A Key Star Wars: The Clone Wars Planet Plays A Role In The Acolyte

There will be spoilers for the first and second episodes of "Star Wars: The Acolyte," so beware.

Osha, played in "Star Wars: The Acolyte" by Amandla Stenberg, has a really bad day in the show's premiere episode. First, she's forced to face an explosion while making repairs on the outside of a Trade Federation ship, and then she's accused of a murder she claims she didn't commit and arrested by her old friend from the Jedi Order who is a now a humorless, no-nonsense Jedi Knight who doesn't seem at all pleased to see her. 

Next, she's shipped back to Coruscant aboard a Republic prison ship operated by droids. And that's just the start of her bad time. When the other prisoners reveal their plan to escape, she confesses that she's placing her trust in the Jedi, and they leave her out of the plan and take the ship over and flee using the escape pods.

Then, as the ship drops out of hyperspace and is damaged by asteroids, it begins its crashing, fiery descent to the frigid world of Carlac. The planet seems largely uninhabited, but this isn't the first time we've seen Carlac in the "Star Wars" canon before.

Carlac is a Death Watch hideaway

The first appearance of the planet Carlac in the "Star Wars" canon came in "A Friend In Need", the 14th episode of the fourth season of "The Clone Wars." Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) and Lux Bonteri (Jason Spisak) make their way there to talk with the Mandalorians of Death Watch, led by the villainous Pre Viszla (Jon Favreau). They meet in the icy climes of Carlac and Ahsoka Tano is forced to fight her way off the planet after Pre Viszla marks her for death. Fortunately, R2-D2 was traveling with her and was able to help her escape so she could fight her way off the planet.

Carlac worked as a remote hideout for the Mandalorian dissidents as they bided their time to make a move to take over Mandalore, but of course, this was all long before the Empire committed their atrocities against the Mandalorians on the Night of a Thousand Tears. The planet itself was home to very few indigenous villages, but Death Watch used them for target practice and abused them.

This episode and location was an important nexus point between characters. It had Lady Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) and Ahsoka Tano at odds and fighting, a relationship they would patch up in later years. It also set some of the groundwork for the unrequited possibilities of a love story between Ahsoka Tano and Lux Bonteri, though Lux eventually joined the Imperial Senate and worked on his own to subvert the Empire.

An intentional echo of Clone Wars in The Acolyte

Carlac is personified by its wind and snow, something that both appearances of the planet match very well. It's an important part of "The Clone Wars," as well as "The Acolyte", but there are more connections to "The Clone Wars" in these particular episodes than just the location of Carlac. On Carlac, Mae flees her Jedi pursuers, trying hard to remain free and beat the murder charge. Unfortunately, she finds herself in a system of caves and the opening she's cornered in is a massive drop off. A leap of faith would certainly mean death.

As she proclaims her innocence to the authorities pursuing her, this moment is taken straight from the famous dam jump in "The Fugitive," starring "Star Wars"-alum Harrison Ford. But it was also echoed in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars", when Ahsoka Tano is accused of a murder she didn't commit and goes on the run from her own Jedi Master as well. It should come as no surprise that this was an intentional choice.

In a previous interview, showrunner Leslye Headland elaborated on the influence "The Clone Wars" had on "The Acolyte," explaining that, "My favorite episode is 'The Wrong Jedi.' I definitely took some inspiration from that." In fact, "The Wrong Jedi" is in the same arc as "The Jedi Who Knew Too Much" — both named after Alfred Hitchcock films — and it's the episode where Ahsoka Tano goes through that very similar dilemma.

It's good to know that the creators of these shows are paying attention to the work of the animated "Star Wars" universe and making connections between them all. It really does help make the "Star Wars" universe feel cohesive and expansive all at once.

The first two episodes of "Star Wars: The Acolyte" are available now on Disney+, and new episodes will premiere on Tuesday nights at 9:00pm ET.