(Welcome to The Galaxy-Wide Star Wars Character Guide, where we give proper due to the smaller figures in Star Wars history.)
Some Star Wars fans started watching The Clone Wars from the first theatrical film and stuck with it all the way through. To those folks, its jump from animated curiosity to the main engine driving the saga’s narrative future probably wasn’t a huge surprise. They were smitten even in its Ziro the Hutt days; of course they would remain smitten when the show started getting really good.
The rest of us had to be convinced, however, and I’m willing to bet that argument started upon learning they resurrected Darth Maul. What a bold move, probably a cynical one. How could you bring back a character we saw get cut in half? Oh, he has robot legs? Rolls eyes to death.
But little by little, more folks claimed the Darth Maul resurrection not only worked, it held true greatness. Upon closer inspection, it turns out that greatness (which would come to fruition in Star Wars Rebels) had less to do with Maul and more to do with his brother, Savage Opress.
Which Character is This Again?
You don’t know Savage (pronounced Sav-AHJ) Opress from the films. He’s a Clone Wars-only character. Thanks to The Mandalorian, the days of safely being able to ignore animated Star Wars are pretty much numbered. Sorry. Savage is one of Clone Wars’ best characters, which means he is automatically one of Star Wars’ best characters. It makes sense if you’ve never heard of him, but you should definitely learn who he is.
It goes like this: Force Witches – yes there are Force Witches and they are badass – needed to make a wicked warrior to help Asajj Ventress get revenge on Count Dooku (I’ll leave the how and why of that alone). They find Savage Opress (I’ll leave the how and why of this alone as well) and stuff him full of force magic, making him super buff and mean. Initially, he was relatively tiny and nice, you see. By the time they’re done with him, he’s a hulking maniac who murders his own brother (not Darth Maul, a different brother) in cold blood.
Ventress implants the buff Opress as Dooku’s new apprentice, where he learns some Jedi tricks. When the time comes, he and Ventress are supposed to kill Dooku. Instead, Savage resents being used like that and knocks them both around before taking off. Savage returns to the Force Witches who give him a new mission: find his long lost brother Darth Maul. He does, and spends the rest of his life as his brother’s right-hand muscle. He then becomes one of the few people lucky enough to directly die at the hands of Darth Sidious. Upon death, he turns into a wee little fellow again, and it’s really sad.
Does this Character Warrant a Toy?
Think of all the toys that came out for Darth Maul, one of Star Wars’ coolest-looking characters. Now imagine him as a bodybuilder with an even more demonic face.
Of course Savage Opress deserves a toy. He deserves a ton of toys. His character pairs extremely well with Maul, but he had interactions with a bunch of other heavy hitters as well: Ventress, Dooku, and of course Darth Sidious. He doesn’t just deserve a toy done in the Clone Wars style, but some of those really fancy jobs in live-action style as well.
How Important is This Character?
Ultimately, Opress’ story exists to support Maul’s resurrection which is important, though even his tragedy isn’t super impactful in the grand scheme of things. This is an extremely well-told story, but I don’t know how important it is. It’s too much to assume Maul would never have returned without Savage’s help. More importantly, Maul is so enraged by madness and revenge by default, even Savage’s death can’t add too much fuel to that already scorching fire.
So narratively, no. Savage Opress is not entirely important to the Star Wars story. I do think he’s massively important to the reputation of Clone Wars, however. When people praise this show, they almost always get around to the greatness of Darth Maul’s story. But like I said above, what feeds that greatness is the thorough development and superiority of Savage Opress’ story. Comparatively, we hardly know Maul and there honestly isn’t much to know anyway until Rebels gets its hands on him.
Is This Secretly a Great Star Wars Character?
I don’t think I’m being coy about this: Savage Opress is one of the great Star Wars characters. He has an iconic look, strong narrative development, and a satisfying exit from the story. What more do you want?
If his greatness is a secret, it’s only because fewer people watch The Clone Wars compared to the mainline Star Wars movies. Hang out with Star Wars fans online long enough, they’ll eventually talk you into trying Clone Wars out. Characters like Savage Opress are why that enthusiasm endures. He’s just one of many characters created for that show who rival Star Wars’ live-action heroes and villains.
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