The Clone Wars is returning to our screens this week and I could not be more excited. The Clone Wars first hit the big screen in 2008, and the television series premiered in the same year, two months later in October and ran until February 2014. A group of episodes from the final season – titled “The Lost Missions” – premiered on Netflix a month later. Now six years after its cancellation, The Clone Wars returns to finish what it started: one of the great stories told in science fiction.
I say “science fiction” because The Clone Wars brought to life not just its own story on television. In addition, the series spawned several novels that are considered canonical to the franchise. It allowed director Dave Filoni to create Star Wars: Rebels, which extends the legacies of several Clone Wars characters in the overall picture of Star Wars. Twelve years is a long time on television to tell just one story. So for this series to bring multiple stories outside of their original medium with comics and books is even more impressive. The excitement behind seeing these shows brought a new life to Star Wars fandom.
One of the greatest things The Clone Wars did was to bring its characters to life. Previously, I spoke on the virtues of one of its best characters: Ahsoka Tano. But the greatest thing the show did was how it developed Anakin Skywalker. The prequel trilogy did him a disservice with the lack of explanation regarding the changes between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. The Clone Wars made him relatable and justified the differences between his idealistic nature in Attack of the Clones and his stringent focus in Revenge of the Sith. Matt Lanter’s voice work is incredible at bringing all sides of emotion to Anakin Skywalker, and making him relatable.
Additionally, James Arnold Taylor’s voice work for Obi-Wan Kenobi works wonders. Dee Bradley Baker is absolutely stunning at creating the clones. He gives them each a unique personality while generating the same strict behavior for each of them. It works so well for the clones, and gives them the purpose behind being human. At no point does it seem they are just droids. The episodes dedicated to the clone troopers develop the most incredible character for all of them, and you can really sense the drive they have as leaders and as people. Bringing their personas to life helps explain Order 66, but also increases the devastation of the betrayal of the Jedi.
Filoni and his team did a fabulous job with each story, exploring the Jedi lore, dark force users, and the legacy of the force. The Clone Wars answered questions from the prequel trilogy and made prequel characters more likable. They did struggle to catch my attention with some of the politically focused arcs. Still, the show kept my attention for the majority of it. The animation team did wonders with the show (season 7 somehow looks even better). Best of all, Filoni and company created role models for children and made them relatable to a point where those kids are now the prominent voices in fandom today.
Barring a few reserved political episodes, The Clone Wars is fantastic. The greatest gift the show provided was the characters, creating new ones, and deepening attributes for others. Ahsoka Tano was the leading female action hero that was sorely lacking in pop culture at the time. The stories of the show expound upon a time previously unexplored. The legacy provided by The Clone Wars has outgrown the show though. Fans will always come back to the show, no matter how long it has been. It has been one of the strongest banners to fly under in Star Wars. Hopefully, with a seventh and final season starting soon, The Clone Wars will remain of the few Star Wars properties in which many fans can stay united. – Katie Gilstrap
The Clone Wars Season 7 premieres on Disney+ Friday, February 21st.
The show features the voices of Ashley Eckstein, Matt Lanter, James Arnold Taylor, Sam Witwer, and Dee Bradley Baker.