April 19, 2012

Asajj Ventress: You've Come A Long Way, Baby

We all know I adore Star Wars: The Clone Wars, right? Well if you don't: I love and respect the series. It's not just about getting more Star Wars in whatever way I can; it's about the characters, learning about the war, and the insanely beautiful animation (you can read more about my experience with The Clone Wars here). One character in particular has caught me off guard with her development and become one of my favorites of the story. Asajj Ventress has made the transition from just another bald villain to a layered character with a fascinating past and sure to be intriguing future.

Warning: spoilers from the end of season 4 of The Clone Wars ahead.

The first time Asajj Ventress really made an impression on me was at the beginning of season three of The Clone Wars. During the battle on Kamino, she was vicious and unforgiving. She seemed to take pleasure in killing clone troopers and that twisted delight - specifically one scene where she skewered a trooper (a deleted scene revealed she kissed the trooper on the cheek after) - caught my attention. She also came face to face with General Grievous for the first time in this episode, and they exchanged this weird, flirty banter that was just the right touch of disturbing.

Count Dooku's assassin stayed on my radar from that point on. I noticed her fighting prowess, her ruthlessness, and her interactions with the Jedi. She was always clever. How did I not see it before?! Interesting as she was, it wasn't until the Nightsisters trilogy, however, that she broke out and became one of the show's most developed characters.
Some of you probably had a hint of Ventress' path because of the Expanded Universe. I had no idea what was ahead though, and I didn't expect the turns in her path with the Nightsisters and before those episodes, I never would have expected to see her offer Obi-Wan Kenobi a helping hand. Even in a "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" situation. Her past has put her on an interesting road.

The Nightsisters trilogy in season three revealed that Ventress was once one of them. She was sacrificed to a slaver, seemingly to protect the witches. She seemed to grow attached to him, but he was killed. After his death, Ventress wound up with a Jedi and became a Padawan. Her Jedi Master was taken from her too, killed by a raider, and Ventress was abandoned once again. She nursed hatred and rage and eventually ended up as Dooku's assassin.
She didn't always accomplish her missions (she was supposed to kill Anakin but only gave him a scar), but she was deadly and loyal to Dooku. So imagine how she felt when Dooku not only left her behind in a battle but ordered her death. Sidious felt threatened and worried that Dooku wanted to take over with Ventress as his apprentice and ordered her termination. Ventress stumbled back to her home - Dathomir.

She's been cast aside repeatedly. She tries to take revenge on Dooku and fails. In season four, he sends Grievous to destroy the Nightsisters. He's taken her home and her family. She's left alone to figure out how to survive... again. She wanders aimlessly into a bounty hunter job for cash. Because of that choice, she ends up on Obi-Wan's side fighting against Darth Maul and Savage Opress (the monster she helped create).

Think about what she's been through. I can't deny Ventress has killed innocents and committed evil acts, but I think her mean streak comes from a place of being misled. Dooku paired up with Sidious because at his core, he is evil. He chose this path, he wants to rule, he wants power. He may want that power because he thinks he will bring peace with it... but he's twisted. Either way, he's in the game to play. Ventress just sort of ended up where she is. She didn't reach the position of Dooku's assassin because she applied for the job on the Star Wars Galaxy Craigslist. Once there though, she learned and tried to the best.

I don't think she had any desires to wield control over the galaxy. I think she was lost. It doesn't excuse her behavior or actions, but it should be taken into consideration.

So, what's ahead for Ventress? If she ends up in the hands of the Jedi council after everything, well, she would have to be tried for her crimes. No amount of good intention makes up for her past; they couldn't just wipe the slate clean. But assuming she keeps showing a nicer side, if there's a moment with Obi-Wan where he could take her in or let her escape - I think he'd let her go. He has a system for forgiveness that doesn't always line up with the Council's, even though I think he tries to fight it. If he were a D&D character, I wouldn't classify him as lawful good.

Ventress has been dealt a tough hand by life, and maybe she hasn't always made the best decisions. Okay, she definitely hasn't.  I think maybe, just maybe, she's seeing the galaxy a little differently now. Perhaps there's light at the end of the tunnel for her. I'm excited to find out.

Two Years Ago
Poison Ivy Costume

One Year Ago


  1. I totally agree with everything you said! I did not begin watching this series from the begining, i started at season 3 (one of these days I hope to be able to get caught up). The point that I really fell in love with her character was in the episode when she let the girl, they were getting paid to deliver, go. Not that she just let her go for money, but the look she has at one point suggests that, even without the money, she might have let her go simply out of compassion. that was the moment she became a character looking for redemption and to find out what it is in life SHE wants. Up to this point, she has done everything for someone else's agenda. I am dying to find out what she will do for herself!

  2. I agree they have developed her character brilliantly. The night-sisters saga was great; even better, the train-job episode (with it's obvious but not unwelcome Firefly tones!).

  3. I love the ventress/obiwan interactions that are placed in the new series. I might be dating myself here, but I am glad they followed through with their relationship from the original Darkhorse comics. Poor Kenobi though, every girl he ever loves dies in his arms....

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