Ben’s Breakdown | A Fitting and Dark Finale to “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”

When the Star Wars movies first premiered in the ’70s it did more than take the world by storm. It was a cultural phenomenon. Some might even say it was the birth of mainstream pop culture. Then in 1999 George Lucas finally delivered on an old promise and gave us the first of the prequel trilogy films that continued through to 2005. They were not as well-received by fans, but it did not diminish their love for the franchise. Lucasfilm released a series of short animated stories that took place almost immediately after “Attack of the Clones.” It was greeted with great enthusiasm and helped to set the stage for “Revenge of the Sith.” However, Lucasfilm was not done exploring the time between episodes II and III, and a CGI animated feature was produced titled Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It was viewed as a mediocre attempt, but it did solidify the presence of Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus as well as introduce a new apprentice for Anakin Skywalker named Ahsoka Tano.

This led to the television series of the same name that was originally set to tell more of the three years between the last two prequel films. Now that series saw its last season and final episodes on the Disney+ streaming service, taking the series in a different and very dark direction. While the majority of the series was presented as a documentary war film, the final episodes were anything of the like. Now the series was paralleling “Revenge of the Sith” in time, but with tales told from the points of view of different characters that helped to give more detail to the events that brought about the fall of the Republic and the Jedi Order.

Taking risks is, well, very risky to attempt. The final trilogy saw some bold risks that divided fandom. Then there are the risks that were employed in this series. They were daring and bold, but never did they alienate the viewers. Instead, they presented different perspectives that laid the groundwork for The Mandalorian, which will have an even greater impact when Ahsoka Tano appears for that show’s sophomore season. For a CGI series, this series was deadly serious, and yet it retained that very spirit that made Star Wars so beloved. It’s not perfect in that the portrayal of the soldiers making up the clone army is rather different than those we see in both “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith.” However, the bonuses we get in these stories far outweigh the drawbacks, including a further explanation as to the nature of Order 66 and how it was implemented.

Scenes that ended in “Revenge of the Sith” are replayed and extended. The result is a TV series that must be included as required viewing for those loyalists when having a Star Wars movie marathon. I don’t know which I would watch first, the ending of The Clone Wars series or “Revenge of the Sith,” but I would most definitely watch them back to back in order get a full sense of the downfall brought upon by Darth Sidious. Despite being animated, it is still a powerful series that is rich with universe building episodes, fascinating characters, and very textured themes. As for the ending of this series, my only advice when watching it is to not forget to breathe.

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