One Star Wars fan theory holds that Emperor Palpatine manipulated the events of the Umbara Arch of The Clone Wars to bring Anakin Skywalker to the dark side.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars has delivered a variety of exciting stories during its seven-year course. However, there are few that fans claim are some of the best in the animated series. One of these competitors is the “Umbara” arc, which played out in four episodes of season 4. At the beginning of the story, Anakin Skywalker and his Clone Trooper division are sent to the planet Umbara, which has been attacked by the separatists. However, Anakin is quickly called back to Coruscant, so that the most popular Captain Rex, Fives and other soldiers fall under the leadership of Master Pong Krell.
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Krell is quickly exposed as a dangerous leader who treats clone troops as cannon fodder. He turns out to be cold, deceitful, and increasingly vicious, to the point that the clones wrestle to obey his orders until they finally stage a mutiny when it all becomes too much. The “Umbara” arc is easily one of The Clone Wars’ darkest stories – and now a new fan theory suggests that Palpatine was pulling the strings all along.
In “Darkness on Umbara”, the first episode of the “Umbara” arc, Anakin Skywalker is called back to Coruscant by Chancellor Palpatine shortly after his arrival on the planet. With Skywalker forced to leave, Pong Krell takes his place as the leader of his battalion – a crew of clone troops Anakin is very close to. Unfortunately, Krell doesn’t share Anakin’s respect and admiration for the clones. He plays with her life quickly and easily until Rex and his friends finally set foot.
When the clones finally turn Krell on, the Jedi slaughters as many as possible with his lightsabers, showing that he is indeed a villain. In fact, when finally caught, Krell reveals that he was ready to turn to the Dark Side and hoped to join Count Dooku. Revelation is a massive betrayal and explains why Krell was such an evil character.
Now Reddit user EquivalentInflation has developed a fan theory that explains that while Krell acted alone, the events of the arc were actually manipulated by Palpatine himself.
After all, it was Palpatine who had recalled Anakin from Umbara, and the reasons for this were never really made clear. Fan theory holds that Palpatine knew that Krell’s leadership would result in the deaths of many of Anakin’s closest friends. Whether or not Palpatine knew that Krell had turned to the Dark Side, he knew that his leadership would lead to many deaths from clones. Krell had a reputation as a general who, thanks to his careless tactics, had a high number of clone casualties during his missions.
If Rex, Fives, and all of the 501st had been killed while Anakin was gone, the anger and pain of the loss would surely have driven him further to the Dark Side. Palpatine’s goal has always been to turn Anakin, which means that in his overall plan it makes a lot of sense to call him away from Umbara. The arc never makes it clear that these were Palpatine’s machinations, but the theory sure makes a lot of sense.
Streaming on Disney +, the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars stars Matt Lanter as Anakin Skywalker, Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano, Dee Bradley Baker as Captain Rex and the Clone Troopers, James Arnold Taylor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan and Sam Witwer as Maul.
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Ian Cardona has been writing for CBR since 2017. He is a feature, comic breakouts, and news writer. He has been in love with comics for a very long time and believes there is something good to be found even in the difficult times of the industry. His favorite Avenger is Captain America, and that was long before the character appeared in a hugely successful film franchise. He’s an avid statue and Funko Pop! Pay collectors, and they quickly run out of space on the shelf. With CBR, he was able to write about his favorite subjects, from MCU to Doctor Who. You can follow him on Twitter @ ian_c1701 (yes, that’s a Star Trek reference) for discussion, debate, or pictures of really cool collectibles that he probably doesn’t have a place for.
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