Plot: Now it is the end of the historic Clone Wars, as the forces of darkness have amassed great power in their bid to transform the Republic into the Galactic Empire. In the conflict’s final days, clone troopers specialize for the dangerous missions ahead, Ahsoka Tano confronts life outside of the Jedi Order, and a familiar menace returns to wreak havoc. The explosive final chapters of the Clone Wars chronicle the end of a major era in Star Wars history.
Review: From 2008 to 2012, Cartoon Network’s STAR WARS series The Clone Wars showed audiences who were indifferent or negative of George Lucas‘ prequel films that there was plenty of story left to tell in the era before Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. While the series did return in 2014 for a brief sixth season, that seemed to be the end of the line for the animated saga from The Mandalorian’s Dave Filoni. With Disney+ came the announcement that a seventh and final season of The Clone Wars would arrive on the streaming service, six years since we last saw Ahsoka Tano, Anakin, Obi-wan, and the Clone Troopers led by Rex and Cody. For the next twelve weeks, fans will ge to say goodbye all over again as Filoni and his crew get to finish their story properly.
While only the first two episodes have been made available for review, I can say that fans are going to be very pleased that the series does not miss a beat after the long hiatus. Like the successor series Star Wars: Rebels, The Clone Wars has a distinct look and style that sets it apart from all other properties set in a galaxy far, far away. No major changes have come to the appearance of the show which brings back all of the main voice talents including Matt Lanter, James Arnold Taylor, Ashley Eckstein, Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, and Sam Witwer as Darth Maul. It also picks up without any sort of lag and continues the narrative as it begins to run alongside the events of REVENGE OF THE SITH.
The first four episodes of the season focus on a group of Clone Troopers known as The Bad Batch. The story heavily focuses on Rex and the presumed dead trooper Echo. This story was previously released on the official Star Wars website in 2015 using animatics. The episodes form a short, self contained arc that lends some nice depth to Rex who would go on to play a role in Star Wars Rebels as well. It may seem odd to introduce an all new group of supporting characters for such a short narrative run, but The Bad Batch are very distinct compared to the Clones we have been accustomed to for the previous six seasons. Something tells me they will get a dedicated fan following themselves when viewers finally get to see this season.
Without revealing much of the plot, this season has the arduous task of wrapping up a lot of open plotlines that would not only explain why many of these characters were absent from REVENGE OF THE SITH but also to make this short final season worth viewing after half a decade. The Clone Wars was always a somewhat disjointed series of anthology like stories that sometimes connected and were sometimes standalone. We certainly get to spend time with Obi-wan and Anakin here and there are references peppered throughout that foreshadow what their fates will be in the final Prequel film, but the attention in these first episodes is squarely on the clones themselves.
Having not seen the entirety of the final season of The Clone Wars, I cannot say whether or not the ending is more satisfying than the fifth or makeshift sixth seasons, but I trust that Dave Filoni and his crew have spent the last couple of years crafting a blend of existing storylines with new material that will bring closure for these characters. Well, we know what becomes of some of them thanks to feature films and the Rebels series, but this season will also serve as a gauge to see whether audiences want more of the STAR WARS saga told in animated form. If it comes even close to the quality of The Clone Wars, the answer will undoubtedly be yes.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars final season premieres February 21st on Disney+.