Friday, April 26, 2013

Water War shows us the incredible technology of the Mon Cals in epic Star Wars fashion

Riff Tamson and the droid army invading Mon Cal. Click to Embiggen.
When I saw Return of the Jedi in the theaters for the first time, I really liked the Mon Calamari, Admiral Ackbar. To this day, I think what an imagination Lucas had to think up an alien that looked like that. I've always wanted to know more (aside from the fact that they built huge ships). Well I got my wish at the beginning of season four of Cartoon Networks television series The Clone Wars.
Admiral "It's a trap!" Ackbar. Behind him are the glass transportation
tubes of the capital city of Mon Cal. Click to Embiggen.
Water War in a nutshell shows us the incredible technology of the Mon Cals in epic Star Wars fashion. The plot is pretty simple:

The king of the Mon Calamari has died, and his teen-aged son Lee Char is now next up in line. There are two sentient races on Mon Cal. The first is the Mon Calamari that look like Admiral Ackbar and the second are the Quarren who look like Mindflayers from the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual. Basically think of a human with a squid-like face. Anyway, these two races previously lived in harmony under the old king, but refuse to do so under the teen-aged prince because a bad guy named Riff Tamson is stirring things up.
Riff Tamson. Doesn't he look awesome? Click to Embiggen.
And Riff looks freakin' awesome! They've taken a great white shark and basically given it human-like qualities. He's ferocious, a fast swimmer, and you get the impression he likes to eat other races for pleasure (live bait). We're talking a "gnaw on your leg until your f'ing dead" type thing. And of course, he's a strong arm for Count Dooku who is trying to start a civil war on Mon Cal in order to weaken this world that's allied itself with the Republic.

So over the course of three episodes, we get a water war. There are clone troopers in aquatic swimming gear, huge firefights, lightsaber battles, and enormous Mon Cal cities which are breathtakingly beautiful. They have glass tubes connecting the towers of the Mon Cal cities that have super fast currents flowing in them so people in the tubes can swim from one building to the next in a flash.
Prince Lee Char and the Mon Calamari. I think the animation in this series
just got better and better with each season. Look at the detail on the Mon
Calamari around the prince. Click to Embiggen.
The war machines also get really creative. There's a huge squid-like space ship that has enormous tentacles that fan out. At first I thought, "What an impractical design." But during these episodes it shows that the squid ships fan their tentacles out under water and start to spin. The enormous circular motion makes the water also start to spin, basically creating a whirlpool or maelstrom that buffets and destroys anything unlucky enough to be caught fighting underneath it. Of course Anakin makes short work of one ship with a lightsaber in spectacular fashion. He later gets tortured by Riff Tamson in a machine made from living gargantuan electric eels (again very creative).
Quarren are in back. No episode underwater would be complete without
Jedi Master Kit Fisto (front and center) and Anakin in a water suit just
behind his shoulder. Click to Embiggen.
The scope of this three episode arc is huge. The first wave of clone troopers that come to the rescue is utterly defeated. The second wave of support from Gungans arriving from Naboo also gets defeated. It's only when the Quarren realize they've been duped by Riff Tamson and rise up with the help of the Mon Calamari to take back their world, that the Separatists are finally defeated.
This machine is called a hydroid medusa. They are half machine, half monster.
Riff Tamson said they were pretty much invincible. Cybernetically enhanced
jellyfish, they were huge behemoths with on-board power plants and multiple
electrified tentacles that killed any biological being upon contact. Riff dropped
these by the hundreds over Mon Cal city. It was epic. 
And in heroic fashion, young Prince Lee Char is crowned King of the Mon Cals at the end. If that isn't enough of a selling point to love this epic story, Admiral Ackbar is in every episode. He's the most trusted adviser to the young king. I've embedded a clip below for your enjoyment so please check it out. And no, I've no idea if these are available on Netflix.
If you are intrigued and want to see more, check out this fan-made trailer for Season Four. It's one of the coolest I've seen online and actually shows those squid-ships I talked about above.


  1. Whether on land or in the sea this series looks awesome.

  2. Those underwater effects look amazing.

    Moody Writing

  3. I bet Aquaman could kick all their asses.

    It's a trap!!!

  4. I think it makes creative and scientific sense that there are worlds entirely of water out there. Sounds like a neat storyline.

  5. Alexis right, the teeth on that one guy are nasty. Reminds me of a shark.

  6. Those hydroid medusa look really cool! And never trust anyone with the name Riff (or Biff, as in Back To The Future). Fun post! :-)

  7. Yet another reason why I love CW. All this backstory is incredible.

    The underwater battles are just amazing. Always wondered about lightsabers and water.

  8. When I see films with this kind of great animation, I think how much fun the creators must have had from the initial idea to the final creation.

    I visited Lucas ranch last year with my niece who is a producer for Dreamworks. They use the Lucas facilities for some filming. What a fabulous place he's created.

  9. This series really looks good. I love Star Wars, which some people are surprised when I tell them that. I love the original three more than the new ones, but the others are good too. I'll have to check The Clone Wars out. I'm sure I'll love it! :)

  10. Whoa. That Riff dude looks like a today bad ass.

  11. I remember Admiral Ackbar - and that Hydroid medusa is pretty cool!

  12. I'm intrigued! Wonder if my nephew's into this stuff? I could watch them with him...

  13. I think that the goggles in the second picture are cool enough for my eight year old grandson. I want to show it to him. May be we can come up with a costume. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Pure awesome. I love the idea of water aliens. I'd think there would be more water worlds.

  15. In college, probably after a party, I had the idea to write a fish soap opera. Looks like someone beat me to it.

  16. Man alive, this is some creative stuff. No wonder you enjoy it!

  17. Underwater worlds are fascinating...

  18. Seeing that photo of Riff made me say, "Fish are friends, not food."

  19. These are amazing! I now want to watch it...outstanding :D

    Thank you for sharing!

  20. Being someone who grew up on Rocky and Bullwinkle kind of cartoons (crude animation but with sharp, funny jokes), I'm in awe of the artistry in these animation clips. I just wish I had this kind of visual imagination.