By Drew Sutherland ’21
Note: this article contains minor spoilers for the entire Star Wars franchise.
To all of you who did not wheeze the words “General Kenobi” out loud, you have much to learn my young padawan. If you are cool, you will know what day occurred three Mondays ago: that’s right, it was Star Wars Day 2020. No, I’m not talking about the 27th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s Cold War era Strategic Defense Initiative, but the franchise of sci-fi action movies originated by George Lucas. May the Fourth be with you, always.
There were many major events for Star Wars fans that day, including the release of the horrendous Rise of Skywalker for streaming. Yes, I used the word horrendous. There are other words I could use too, including confusing, boring, cringe-worthy, and just plain bad. If someone wants to debate me or any real Star Wars fans about the ending of the Skywalker Saga, they can. And they will most likely lose because the film is trash. I am sorry for the rant, and while I do have very strong opinions, I understand that some people did enjoy it. That does not make me think less of them. Well, it does a bit.
The far better event that occurred on this day was the series finale of the brilliant Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Technically, it’s the third series finale. First, it ended when it was cancelled by Cartoon Network in 2013 after its fifth season, before the story came to a fulfilling conclusion. It was then renewed in 2014 on Netflix for a set of episodes called “The Lost Missions,” which comprised half of the planned final season. This February, six years since die-hard fans had had any new Clone Wars content, “The Final Season” was released on Disney Plus for streaming, which included almost all of the remaining planned content
I can remember walking into Kindergarten after watching the series premiere of The Clone Wars and pretending I was Master Yoda destroying an entire droid army. The Clone Wars helped define my childhood and the entirety of elementary school, as well as, I assume, many other current high school and college students. Over the course of twelve years, there have been five full seasons, a movie, and two shorter seasons. Star Wars: The Clone Wars is in fact amazing and for all Star Wars fans, or anyone who wishes to experience one of the best series in television history, you will not regret watching it.
The Clone Wars has included numerous memorable characters, such as Plo Koon, Savage Opress, Pong Krell, and Pre Vizsla. It also includes many characters who are not memorable, or are memorable for the wrong reason, such as Rush Clovis, Jar Jar Binks, and every true fan knows what I mean when we say we despise Barriss Offee. It has also included some of the best episodes and story arcs in all of television history.
I shall now use up far too much of my time listing the best stories in the entirety of the series.
The original, feature-length installment to the series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, is a masterful piece of cinema that introduces new major characters such as Captain Rex, Asajj Ventress, and Ahsoka Tano. During Season One of the series, it was still finding itself: its storylines were fairly good, but not great. These include Kit Fisto’s attack on General Grievous, Mace Windu’s liberation of Ryloth, Count Dooku’s humorous kidnapping by pirates, and the destruction of the Separatist Warship, the Malevolence.
Season Two is entertaining, but only has a few memorable episodes, including the heist on the Jedi Temple, Boba Fett’s reintroduction, and the wonderful Mandalore arc introducing Pre Vizsla and the Darksaber. Season Three is when the Clone Wars truly embraces its identity. It includes the Separatist raid on Kamino, Savage Opress’s terrifying introduction, the Jedi rescue from the Citadel, and the prophecy on the planet of Mortis.
Season Four is when the show truly hits its stride with amazing stories, such as when Obi-Wan gets sold into slavery, disguises himself as a bounty hunter, and enters a cruel contest, Pong Krell’s lead of Captain Rex’s unit, and the return of Darth Maul.
Season Five is practically perfect. It includes memorable arcs, such as Ahsoka leading younglings to create their own lightsabers, Darth Maul’s crime syndicate, and the finale: the bombing of the Jedi Temple. The first series finale ends with Anakin and Ahsoka learning the truth about who really bombed the Jedi Temple, and it witnesses the latter leaving the Jedi order.
Season Six, The Lost Missions, is very… meh. Technical cinematic term. It has a few amazing storylines, such as when Arc Trooper Fives learns the truth about mysterious chips implanted inside all clones, and Jedi Master Yoda learns the truth about the history of the force. Overall, the rest of the season is incredibly forgettable. The second series finale ends with a climactic four-way lightsaber duel between Yoda, Anakin, Dooku, and Darth Sidious that occurs within Yoda’s mind.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Finally, Season Seven:This current season only contains three storylines, all of which vary in quality. The first follows a group of clones known as The Bad Batch, the second sees Ahsoka return and help two sisters fight a crime lord, and the third arc will take a bit more time to explain. The first two stories mentioned have good moments, but are not the best the show could be. The final arc sees Ahsoka and Rex attack Mandalore, which is under the control of Darth Maul. What is so special about this storyline is the fact that it takes place contemporaneously with the events of Revenge of the Sith.
Ahsoka and Maul’s exciting lightsaber battle is by far the best in the series. It is actually the only one performed using motion capture technology, which means the actors themselves are doing the motion in special suits and it transfers to animation. Ray Park, the actor who played Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace, returned to perform as Maul in this climactic duel.
The real payoff is the final two episodes following Darth Maul’s capture by the Republic. The execution of Order 66, the order to kill all Jedi, occurs while Ahsoka is travelling with clones back to the Capital. The series ended on a bittersweet note, and I am currently rewatching the series from the beginning to fill the void that the end has brought me.
Overall, The Clone Wars is a brilliant addition to the Star Wars universe that perfectly bridges the gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Let’s be real for a second: this past Star Wars Day was the first in history when the story of the Skywalkers is complete, so what is there for Star Wars fans to do anymore? A whole lot.
1. Seeing how long you can watch the prequel trilogy without making fun of the acting or the writing (my record is 18 minutes),
2. You can memorize the entirety of Anakin and Obi-Wan’s confrontation on Mustafar in Revenge of the Sith, or my personal favorite,
3. See how many obnoxious Star Wars quotes you can say in class. Some fun examples include:
–“I am the senate” and “I love democracy” in Honors Gov.,
–“I have the high ground” in Physics,
–“Never tell me the odds” in Statistics,
–“There’s always a bigger fish” in Marine Biology, perhaps?
–“Do or do not, there is no try” in Honors Philosophy,
Any quote said by Yoda while studying syntax in English, or
–“UNLIMITED POWER!” in IDEAS classes
–Then there’s the ever-misquoted “No, I am your father” while studying genetics in Biology, and, finally,
–“Have you ever heard the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise?” in History? (Or during a Shakespeare unit in English?)
Long story short, I’m a nerd. And Star Wars, especially The Clone Wars, is awesome, even if Rise of Skywalker was bad, which it was. Since I’ve talked about its beauty, I’ll now speak of some of its flaws in my opinion. Pacing of the story line is sometimes an issue in the original trilogy. The dialogue, acting, and Jar Jar Binks were horrible in the prequels, and The Last Jedi was…different. Also General Grievous is a character who they messed up in Revenge of the Sith by trying to make him scary, but it didn’t work. One more greatness The Clone Wars brings is it changes Grievous to comic relief and an over-the-top villain, rather than one who makes the audience scared. And it totally works!
All in all, Star Wars as a franchise is truly epic, and if you can’t recite the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the wise, you’re doing something wrong in your life.