While the giant IP, which is Star Wars, is of course viewed as a primarily real-life, theatrical franchise, the spreading space opera had its fair share of memorable stories in other media. The Clone Wars an animated television series is one such project, garnering an impressive following from fans and a strong critical reception during its 7-season run.
- Ghosts of the Dead – Season 3, Episode 17
- Krell Massacre – Season 4, Episode 10
- Revenge – Season 4, Episode 22
- The Outlaw – Season 5, Episode 16
- The Wrong Jedi – Season 5, Episode 20
- Orders – Season 6, Episode 4
- Sacrifice – Season 6, Episode 13
- The Ghost Apprentice – Season 7, Episode 10
- Crashed – Season 7, Episode 11
- Victory and Death – Season 7, Episode 12
However, it could be one of the most undeservedly overlooked endeavors in the franchise. The Clone Wars retroactively provided many of the necessary contexts for the cowardly prequel trilogy, filling in gaps and introducing many compelling characters and story arcs through episodes that told some of the galaxy’s most resonant stories at Disney +.
Ghosts of the Dead – Season 3, Episode 17
After the prequel trilogy has received criticism in part for delving too deep into science fiction to provide a biological context for the Force that was not needed, the storyline of episodes focusing on The Ones brings things back to the spiritual roots of the concept.
The One consists of the Father, the Son and the Daughter, who all function as the formations of the Light and Dark sides of the Force. Ghosts of Diedin particular, was particularly powerful for the dark omen of what would become Anakin Skywalker. The imagery and thematic commentary were as captivating as they were cold.
Krell Massacre – Season 4, Episode 10
Like that Batman: The Animated Series was honored for balancing a wonderful degree of childish imagination with a fundamental nuance, Star Wars: The Clone Wars was more than capable of dealing with a darker and more nuanced subject when it hit its pace.
Krell Massacre is one of the worst episodes of the series, dealing with issues of the individuality and humanity of the clones. The cruel Jedi Master Krell has made an impressive antagonist in this 4-episode arc, reaching a crescendo in a sad and unforgettable climax that emphasizes the “Dark Times” to come.
At the time of the announcement of Darth Maul’s death, it initially seemed like a cheap piece of fan service, which turned out to be one of the most accomplished characters in the Star Wars franchise. In addition to the excellent writing of Filoni, this is also partly due to the terribly successful performance of Sam Witwer as the vengeful former Sith Lord.
The season 4 finale gave fans everything they could have wanted in the form of the first resentful match between Maul and Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. Revenge is also completed by having Maul’s brother, Savage Opress, be chased by Dark-side-acolyte-turned-bounty hunter Asajj Ventress looking to earn a ransom of his own.
The Outlaw – Season 5, Episode 16
In one of the most captivating episodes of The Clone Wars, The Illegal brings together one of the greatest shows and emotionally moving stories. Obi-Wan is captured by the current Mandalorian ruler – Maul – and is forced to watch as the only love of his life is executed before him.
Bo-Katan Kryze comes to her rescue with her Death Watch in tow, before the episode later turns to the impressive lightsaber duel with Maul and Opress against none other than Emperor Palpatine. That’s unbelievable The Illegal somehow there was no season finale with the large amount of tension that was packed into it.
In true tragic fashion, the season 5 finale forced Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano to one of the most unforgiving positions. The Wrong Jedi sees her stand trial for murder for which she was convicted, resulting in her being excommunicated from the Jedi Order. It’s an incredibly emotional episode, because even after Anakin manages to find out who was really behind the murder, it’s not enough to shake Ahsoka to return to order.
The Wrong Jedi is a brilliantly moving episode, shedding light on the arrogant flaws of the Jedi faith. Despite the prequel trilogy stumbles more often than not, Revenge of the Sith was well received for striking the tones of an epic tragedy, and this episode makes excellent use of that thematic balance.
Season 6 Orders probably takes things in an even darker direction from the above Krell Massacre. The episode follows the clone soldier Fives as he tries to uncover the mystery behind the computer chips being implanted in the clowns’ brains. Things go south after Five Attempts to meet with Palpatine over that, as he is tricked as a traitor and forced to flee.
The heartbreaking episode ended with Fives’ death, with his fading words to his 501st legion brothers warning of the grander plot to come. Fives’ fate was even more terrible considering that he had done the right thing, only to be fatally punished for it all the same.
Although fans still can’t know for sure how much Knights of the Old Republic will be integrated in the mainline canon, Offer nicely touches its tradition – if a little reimagined. This episode ended the storyline beginning with Grand Master Yoda seeking to learn the true origins of the Force, traveling to the Dark Side planet of Moraband.
He finds an illusion of Darth Bane, which is particularly exciting to see, as this was the first time that the ancestor of the Sith’s Rule of Two had been canonically recognized. Of course, however, the season finale ends with an exciting rematch between Yoda and Palpatine, impressively managing to bring home the theme of “hope” in the long run despite fans knowing the galaxy’s pressing short-term future.
Season 6 was intended to be the series finale for The Clone Wars, if unceremoniously so. However, fan campaigns seemed to work when season 7 was announced as a Disney + original, premiered in 2020. The season largely fulfilled the weight of expectations, with the latter, in particular, outstanding.
The Ghost Apprentice excitedly sees Ahsoka take the fight straight to Maul on Mandalore, perfectly embodying the characteristics of both fighters showing a tempting lightsaber duel. All this tension is punctuated by the looming threat of Order 66.
Following Ahsoka’s climactic duel with Maul during the Siege of Mandalore, Crashed divides his story into halves. In the first, fans are shown the gradual build-up to Palpatine implementing Order 66 and officially introducing the Great Jedi Purge. Meanwhile, the latter half follows the mad rush of Ahsoka and Maul to avoid the current turmoil and avoid the doom to come.
The episode was hailed for its methodical accumulation to Order 66 and for how masterfully it instills a sense of fear. It’s particularly impressive to convey such an atmosphere at an event that fans are already familiar with the bigger result.
The real series finale, Victory and Death again inspired by Revenge of the Sith‘s great emotional impact. This episode probably captures the essence of what it does Star Wars what it is in its purest form, using Ahsoka’s point of view along with clone soldier Captain Rex in the tense final moments of the Clone Wars.
Victory and Death follow the couple’s terrible attempt to avoid the aftermath of the Siege of Mandalore. Seeing Ahsoka have to bury her former comrades and friends is one of the most frustrating images in the show.
Seasons 1-7 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars are available to stream now at Disney +.