With the 10th anniversary of the Clone Wars upon us, Lucasfilm is doing a special panel at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. The immensely popular animated series won the hearts of Star Wars fans the world over, enriching the overall lore of this fantastic franchise. It also created memorable characters that would make impressions in the galaxy far, far away. Some of the deepest Star Wars lore came from the outstanding 5 season run it had before it was unfortunately canceled. Ten years later, many fans still talk about the series and tell others to watch it if they haven’t already. What I enjoyed most about the series was the knowledge we learned not only of the Jedi, but the Sith as well. Specifically, Asajj Ventress! The once Jedi turned evil, her story is one of tragedy and redemption. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, and look at the story of this dark side assassin turned bounty hunter.
In the Clone Wars animated movie, Ventress made her debut. At the time there were no female dark side users to speak of. There were not many female villains at all during this time in Star Wars canon. It was an extremely big deal to bring a character like Asajj to the forefront in a series like this. To top it off, she wielded not one but two lightsabers! Only one other force user wielded two lightsabers, that being Ahsoka Tano. From the start you could tell how powerful she was with the dark side. Anakin and Obi-Wan did not take her lightly when they encountered her on Christophsis. Her lightsaber skills were on display in the film as she fought off both Skywalker and Kenobi. We find out her master is none other than Count Dooku. Her mission of stealing the son of Jabba the Hut was foiled and she escaped Obi Wan’s grasp. We learned much about her character and skill in the movie, and it was only explored more when the TV series started!
In my opinion, her arc was one of the best storylines in all of Clone Wars show. We learn a lot about where she came from, especially after she was betrayed by Count Dooku. In the episodes Nightsisters, Monsters and Witches of the Mist, her past is really explored and detailed in a beautifully tragic way. In many ways, it’s similar to Anakin’s journey. She felt betrayed by the Jedi order after her Jedi master was killed and nothing was done about it. Dooku took her in and taught her the ways of the dark side. He trained her to be a dark side assassin and his apprentice. After Dooku attempted to assassinate Ventress, she went back to her home world of Dathomir. We learn about her deep connection to the nightsisters and their leader Mother Talzin. Just when she felt like she was home, it was all taken away from her again. In the episode Massacre, General Grievous attacks and eradicates the nightsisters, and once again Asajj is left alone.
So, what is a former Jedi and dark side assassin to do with her life when all that she cared for is gone? Asajj puts her force abilities and assassin skills to use, becoming a bounty hunter. In the episode Bounty, Asajj is approached by Boba Fett and his crew and decides to join their latest bounty. The bounty was delivering a kidnapped princess to an overlord. Ventress decided to double cross Boba and help the princess escape. All the while still earning her bounty payment. With a renewed sense of purpose, Ventress stuck with the bounty hunter’s lifestyle. Her final appearance on the show was in To Catch a Jedi and The Wrong Jedi. Her true character really shined in these two episodes, as she helped Ahsoka Tano prove her innocence to the Jedi order. She understood Ahsoka’s yearning to be back with her pseudo family, and the loneliness she was struggling to accept. As conflicted as her mind was Ventress often displayed levels of compassion, none more than in these two episodes.
Overall, Asajj Ventress was another conflicted soul that the dark side manipulated for its own gain, much like Anakin Skywalker. Her character arc was completed in the book Dark Disciple by Christie Golden. Even though she was rooted deep within the dark side, her character had great moments of clarity and empathy. That was present in the book where she fell in love and saved the life of Jedi Master Quinlan Vos. Her character might be known as evil, much like Vader, but in the end her character understood her true purpose and went in peace with that knowledge. It’s characters like Ventress that give the Star Wars universe more depth and understanding. She will go down as an important part of the Star Wars story that casual fans might not know unless they watched the movie and series. Without the Clone Wars her story goes untold, and that would be the real tragedy of Asajj Ventress.