Posted by Mike on December 12, 2010 at 02:40 PM CST

I couldn't have been more excited for The Clone Wars screening at the Rave 6 Theater in Philadelphia last Thursday evening. While I would have liked to take my 4 year old son, the screening was two hours away and he had preschool the next day. In hindsight, he should have taken a Star Wars personal day on Friday, but I'll learn from that mistake moving forward.

Anyhoo, I headed up to Philly from Abingdon, Maryland a little after 4pm, and luckily, rush hour traffic wasn't too bad. After circling the block 7 or 8 times I managed to find a cheap street parking space right behind the theater. Members of the 501st in The Clone Wars gear were outside to greet Star Wars fans as they arrived for the show. While the turnout wasn't overwhelming, those attending the screening seemed to be in great moods and excited for what was to come.

After stopping to say hello to R2 in the lobby, it was off to get 501st cards and temporary tattoos for my little boys at home...and for me. I loaded up on popcorn, soda, pretzel bites, and Gummie Starbursts for dinner and then headed in to find a seat; after a brief pit stop to get my picture taken with the 501st. By luck, and by way of being considered "media," I was fortunate enough to get a seat front and center. This was excellent! Of course, my elation was a bit tempered when, as I sat in my seat, my popcorn flipped upside down onto the floor. Not all of the popcorn spilled out, but I still found myself staring at the situation. See, I have a broken elbow and only one fully functioning arm at this time. Before I could register the issue at hand, a nice lady from a few rows above told me to hold tight and that she'd be there to lend a hand. She then proceeded to come down and help get me squared away. As CV proved to me over the summer, Star Wars fans are the best and I again thank that kind lady for helping a fellow fan. I'm sure I could have figured it out, but the assistance was more than appreciated.

So at this point I've officially arrived. I had my seat. I had my food. And I witnessed an example of Star Wars goodwill. Next thing I know, our friend Aaron Goins, whom I'd met at CV, comes walking down to say hello. A fellow Star Wars fan and a fellow long-suffering Redskins fan, Aaron's just an all around good guy. It was great getting to catch up with him for a few before the screening began. By the time a Lucasfilm representative came in for some Star Wars trivia and giveaways, I was just ready for some TCW action. And about that...


If I could some up my TCW Savage Opress introduction experience on the big screen in one word it would simply be...beautiful.

The second the intro concluded, I was not just an observer to the Star Wars: The Clone Wars universe. I was in it! From the superb sound design to the visuals that have never popped and flowed more, this cinematic experience was perfection in my humble opinion. Dave Filoni, Katie Lucas and the whole TCW gang have created a Dark Side-tinged tale that perfectly balances action, suspense, humor, and compassion for even the most hate-filled characters. Back stories are fleshed out to provide reasoning behind "bad girl" anger and Savage Opress comes into his own through a roller coaster of events. I know everyone under the sun has been saying that these episodes are the kick in the pants that Season 3 has needed. Well, this is one of those instances where everyone under the sun is right on the money.

Savage Opress is a beast but is also more than meets the eye. Count Dooku is a Sith to be reckoned with! I also now completely understand Nika Futterman being nominated for an Annie Award. Not that she hasn't done a fantastic job with Asajj Ventress through three seasons, but this trilogy of episodes shines a bright spotlight on the mysterious character. At the end of the episodes, she may not be as mysterious, but she's no less intriguing.

I'll stop gushing about these episodes with one final thought...the cliff hanger at the end...I almost fist pumped the air with my broken arm. Superb!

So where does Season 3 of The Clone Wars go from here? If the bonus trailer highlighting the final episodes of the season is any indication, it's going somewhere with lots of action.

Oh, and the last part of the trailer...made me want to squeal like a little girl. Just sayin' is all.

Thanks to Lucasfilm for an amazing evening. Thanks to the 501st for creating a fun atmosphere that the kids especially seemed to enjoy. Thanks to the Marine Corps for the Toys for Tots program and for all that they do for our country here and abroad. Thanks to Philip Wise and the entire TFN/Rebelscum/ForceCast crew for allowing me to be a part of this fantastic team. I'm proud to be a Star Wars fan and the ability to experience such an evening was a great holiday gift.
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