Fans of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” were blindsided by Cartoon Network’s decision to pull the plug on the popular show midway through its run, leaving many stories of the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy timeline unfinished. Even after Netflix revived the show for a temporary sixth season, “The Clone Wars” never got the proper conclusion that was supposed to coincide with the events of Revenge of the Sith.
But a new hope arrived when Disney announced that “The Clone Wars” would be revived on Disney+, and with it a proper conclusion to the series that has created fan favorite characters such as Ahsoka Tano and clone Captain Rex. The return of the series has led to high expectations from longtime “Star Wars” director Dave Filoni, who created the original Clone Wars movie, the show, and its successor Rebels.
With that being said, season seven of “The Clone Wars” maintains its roots as an anthology; being made up of many story lines and arcs that when tied together form a large cohesive picture for the missing time period between “Episode II: Attack of the Clone” and “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.” Season seven consists of three, four-episode arcs that are meant to resolve previous storylines featured in the show.
The first arc in the new season revolves around the Bad Batch, a four man squad of enhanced clone troopers that look, act and function differently compared to the standard line clone trooper seen throughout the movies and show. While the series is no stranger to humanizing and individualizing clone troopers who are all identical from one another, the Bad Batch takes it up a notch by making them super soldiers to perform clandestine operations.
Whereas a normal clone trooper can be seen as a basic infantryman, the Bad Batch is more reminiscent of special forces teams like The Dirty Dozen and SEAL Team 6. The squad is sent to rescue clone trooper Echo, who appeared in season one of the show but was thought to have been killed in an explosion in season three.
While this arc was enjoyable with its classic clone trooper action, the story of Echo should’ve been left with his death in season three as his resurrection does nothing for the overall story of “The Clone Wars.” But it goes to show how talented of a voice actor Dee Bradley Baker is in having to voice hundreds of identical soldiers with unique individual personalities.
The second arc picks up directly where season five ended with Ahsoka voluntary leaving the Jedi Order after having been falsely accused of terrorism. Even after her name was absolved from any wrongdoing, she felt betrayed that the Order had thrown her out on a whim and decided to leave until the time was right for her return.
As she’s flying around the capital planet of Coruscant, her speeder has mechanical troubles and is forced to land on a platform in the Undercity. There she befriends two sisters, Trace and Rafa who coax her into the intergalactic drug trade. It is during this adventure that she finds out Darth Maul has been running the drug operation through shadow organizations, hoping to lead Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi into a trap.
This arc was the weakest out of the three, with the first episode only serving as the introduction, leading the rest of the episodes to fall flat and should just be skipped entirely. But Ahsoka’s character shifts gears when she realizes how bad the galaxy could be while helping struggling drug dealers and how the Jedi can’t possibly save everyone in the galaxy. This newly shifted attitude is expanded upon in the final, and most anticipated arc: The Siege of Mandalore.
The Siege of Mandalore has been highly referenced in other books, comics and shows like “Rebels” and “The Mandalorian,” but has never been put to screen. Until now.
As Ahsoka learns where the fugitive Maul is, she contacts Anakin and Obi-Wan for assistance to besiege the planet of Mandalore. But the events of “Revenge of the Sith” get in the way, and Obi-Wan and Anakin are called to rescue Palpatine from General Grievous.
The Siege of Mandalore arc starts to fill in the gaps of where Ahsoka was during the events of Revenge of the Sith and how she came to survive, which was never explained in “Rebels.” Each of the four episodes brings so much emotional weight to not just the series, but to the entire franchise.
In the first episode of the arc, Ahsoka leads her troops into battle against Maul’s forces, where Maul is unaware that it is Ahsoka who is commanding the force and not Anakin or Obi-Wan. The battle sequence of this episode is the best in the entire show, even compared to previous battles in a show revolved around war. This episode marks the point where “Revenge of the Sith” begins to cross over with the end of “The Clone Wars”
The second episode of the arc solely focuses on the conflict between Maul and Ahsoka. The episode has the two former Sith and Jedi, respectively, duking it out in one of the best lightsaber duels in the franchise, in a metaphorical reflection of one another as former apprentices.
The third episode of the Siege reveals how the clones dealt with Ahsoka as Palpatine issued Order 66 to them. Captain Rex struggles to carry out the order, but before he does hints to Ahsoka to find trooper Fives’ classified file, which was featured in season six before he was killed by order of Palpatine.
As this is all happening, Maul goes on a rampage throughout the ship decapitating clones, amputating arms with closing doors and throwing the entire ship into chaos. The best part of the episode was the use of the original Order 66 music from “Revenge of the Sith” by John Williams, showing that the story of “Star Wars” is told by its music as much as it is by what’s on screen.
And all of this leads up the long awaited series finale: “Victory and Death.” Currently, “Victory and Death” is the fourth highest rated TV episode of all time on IMDB, a rank that it has rightfully earned due to its anticipation and quality.
The sheer emotion of having to see Captain Rex and Ahsoka fight through an entire ship of clone soldiers that they’ve fought with and led through a tumultuous war was heartbreaking to say the least. The real kicker was when clone trooper Jesse, the lone survivor of clones who’ve appeared since season one, chose to go down with the ship trying to kill Ahsoka rather than to join forces with her and remove his control chip.
When “The Clone Wars” ended abruptly after season six in 2014, Yoda and other Jedi walked off with the hope for a “victory for all time [not the war]” for their souls, since a war can never be won. This ending paints no happy ending, no prospective future of a possible sequel and no real victor in this war, only Palpatine’s.
It’s the ending that “The Clone Wars” always deserved, and a dignified close to an era of “Star Wars” that wasn’t always so dignified, given the critical track record of the prequel trilogy. But at long last “The Clone Wars” has a true and proper finale, and with it the end of many fan’s childhoods, hopes and dreams for great “Star Wars” content.