The Perfection of the Umbara Storyline
Revisiting the thrilling, clone-centered storyline from Star Wars: the Clone Wars, which propelled the series to new heights.
I briefly mentioned the Umbara Arc as one of the highlights of the Clone Wars series in a previous blog post, which can be found here. However, I wanted to explore the Umbara Arc more in-depth, as the episodes are some of my favorite Star Wars content ever.
The Clone Wars series features incredibly important characters such as Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. However, the series is ultimately focused on other characters such as Ahsoka Tano, and most notably, the Clone Troopers. In the Darkness on Umbara arc, the Clone Trooper characters are explored in great depth, which is incredibly thrilling.
Throughout the four-episode storyline, Clone Troopers Fives, Dogma, Tup, Hardcase, Kix, Jesse, and of course, Captain Rex are the focal point, along with their relationships with each other. One of the best aspects of the Umbara Arc is showcasing the differences between each clone. First and foremost, each Clone has different markings on their armor or distinct tattoos to individualize themselves. For example, Clone Trooper Tup has an original tear drop marking on his helmet. Clone Trooper Jesse has a large tattoo of the symbol of the Galactic Republic on his forehead, highlighting Jesse’s loyalty which becomes pivotal in The Clone Wars final season.
Furthermore, aside from physical differences, each Clone Trooper’s characteristics and personality is different. Hardcase is incredibly war-ready, always thirsty for action. Dogma is a strict order-follower, regardless of the situation. And Fives, my personal favorite Clone Trooper, is innovative and resourceful, not afraid to disobey orders. Overall, throughout the storyline, the dynamic between the Clone Troopers is examined, and as a result, some of the best Star Wars content is created. I thoroughly enjoy watching the Clone Troopers discuss courses of action, and the entire arc is very reminiscent of Band of Brothers.
Throughout the storyline, each Clone Trooper has their moment of glory, which as an audience, is very rewarding. Captain Rex learns an incredibly valuable lesson — sometimes breaking orders is necessary. Kix, the medic of the team, successfully aids numerous injured Clone Troopers. Hardcase sacrifices himself to destroy an important enemy spacecraft, and utters the famous Star Wars quote, “Live to fight another day boys, live to fight another day.” I oftentimes tear up during Hardcase’s final scene, just an FYI. Jesse successfully captures the traitorous General Krell, and Dogma eventually kills General Krell after realizing the importance of friendship and loyalty.
Aside from the exploration of the Clone Troopers, the action and visual storytelling in the Umbara arc is the best of the Clone Wars series. Throughout the episodes, the point of view and camerawork is magnificent and dynamic. In one of the most emotional, gut-wrenching scenes, Clone Troopers fire on other Clone Troopers, unaware they’ve been ordered to fight each other, resulting in fan-favorite Clone Trooper Waxer’s death. Furthermore, the space battle involving Fives, Hardcase, and Jesse is spectacular. Overall, along with the amazing storytelling, the animated action is practically perfect.
As I previously mentioned, the visual storytelling is also some of the best in the series. The planet of Umbara is dark, and there is never sunshine. However, the jungle landscape and the eerie mist create a darkened, beautiful planet. Also, the darkness of the planet perfectly reflects the tone of the storyline. Vibrant colors of purple emitted from plants and trees illuminate the environment. Overall, the visuals and graphics encompass the storyline completely, and the atmosphere radiants on the TV screen.
The Darkness on Umbara arc is the pinnacle of the Clone Wars animated series. Most notably, the Clone Troopers are explored, and the audience’s perception of the characters drastically shifts as a result, causing fans to care more about characters such as Fives, Jesse, and Hardcase, all of whom are important in the general Clone Wars storyline. Fives discovers Order 66, but is tragically murdered as a result. Jesse succumbs to Order 66, and attempts to kill Ahsoka Tano, eventually dying in the process. Captain Rex survives Order 66, and after the conclusion of the Clone Wars, appears alongside the Rebellion.
Because of the Umbara Arc, fans now care about each of the Clone’s fate. Without these incredibly critical episodes, viewers would not have been blessed with more appearances from eventual fan-favorite characters.