Heart of Darkness: A Star Wars Tale 


Daniel Maron

“The Wise Man leads, the strong man follows” is essentially the moral behind the Star Wars the Clone Wars story arc: The Umbara Arc which aired during the show’s fourth season. Star Wars the Clone Wars as 3D animated sci-fi action series that is set during the titular Clone Wars or between the events of Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith that focuses on the trials and tribulations of Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor), Anakin Skywalker (Matt Latner), and his apprentice Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) alongside the Clone Troopers (All voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) as they battle against the Confederacy of Independent Systems or The Separatists. The show originally aired on Friday nights on Cartoon Network before moving to Netflix until finally settling on Disney+.

In this arc, the Republic is engaging in a battle to capture the planet, Umbara, which has allied with the Separatists. Things get complicated when Anakin Skywalker is called away from the battle by the Chancellor and his replacement, Pong Krell, is a completely ruthless and heartless general who is a prejudice towards the clones. Now Anakin’s clone captain, Rex, and the rest of the 501st legion must both deal with general Krell’s tactics and taking the planet Umbara.  This arc is one of the most critically acclaimed arcs in the show’s history and there is a reason why. For starters, it is an arc focusing on the clone troopers who are essential, average soldiers. The clone troopers are not invincible, they are capable of getting hurt physically and mentally just as much as any other soldier. As such, the clone troopers are allowed to fleshed out and developed through characters such as Fives, Kix, Hardcase, Jesse, and Captain Rex himself. Speaking of Captain Rex, the arc also develops his character and his growth from a loyal soldier to good solider. When Captain Rex was first introduced he was just like any other clone trooper. He followed orders and did exactly what he was told to do. This is even discussed in the episode when Rex is introduced to Dogma, another clone trooper who sucks up to Krell’s orders because that is what he was programmed to do, to which Rex says that Dogma reminds Rex of himself. However, in the episode, Rex is put through hell as he as not only dealing with one of the harshest battles of the war but also dealing with a General who brushes off any effective tactic and all he can do is just obey him. Additionally, the Arc has fantastic action scenes and animation as the animators do a fantastic job of making Umbara one of the toughest battles in the Clone Wars. The eternal darkness, deadly fauna and creatures, and the technologically advanced natives of Umbara are really effective at creating a sense of hopelessness and cements the theme of war is hell.

The Umbara Arc is one of the best story arcs in Star Wars the Clone Wars. This arc alongside The Deserter from season 2 which I recommend as well does a great job of deconstructing the Clone Trooper in Star Wars. I highly recommend you watch this arc specifically in one setting.