The Clone Wars is finished. I said that six years ago, but it really is done today. Season 7 finally provided the ending that The Clone Wars deserved (on May the Fourth, no less). And boy did I cry a tear or five over it. But before we get into it, I would like to have a spoiler warning ahead of everything. If you haven’t seen the season, definitely go check it out and come back right here. If you’re interested in a small catch up before reading this review, you can check out my review of The Clone Wars seasons 1-6 here.
Season 7 rifles its way through the characters in the first two arcs: “The Bad Batch” and “Ahsoka’s Journey”. At first glance, these two arcs may seem meaningless in the grand scheme of things. However, these arcs eventually deliver the character development one would want. Most importantly, they tell you where our main characters are at this point in the timeline. “The Siege of Mandalore” wraps them and everything from The Clone Wars in a big bow.
In the case of “The Bad Batch”, it spends a lot of time covering Rex and what he has lost. While his mindset reflects a middle-aged man, he’s only been in the world for about 13 years. So to lose so many of your brothers can take a toll on anyone, even if you’re a specialized weapon of mass destruction. Rex is clearly suffering from survivor’s guilt, and “The Bad Batch” arc explores those emotions. It also gives us neat sneaks into the timeline, like Anakin’s conversation with Padmé and the fact that Obi-Wan knew they were seeing each other long before Revenge of the Sith.
The downside of “The Bad Batch” arc, however, is that it overplays its hand. It dabbles where it doesn’t need to, and it dawdles frequently in the third and fourth episodes. Admittedly, Echo’s return filled me with joy. But “The Bad Batch” episodes can feel sluggish, especially in comparison to the season’s final stretch. Despite this, “The Bad Batch” dives into Rex’s character in a way that truly showcases Dave Filoni as a storyteller. It’s a fun blast that takes us back into elements of Rex’s journey that some may have forgotten.
Although “Ahsoka’s Journey” is the middle section of Season 7, it actually takes place before “The Bad Batch”. People argued its place here in the final season, with most considering it as a waste of time. That said, I would like to raise you with a different opinion. “Ahsoka’s Journey” does the same thing for Ahsoka that “The Bad Batch” does for Rex. It’s setting up Ahsoka to accept the Mandalorians’ offer in the eighth episode. Because as is, she was not prepared to return to helping people. The Martez sisters helped Ahsoka remember the original intent of the Jedi. As a result, she chooses to help the Mandalorians. Because that’s just who she is.
This brings us to the final arc of The Clone Wars, maybe even one of the best in Star Wars history: “The Siege of Mandalore”. In fact, the only real issue I have is that the show presents it in episode form. While this section is deeply satisfying, it is a bit distracting to see it cut off because it has to maintain the form of the short narrative. What’s really interesting is how evident it is that Filoni originally intended this as a full-length feature. Most notably, there is no Jedi Fortune Cookie during any of these episodes! The fortune cookie has been a primary part of The Clone Wars, and the fact that they are absent in these final episodes is disheartening. Still, that downside is minuscule in comparison to everything surrounding it.
For one thing, this arc contains the best lightsaber fight in Star Wars, live-action or otherwise. The beauty behind the motion capture is astounding, and bringing Ray Park for Darth Maul was a nice touch. Between him and Lauren Mary Kim, who performed Ahsoka’s motion capture, they created a phenomenal battle. Hopefully, it is one will raise the bar for future lightsaber fights in the franchise. In terms of the voice acting, Sam Witwer gives a complex, frightening performance to Darth Maul that is full of despair. Furthermore, Ashley Eckstein and Dee Bradley Baker give all they can to the final episodes as Ahsoka and Clones respectively.
“The Siege of Mandalore” arc provides a seamless, proper ending to the two characters that Filoni and George Lucas established. My biggest curiosity is if the end would have changed had we not had Star Wars: Rebels before “The Siege of Mandalore”. But no matter, the final two episodes gave me emotions I never thought I would have over a snippy Padawan and a Clone Trooper Captain. We got to see Ahsoka reunite with Anakin, and see Anakin’s gradual evolution into Darth Vader. Ahsoka’s lightsabers even turn blue because of his ego, in hopes he can protect her from the slightest danger. Filoni helps provide the transition from a likable, go lucky character into the downtrodden man in Revenge of the Sith.
The final stomping ground in the series finale shows us Vader on the unnamed moon that Ahsoka and the rest of the clones crashed onto during the execution of Order 66. You can tell it is several years later by the aging of the ship and the Clone Trooper helmets. But more importantly, let’s talk about the scene right before that. Ahsoka shows the incredible compassion she has in making sure none of the clones will die from her hand. They might fight till their very last breath to kill her because of Order 66. But if Ahsoka had had her way she would have pulled the inhibitor chip out of every last clone on that ship. She stayed who she was till the very end, and that’s a rarity in a story that spans 12 years.
Overall, The Clone Wars season 7 hits all the marks it needed to give a beloved show its true and proper ending. Everything moves a little differently this season, but it’s absolutely beautiful. Filoni, the story group, and the animation team deserve high amounts of praise for their work into the final season. The Clone Wars season 7 absolutely deserved this moment in the spotlight. Not every animation show is going to look like this, so bless this show for doing all the work to get to this point.
What makes The Clone Wars special is the attention to detail to every facet of its world. Not to mention, it brought a legion of Star Wars fans together in ways that have not happened since the Original Trilogy. The love and attention that Filoni and his team brought to the characters is something that will be hard to duplicate for years to come. The Clone Wars is insanely rewatchable, and I can always come back to it for a comfort watch. Because watching Ahsoka, Anakin, and Rex grow as characters from beginning to end is always worth it. – Katie Gilstrap
The Clone Wars Season 7 is now streaming on Disney+.
The show is directed by Dave Filoni and features the voices of Ashley Eckstein, Matt Lanter, James Arnold Taylor, Sam Witwer, and Dee Bradley Baker.