Star Wars’ Terrifying Tales: The Clone Wars’ brain worms and Mortis episodes


This Halloween on Dork Side of the Force, we’re taking a look back at some of Star Wars’ scariest moments, be it the movies, books, TV shows, and everything in between. May the Terrifying Tales be with you!

Star Wars: The Clone Wars began as a relatively kid-friendly animated series. As the show grew up with its audience, the show became gradually darker. At times, it could even be downright creepy and terrifying.

Some of The Clone Wars most chilling moments occur in the season 2 episode “Brain Invaders” and the Mortis arc in season 3. Both of these stories feature heroic and likable characters possessed by evil and destructive forces. It is disturbing to see the Clone Wars‘ usual heroes trying to hurt innocents and those they care about, powerless against the forces that possess them.

“Brain Invaders”

After the defeat of the Geonosian Queen Karina, “Brain Invaders” follows clones who are infected by the Geonosian brain worms. The Jedi and the clones defeated Queen Karina and took Poggle the Lesser captive, but most of the clones aboard the medical transport become infected by the parasitic brain worms, as does Jedi Padawan Barriss Offee.

While Star Wars fans know that the clones will eventually turn on the Jedi during Order 66, it is still deeply unsettling to see them turning on Barriss and Ahsoka Tano. The brain worms give a small taste of the emotional devastation and betrayal that comes with Order 66 in season 7 as Ahsoka and Barriss experience their friends and comrades trying to kill them.

The brain worms seem too elusive to catch or destroy and their complete control after infecting their hosts is terrifying. The episode makes it seem like once someone is infected, there is no hope of living without being controlled by these parasites, which makes it even scarier when each character gets infected.

This, fortunately, doesn’t turn out to be the case as thanks to Ahsoka’s bravery and the help of the cold, the brain worms are defeated and the infected hosts are freed. From start to finish, “Brain Invaders” feels like a horror episode that never gets any easier to watch.

The Mortis Arc

The Mortis arc is one of the weirdest and most fascinating in The Clone Wars and one that contains some seriously creepy moments. This is particularly true when the Son possesses Ahsoka in “Altar of Mortis” and when he possesses Anakin in “Ghosts of Mortis.”

Ahsoka is almost always a beacon of light and hope. When possessed by the Son, though, her yellow eyes, her sinister tone of voice, and her willingness to try and kill Anakin and Obi-Wan are deeply disturbing. This ruthlessly desperate version of the character is nothing like the Ahoska fans know and love.

When Anakin confronts the Son in the next episode, he shows Anakin a vision of his future — Anakin falling to the Dark Side and becoming Darth Vader, killing younglings, Force-choking Padmé, his duel with Obi-Wan on Mustafar, and the Death Star obliterating Alderaan. The Son uses these visions to get Anakin under his control.

Anakin’s eyes take on the yellow color that won’t be seen again until he falls to the Dark Side in Revenge of the Sith. Seeing him go down this path in Revenge of the Sith was already frightening; seeing him come dangerously close to going down the same path even earlier in the timeline is disconcerting.

Anakin is still a heroic Jedi at this point, and it feels wrong to see him swayed and at the mercy of the Son. The Father causes Anakin to forget the vision he saw and severs Anakin from the Son’s control, although the Father is only delaying Anakin’s inevitable fall.

Someone being possessed by evil and unable to control their actions is a terrifying concept that is put to effective use in “Brain Invaders” and in the Mortis arc. Along with being unsettling, these episodes also foreshadow the dark paths that will eventually consume many of these characters.

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