The Clone Wars Final Season: the Best of the Best
The final season of the acclaimed Star Wars: the Clone Wars series is the best material Star Wars has produced, ever.
It’s unfortunate that I started this blog in 2020, if only I had started it in 2008. Granted I would have been six years old, that would’ve been difficult. With that being said, Star Wars: the Clone Wars premiered in the year 2008, and it is some of the best Star Wars content ever made, shows and movies included. Especially it’s conclusion, season seven, which premiered earlier in 2020 (pre-pandemic).
I grew up with the Clone Wars, and it is one of the most beloved pieces in Star Wars. I wish I could give an in-depth, full analysis of each episode within the the seven-season show. Some highlights however, include General Grievous as a whole, the emergence of new characters such as Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex, the Umbara Arc, Fives discovering Order 66, the Mandalorians, and so many more.
However, all of these moments transpire and converge into what is some of the best material Star Wars has ever made: the Clone Wars Final Season. There are tons of moments and scenes that made my inner-nerd jump for joy while watching this season. And once again, I could give an in-depth review for each episode. However, I’m late to the party so I have to do my best to summarize the awesomeness of this show within one blog post.
The final season is comprised of three parts. The first part is centered on Captain Rex discovering that fellow clone trooper, Echo, is still alive and being used by the Separatists for intelligence. And the second part involves Ahsoka Tano, and exploring her life post-Jedi order. Although these two parts don’t have much to offer, I will quickly dive into some of my favorite moments.
First and foremost, the opening monologue of the first episode depicts a broken-down, battle-tested Grievous who simply looks badass. I was disappointed that he wasn’t in the final season, as he was such an integral part of the show (and he’s one of my favorite characters). This was one of my few complaints with the final season.
However, in terms of the first part of the season, some highlights were seeing some old faces again: Kix and Jesse, Obi-Wan, and of course, Master Yoda. The return of Admiral Trench was a welcome one too, especially when Anakin blatantly kills him. This was my favorite scene of the first arc. As a member of the Jedi order, it is forbidden to kill unless acting in self-defense. Just like many other moments throughout the series, this moment signals the dark, dangerous path Anakin Skywalker is on, as he soon will become Darth Vader.
The second, middle part of the final season is easily the worst, which is disappointing because of the return of Ahsoka. Furthermore, it is not Ahsoka who is lacking, it is her character counterparts: the Martez Sisters, Rafa and Trace. Quite frankly, these characters don’t add anything to the storyline, unlike Echo in the previous episodes. Overall, the only positive aspect of these middle episodes is getting to see Ahsoka again, and eventually her re-introduction to Bo Katan and the Mandalorians (expect a post about them and their culture in the future).
This is where the season goes from great to amazing. The final story arc, also known as the Siege of Mandalore, highlights a powerful and theatrical movie-esc storyline with amazing animation and emotional scenes. The final storyline is driven by two characters: Ahsoka and Rex, and it brings them together in an emotional final masterpiece.
According to Clone Wars show-runner Dave Filoni, the final story arc brings Ahsoka and Captain Rex together “because, in the end, The Clone Wars to me is about Ahsoka and Rex.”
The first episode in the Siege of Mandalore storyline highlights the reunion between Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka, his former padawan. From the start, the two fail to reconcile. Anakin, who is excited to see Ahsoka again, is somewhat ignored by Ahsoka, who is only dedicated to the mission of capturing Darth Maul. However, there is a small glimpse of hope with their parting words. Ahsoka wishes Anakin luck on his mission to rescue Palpatine from General Grievous. However, this will be the final interaction between Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka. The two will meet again in Star Wars: Rebels, only for Anakin to be turned to the Dark Side as Vader. It truly is beautiful storytelling on Filoni’s part.
The next episode, titled the Phantom Apprentice, is incredibly ominous for the reason that Darth Maul knows about Order 66 and the eventful fate of Anakin. The highlight of this episode, and perhaps the entire series, is Maul dueling with Ahsoka. Due to fantastic motion-captured choreography, portrayed by in-person Maul actor Ray Park along with Lauren Mary Kim as Ahsoka, the duel feels incredibly real and powerful. As the duel progresses, Maul is captured by Ahsoka and the clones. As he is captured by the Republic soldiers, Maul shrieks and claims the Jedi don’t know what’s coming, and he is completely correct. The clones, Ahsoka, and even Maul are all pawns in Emperor Palpatine’s master plan. Perfection.
The next episodes of the season are the most powerful and gut-wrenching of the entire series, chronicled by Order 66. Rex shakes with fear as he receives the orders from Palpatine, and it is hard to watch the lovable, original Rex become a mindless drone with little emotion. Before Rex fires at Ahsoka unthinkingly, he asks her to find Fives (my favorite character in the series) and discover the truth about Order 66. With that information, and a little help from some astromech droids, Ahsoka removes Rex’s inhibitor chip.
Meanwhile, Maul’s escape and chaos is one of the most stunning scenes in all of Clone Wars. His scene is somewhat similar to Vader calmly walking toward the Rebels in Rouge One. Maul menacingly walks the hallway decapitating clone troopers on his way to destroying the hyperdrive generators, eventually crashing the ship. In this scene, Clone Wars demonstrates the sheer power and destruction of Maul, one of the most underrated characters in the entire saga, and my favorite character of all time as a matter of fact.
The series finale of the show, Victory and Death, was the best possible ending for one of Star Wars’ best pieces of content. The episode starts with Rex tearing up before Ahsoka, realizing he must betray his fellow brothers in order for Ahsoka and himself to survive, all while recognizing that everyone aboard the ship is hurtling towards their death. As the ship crashes toward a nearby planet, Maul mumbles to Ahsoka, “you wanted this chaos.”
And Maul was correct, the following scene shows Ahsoka standing in front of a graveyard of bloodied clone trooper helmets, with Jesse’s at the center, one of the few clones fans of Star Wars got to genuinely know. Ahsoka drops her lightsaber in the graveyard, dismissing the Jedi Order and the Force in general as she realizes it has failed everyone, including herself and her friends.
The show concludes with none other than the image of a turned Anakin Skywalker, now Darth Vader, as he slowly walks toward the graveyard (when I heard Vader’s muffled breath, I lost it and screamed). At this point, the moon is covered in snow, burying the graveyard. Vader discovers Ahsoka’s buried lightsaber, and ignites it, finally destroying every aspect of his past self; he destroyed his friendship with Obi-Wan, he killed his wife, and now, the student he helped teach, is believed to be dead. The scene symbolizes the very moment Vader loses the final piece of goodness and hope of Anakin Skywalker.
And so Clone Wars ends — bleak, desolate, and hopeless, with the birth of Darth Vader. Chills.