The Clone Wars: Eight easter eggs, tie-ins, and other parallels to Star Wars media from “The Phantom Apprentice”

Last week I took a look at some of the connections and parallels with the first episode of the Siege of Mandalore arc, and I thought I’d do it again this week.

I’m sure I’m missing tons of parallels and easter eggs, but here are eight that I noticed.

1. Timeline within Revenge of the Sith

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The most obvious of these on the list was that Obi-Wan Kenobi revealed that Count Dooku was dead, and mentioned he could not send Ahsoka Tano more men because he was being sent to hunt down General Grievous on Utapau. This allows us to place the moment within the timeline of Revenge of the Sith, since the events of the show now overlap with the film. This happens after the rescue of the Chancellor, where Anakin Skywalker kills Count Dooku, and before the Battle of Utapau, where Obi-Wan kills Grievous.

This happens right before Kenobi and the 212th travel to Utapau, allowing us to know approximately where within the timeline we’re at. But beyond this, the scene featured a number of really cool callbacks to the films: Obi-Wan remembering Dooku telling him about Sidious on Geonosis (in Attack of the Clones), Obi-Wan revealing that Dooku was dead, that Anakin had been assigned to spy on the Chancellor, and that he was being sent to Utapau.

2. Dryden Vos

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There was a very cool cameo in this episode, though very brief. There is a shot of Maul speaking with the syndicate leaders, and we are told that Maul has ordered them into hiding. As others approach, these holograms disappear. But one of the three syndicate leaders that is shown is Dryden Vos!

Vos first appeared in Solo: A Star Wars Story as the leader (or at least the publicly presumed one) of the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate. It is later revealed, however, that he was working for someone else: Maul. So in later years, after the collapse of all of his power during the days of the Clone Wars, runs Crimson Dawn. It is great to see the seeds of that planted (he mentioned Crimson Dawn earlier this season, too!) with the appearance of Dryden Vos. This informs us that Maul’s dealings with Vos and Crimson Dawn began earlier than we ever knew, and it’s really cool to see this cameo.

3. Son of Dathomir

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As Maul rallies his Mandalorian forces in preparation for a final attack, he says, “You once liberated me from my imprisonment by saving me by Sidious and his apprentice. At the time I thought Dooku was an old fool but now, now I see. He and I are the same. One step behind. The dark side has never been stronger.”

That is a reference to the events of the Son of Dathomir comic, which was adapted from an unproduced arc for The Clone Wars. It explains what happened to Maul after he was defeated and imprisoned by Sidious, as the Mandalorians (led by Gar Saxon and Rook Kast) infiltrated the prison and freed Maul. This was all according to Sidious’s plan, however, as he hoped that Maul would lead him to Mother Talzin. Eventually, that’s exactly what happened, and Sidious, Dooku, and Grievous faced off against Maul and the Nightsisters, with Talzin being killed by Grievous.

So here, Maul references those events – the first such reference in the show. I am a bit surprised that we haven’t gotten any further explanation about it, but at the same time I’m pretty confident that something like this is more than enough for most people. These ‘Mauldelorians’ rescued Maul from imprisonment to Sidious, and now he leads them once more.

4. In the shadows, always

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As Ahsoka asks Maul if Darth Sidious is behind this, he responds, “He is behind everything. In the shadows, always, but soon, very soon, he will reveal himself.” That’s a line very similar to one we hear in The Rise of Skywalker, uttered by General Leia Organa. As Poe Dameron realizes that Palpatine has been behind the whole thing, she responds, “Always, in the shadows, from the very beginning.”

So that’s not an exact repeat, but it also seems to me to be too close to be a coincidence. Two people asking similar questions about how Darth Sidious has been behind things all along, and two people responding that he has always been behind it, in the shadows. Palpatine is the main villain of the whole saga, as it has been his plan throughout all nine films. He’s been the one operating in the shadows to bring about the Clone Wars, to bring about the rise of the Empire, and to bring about the First Order.

5. Throne room

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In the throne room on Mandalore, Maul extends his hand as an offer to Ahsoka, asking her to join him. This is, of course, a familiar trope in Star Wars – most notably when Darth Vader extended his hand toward Luke Skywalker, asking Skywalker to join him. But to me – and to many others, it seems – this scene with Maul actually evoked a different memory from the saga: when Ben Solo extends his hand toward Rey, asking her to join him.

What makes me think that one is a closer parallel? Two things in particular. Firstly, both of these scenes take place in a throne room, whereas the Vader scene takes place on a catwalk on Bespin. Ben and Rey are in Snoke’s throne room aboard the Supremacy, wheras Maul and Ahsoka are in the throne room on Mandalore. Secondly, the imagery is similar in both cases, with embers floating around them. With Ben and Rey, it’s the embers of the flames that engulfed the curtains; with Maul and Ahsoka, it’s the embers of the explosion that rocked the window. From a visual standpoint, these two scenes are parallels.

6. Refusing to believe it

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In what is a heartbreaking similarity, Ahsoka refuses to believe that Anakin could turn to the dark side. As Maul explains that Skywalker has been groomed for his role as Sidious’s apprentice, Ahsoka responds, “I know Anakin. Your vision is flawed.” It is this that prompts her to fight Maul rather than join him, as she concludes that he couldn’t be right about Anakin.

Those that knew Anakin best couldn’t bring themselves to believe that he was capable of such darkness. In Revenge of the Sith, as Obi-Wan Kenobi watches the security footage of Anakin killing the Jedi in the Temple, he mutters, “It can’t be… it can’t be.” Even as he watches with his own eyes his former pupil murdering Jedi, he has a hard time believing it’s even possible. Then he goes to talk with Padme, having finally consigned himself to the heartbreaking fact, and as Padme hears all of this she says, “You’re wrong. How could you even say that? … Not Anakin. He couldn’t. … I don’t believe you. I can’t.” Those closest to Anakin couldn’t believe he would do something like this. It makes Skywalker’s descent into darkness all the more tragic.

7. A familiar scream?

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As Maul lunges forward, lightsaber ignited, to meet Ahsoka in combat, many perceptive fans seemed to notice a familiar scream: it certainly sounds like the scream heard as Darth Sidious finally reveals himself, lunging forward with his lightsaber ignited to meet Mace Windu and the other Jedi Masters in combat. It’s a pretty nice touch, as it’s subtle yet cool for those who pick up on it. Master and (former) apprentice, both lunging forward with lightsaber ignited to meet their foe.

Some have taken this to be a sign that the two fights overlap, but I’m not convinced of that just yet (the next episode should give us a bit more of an indication), since that would put the fight between Ahsoka and Maul just moments before Order 66. So I don’t think this really gives us insight as to the timeline, but it is a cool little nod.

8. The Phantom Apprentice

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This last one is actually about the title of the episode, but I mention it because it’s a really great parallel. Episode I is called The Phantom Menace, and this episode is called “The Phantom Apprentice.” On first glance, it might appear as if The Phantom Menace refers to Maul, which would make this episode title fitting too, since it’s about Maul (the former apprentice of Sidious) and Ahsoka (the former apprentice of Anakin).

But The Phantom Menace doesn’t actually refer to Maul – it refers to Sidious. He is the phantom menace, the one in the shadows. And the phantom apprentice? It’s Anakin. This episode makes the title clear, as Maul has realized that both he and Dooku were merely pawns in Sidious’s game, and that now his former master is about to get his new apprentice. The one who has been groomed for years and years for this role. Anakin Skywalker has been the phantom apprentice to Darth Sidious, only no one knew it.

It’s like poetry; it rhymes.

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