Nobody anticipated the large STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS reveal at this yr’s San Diego Comedian-Con. At first look, the tenth-anniversary panel was simply that: a celebration of the animated TV present’s mainstream influence. However seeing the trailer for the upcoming seventh season meant that followers have been lastly getting closure after 4 lengthy years.
Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Courtesy of Lucasfilm Animation
In fact, this hype actually underscores simply how spectacular STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS was. Launched as a follow-up to the lackluster 2008 film, the Dave Filoni-directed present lasted for six seasons, one in every of which was solely out there on Netflix. In that point, we have been handled to large galactic conflicts, political drama, and character-driven storylines. Condensed to the 22-minute timeframe, every episode provided a quick chapter of a multilayered militaristic battle.
This highlights THE CLONE WARS’ largest achievement: it succeeded the place the STAR WARS prequels failed. There was no stilted dialogue, poor romance or complicated exposition dumps. Just a few old style character improvement that offered much-needed depth to the prequel-era heroes. This new look into Anakin Skywalker’s journey helped make his eventual fall to the darkish aspect really feel extra plausible.
A Lengthy Time In the past…
The Clone Wars — a legendary battle between the Galactic Republic and Confederacy of Unbiased Methods — was the lacking piece of the Prequel trilogy. It bridged the hole between Episodes II and III relating to Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s bond and their adventures collectively. But THE CLONE WARS felt extraordinarily grand in simply what number of narratives and plot threads it coated all through six seasons.
Clone Troopers vs. Battle Droids, Courtesy of Lucasfilm Animation
Some tales concerned iconic Jedi like Obi-Wan and Mace Windu, whereas others targeted on lesser-known characters like Package Fisto or Plo Koon. Some even noticed the legal underworld and its ensemble of bounty hunters who labored for the very best bidder. Whether or not the present analyzed the backstory of a Sith Lord or Clone Troopers on patrol, it all the time contributed to a story with a number of layers.
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However much more spectacular was how THE CLONE WARS uncovered the ethical ambiguity of preventing a galactic battle. In contrast to the unique trilogy’s blatant “good vs. evil” setup, there have been a number of situations of the Jedi Council making inherently doubtful selections. Episodes like ‘Heroes on Both Sides’ highlighted our misguided notion of the Separatists as simply Siths and battle droids. Betrayal, questionable alliances, and disillusionment with the state have been outstanding themes throughout the present’s complete run.
In a Galaxy Far, Far Away
As nice because the battles and area fights have been, THE CLONE WARS additionally exceeded expectations at additional creating its characters. Moderately than reintroduce Anakin and Obi-Wan, the present as an alternative expanded their brotherly bond as Grasp and Padawan. Obi-Wan was elegant, clever and extremely witty, whereas Anakin’s bravery and braveness have been solely matched by his recklessness. Because of Matt Lanter and James Arnold Taylor’s vocal performances, their banter-like dynamic felt plausible and compelling.
Anakin Skywalker, Courtesy of Lucasfilm Animation
Anakin and Obi-Wan’s friendship was solely matched by their ties to different characters. Anakin’s relationship with Padme Amidala additional established his inner wrestle to stability romantic emotions towards Jedi duties. Obi-Wan’s encounters with Mandalorean chief Duchess Satine, somebody with whom he beforehand shared romantic emotions, additionally offered perception into the Jedi grasp’s backstory. Constructing these relationships throughout a number of episodes additional accentuated the TV format as central to the present’s success.
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Along with the protagonists, THE CLONE WARS launched unique characters whereas additionally adapting people from the Expanded Universe. This included Asajj Ventress, a Sith apprentice of Rely Dooku who proved a formidable foe for Anakin and Obi-Wan. Nevertheless, after Dooku makes an attempt to kill her out of loyalty to Sidious, Ventress embarks on a journey of self-discovery. From then on, she turned an anti-hero whose questionable sense of morality made for some enjoyable encounters.
Asajj Ventress, Courtesy of Lucasfilm Animation
One other fan-favorite was Cad Bane, a ruthless bounty hunter who debuted within the first season finale. His apparel was akin to a Sergio Leone character and his character was a tactician who all the time ready for any end result. What Bane lacked in backstory, he made up for in his tenacity at ending the job and eliminating opponents. Even Jedi barely fazed Bane as long as he acquired his credit afterward.
New and Acquainted Faces
Simply the perfect character from THE CLONE WARS was Ahsoka Tano, the Jedi apprentice followers by no means knew Anakin had. In fact, when she debuted within the 2008 film, individuals actually had no concept what to anticipate. She had the vibe of a barely annoying tagalong teenager and got here seemingly out of nowhere.
Ahsoka Tano, Courtesy of Lucasfilm Animation
Via Ahsoka, nevertheless, Anakin adopted a task few would have anticipated: a mentor determine. As her Grasp, Anakin taught Ahsoka the values of being a Jedi whereas additionally encouraging her to sometimes break the principles. As each, his Padawan and confidence, their student-teacher bond proved a lot just like that of Anakin and Obi-Wan. This, in flip, allowed Ashoka to turn into her personal character and embark on a number of solo adventures.
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Along with Ahsoka, THE CLONE WARS additionally introduced again a seemingly deceased adversary: Darth Maul. At first, look, reviving a personality beforehand bisected by way of lightsaber appeared far-fetched even for STAR WARS. But Maul’s revival, because of Dathomir witch Mom Talzin and his brother Savage Oppress, surprisingly labored. His hatred for Kenobi was solely matched by his prolonged ambition, uniting a number of crime syndicates collectively as a part of a rising legal empire. Nevertheless, Maul’s ambition finally obtained one of the best of him, with Darth Sidious instantly confronting his former apprentice in one of many present’s greatest lightsaber duels.
Darth Maul + Savage Oppress vs. Darth Sidious, Courtesy of Lucasfilm Animation
Older variations of Ahsoka and Maul would ultimately develop into reoccurring characters in Filoni’s sequel present STAR WARS REBELS. Regardless of reflecting reverse aspect of the Drive, every sought an analogous objective: the Galactic Empire’s defeat. But their ties to the previous world made for a few of REBEL’s greatest encounters Ahsoka vs. Darth Vader and Maul vs. Previous Kenobi.
Whereas THE CLONE WARS was a present concerning the Jedi, it additionally made spectacular use of the titular clones. Regardless of being literal carbon copies of each other, every clone possessed their very own distinct character in battle. This prolonged not solely to high-ranking clone commanders like Rex and Cody however the “grunt” troopers as properly. Props to voice actor Dee Bradley Baker, who voiced each single clone character and ensured that no two performances sounded alike.
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This evolution of clone individuality is noticed via their shared experiences on and off the sector of battle. A few of it’s easy camaraderie, however others go deeper into the psyche of those characters past their prime directive. One story has Rex discovering a deserter clone who began a household on one other planet. One other concerned a gaggle of droids discovering a Clone Commando with amnesia. And the Umbara storyline noticed Rex and his squad commit potential treason to apprehend a common turned traitor.
Captain Rex and the 501st Legion, Courtesy of Lucasfilm Animation
Creating the clones as bodily characters, relatively than disposable goons, was an excellent selection on Filoni’s half. In any case, the Clone Wars introduced clone troopers and their Jedi commanders nearer collectively. They have been comrades in arms and fought aspect by aspect as a way to shield the Republic from hurt. This makes it much more tragic when the present reveals the extent to which clones have been programmed to obey Darth Sidious’ instructions.
Belief within the Pressure
The STAR WARS films’ makes an attempt to explain the Pressure have been…. combined at greatest. The unique trilogy performed it protected and handled the Pressure as utterly religious, an “energy field” that binds all of life collectively. The prequels controversially took a extra scientific strategy, utilizing cell-like midichlorians to find out how Drive-sensitive an individual could be. THE CLONE WARS’ leaned extra in the direction of the previous however tried to fill in sure obscure gaps.
One storyline that notably involves thoughts is the Mortis trilogy. On this three-parter, Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka are transported to an unknown location deeply related to the Drive. There, they meet the Father, Daughter, and Son: bodily embodiments of the Mild Aspect, Darkish Aspect and the Stability that binds them collectively. All three figures search to check Anakin in hopes that he’ll both rejuvenate the stability or empower the Darkish Aspect.
Anakin and the Father, Courtesy of Lucasfilm Animation
Right here, the Drive is perceived as a literal battle for dominance. The Mortis world is a religious conduit for the Drive’s energy, with its three residents being affected in another way by the surface battle. Thematically, this setup analyzes and questions the effectivity of Stability as inherently essential to deliver peace to the galaxy. Putting that burden within the arms of Anakin, who finally proves prone to the Darkish Aspect’s affect, cleverly foreshadows his future.
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THE CLONE WARS Returns
In comparison with Genndy Tartakovsky’s 2003 STAR WARS: CLONE WARS micro-series, THE CLONE WARS was extra dialogue than action-driven. There have been some early hiccups because of oddly non-chronological entries within the first two seasons, however finally the present’s influence can’t be denied. It offered depth to now-iconic characters whereas additionally exploring surprisingly mature themes about conflict and politics. Even trendy entries like REBELS, SOLO and ROGUE ONE immediately reference THE CLONE WARS as a part of their timeline.
Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Courtesy of Lucasfilm Animation
THE CLONE WARS’ last season will include twelve episode and solely be accessible by means of Disney’s upcoming streaming service. My guess: these remaining episodes will culminate in Maul’s defeat on Mandalore and the aftermath of Order 66. It’s a bittersweet ending, as all of us should settle for this story as a precursor to REVENGE OF THE SITH. However not since SAMURAI JACK have I been this desperate to see an animated present lastly finish by itself phrases. Might the Pressure be with us all in 2019.