One Star Wars fan theory posits that Emperor Palpatine manipulated the events of The Clone Wars Umbara arc to turn Anakin Skywalker into the Dark Side.

Throughout its seven seasons, Star Wars, Clone Wars has delivered a multitude of exciting stories. However, there are only a few that fans argue are among the best in the animated series. One of these contenders is the “Umbara” arc, which ran throughout four episodes of season 4. At the beginning of the story, Anakin Skywalker and his Clone Trooper division are sent to the planet Umbara, which has been invaded by the separatist forces. However, Anakin is quickly called back to Coruscant, leaving fan-favorite Captain Rex Fives and more soldiers under the leadership of Master Pong Krell.

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Krell is quickly revealed to be a dangerous leader who treats clone troopers like cannon fodder. He proves to be cold, deceptive and increasingly villainous, to the point where the clones struggle to follow his orders until they finally stage a riot when it all becomes too much. The “Umbara” arch is easily one of the darkest stories in The Clone Wars – and now, a new fan theory suggests that Palpatine was the one who pulled the strings all along.

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In “Darkness on Umbara”, the first episode of the “Umbara” arc, Anakin Skywalker is called back to Coruscant by Chancellor Palpatine shortly after arriving on the planet. As Skywalker is forced to leave, Pong Krell takes his place as the leader of his battalion, a crew of Clone troopers with whom Anakin is extremely close. Unfortunately, Krell does not share Anakin’s respect and admiration for the Clones. Play fast and loose with their lives over the course of the arc, until Rex and his friends finally put their foot down.

When the Clones finally turn against Krell, the Jedi kill as many of them as they can with their lightsabers, proving that he is, in fact, a villain. In fact, when he is finally caught, Krell reveals that he was ready to turn to the Dark Side and that he hoped to join Count Dooku. The reveal comes across as a massive betrayal and explains why Krell was such an evil character.

Now, Reddit User EquivalentInflation has developed a fan theory that explains that while Krell was acting alone, the events of the arc were actually being manipulated by Palpatine himself.

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The Jedi couldn't sense Palpatine

After all, it was Palpatine who caused Anakin to withdraw from Umbara, and the reasons for that were never made clear. The fan theory posits that Palpatine knew that Krell’s leadership would lead to the deaths of many of Anakin’s closest friends. Whether or not Palpatine knew that Krell had become the Dark Side, he knew that his leadership would lead to many Clone deaths. Krell had a reputation for being a General who took a great deal of Clone losses during his missions, thanks to his sloppy tactics.

If Rex, Fives, and all of the 501st had been killed while Anakin was away, the anger and grief at the loss would surely have pushed him further to the Dark Side. Palpatine’s goal was always to convert Anakin, which means calling him away from Umbara makes perfect sense in his overall plan. The arc never makes it clear that these were Palpatine’s machinations, but the theory makes perfect sense.

Streaming on Disney +, the latest season of Star Wars, Clone Wars stars Matt Lanter as Anakin Skywalker, Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano, Dee Bradley Baker as Captain Rex and the clone troopers, James Arnold Taylor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan, and Sam Witwer as Maul.

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