Series Review: ‘Star Wars: Clone Wars’ is an underrated gem

I’m ecstatic that this often overlooked series will finally get to be enjoyed by the general public on Disney+.

Naren Sankar

Nostalgic man, never giving up. Loves cartoons.

Published: 30 March 2021, 9:39 AM

After the Ewoks and Droids animated series in the 1980s, there was just an empty void of space when it came to having a Star Wars TV show.

This all changed on Nov 7, 2003 when the Star Wars: Clone Wars microseries started airing. The series was meant to bridge the gap between Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.

The microseries ended after three seasons and 25 episodes, leaving everyone excited for what they thought would be the last Star Wars movie in the saga (until the Sequel Trilogy happened!).

With the entire Clone Wars series finally coming to Disney+ on Apr 2 – and the fact that the 16th anniversary of the series ending recently passed (Mar 25, 2005) – I decided to look back and see if it was still as good as I recalled.

Fortunately, it’s even better than what I remembered!

For starters, this series relies on visuals rather than dialogue. This was because the series creator, Genndy Tartakovsky, was restricted by Star Wars creator, George Lucas, to making each episode between only three to five minutes long. Furthermore, Tartakovsky was also told by Lucasfilm (the company that owns Star Wars) to avoid having character arcs and furthering any story elements for season one of Clone Wars.

What this meant is that the audience got almost non-stop action from characters who were otherwise not prominent in the movies.

I love how Mace Windu had a battle with B2 super battle droids without his lightsaber at one point, and still managed to defeat them – all while running at breakneck speed.

The show portrays both the Jedi and Sith to be exceptionally powerful, and I appreciated seeing their true power.

Lucas was impressed after season one and allowed a character – who would later appear in Revenge of the Sith – to be introduced in the series: General Grievous.

I absolutely loved him in this, because Grievous is a Jedi-killing machine.

The microseries even offers a possible explanation as to how Grievous went from being a fearsome killer to a coward who ran away when he was going to be defeated.

Grievous collects the lightsabers of the Jedis he has defeated, which this series shows in chilling detail. PHOTO CREDIT: TWITTER/@YOTAKUBOI

After Grievous was introduced, more story arcs came into play. This brings me to this next reason I love this show: consistency.

This series shows Dooku – who, despite being evil, is my favourite Star Wars character – training Grievous.

In Revenge of the Sith, released shortly after this microseries ended in 2005, Grievous makes a nod to the Clone Wars series when he mentions that he was trained by Count Dooku.

Another example of filling in the gaps is when Anakin Skywalker becomes a Jedi Knight and has his braid symbolically cut off in the 2003 series.

This is in contrast to the 2008 move which started off with Anakin with his braid already cut off, leaving a plot-hole that missed out on explaining how he became a knight.

Other moments which linked to the rest of the movies include Palpatine being kidnapped by Grievous, leading directly into Revenge of the Sith, and C-3PO getting his gold plating (which he’d have in subsequent Star Wars movies).

The relationship between Padme and Anakin is explored more in this series, making Padme’s death in Revenge of the Sith more impactful. PHOTO CREDIT: LUCASFILM LTD

The question stands: Should you watch the 2003 series instead of the 2008 series? Personally, I would say yes.

The 2008 series expanded the lore of Star Wars and gave us fan favourite characters like Ahsoka Tano and had superb emotional moments. Without the success of the 2003 series, the 2008 series and everything that came after might not exist today.

Character designs in the 2008 series were even based on the designs from the 2003 series. PHOTO CREDIT: TWITTER/@DOOKUTYRANUS, LUCASFILM LTD

The idea of the Clone Wars series was to bridge the gap between two movies. In that regard, with all its consistency and cool characters within a few episodes, Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003) is the clear winner for me.

If only Tartakovsky and his team were allowed to make character arcs from the very start of the series, I am certain that the 2003 series would have been as popular as its longer 2008 counterpart.

The best part? You will soon be able to enjoy both the 2003 series as well as the 2008 series on Disney+.

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