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Star Wars: The Clone Wars

On The Wings Of Keeradaks (The Clone Wars - S07E03) - Animated Series

Series: The Clone Wars

Title: On The Wings of Keeradaks

Season: Seven

Episode: 3

Original Air Date: March 06, 2020

Runtime: 18 minutes

Credits: Review & Text: Thomas; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

Survival is one step on the path to living

Wat Tambor and his droids have the heroes cornered

On The Wings of Keeradaks is the third part of the Bad Batch arc. In the previous episode Rex had found Echo in the Techno union base on Skako Minor. Now they need to escape! First the team evades the droid that infiltrates the control room but then they encounter even more droids on a tube connecting two buildings. There is no way out, what to do now?

There is no way out

But help arrives in the form of the flying creatures that are native to Skako Minor, said Keeradaks from the episode title. Each team member jumps on a Keeradak and make their escape to the village of the natives. However, the real battle is yet to begin, because the droids are in pursuit, with reenforcements.

They fly now!

The village elder is less than pleased about the disturbance of his peace but things are resolved when Rex points out the evil things the Techno union has done to poor Echo, who is more machine than man now. And there isn't much time left to debate things anyway, because the droids arrive. An army of flying battle droids is accompanied by two giant walkers. A battle breaks out, a few natives get killed, but Anakin and the Bad Batch manage to take out the walkers in specatular fashion. And thus the team can finally board the ship and leave the planet, with Rex telling Echo that things can be like old times now. The final shot shows us Echo repeating Rex' statement, but you cannot shake the feeling that Echo doesn't really believe it. Maybe he knows things Rex doesn't.

Yeah, just like old times...

The third episode was yet another solid entry. It had lots of action, a great battle scene, a typical daredevil stunt by Anakin who takes out a walker in style. The episode lacks character moments, we get a brief character moment in the end. But the real issue is what you don't see in the episode.

The organic decimator is tested on a native

It turns out that the episode is missing an entire scene from the original animatic. Which is why the episode is very short, it's only a little more than 18 minutes. Now, there have been minor tweaks and adjustments throughout the run of the current season. The biggest change so far was the removal of the nose art scene in episode 2, however, it was replaced with a superior scene that provided more character development for the main characters. But even then some people argued that Lucasfilm is trying to sanitize The Clone Wars and that they change it to appeal to the Twitter demographic.

I don't think this was what made Filoni change episode 2. But in episode 3 they cut an entire scene which runs for almost 3 minutes. In the scene Wat Tambor talks to Anakin, we get some lengthy dialogue and Wat Tambor finally introduces the "organic decimator", a droid that can seek out organic life with its energy rays and, once found, vaporizes it, leaving behind a pile of ash or so. The very same decimator is then sent into the control chamber to kill the heroes. Now we do see the decimator breaking into the control room in the finished episode, but we never learn what the big deal with it is.

All of this raises the question why the lengthy scene with the decimator was removed from the final episode without inserting any new scene instead. Didn't they have the time or money to write, record and render a new scene? Was it deemed too cruel? However, we do see how the walkers in the final battle kill a few natives. The decimator kill was not extremely cruel, you saw no blood, the poor native is merely vaporized / reduced to ashes. Fans have been pointing out and debating the missing scene since Friday and Lucasfilm have reacted in a somewhat perplexing manner. They have begun purging and deleting the old animatics from Starwars.com and YouTube. One could get the idea Lucasfilm doesn't want people to look for differences between the old animatics and final versions.

If Lucasfilm was concerned about the old animatics on YouTube they certainly could have had them removed before the final season began airing, and not now when some people wonder if The Clone Wars is a victim of any perceived agenda or not. On the one hand you could get the impression that both the sexy Padme nose art and the decimator scene were removed for reasons other than story, namely to make it either more kid friendly or more Twitter friendly. On the other hand we don't have enough information. Filoni did talk about the new Padme scene in episode 2 which replaced the nose art scene, they included it so Padme gets a scene in season 7 - she had none before the change. What we don't know is why the decimator scene was cut. Was it deemed too brutal?

Lucasfilm's overall strategy, deleting the old animatics now or claiming copyright on YouTube videos, is maybe somewhat unfortunate. Why remove the old animatics now? Why not before the season aired? Why remove them only now when people use the old animatics to compare them to the final episodes and wonder why certain changes were made?

To make it clear, there have been several minor changes. And without a doubt (almost) all of them were made to enhance or slightly change the story. Episode 3 also has an all new added final line by Echo, where he ominously repeats Rex' words, as if to foreshadow something. That was certainly done for story reasons. It may very well be that Dave Filoni felt the decimator scene in the beginning didn't feel right anymore, or maybe it was the pacing of the episode that he felt suffered, maybe he wanted to get to the action more quickly without the huge exposition dump and decimator demonstration. It adds nothing to the story really. Also, it's not uncommon for a creator to change their mind after so many years, the original script was written years ago, so maybe when Dave Filoni revisited the Bad Batch episodes he felt a few things didn't really work anymore and either changed or removed them. So to say Lucasfilm removed the scene because of some new agenda is premature. We simply don't know. Maybe it is agenda, but it's even more likely that Dave Filoni had other reasons to remove the scene. The only odd thing is that nothing new was written to replace the scene, giving us an awfully short 18 minute episode of Clone Wars. Also: Lucasfilm should not delete the old animatics or claim copyright on them. Especially not now. The timing is extremely unfortunate. It would be sad if the final season of The Clone Wars is overshadowed by debates about alleged Lucasfilm agendas or copyright claims on the old animatics which had been online since 2015 or so.

Overall the episode was alright, It's yet another action heavy episode with lots of fights and battles. The battle in the end was spectacular, but after three episodes of infiltrating and escaping from outposts it's maybe a bit much. All in all I rate this episode 3 stars.

If you don't care for spoilers you can read Mike's old review of the entire Bad Batch arc, based on the animatics released in 2015.

And even though Lucasfilm is trying to purge the old animatics from the internet I still found a copy of the old animatic on YouTube. You'd better check out it out soon before it too may be removed.

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