If you’re not familiar with the series, The Clone Wars is a CG animated series which takes place between the events of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. To be totally accurate, it also takes place in a timeline gap in the final few episodes of the Clone Wars series produced for The Cartoon Network by Genndy Tartakovsky.
Clone Wars took us in bite-sized nuggets from the start of the Clone Wars right up to the space battle over Coruscant we see at the beginning of Episode III. While lauded by fans, Clone Wars’ format didn’t allow for a great deal of character development, due to the brevity of each episode. It did, however introduce us to a terrific baddie in the form of Asajj Ventress, apprentice to Count Dooku and a formidable warrior.
When Clone Wars completed its twenty-five episode run, The Clone Wars took over, filling in the gap left by Clone Wars (note the ‘The’ delineating the series!). George Lucas stated that this new series would run for around a hundred episodes. Each episode is a little over twenty-minutes in length, giving more scope for characterisation and plot progression.
On viewing the first few episodes, it was decided that they should be combined and released as a theatrical motion picture. The result was a movie that got blasted by critics and fans alike.
Sent to save Jabba the Hutt’s son, Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi are joined by Ahsoka Tano, a young Padawan learner assigned to a reluctant Anakin. Meanwhile, Padme Amidala (Anakin’s wife, remember) discovers that the kidnapping of Jabba’s son is part of a plan by Dooku to seize power from the Hutt clans. Or something.
Anyway, it’s not great, but it did launch a television series that would only get better and better as time went by.
The Clone Wars introduced a brilliant new character in the form of Ahsoka Tano, the young Padawan who has become a fan favourite. There is endless speculation as to what her ultimate fate will be, seeing that she is not even mentioned in Episode III, yet appears to have played an enormously important role in the couple of years leading up to events in that movie. Does she die? Does she turn to the Dark Side? Does she leave the Jedi Order? Or is she simply killed during Palpatine’s issuance of Order 66? Hopefully, we will find out in the next two seasons.
The Clone Wars had a shaky start, what with the feature film fiasco, but it soon got into its stride, fleshing out characters and introducing recurring bad guys, such as the bounty hunter Cad Bane and Savage Opress. We were also reacquainted with old friends, such as Boba Fett, Aura Sing, General Grievous, an arrogant Republic officer called Tarkin and a mighty Wookiee by the name of Chewbacca.
Season One focussed on the war in general, with the Jedi undertaking daring missions and the bad guys being, well, bad. We also got insights into the Clones themselves and learn that they aren’t just cannon fodder or at least shouldn’t be regarded as such.
Season Two had bounty hunters doing all sorts of wicked things for Count Dooku, as well as a terrifying episode set in deep, Geonosian caves where ‘zombies’ lurk.
Season Three sees Ventress turn on Dooku, creating Opress to kill the Sith Lord. We also see Ahsoka appearing to mature and promising to be a powerful Jedi. Has she been tainted by the Dark Side, though? Not only is she being trained by Anakin Skywalker, but she was also ‘infected’ with the Dark Side on the planet Mortis. We also see how her power has grown when she Force-pushes the leader of the Trandoshan hunters through a door, killing him.
What will happen in Season Four? Well, there was the suggestion in Season Three that, somehow, Darth Maul will return. In the episode, ‘Witches of the Mist’, Opress was sent to find his ‘exiled brother’ and we see an image of somebody who looks very like Darth Maul. Maybe we’ll discover his real name.
I think it is time Ahsoka was made a full Jedi. She has shown that she is more than able to handle any situation as skilfully as most of her Jedi peers. That said, at the very end of the third season, as he watches Anakin and Ahsoka, there is a look of uncertainty in the eyes of Yoda. Is he sensing something that will be made apparent or am I completely wrong? Maybe it was just wind. We’ll see…
A complete list of episodes can be found here.
© Steve JC Johnson
Updated 26th March, 2011