It’s Better to Die TwiceOctober 12, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Posted in Opinion, The Clone Wars | 1 Comment
The Clone Wars has brought a lot of discussion to the Star Wars community. Part of that debate has been the deaths of characters like Even Piell and Adi Gallia. Both of these characters have had canon deaths elsewhere in the Expanded Universe, however The Clone Wars has decided to re-envision those events. The question is whether these new deaths have provided better storytelling, one that’s worth the cost of continuity?
First up is Even Piell, the odd warrior-cloned version of Yoda. Like Yoda, Even Piell is a little guy. They’re both aliens with big ears. Unlike Yoda, though, Even has died twice. The first time was in the Coruscant Nights series written by Michael Reaves (and later co-authored with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff). There we were briefly introduced to an Even Piell on the run from Imperial authorities. Cornered in a spice den, he’s caught in a explosion and nearly gunned down by Imperial stormtroopers. Whiplash almost arrives in time to save him, but his injuries prove fatal. He manages to pass on his final mission to Nick Rostu.
In season three of The Clone Wars, Even Piell was brought in for a special mission to Lola Sayu’s Citadel prison. He was accompanied by Ahsoka and Captain Tarkin. Fans got to hear Even speak and leap into action. He was a force to be reckoned with in combat. Combined with his iconic one-eyed look and gruff voice, Even Piell become a badass Jedi warrior. His portrayal was both exciting and intriguing. Yet rather than introducing this great character and giving fans more of him in the future, Even was killed off at the third episode of the Citadel trilogy. From a storytelling perspective, it packed a lot of punch and was a very emotional ending for the Jedi Master.
Fast forwarding to episode one in season five, we have Adi Gallia. Like Even, Adi saw some screen time in the films, though neither of them had any dialog. And like Even, she also died twice. Her first death was in the Dark Horse Comics series Obsession. There she met a climatic end against General Grievous who skewered her with not one, but two lightsabers. Her second death came in “Revival” at the, er, head of Savage Opress. Enraged in battle, fighting side-by-side with his brother, and perhaps still fuming from his earlier beat down by Maul, Savage opened up a can of whoop ass on Adi. Taking advantage of a moment of hesitation, Savage Force slammed her into a rock, headbutted her in the stomach with his lethal horns, and then finished her off with a lightsaber stab. It was a brutal death that further highlighted the emotional tension for Obi-Wan who was now outnumbered against two Sith and fighting for his life. Adi’s death also showed that Savage is a lethal foe not to be underestimated. Anyone who can take out a Jedi Master in fair combat is certainly a danger to the galaxy. In this case there are two foes with such capability.
In both cases we have Jedi Masters who have died twice. Once dramatically in EU literature, and once in the full cinematic glory of The Clone Wars. Looked at separately and with continuity set aside, I personally thought both versions of their deaths were entertaining. The necessary manipulation of emotions and the ratcheting of drama increased the storytelling. Honestly, their deaths were enjoyable, and rather than just getting to see them die once, the fans got to see them die twice. Is it a bad thing to get two great deaths out of the same character?
Let us think outside the box here. Do not let the continuity side cloud your judgement. Open yourselves up to the full power of the story side. Here it is: two deaths are better than one. For all the fans of the books and comics, we get to see those characters die their tragic, heroic deaths. For all the fans of the movies and TV shows, you get the same benefit. But the fans of both…they get twice the fun! And it doesn’t stop there because we have at least one more double death yet to come.
Darth Maul. He was the most epic character in The Phantom Menace. For some fans, he almost made up for Jar Jar Binks. His death established Obi-Wan as a serious Jedi warrior, one destined to defeat Darth Vader on a hellish volcano planet. Maul’s brief screen time put him on par with the iconic Boba Fett, the ultimate fanboy icon. In his infinite wisdom, George decide to bring Maul back from the dead. From what we’ve seen of him in The Clone Wars, he’s made a triumphal return. But it all leads toward one thing: a second death. Will Obi-Wan kill him again? With Palpatine cut him down in an epic duel? Either way Maul’s second death has the potential to entertain us all again with another great ending. If Maul can die twice for the entertainment of fans, then perhaps there’s room for Even Piell and Adi Gallia to do likewise. Perhaps even in a franchise so heavily founded on continuity, there’s still room for two deaths to be better than one.