Star Wars has always been self-referential. It’s one of the elements of Star Wars storytelling that make it so fun and helps the universe seem more connected over 40+ years. The Clone Wars is no exception, especially this week’s episode, “Old Friends Not Forgotten.” This episode helps connect the series to the larger universe in some fun and subtle ways. Here are all the references we found in The Clone Wars Old Friends Not Forgotten.
The Original Lucasfilm Logo
The “Siege of Mandalore” arc was always going to be important to fans, but it’s clearly important to Lucasfilm too. Right from the start, viewers are sent a clear message by seeing the original plain-text Lucasfilm logo that kicked off Episode IV: A New Hope prior to the Special Edition releases. More than a fun nod to long-time Star Wars fans, the presence of this logo has deeper meaning.
This arc, and this entire season, was seemingly most fans’ last chance to say goodbye to the Skywalker Saga. Books and comics will continue to tell the stories of this era, but for the more casual fan, this is it. This arc is more than just another episode of what started as a fun TV show for kids. This is an event, a film of great importance to the larger Star Wars universe. The logo tells us that right off the bat.
Caleb Dume and Depa Billaba
As part of the episode’s introduction, we see the Jedi generals discussing strategy via holocall. This in of itself is nothing new, but the presence of a master and apprentice not previously seen on the show is a key callback to another Star Wars animated series, Rebels. The padawan in question is Caleb Dume, and the master is Depa Billaba. This scene was teased in one of the trailers for the final season, here we get a closer look at a key character in his formative years.
Caleb Dume is also known as Kanan Jarrus, one of the leaders of the Lothal rebels and the focus of the Rebels animated series. Little is known about his time as a padawan, other than what was shown early in the comic series Kanan: The Last Padawan. Dume and Billaba are wrapping up the conquest of Kaller, and this scene is a nod to that.
Jedi In Place for Order 66
The episode’s intro also helps set the stage for the Order 66 montage from Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. We see both Plo Koon and Aalya Secura leading their troops into battle on Cato Neimoidia and Felucia respectively. Plo Koon’s appearance is the more obvious reference as the shot is near identical to his scene in the final prequel film.
Beyond that, both Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi have their reunion with Ahsoka interrupted by the attack on Coruscant by the Separatists. This puts Kenobi and Anakin in place for the opening of Episode III, where the battle has begun and the Chancellor is captured.
We also know that the short-lived reunion is the last time Anakin will see Ahsoka before his fall to the Dark Side. In Rebels, Ahsoka mentions to Ezra how the last time she saw her former master, he was rushing off to save the chancellor. As we’ve now seen that occur, it’s safe to safe we won’t see Anakin again on the show – at least not as Anakin. An epilogue of him as Vader wouldn’t be out of the question, but that’s just a personal hope of mine.
Echoes of Crait and Christophsis
Earlier in the battle on Yerbana, Anakin makes his appearance in grand fashion, casually dodging a blaster bolt mid-conversation. His next move is to walk straight on into enemy fire alone to surrender. It is quickly revealed he is stalling for time and to draw out the tactical droid. This scene echoes the Clone Wars film’s early scenes on Christophsis where Obi-Wan surrenders to the Separatists to give Anakin and Ahsoka time to disable a shield generator.
The more subtle hint is the way the scene is shot and lit, as well as Anakin’s overall casual behavior. While it is very much in character for him, it harkens back to his son Luke’s appearance at the Battle of Crait in Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. Luke wasn’t physically on Crait as Anakin was on Yerbana, but the layout makes it clear. Boldness runs in the Skywalker family.
Fulcrum and Saw Guerra
When Anakin and Obi-Wan receive word from Admiral Yularen of an urgent transmission, Yularen notes that it uses Anakin’s secret frequency known as Fulcrum. Anakin name-drops Saw Guerra, thinking the call is coming from him, when it is actually Ahsoka Tano. While Saw was already defacto rebel by then, it is the Ahsoka connection that is key here.
The Fulcrum designation was originally revealed in Rebels as Ahsoka’s code name as an early Rebel Alliance leader. In the Ahsoka novel, we learn that she chose the designation herself, but it would later go on to be used by other rebel spies to keep the Empire from tracking down one person. Former ISB agent Kallus is one notable user of the code name. That the codename was originally tied to Anakin shows both Ahsoka’s undying love for her former master and provides a subtle tie-in point to the shows.
The last time we saw Gar Saxon, things didn’t go so well for him. Saxon was defeated by Sabine Wren in season 3 of Rebels in a duel over the Darksaber and was later shot by Sabine’s mother. In this episode, we see how Saxon emerged as a key figure in the ruling of Mandalore. He was already one of Maul’s most trusted lieutenants as evidenced by his custom armor and Maul-like horns on his helmet. This was revealed in the Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir comic, where Saxon made his debut. By being in place for Mandalore’s eventual fall, it makes sense that he becomes the Empire’s puppet on the planet.
Saxon may ultimately be more footnote or trivia question character as regards Mandalore, but his presence as a character who technically debuted in the comics (which admittedly were an adaption of unproduced show scripts) and later played a key role on Rebels shows just how connected the Star Wars universe is in the modern era.
Did I miss any references? If so, let us know in the comments below!
The Clone Wars Old Friends Not Forgotten is available exclusively on Disney+.