- "He who faces himself, finds himself."
"Ahsoka escorts a group of younglings to Ilum, where they will learn from Yoda and undergo a crucial rite of passage: the construction of their lightsabers. They grapple with both physical and inner challenges as they face the dangerous task ahead of them."
Ahsoka Tano, tasked with escorting the newest class of prospective youngling graduates to The Gathering, is awaiting her charges at the boarding ramp of the ship which is to ferry them to their graduation test: Petro, a human; Katooni, a Tholothian; Byph, an Ithorian; Ganodi, a Rodian; Zatt, a Nautolan; and Gungi, a Wookiee. Their task is to find the crystals for their own lightsabers in the Crystal Caves on Ilum, the most sacred place of the Jedi. After a short briefing about the hazards lying ahead of them, Ahsoka takes the younglings to the harsh ice world of Ilum. After jointly opening the gates to the Caves using the Force, the group is received by Master Yoda, who opens the ice-covered inner door to the caves. The younglings are given just enough time for one planetary rotation to find the crystal which they will use to construct their lightsabers, or otherwise remain trapped within the Caves as the sun sets and the door freezes over once again.
Once inside the caves, Petro in his overconfidence separates from his classmates and sets off on his own, forcing the others to continue without him. Soon after, they reach a chamber with several doorways, and trusting their instinct, the younglings split up into pairs to explore one door each, though unlucky Byph ends up exploring one on his own. Soon the younglings spot their individual crystals one by one, but in order to reach them, they have to pass hazards which at first glance seem impossible to conquer: Katooni has to climb a steep ice wall to get hers; Gungi has to cross a field of loose ice floats covering a lake; after plunging down a crevice, Ganodi finds herself in a cave littered with thousands of crystals; Zatt, trusting too much in his scanner, ends up wandering the caverns in frustration; and Byph's crystal rests in the maw of a hideous creature of which he is too fearful to approach. At first the younglings fall into despair, but in short order they begin to focus on their inner self and succeed in gaining their crystals.
In the meantime, Petro has found and retrieved a crystal, but as he exits the maze, already confident about his victory, the 'crystal' proves to be a piece of ice that melts into a puddle of water in his palm, so he is sent back to find his true crystal. As he races around, he comes upon Katooni, who on her way back outside has fallen into a small cave blocked by a thick sheet of ice. He leaves her behind in his zealousness to find his crystal, but is quickly plagued by his conscience and returns to help her. By jointly using the Force, they are able to break the ice, but as they prepare to leave, Petro spots his crystal between the ice shards. He sends Katooni ahead, who manages to slip through the bottom gap of the door just before it freezes shut. Before they could all mourn Petro, the youngling bursted through the ice wall. This was due to the fact that the ice wasn't actually going to trap them, but it would make them believe they had been trapped.
As the younglings gather around Yoda, the old Jedi master reveals that the true trap in this test was not the sheet of ice on the inner door, but their own fears and insecurities. By finding and gaining courage, hope, patience, trust, confidence and selflessness in their hearts, they were able to escape the traps they have set against themselves in their minds.
"The Gathering" is the first episode in a four-part story arc, which was titled "Young Jedi" and previewed as a full-length 80-minute feature at Celebration VI in August 2012 to family viewers. "The Gathering" replaced "An Old Friend," originally reported by Star Wars Insider 134, as the sixth episode in Season Five. Some of the ideas in this story came from a scrapped pilot script for a spin-off TV series.
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Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Character Encyclopedia - Join the Battle! dates the events of "The Gathering" to 20 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, which corresponds to 20 BBY according to Star Wars: Galactic Atlas.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Gathering"
- "Launch Pad" – Star Wars Insider 134