Twelve years on, and I still remember going going to see Star Wars: The Clone Wars in theaters with my old man. Little did I know at the time, but the movie that critics tore to shreds would spawn one of the best cartoons I have the pleasure of viewing, Star Wars: the Clone Wars. With the release of Revenge of the Sith three years prior, everyone thought the circle of the Skywalker Saga was now complete. Thank the Force that Lucasfilm proved us wrong.
If you recall my earlier post on the subject, I have a bit of a soft spot for the Prequel Trilogy, in spite of its flaws. As a result, I took to The Clone Wars fairly quickly, to the point where I had a weekly ritual for watching it. I would grab an old lightsaber I had lying around, and when the opening started, I would swing it around like a Jedi before striking a cool pose. It was totally nerdy, but I didn’t care. I would end up watching The Clone Wars throughout its five year run on Cartoon Network, and as a fan and a critic, I can safely say that kept the flame of Star Wars alive during that time.
A Grand Adventure…
In hindsight, I realize that there was a pattern to the show regarding its tone. At the start, it seemed a lot more light-hearted and fun, with very little continuity between episodes. The writers made the whole thing seem like some of grand adventure, with an epic clash of good vs evil. It was still a show about a galaxy-spanning war, but seeing the heroes win every week made us forget about that. 2
Looking back, I now see this as a deliberate attempt by Filoni and the writers to induce a sense of idealism. We would start with something exciting and pure, like the kind of war movie you’d expect John Wayne to star in. That’s how many used to think wars were like: dangerous but exciting. Maybe we just wanted to think like that because we knew what awaited us at the very end. As the series continued, though, it began to delve into more nuanced stories that went beyond the war. Suddenly, the grand adventure didn’t seem so grand anymore.
…Suddenly Gets Darker
I think I mentioned it before, but one thing I loved about The Clone Wars was how it matured as it got older. Slowly, the reality that we were watching a war that would end with the fall of the Jedi began to re-assert itself. Then came the Umbara Arc; while it wasn’t the best arc in the show, for me, it was what really drove home the truth about the conflict. The Jedi would ultimately go into hiding, Sidious’ Empire would rise, and darkness would reign.
After that, I just saw the show get progressively darker and cooler before we got the darkest story yet: Ashoka on the run. Ever since the film, fans had been wondering if Ashoka survived the Clone Wars. Thus, when she wound be falsely accused of crimes she didn’t commit, we thought this is it. Ashoka’s done for. Anakin cleared her name, but the damage was done.
After seeing the Jedi Council throw Ashoka to the wolves with so little hesitation made me lose almost all respect for them. No wonder she chose to leave the Jedi order. Deep down, though, I was also relieved, as it meant Ashoka would survive the war. However, it would be years before we found out what happened to her, or to Rex. Star Wars: The Clone Wars was cancelled, a victim of Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm and the Disney-Warner Bros. War.
Lucasfilm’s put up a sixth season on Netflix, but to be honest, I didn’t really watch it. The fire had just gone out for me. However, like many fans, I hoped for the day when the final episodes of the show would be made. So, when word came that a 7th and final season of Star Wars: the Clone Wars would air on Disney+, I was filled with joy.
Thanks to material that’s come out since the show first ended, we already know how the series will end. Ashoka will face off against Maul, Order 66 will begin, and she and Rex will go into hiding. However, that’s not going to make the whole thing any less exciting. So you can bet you credits that I intend to review every episode of this final season. So, come back tomorrow night to see my review of the first episode of the final season, “The Bad Batch.” If the promo’s are anything to go by, though, it’s going to be good!
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU.
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