone troopers. It further reveals Padme’s commitment to peace. There’s an interesting commentary about symbolic masks by pro-war and pro-peace senators, including the mask Padme had to wear (including not showing too much emotion, but avoiding showing too little).

Padme Amidala in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. (photo credit: Gerald Petschk)
Padme Amidala in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. (photo credit: Gerald Petschk)

Padme And Mina’s Relationship With The Conflict

It was creative of the show to give Padme a Separatist friend in Mina Bonteri since Padme is on the opposing side.

The relationship between Padme and Mina allowed for the exploration gray area between the opposing forces in the Clone Wars.

The Galactic Senate viewed Padme as being anti-Republic for being anti-war. It comments on how folks can be misconstrued in the political arena.

Mina died – and Republic forces were responsible, though Senator Bail Organa said that Dooku’s thugs killed her. It reveals that even the “good guys” in a war can do horrible things. Organa was a hero, but it shows that even he, in not telling the truth, can have his weak moments. As the episode states, Padme’s colleagues wanting more troops was about self-preservation, not the needs of the people of the Republic.

A bounty hunter is called “Bug.” It seems like a placeholder was written for the bounty hunter but there was never a replacement name. Padme considers the “corruption” of the Senate. The Senate is among the “good guys,” and so it’s worth considering how the “good guys” can be corrupt. And this is a beautiful quote: “Just because there is darkness in something, doesn’t mean you don’t love it. You show it love; you show it light and you hope it chooses the light.”

Umbara Provides An Interesting Commentary

In The Shadow of Umbara, the planet Umbara had aligned itself with the Separatists. A sentiment is expressed that General Pong Krell, a Jedi, hates clones. This is an interesting commentary on how those working side by side (the Jedi with the clones) may not like each other. The clone trooper Fives said that clones weren’t just numbers. And clone said the troopers are not unthinking droids, but men. They’re more nods to humanity. A character said, “It’s treason, then!” That’s a wink to a line from Chancellor Sheev Palpatine. At the 37-minute mark of the episode, I was ready for it to be done. (I’m not as into the clone trooper, combat episodes, even if it has Captain Rex.) Even after taking Umbara, Rex questioned what the point was. It’s a good commentary on if warfare has a point.

Bane’s Story

The Clone Wars
Star Wars: The Clone Wars – “The Box” (Image: Lucasfilm ltd.)

In Bane’s Story, the bounty hunter Cad Bane said that Jedi are not that different from bounty hunters when Jedi get mad. Is he wrong? And Bane is clearly obsessed about getting paid. It’s a commentary on how some in our day-to-day lives are just motivated by the paycheck.

The Lost Nightsister is a focus on Asajj Ventress’ identity. That’s poignant because who doesn’t struggle to some degree with who they are? It seemed that men who pushed Ventress around were always surprised when she pushed back. Ventress is a bit of a feminist icon. I couldn’t wait for the episode to end.

Maul Makes His Appearance

In Dark Vengeance, we are reminded that Maul survived after being cut in half by Obi-Wan Kenobi because he was fueled by his hatred of Obi-Wan.

That’s absurd. The Nightsisters helped Maul. He needed help, especially since it would have been additionally absurd if his survival was powered by hatred of Obi-Wan any more than it was. Maul said the Jedi lied. Is he wrong? Maul and Obi-Wan come face-to-face again. Admittedly, even though I today still struggle ever so slightly with Maul’s return, that there is a reunion between the two is riveting. And Maul’s brother, Savage Opress, is certainly a story dynamic, especially because it is family.

In Almost a Jedi, I could not get into the Jedi youngling Katooni’s character. And it gave a Clone Wars perspective of a Jedi youngling, which was somewhat interesting because you normally see the Clone Wars through a Jedi, Republic or clone trooper perspective.

Kenobi Brings It Back Home After A Lull

Kenobi’s Shadow is where the audiobook truly picked up again after Padme’s Pursuit of Peace ended.

The debate between Jedi Master Ki-Adi-Mundi/the Jedi Council and Kenobi was interesting. The conflict was that the Jedi Council didn’t want to help Duchess Satine Kryze, the leader of Mandalore, with her planet. Obi-Wan wanted to help her. It’s intriguing to hear Obi-Wan be at odds with the Council since Obi-Wan was a rather blind follower of the Jedi. Obi-Wan indicated to Anakin Skywalker that he didn’t want to help Satine because of his romantic interest in her.

Of course, that’s doubtful. Obi-Wan met Maul again, which, as I’ve said, is a riveting proposition. Satine died, which is sad because Obi-Wan deserves love in his life. There’s Maul’s cruelty of using Satine to get to the throne and get to Kenobi. Man, Maul is evil. Satine was a light to the galaxy that Maul extinguished, the episode goes. It’s touching.

As Anakin Skywalker had a love interest in Padme Amidala, Obi-Wan Kenobi had one in Duchess Satine Kryze. (photo credit: Disney)
As Anakin Skywalker had a love interest in Padme Amidala, Obi-Wan Kenobi had one in Duchess Satine Kryze. (photo credit: Disney)

Obi-Wan’s “You can’t win, Maul” is surely reflective of Obi-Wan’s “You can’t win, Darth” in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. And Obi-Wan’s “I’m so sorry” surely mirrors his “I’m so sorry” to Padme in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.

Bug was boring. I couldn’t wait for the story to wrap up. For what it’s worth, there are Nightsisters. They aren’t my favorite aspect of Star Wars but are far better than they used to be after being successfully navigated in the show into the Star Wars mainstream.

Voice Acting

James Arnold Taylor voices Obi-Wan splendidly, but in Sharing the Same Face, also voices Yoda rather well, too. Taylor voices Anakin and Captain Rex well in The Shadow of Umbara, where Taylor’s version of Krell sounded similar to his version of Obi-Wan. Taylor wasn’t strong as Satine in Kenobi’s Shadow, though that’s understandable since he’s a different sex than her.

Matt Lanter’s voice in Hostage Crisis didn’t sound like Palpatine.

Taber isn’t bad in Pursuit of Peace at Ahsoka’s voice, even though her calling card is Padme.

Corey Burton does a great voice in Bane’s Story of Bane.

Nika Futterman’s voice acting in The Lost Nightsister is fine.

Sam Witwer is a gem as Maul in Dark Vengeance.

By Rhett Wilkinson

At nine years old, Rhett Wilkinson wrote stories about Han Solo & Princess Leia's son Ben Solo, so he's waiting for Disney to pay up! Rhett is the owner of Hero's Journey Content and author of "'Star Wars' Is Still Intact: Re-finding Yourself in the Age of Trump." His work has been seen in USA TODAY, ESPN & the Pew Forum. He also was a screenwriter for the theatrical production "Before Your Time" and is a survivor of abuse. Reach him on Twitter @rhettrites.

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