Back when Star Wars: The Clone Wars first went on the air in 2008, I was at the end of a short time period in my life where I stayed away from “nerdy” things, because I thought they made me uncool. For a lot of high school and the start of college, I really wanted to fit in with the “popular kids”. Stupid, I know. The point is that I completely missed the launch of this awesome show. I did hear about the show afterwards, but when I saw it, I thought that it looked like a show for children. I wasn’t completely wrong. The Clone Wars is a show for children AND for adults. It’s for Star Wars fans of all ages and it took a release on Netflix for me to finally discover that. I started watching this Spring and I was hooked. I didn’t watch as many this Summer, because I was distracted by Chuck, but I did finally finish the series this month after several binge viewings.
So, I loved The Clone Wars, but why is it so great? The biggest reason is the depth that it brings to the Star Wars universe, specifically the prequel stories, and more specifically to Anakin Skywalker. I didn’t hate Anakin’s portrayal in the prequels as much as some did, but it was definitely one of the weaker parts of them. He got on my nerves. He didn’t live up to the legend that General Skywalker should have been, and The Clone Wars fixes that. For the first time ever, I found myself liking Anakin. He’s even one of my favorite characters in the series. His light side shines predominantly, with his dark side surfacing from time to time. There’s no annoying side. Anakin done right is one of the biggest reasons why The Clone Wars is great and it makes his fall in Episode III all the more tragic. Other areas of depth include the clones themselves. You’ll have a whole new appreciate for the clones after watching this show. They’re not just mindless automatons like the battle droids. It wasn’t really shown in the movies, but these guys all have their own personalities. It’s how I would expect clones to be in real life. Each clone may physically look like one another (and like Jango Fett), but they are each their own person. Their own individual. Getting to know these clones also adds to the tragedy of Episode III, when they lose their personalities to Order 66, and are forced to murder their Jedi friends and comrades. Anakin and the Clones are just two prominent examples of the depth that The Clone Wars series adds to the overall Star Wars universe. The series jumps all around the Clone Wars and can thus tell all kinds of stories that occurred in that time period.
Another reason why The Clone Wars is so great is Ahsoka Tano. Ahsoka is Anakin’s Tagruta Jedi Padawan. She could have easily been an annoying character, but thanks to the writers and Ashley Eckstein (voice of Tano), she was instead incredibly charming. As a Padawan and a teenager, she’s in place where she’s still not in complete control of her feelings, at least compared to a Jedi who has completed the trials. This gives her more personality than many of the Jedi Masters that populate the series. They can be a bit bland, but that’s how the Jedi of their time were supposed to be. To make matters more interesting, she has Anakin to teach her, who does things differently than other Jedi. They make for a very interested duo and he passes along the best parts of himself to her. The bad news is that she has to learn how to be a Jedi Knight during a horrible war. A young person like her (14 at the start of the war) should never have to fight in a war, but she does, and she learns many tough lessons because of it. You put all of that together, and you’ve got the formula for a very interesting character, one that I’m sure many teens could identify with. Ahsoka is a great and fun character, and easily my favorite of the series. I would even say that she’s one of my favorities of the whole Star Wars universe. Not quite the #1 favorite, but she’s on the short list!
The Clone Wars have always been a mysterious historical event in the Star Wars series for fans of the Original Trilogy like myself. It’s barely mentioned, but it was enough to intrigue us. The prequel movies allowed us to finally see the time period of The Clone Wars, but not much of the actual war. I’m glad that The Clone Wars was able to fill this absence. Now that it remains as the only canon besides the movies, it becomes all the more important to the Star Wars universe. The stories told in The Clone Wars ARE Star Wars and should be seen by all Star Wars fans. Don’t be fooled by the fact that it’s a cartoon that originally aired on Cartoon Network. Like I said, this is a series that both children and adults will enjoy. How many shows can the whole family enjoy together these days? I just wish that it hadn’t been cancelled before they were able to finish telling all their stories. Despite the cancellation, the 6th season on Netflix leaves the show with a good ending. I only have one thing left hanging that is killing me, but I have hope that it will be answered in some form eventually.