Friday, 18 October 2013


Deadly new alliances are forged in Eminence! Images: LUCASFILM ANIMATION.
Pole position has now been reached, as AFICIONADO's countdown to the Top Five episodes of THE CLONE WARS Season Five, out now on UK Blu-ray and DVD from WARNER BROTHERS, concludes in spectacular and explosive style. Its time for the baddies to get centre stage in the superb Dark Side unleashed showcase that is Eminence - our favourite game-changing episode of the shows final year, and an indication of the epic storylines planned but lost for its aborted final seasons-though at least the completed episodes of Season Six are on their way sometime soon to whet our continued appetites for the show...

Here's five reasons why Eminence was our Numero Uno!

Darth Maul reveals his Force might against Bo Katan.

1. Saga Enemies Unite! The kind of team-up we'd always dreamt about when playing with our PALITOY/KENNER figures during our formative years- now amazingly come alive thanks to George Lucas bold idea, with the kind of assembled quadruple threat villainy that could give MARVEL's THE AVENGERS a run for their money, let alone the STAR WARS universe heroes. The Maul brothers, the Mandalorian Death Watch, newcomers the Pyke Syndicate, together with the large-scale criminal universe belonging to the Black Sun organisation. They all hate and distrust one another, obviously, but in the end its the power of revenge and greed that binds them together. The benevolent Duchess Satine and the rest of the universe don't stand a chance!

A return to the nightmare well of Mustafar...

2. Fused Universes. Black Sun on the volcanic hell of Mustafar (quite a busy little planet that one!), Hutts on Tatooine and Nal Hutta, the outcast Sith brothers found in deep space (a nice visual nod to the beginning of ALIENS), the flying Mandalore Death Watch. Heck, even ineffectual but great to see in action Gamorrean Guards! This episode's supremely enjoyable, dizzyingly fast visual and storytelling pace sees a wealth of planets and battles satisfyingly mixed together and ripe for epic conflict, well handled by writer Chris Collins and director Kyle Dunlevy, with CG Supervisor Joel Aron and the brilliant animation team clearly working overtime on this ambitious entry. It's the perfect fusion of Classic and Prequel Trilogies characters and environments that only THE CLONE WARS animated series could do, and so well, particularly fleshing out the other parts of the under-rated Prequels beyond Anakin's overall storyline in the films.

Black Sun heads will roll...

3. Black Sun Arrives. Steve Perry's dangerous and consuming alternate empire of scum and villainy, led by the reptilian Falleen- first introduced back in the nineties with the excellent SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE comic and multi-media platform- finally get the powerful and threatening onscreen realisation they deserve. Unwilling to join the Mandalore/Sith combo- considering themselves all powerful to any outside influences and threats, even if they are Sith, the commerce conglomerate of evil soon have no choice but to align themselves with the party-poopers new enterprise, especially after the majority of its core leaders are swiftly decapitated by a lightsaber javelin Savage Opress (this scene is shown complete on the Blu-ray, having been edited on its original transmission by CARTOON NETWORK).

Hard-hatted Embo (middle) and the Bounty Hunters retaliate.

4. The Return of the Bounty Hunters. Pushing in on the Hutt territories, the slug empire soon decides that, to fight such powerful encroaching superb baddies, you need equally resourceful opponents- popular anti-hero bounty hunters Sugi, big hatted fan favourite Embo (soon to be seen in the "Bonus Content" Rush Clovis storyline), Marrok, Latts Razzi and Dengar (thankfully not voiced by Simon Pegg this time around-the producers presumably having learnt their lesson!) give Maul, Vizsla and co. a headache they'll not soon forget, but ultimately failing to stop them, during a beautifully rendered and edited action sequence, showing all the skilled combatants in their prime, within the core of Nal Hutta. Swatting them away like flies, Maul ultimately can't be bothered to kill the bounty hunters- instead they escape to fight another animated day!

Attack from the sky! Death Watch converge on Jabba's Palace.

5. A State of War. Black Sun may be down, but the still powerful Hutt crime empire tries to retain its independence from Maul and Vizsla's ambitions. But its not for long- soon that duo's gathering force strikes a further incredible blow beyond Nal Hutta and their slaying of Oruba, attacking the heart of Jabba the Hutt's palatial territory on Tatooine!

Having previously seen the power and dominion of the Hutt empire in film, TV and the Expanded Universe, their might having threatened to damage the Republic in the first THE CLONE WARS movie, its genuinely unnerving to see Jabba and co. being so soundly, but credibly, defeated!

Get hold of STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS SEASON FIVE on Blu-ray here:
Star Wars Clone Wars - Season 5 Blu-ray Region Free: Film & TV

Get hold of STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS -THE COMPLETE SEASONS ONE TO FIVE here: Star Wars Clone Wars - Season 1-5 Blu-ray Region Free: Film & TV

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