The final season of The Clone Wars is Star Wars at its very best. A must watch eliciting a spirit of adventure that has resonated in each and every one of us ever since that first time we saw those unforgettable words fade in before our eyes on the silver screen; “A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away”.
But, why should you watch?
Do you like cohesive Star Wars stories?
I argue that The Clone Wars series as a whole has done far better service to Star Wars than both the prequel and sequel trilogies. and is on par with the universally lauded, The Mandalorian.
Much like the Original Trilogy being influenced by the classic cinema that came before, The Clone Wars stories also draw from universal influences such as Saving Private Ryan, Apocalypse Now and as always, The Seven Samurai. Themes we all can identify with.
This final four episode story arc, which runs concurrently with the events of Revenge of the Sith, is a culmination of carefully planned plot threads and character development revealing the fate of the character who has been the ultimate focus of the series, Anakin Skywalker’s (former) Padawan, Ashoka Tano.
Thus far, the seventh and final season has been outstanding in every way. The animation, which was groundbreaking from the start, has been fine tuned with meticulous detail without overloading the senses. The writing is a masterclass in storytelling, absorbing us in character, soaring when needed, taking a step back to live a moment at the perfect time. Never forgetting to have fun.
Most importantly, The Clone Wars doesn’t dumb things down for its audience one iota.
But, the show didn’t start out that way.
Let’s be real. The Clone Wars got off to a rough start.
Excited for more Star Wars after Revenge of the Sith in 2005, my Star Wars buddies and I made a huge deal to see the animated film, (also called Star Wars: The Clone Wars) in theaters for its release in 2008. This films was comprised of the animated series’ inaugural episodes
And the response? Um.., Zero the Hutt? Let’s leave a sleeping Rancor lie. The character design? Not everyone’s cup of blue milk either. But, that what we got.
The series began as many shows often do – trying to find its feet. It’s strength from the start was that the ideas were epic and accessible. Yet, it felt constrained, denying itself from jumping into full hyperspace. And if you tuned out during these formative stories, I don’t blame you.
But something happened somewhere in the latter half of season two. A tone shift. Actions were having consequences. Things were getting serious. By season three, multi-episode arcs were becoming a staple of the show; feature length stories.
The Clone Wars had found its footing, it’s voice, and there was no turning back. We got tales that fleshed out beloved characters; Obi-Wan falling in love, Anakin’s budding friendship with Tarkin and the lengths he and Padme went through to hide their relationship and Ashoka learning the hard way what it takes to become not only a Jedi, but a woman of honor and conviction. And very notably, the strong bonds some Jedi made with the clones they commanded.
When season six ended abruptly after the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, we were left hanging. Ashoka had just left the Jedi order. Darth Maul was still ruling Mandalore. The show was going somewhere. It had a plan.
And it was never to be resolved.
Then came season seven. The Clone Wars didn’t come back with a bang, but with a boom! And you’ll have to start watching season seven for the apt reference. As painful as the six year absence was, when it returned, the writers not only didn’t skip a beat, they brought their A plus game and are giving the show they’ve nurtured the ending that all Star Wars fans deserve.
Twelve episodes broken in four episode arcs, each working as a two hour movie. Smartly written. Expertly directed. Visually stunning.
Knowing what happens in Revenge of the Sith makes the final story arc all the more exciting. We’re not hit over the head with what’s happening in the 2005 film, only told appropriate bullet points. Subtle nods are given as to what is to come in Solo: A Star Wars Story. In the opening episode alone “Old Friends Not Forgotten,” within the first two minutes I had to stop myself several times from hitting pause so I could text or tweet OMG! And I dare say we’re given at least one beat that should have happened in Revenge of the Sith.
With two episodes left, everyone knows what’s coming.
We’ve spent seven seasons growing with Ashoka Tano. Learning from every mistake. Embracing what is just and compromising for nothing less. Watching her become the person and the hero we all wish to be before our very eyes. And knowing what’s about to happen makes it all too personal. That’s what makes The Clone Wars a masterfully crafted series.
Ashoka Tano is us.
That’s why you have no excuse not to watch.
The penultimate episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars airs
today on Disney+ and the series finale streams Monday, May 4th.