tar Wars: The Clone Wars is an animated TV show that sits at the center of Star Wars fans’ hearts all across the galaxy. If you have any prior knowledge of the show, you might know about the hardships it faced throughout its airtime, which spanned—not continuously—from 2008 all the way into 2020, switching between three different networks.
But let’s go back to the beginning. The Clone Wars animated film was released in theaters on August 15, 2008, and it was the kickstart to a show that none of us saw coming. With characters based partly on Genndy Tartakovsky’s 2D animated Clone Wars series, which debuted in 2003, The Clone Wars introduced us to a whole new side of the Prequel Trilogy’s story.
After seeing his work on Avatar: The Last Airbender, George Lucas hired animator and showrunner Dave Filoni to work on the project. That relationship has since provided us with some of our favorite Star Wars content, both in animation and live-action.
However, it wasn’t always easy to keep the show moving forward, as fans came to fully realize when it was suddenly canceled in 2013 as a result of the Disney acquisition. The cancellation sparked huge outrage and disappointment among fans, who did not want to see the show end without any true resolution.
Netflix picked up the show to release its sixth season, a 13-episode batch that satiated fans’ appetites...for a while. Season 6 was a great addition to the story, but it still didn’t truly provide the resolution that fans were craving, so through a massive online campaign called #SaveTheCloneWars, fans of the show fought to see the final season that we all wanted to see.
Finally, on February 21, 2020, the final season began airing on Disney+, giving us what we’d been waiting on for almost six years—a resolution to the stories of characters we love and an explanation of how The Clone Wars fits into the overall Star Wars timeline.
And look where we are now: The Clone Wars has inspired several spinoff series and the new live-action Ahsoka series slated to release later this year. The Clone Wars has given us Rebels, The Bad Batch, Tales of the Jedi, and many other books spawning from that era in the timeline.
But what is it about The Clone Wars that means so much to the Star Wars community at large? Well, we here at Youtini have several answers to that question, but the first and foremost is this: the characters.
The Clone Wars Characters New & Old
You can’t discuss The Clone Wars without discussing Ahsoka Tano, the young Jedi Padawan of Anakin Skywalker who has experienced almost every threat the galaxy could throw her way. But Ahsoka’s tenacity and ability to overcome are two reasons we love her so much. She embodies what it means to fight for light and life, even in the context of so much darkness and destruction. Even when it seems like the people who should be on your side have turned their back on you.
Throughout each season of The Clone Wars, we get to watch Ahsoka grow from a typical bratty teenager into one of the strongest forces for good in the galaxy, and the greatest part is that her story does not end at the close of season seven. It’s no secret that she is one of the favorites of creator Dave Filoni, which means there is plenty of Ahsoka content available to stream at any time.
Captain Rex is a mainstay of The Clone Wars because, as we’ll talk about a little further down, the clones play a huge role in this show. Rex captained the Republic’s 501st Legion of clone troopers under General Anakin Skywalker. As a dynamic team, Rex, Anakin, and Ahsoka led countless successful campaigns against the Separatist Alliance. One of the key differences that set Rex apart was his ability to quickly change plans while already in the field, especially with the Jedi on his side.
Though Rex faced massive hurdles throughout the show, he always pushed through to the other side, exemplifying what it means to fight for the light. He was one of the few clones to stick by the Jedi’s side throughout it all, and he spent his entire life trying to revive the galaxy into something great.
Asajj Ventress is one of the key dark figures of The Clone Wars, serving as an apprentice to none other than the fallen Jedi Master himself, Count Dooku. Throughout the galactic conflict, Ventress makes her moves from the shadows, just as she learned growing up with the Nightsisters of Dathomir, who we’ll talk more about further down.
However, Ventress is more than just a Dark Apprentice. She is a multi-faceted character that always has her own survival at heart. She isn’t afraid to work with or against the Jedi, depending on which side will work out better for herself in the end. An unlikely ally, Asajj Ventress proves herself to be much more important than a warrior of the shadows may seem at first glance. And did we mention she wields one of the coolest sabers in all of The Clone Wars, the double-bladed weapon known as the split-saber.
At the heart of The Clone Wars are, of course, the Clones. Born on the aquatic planet of Kamino, the source of these troops may be mysterious, but their ability to wage war is extremely self-evident. As the show moves forward, we meet several clones who have altered their appearance in different ways in order to set themselves apart, whether that be through different hairstyles, facial scars, tattoos, etc.
If you know your way around Star Wars animated television, then you are probably very familiar with a particular group of five clones originally designated as Clone Force 99 but now better known as the Bad Batch. Apart from the famous team, however, there are other clones such as Fives and Commander Cody who play important roles in The Clone Wars.
Even if you’ve never seen a single episode of The Clone Wars, you know the infamous Sith known as Darth Maul. From his first appearance in The Phantom Menace, you may not think that Maul has any larger role to play in the galaxy, but in fact, he is as resilient as any Jedi and hyper-focused on the power that he may one day hold.
Left to waste away on the junk planet of Lotho Minor, Maul was cast aside by his own master and by the Sith Order entirely. And even though his exile did drive him to the brink of madness, Maul fought his way back to the top of the galactic food chain. The only thing scarier than Maul himself in The Clone Wars is his intense hatred of Obi-Wan Kenobi, whom he has devoted his life to destroying.
It’s no secret that Padmé Amidala gets a lot of character development in the Prequel Trilogy, but what you might not know without The Clone Wars is how she reacts to and fights against the Republic’s inevitable fall to the Dark Side. Alongside other future Rebels such as Mon Mothma and Bail Organa, we get to see Padmé as she grows from the young Queen of Naboo into a formidable, headstrong leader in the Galactic Senate.
As we watch Padmé grow into herself through politics, we also get a lot more insight into her marriage to Anakin. Like any Jedi-Senator relationship, theirs suffers many ups and downs, but their love for each other is always apparent in the end when it matters most. You might even say these two would follow each other into an angry nest of gundarks.
Anakin & Obi-Wan
Speaking of Anakin’s relationships, his other most important partner in the show is his former teacher, Obi-Wan Kenobi. The entire Prequel Trilogy—and some of the Original Trilogy—focuses on the relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan, but in The Clone Wars, we see them as two Jedi who are no longer bound by the Master/Padawan link and who must now find a way to work together as brothers.
In this show, we see Anakin grow through the eyes of Obi-Wan Kenobi into the chosen one—the Jedi who will finally bring balance to the Living Force. And that growth is what makes it even harder to reconcile Anakin’s future self with the one presented in The Clone Wars. The brotherhood of these two Jedi is more apparent than ever in this show, and it deals the final crushing blow in the closing episodes as we watch the fallout of the inevitable Order 66.
Youtini’s Favorite Episode Arcs
There are so many great episode arcs in The Clone Wars. Over the course of all seven seasons, we get to see the galaxy through so many pairs of eyes—and even a few optical lenses of our favorite droids. It was hard to narrow our favorite arcs down to just this list, but we know you’ll love these as much as we do.
Season 2, Episode 12
Season 2, Episode 13
Season 2, Episode 14
The planet Mandalore is featured countless times throughout The Clone Wars, but its first appearance is in the Mandalore Arc of season 2, episodes 12-14. Here we meet the Duchess of Mandalore, Satine Kryze. All she wants is to maintain peace on her homeworld, but the Death Watch, a group of vigilante Mandalorians who disagree with Satine’s aversion to joining the war, stands in her way.
Across the course of the show, Satine is pushed to her limits as the struggle of conflict continues to grow all around her, and her only hope is Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, a man with whom Satine is very familiar. Though Kenobi is dedicated to Satine in every way the Order allows him, it may simply not be enough to save Mandalore.
Witches and Monsters
Season 3, Episode 12
Season 3, Episode 13
Season 3, Episode 14
As mentioned above, Asajj Ventress hails from the planet Dathomir where she was raised in the Force-sensitive clan of the Nightsisters. These witches first appear in the Witches and Monsters arc of season 3, episodes 12-14 where they are not the only residents of Dathomir whom the Republic should fear. The Nightsisters, led by Mother Talzin, conduct a series of tests on their fellow Dathomirians, the Zabraks—Maul’s species.
At the end of their trials, the witches lay claim to a Zabrak by the name of Savage Opress, the monster they want to use against Count Dooku after his abandonment of Ventress. Jedi Masters Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi have their work cut out for them by this new Master and Apprentice pairing of Ventress and Savage. As evidenced in this arc, Mother Talzin and her Nightsisters alone represent formidable opponents for the Jedi, but with the addition of a trained Sith and her new apprentice, Anakin and Obi-Wan find themselves in a bit too deep.
Secrets of Mortis
Season 3, Episode 15
Season 3, Episode 16
Season 3, Episode 17
The secrets that the planet Mortis hides from the rest of the galaxy are impossible to understate. Mortis holds so much knowledge about the Force, including how the balance between Dark and Light might ever be achieved. Appearing in season 3, episodes 15–17, the planet draws Anakin, Ahsoka, and Obi-Wan with whispers of the Force that they have never felt before. There they meet the Father, the Son, and the Daughter, three extremely powerful Force users who must work constantly to maintain balance.
As their exploration continues, Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka are separated, and each of them is forced to view a future that they simply cannot allow to come to pass. With Force visions abounding, each Jedi is pushed to their limit by this mysterious planet, each learning new things about the galaxy as they move forward. With all that this arc has to reveal, we are sure it will be one of your favorites from The Clone Wars.
Season 5, Episode 6
Season 5, Episode 7
Season 5, Episode 8
Season 5, Episode 9
If you’re looking for a bit more cuteness in The Clone Wars to offset all the Force lore and the tragedy of warfare, turn to season 5, episodes 6–9, where Ahsoka and Yoda lead a group of Younglings—including a Wookiee named Gungi—to find and recover Kyber crystals for their first lightsabers. Besides the fun of watching these Younglings on their first true mission, we also get some interesting Kyber Crystal lore in the first episode of this arc.
As the Younglings gather their crystals and construct their first sabers, they find themselves suddenly under attack by a group of pirates, and their first mission turns into something much darker than what they expected. As the arc continues, the danger deepens even further when General Grievous arrives, forcing Ahsoka and the Younglings to team up with the pirates in order to defeat a common enemy.
Season 6, Episode 10
Season 6, Episode 11
Season 6, Episode 12
Season 6, Episode 13
Later in the show, during the season released by Netflix in 2014, we see Yoda go on a spiritual journey of his own, much like that of the Younglings searching for their first Kyber crystals. In season 6, episodes 10–13, it seems that Yoda—a Grand Master Jedi and the single most experienced Force user in the galaxy—isn’t sure what to do next in the eternal battle that is the Clone Wars.
During this arc, Yoda follows the voice of fallen Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn, across the galaxy in order to find the truth. Could it be possible that Qui-Gon has somehow figured out how to retain himself in the Force after death? Or could the voice be a simple but devastating trick of the Dark Side? That is the question that Yoda feels he must answer by himself, away from the influence and ever-watchful eyes of the Council. This arc proves that in times of tragedy and conflict, even the most powerful and steady Jedi can wander from the path of the Force.
The Change in Jedi Philosophy
If there is one thing The Clone Wars is meant to do for viewers, it is provide context for the events of the Prequel Trilogy. How did Palpatine remain hidden from the Jedi as he also trained to become the greatest and most powerful Sith Lord in the history of the Sith? How did the Jedi, a group of peaceful caretakers of the galaxy, become generals in a war fought for years? What happens when the Jedi Council makes a decision that seems heavily manipulated by outside politics?
It would be difficult to answer all of these questions without the context of The Clone Wars. As you move through each season of the show, you’ll notice that themes, arcs, and circumstances become darker and darker, eventually landing us in the events we already know from Revenge of the Sith. It is extremely interesting to chart the fall of the Jedi during this time through the massive changes that their philosophy undergoes.
The philosophical questions raised and explored in this show are one of the reasons it is so much fun to explore, even as an adult. Of course, we all get a lot of enjoyment out of Star Wars content, but there’s no denying that The Clone Wars originally debuted as a children’s cartoon. With the inclusion of these heavier, more gray plot points, it becomes much more about what wartime does to a person’s psyche, especially when that person has spent their entire life striving for peace.
In the end, we know that the Jedi must fall under the new Empire’s reign. The Jedi—and specifically the Jedi Council—allowed themselves to become far too intertwined with the Republic. Rather than peaceful monks, they became politically driven soldiers, and in the end, they were blind to their own mistakes. The fall of the Jedi and the Republic can be attributed to Palpatine’s actions behind the scenes, of course, but some of that blame must also fall on the Jedi themselves and the Masters that led them astray.
The Jedi simply strayed much too far from the guidelines of their own philosophy, and Darth Sidious struck at the opportunity with no mercy at all.
The Clone Wars Watch Order
Why was TCW not released in chronological order?
The Clone Wars was famously not released in chronological order, which is a move that scares off some viewers right away. If it’s not arranged in chronological order, how does a viewer avoid being spoiled for later episodes? Well, the reason that George Lucas has given for his chosen release order of the show—specifically the earlier seasons—is that he wanted to give fans a look into this era of Star Wars through the perspectives of many different characters. Therefore, we might focus on Ahsoka’s situation in one part of the galaxy, then hop back in time to see what Yoda has been up to on Coruscant.
We say all of that to say this: Even though the show was not released in perfect chronological order, it still makes sense as a through-line of storytelling. Episodes do not spoil their later counterparts. Just sit back, relax with a glass of Alderaanian wine and a bowl of Gormaanda’s glowblue noodles, and enjoy The Clone Wars.
Should I watch TCW in chronological order?
All right, now that you know you don’t have to watch The Clone Wars in chronological order, it’s time for the bigger question: should you anyway? That question is a little harder to answer. What it ultimately comes down to is your own personal preferences about how you would like to take in the story. That is especially true after your first full viewing of The Clone Wars in its intended release order.
We here at Youtini hope you’ve found your footing with The Clone Wars now, and if you haven’t jumped into the show just yet, what are you waiting for? Join in on the fun! If you have watched the show and are looking for some more Clone Wars era content, we’ve got you covered with our Canon timeline and Legends timeline to show you all the books that will fill your Clone Wars cravings.
If you’re looking to read more about specific characters from The Clone Wars, go check out our character collections on Ahsoka, Anakin, Ventress, Maul, Obi-Wan, Padmé, and even more!