by Hans A. Carpenter
Streaming on Disney-Plus
Showrunner: Dave Filoni
Mister Marquee Says: Gooooooood
Star Wars: The Clone Wars returned to streaming on Disney-Plus giving fans a last taste of the well-regarded cartoon set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Ashoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker’s former apprentice, tries to find her way in the world after leaving the Jedi Order as a sinister plot begins to unfold that will reshape the galaxy.
The final 12 episodes of The Clones Wars are a bit uneven, but what Dave Filoni and his crew do well they do very, very well. As we inch closer to Revenge of the Sith, and the tragic events of Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the dark side and the Clones turning on their Jedi comrades, a sense of unease starts to creep into the second half of the season. We know where this is going, and these episodes do a great job of blending the Clone Wars into Revenge of the Sith in a way that feels preventable and inevitable.
The Clones are really treated as people in this show, so to see them forced to turn on their Jedi friends after years of fighting side by side is even more heartbreaking than in Revenge of the Sith, where they are treated more as background dressing for battle scenes. Darth Maul, a character cut in half and tossed away by the movies, gets his chance to shine.
The final scene of the final episode is heartbreaking, and truly a beautiful moment of TV. Never at any point does it feel like the events of the series are being crammed into the frame work of Revenge of the Sith, or really the Star Wars Rebels cartoon that picks up in-between Revenge of the Sith and Rogue 1. This could have easily turned into a race to get characters into position for the next film, which if we’re being honest was the last 15 minutes of Revenge of the Sith in a nutshell.
Clunky early episodes that feel like filler ultimately drag this season down. While taking a chance to show the lives of non-combatant, disenfranchised civilians goes a long way to showing how the public felt about the Jedi and how lost the Republic had already become, the episodes that feature Ashoka in a drug deal gone bad with a pair of street smart sisters could be cut. Keeping a tighter focus on the end of the Jedi from a different perspective would have made for a much tighter season.
Still, this is some of the best Star Wars stuff to come out. You can lose friends and family over love/hate/love-to-hate teeter totter of the sequel movies, but it’s hard to deny that while Star Wars may be drunkly stumbling around on the big screen, the franchise is in great shape on the silver screen, or I suppose the stream screen.
by Hans A. Carpenter