How Star Wars: The Clone Wars Forgot About Durge

One bounty hunter who fought in the Clone Wars has been quietly erased from existence. Who was Durge and why was he so important to the war?

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Durge
Photo: Lucasfilm

In the epic four-part finale of The Clone Wars, the explosive events of Order 66 finally allowed the series to merge with Revenge of the Sith. The finale was, of course, the ending of this specific series, but it was also a confluence of other aspects of the Star Wars saga, which — from a certain point of view — included a bit of retconning. Because the finale intersected with Revenge of the Sith and showed what Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi were up to right before the Battle of Coruscant, the series permanently over-wrote Genndy Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars series from 2003-2005.

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While The Clone Wars kept certain elements of the 2003 series, including a fan-favorite baddie, one Clone Wars staple was permanently erased from continuity. What happened to the most off-the-chain bounty hunter in the Clone Wars? We’re not talking about Jango Fett or Cad Bane. This is all about Durge.

Before we get into what happened to the Clone Wars villain, who the heck is Durge in the first place?

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Who Is Durge?

After the release of Attack of the Clones in 2002, Lucasfilm launched a three-year multimedia project to tell the story of the Clone Wars through TV, comics, books, games, and toys. This project was a little like Shadows of the Empire in the ’90s, The Force Unleashed in the 2000s, and the upcoming High Republic, with one essential difference: there was a TV show on Cartoon Network to anchor the whole thing.

These days, nearly all of the events from this version of the Clone Wars have been wiped from the official Star Wars canon established by Disney, which labeled most of the Expanded Universe stories released before 2012 as non-canon “Legends” continuity. But some of the characters from the 2003 series did make the jump to the new canon, specifically dark side assassin Asajj Ventress, who was first created for Tartakovyk’s show and also appeared in Dark Horse-published Clone Wars comics of the time. One of Asajj’s memorable comic book appearances even featured Durge’s debut.

Anakin and Obi-Wan first meet Durge in a two-issue arc of Star Wars: Republic titled “The New Face of War.” The story explains that Durge has allied himself with the Separatists for a surprising reason: he really hates Mandalorians. As you might have guessed, the easiest way for Durge to kill his arch-rivals is to go to war against the clones of famous Mandalorian bounty hunter Jango Fett. Essentially, Durge doesn’t really care about Separatist politics or the bounty hunter money. He’s just in it to kill proxy Mandalorians. 

Although Durge debuted in Republic, most fans remember him from Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars. In Chapter 4, Obi-Wan and his battalion of clones are trying to shut down a droid production facility on the Separatist-controlled planet of Muunilinst when Durge and a pack of lancer droids show up on swoop bikes to thrash Republic artillery.

With Durge’s forces threatening to turn the tide of the battle, Chapters 8 and 9 follow Obi-Wan on a mission to take down the bounty hunter, who we learn has regenerative abilities that rival the T-1000 in Terminator 2, his tendrils of muscle tissue able to reshape themselves and put themselves back together, even after being cut in half by a lightsaber. This unique physiology allows Durge to survive his duel with Obi-Wan and show up in later Clone Wars stories.

In fact, if Star Wars was the X-Men, Durge would be kind of like Apocalypse. He’s ridiculously old and can live on seemingly forever. He’s actually 2,000 years old by the time of the Clone Wars, even older than Yoda was in the Original Trilogy!

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Out of his armor, Durge looks like a creature from Akira, the manga and anime that inspired the character’s creation in the first place. Durge was born a Gen’Dai, an allegedly formless and immortal alien species, who, by the time of the Star Wars saga, weren’t very plentiful. Like many members of his species, Durge needed some kind of suit to help him maintain “humanoid” form, otherwise, he’d basically be a “walking nerve cluster.”

To achieve his ultimate form centuries before the Clone Wars, Durge voluntarily underwent a cybernetic surgery to permanently merge his “body” with his armor, turning him into a more efficient and powerful killing machine. To use another X-Men analogy, this makes Durge sort of a reverse Wolverine, but this time, the adamantium is on the outside of his body instead of inside.  

What Happened to Durge?

Though we can find all sorts of analogs in other franchises (X-Men, Star Trek, et al.), there aren’t a ton of prevalent non-humanoid aliens in Star Wars canon. This made Durge pretty damn unique in the 2000s. And although he was eventually killed by Anakin Skywalker in the (non-canon) Revenge of the Sith prequel comic books series Obsession — the Jedi launches the bounty hunter into a star! — Durge was almost reintroduced into the Disney canon later.

Just as Asajj Ventress was rebooted for The Clone Wars and Thrawn was re-canonized for Rebels, Druge nearly made a comeback in a revised form. At one point, The Clone Wars showrunner Dave Filoni and his team reportedly considered bringing back Durge as a human bounty hunter, but with a similar suit, and presumably, similar regenerative powers. But this was not meant to be. Durge was instead replaced by the Duros bounty hunter Cad Bane and plans to revive the old villain were completely abandoned.

But just because Durge is no longer canon doesn’t mean fans can’t work around that. There’s a way to invent your own headcanon where Durge still does play a part in the Clone Wars. Who’s to say Asajj Ventress didn’t briefly team up with Durge in an untold Disney canon Star Wars story? And maybe Obi-Wan did fight him on Muunilinst. Just because we didn’t “see” a new version of Durge in The Clone Wars or Rebels, that doesn’t mean he couldn’t still appear in a future book, comic, or even The Mandalorian.

In fact, if there’s any place he should appear, it’s in the Star Wars live-action series. Hatred of the Mandalorians was Durge’s defining feature. But, in Legends canon, there weren’t many Mandalorians left for him to fight. If Durge were rebooted for The Mandalorian, it would bring with it a showdown 2,000 years in the making.

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