War! The Siege of Mandalore and Revenge of the Sith are both here in one of the best episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars yet. Just by virtue of its placement in the timeline, “Old Friends Not Forgotten” has tons of connections to the movie, plus some surprising additions. Ex-Jedi Ahsoka Tano arrives with her clone battalion to free Mandalore from the warlord Maul, but Darth Sidious is pulling all of the strings behind the scenes.
Here are all the easter eggs and references we found in the ninth episode:
Saw Gerrera and Fulcrum
Anakin Skywalker gets a call from someone he suspects is the agent using the codename “Fulcrum”: Saw Gerrera, the guerilla fighter on Onderon who will later become a Rebel Alliance extremist. This might be confusing to some fans since “Fulcrum” was originally Ahsoka’s nom de guerre in Rebels. Apparently, Ahsoka borrowed the comm signal and the name from Saw.
The codename is later used by Rebel agent Cassian Andor in Rogue One as well as Alexsandr Kallus, a former Imperial agent who defects to the Rebellion in Rebels.
The Clone Squads
There’s plenty of military banter in the episode. This is a war story, after all. Two major squads are part of the mission in the opening minutes: Anakin Skywalker’s 501st Legion and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s 212th Attack Battalion.
The 501st, led by Captain Rex, will go on to slaughter the Jedi under the command of Darth Vader. They’re also the namesake for one of the Star Wars fandom’s largest costuming groups.
The 212th is led by Commander Cody, the clone officer who tried to kill Obi-Wan as part of Order 66 on Utapau.
“Old Friends Not Forgotten” also makes a brief reference to a clone trooper called CT-0292, a.k.a Captain Vaughn. This episode is his first appearance.
Maul’s criminal syndicate Crimson Dawn survives well into the dark times after the Clone Wars, as shown in Solo: A Star Wars Story. As of this episode, the criminal organization is based on Mandalore. The audience is re-introduced to some of Maul’s lieutenants as well, who have appeared in full (in Gar Saxon’s case) and briefly (in Rook Kast’s case) in other media.
Once a leader of a Mandalorian elite squad, Gar Saxon became Maul’s primary enforcer when the former Sith lord stirred up unrest on Mandalore. He’s a gruff man who tends to see violence as the best way to solve any problem.
Like Rook Kast, Gar Saxon first appeared in the Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir comic book series. But he’s already appeared elsewhere in Star Wars animation since he had a major part in Sabine Wren’s homecoming arc in Star Wars Rebels. Ursa Wren, Sabine’s mother and one of the Mandalorians loosely allied with the Rebel Alliance, will kill him decades after the Clone Wars.
Another ally of Maul’s from the Son of Dathomir comic, Kast is also an elite Mandalorian fighter. She seems more empathetic than Saxon, worrying about Maul’s survival on several occasions, but her role on the dark side of the Mandalorian civil war shows she’s just as warlike. Kast looks slightly different in The Clone Wars than she does in the comic, with a blue-green cast to her hair and blue eyes rather than brown hair and eyes.
Rook Kast is voiced by Vanessa Marshall, who played the pilot Hera Syndulla on Rebels. She voices a very different character here since Hera was an empathetic Rebel, but both hold their own in wartime.
The Nite Owls
In the last batch of easter eggs, I talked about how Bo-Katan Kryze’s elite unit is known as the Nite Owls and has distinct eye spots painted on their armor. This week, Nite Owl ally Ursa Wren gets some more attention and is mentioned by name.
Revenge of the Sith
Obi-Wan Kenobi gets a call from the Jedi Council smack in the middle of this episode and that’s the cue for the Revenge of the Sith opening music to start. Obi-Wan and Anakin are on their way to rescue Chancellor Palpatine, which is the mission that kicks off the ending of the Prequel Trilogy.
The Clone Wars adds something to this moment when Ahsoka accuses the other Jedi of the kind of political favoritism that the Martez sisters revealed to her: they’re willing to drop everything to save the chancellor when the entire population of Mandalore is at stake at the same time.