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Monday, January 21, 2013

More Censorship on Star Wars: The Clone Wars

By Dave Bouressa

Fans of Star Wars The Clone Wars are no stranger to censorship on the show. It has happened quite a few times on this series. And let's face it, the show is growing up-and so is it's audience. Unfortunately, it's host networks aren't. Cartoon Network has tampered with it's crown jewel once again.

First, there was the infamous "Kiss of Death" censorship back in Season 3. An odd choice, not only given the heavy material that was let slide previously, but do to the fairly harmless nature of the act. In the original cut, Assaj Ventress uses the force to grab Clone Commander Colt into her lightsaber, impaling him, and giving him a "kiss of death" before letting him drop to the floor.

Although arguments could be made for the sexual implications for this scene, it is fairly harmless.

However, this most recent censorship is probably more warranted. Darth Maul, his brother Savage Opress, and Death Watch attempt to recruit Black Sun into their army to overthrow the peace-loving Mandalorians (EU fans everywhere just had a heart-attack). When the leaders of Black Sun decline, Savage throws his double bladed lightsaber down the table, decapitating every member at the table as it spins.

In the actual aired episode, we simply follow the lightsaber down the table heading for the head leader (pun not intended...ok, maybe slightly) and cut straight to a fellow Black Sun member's reaction shot.

At a recent USO screening in San Diego, Supervising Director Dave Filoni and Producer Cary Silver had this to say:

Filoni: You’re going to notice one point where it gets really awesome and Savage Opress is going to throw his lightsaber down this table.
[Cary Silver mimes out a spinning lightsaber].
Filoni: You will unfortunately have to watch the edited version of this for television. But on the Blu-ray, I’ve restored the …
Silver: Director’s cut.
Filoni: …whole head-lopping director glory of it with the smoking… well, you’ll see it on the DVD. It will seem abrupt. As a filmmaker, I have to bring it up because we’d never make a cut that sloppy, but there you have it. You’ll know now that it is better.
Silver: So, if you go for that sort of thing, pick up the box set, it comes out in October.
Filoni: Let’s try not to make it such a blatant commercial.
Silver: That’s the producer.

(Quote from Big Shiny Robot)

This confirms a few things.

1) Season 5 of Star Wars The Clone Wars will be released for Blu-Ray and DVD sometime in October

2) Cartoon Network did in fact edit the episode.

3) The restored cut will be on the DVD and Blu-ray.

As I said before, this is nothing new to the series, but the choice of censorships has been odd, especially since we have seen decapitations on the show before. It was a bit more subtle, but it still happened-and it was done by one of the main heroes!

Some would argue that Cartoon Network is at fault, and I partially agree. To be fair, the picture above shows a pretty grim scene, and it seemed Cartoon Network's hands were tied on that one.

One can only imagine what the future holds regarding this show's censorship now that it is under Disney's control...

Star Wars: The Clone Wars airs Saturdays at 9:30 am on Cartoon Network.


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