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Star Wars: The Clone Wars

by Emma Mankowski 7 months ago in star wars
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12 Things I Learned from Watching the TV Series

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

I recently embarked on a journey that took several months: watching Star Wars: the Clone Wars from beginning to end. My brother and I did it together as part of our larger Star Wars marathon. I ended the seven seasons with a more holistic view of Star Wars, and I learned many important facts that changed my whole view of the Star Wars world.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars, 2008

12. Padme and Anakin's relationship was already on the rocks

Things were great for the couple in Episode II, but over the three years of the war, we see their relationship deteriorate. In Episode III, they had a clear disconnect, and The Clone Wars filled that gap. Padme proves she is unable to balance her work and personal life, ignoring Anakin and working instead. She throws herself fully into work, saying that she and Anakin can enjoy time together when the war is over. But her putting Anakin on the back burner causes their marriage to deteriorate, to the point where she actually asks for a divorce. They reunite after a weird episode in which he pushes her ex off a building, but after that it’s clear that they aren’t built to last. The Clone Wars really puts a magnifying glass on Anakin’s interpersonal relationships, and his and Padme’s is so much weaker than his other relationships. It really is more stressful than enjoyable to them, and I think the war and their different political views really took a toll on their relationship.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

11. Cad Bane deserved more screen time

Cad Bane is easily my favorite bounty hunter (sorry, Boba) and he deserves his own tv series. He's a pureblood wild west gunslinger with his toothpick and massive cowboy hat, and I just wanted more of him. Sure, he looks like Squidward. But his fight scenes were some of the best, and he even faced Jedi and teamed up with Maul at one point. Also he saved the terrible plotline with Sy Snootles and Ziro the Hutt... so for Cad Bane we are eternally grateful.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

10. Trace was queer-coded (and possibly Ahsoka and Bariss too)

From Trace's first scene, it was clear that she was queer, and I've found out that other fans agree. I really wish they had gotten the guts to have a few out and proud characters. The Clone Wars isn't a romantic-centered show, but the few straight relationships they have are really well written. I would have really loved to see at least one queer character. I will do a whole article someday on Star Wars characters that I think are queer, but for now I want to talk about Ahsoka Tano and Barriss Offee.

Ahsoka's relationship with Lux seemed really flimsy. Their chemistry just wasn't strong, and this is coming from a show that had a strong dynamic between Obi-Wan and Satine, and a complex, tumultuous relationship between Anakin and Padme. Ahsoka was just a teenager, and her lackluster kiss with Lux seemed like the action of a girl discovering herself.

However... Ahsoka is a totally different person around Barriss. She disobeys her master to save her early in the series, and actually leaves the Order because of Barriss. Her devotion and deep connection to Barriss was different than her friendship with Anakin or brief relationship with Lux. I feel like they might have been gay had Star Wars been written today.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

9. Asajj Ventress was a complex villain

On the subject of sexuality... Ventress. I love her flirtatious banter with Obi-Wan, but unfortunately it's clear that Ventress was a very objectified character.

But as her character grows, she becomes so much more than a hot villain. Her early life was very traumatic, being taken from her family as a tribute, rescued by a Jedi, then the Jedi was killed, and she became Dooku's personal assassin. Dooku was forced by Sidious to betray her, but she outsmarted him. Ventress returned home and witnessed the near extinction of her tribe, and eventually she became a bounty hunter.

Ventress can't be put in a box. She's a very layered, morally gray character. Sometimes she does things for personal gain, sometimes she's just for hire, sometimes she looks out for her family. You can never really tell what you're going to get with Ventress. For that, I think she's one of the best original characters on the show.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

8. Darth Maul needs to see a therapist

Fate is just cruel to the Dathomirians. Like Ventress, Maul was ripped from his family at a young age. He was raised by Palpatine, and when he was 22, lost his legs to Obi-Wan Kenobi. However, George Lucas ordered Dave Filoni to resurrect the character in Clone Wars. When Filoni asked how, since Maul had been cut in half, Lucas reportedly said, "I don't care. Just do it." And we are all glad he found a way, because Maul and Savage's plotlines were some of the best.

Maul went absolutely insane in isolation after losing his legs, and while Mother Talzin restored his strength, he was never quite stable again. He experiences all sorts of hardships, not the least of which was losing his brother, Savage Opress. Maul was so calm and collected in Episode I, but he clearly has a lot of mental health issues in The Clone Wars as a result of all his trauma. Go see a Sith therapist or something, please!

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

7. Obi Wan had a personal life

Satine Kryze was the Duchess of Mandalore during the Clone Wars. Interestingly, we learn that Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon were stationed on Mandalore when Obi-Wan was a young Jedi Knight. Qui-Gon, being Qui-Gon, allowed Obi-Wan to carry on a relationship with Satine, even though it was against the Jedi code. When they meet again, years later, it's clear that they still feel very strongly for each other. However, their respective commitments keep them from each other. It's heartbreaking when Maul kills her, and she takes her last breath in Obi-Wan's arms.

When Satine confesses that she's always loved Obi-Wan, he actually says something very dramatic: "Had you said the word, I would have left the Jedi Order." Wow. Obi-Wan was willing to turn his back on everything to be with her. Not even Anakin considered that when he married Padme. Satine and Obi-Wan's story is tragic, but it reveals to us that Obi-Wan actually felt love very deeply, and wasn't true to the Jedi ways at all times. Much like his master, he learned to follow his heart and instinct above the Jedi code.

Interestingly, there is a character named Korkie who many fans have surmised is Satine and Obi-Wan's son. He is one of the only Mandalorians with reddish hair. In his first appearance, it is red, streaked with blond, and in his second appearance it is fully blond like all other Mandalorians. He is also the right age, and certainly has Obi-Wan's facial features. He refers to Satine as "Aunt Satine," but she very well could have birthed him herself and hidden his true identity.

I think it very likely that Obi-Wan would have left the Order if he learned he had a son. But regardless of Korkie's origin, I'm just glad that Obi-Wan and Satine had such a well-written romance.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

6. Boba Fett is a different man than you think

The first major interaction we see between Boba Fett and another character is in Episode V. Darth Vader is instructing a group of bounty hunters to hunt down the Millennium Falcon, and he points his finger at the green-armored clone, saying "No disintegrations." This gives us the idea that Boba Fett is a badass strike-first type, that is, until he gets eaten by the Sarlacc.

However, The Clone Wars gives us a very different Boba Fett. Instead of a heartless assassin, we see a heartbroken boy who misses his dad and is reluctant to join the bounty hunter world. Even when he takes on missions, he refuses to kill and does his best to keep moral integrity.

I believe The Book of Boba Fett is being very true to the Clone Wars version of Boba. In contrast to Fennec, Boba refuses to kill unless necessary. He works with the Tuskans, treating them with kindness even after they kidnapped him. And later, he seeks to be a crime lord that rules out of real respect, rather than fear. He's intimidating, sure, but he comes from a place that's more akin to the Clone Wars Boba, rather than the ruthless bounty hunter we saw in Episode V.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

5. The clones did not willingly commit Order 66

At first glance, it seems wildly impossible that the clones could have turned on the Jedi so easily. They had been fighting alongside them for 3 years, and within just a few episodes, you realize that the clones are creative thinkers that actually betray orders. How then, could Cody turn on Obi-Wan just hours after saving his back in battle? Two words: inhibitor chips.

Publicly, the Kaminoans claimed that the chips were to keep the clones from becoming too violent. However, Count Dooku oversaw a Jedi-killing protocol that became a part of the chips. When Tup's chip malfunctioned and activated too soon, Fives became suspicious. Unfortunately, investigating the conspiracy led to his death.

Palpatine only had to say the fatal words, "Execute Order 66," and the inhibitor chips were activated. He chose the time that the Republic was most unstable, and anti-Jedi sentiments were high. Rex was able to make it out, but all the other inhibitor chips were activated, killing all except Obi-Wan, Yoda, and a few minor Jedi.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

4. General Grievous and Obi Wan's battle was hyped

Grievous and Obi-Wan face off several times during The Clone Wars, and it just hypes up their final battle so much. I know this is a small point, but I think it's just really cool. Also, the creators had to avoid a meeting between Anakin and Grievous, which causes some plot choices to happen expressly for the purpose of keeping the two of them apart. Of course, this is all due to the line Anakin so snarklily delivers in Episode III: General Grievous. You're shorter than I expected.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

3. Sifo-Dyas Clarification

The plot involving the Kaminoans, Tyranus, and Sifo-Dyas in Episode II is very complicated. The Kaminoans tell Obi-Wan that Sifo-Dyas ordered the clones, but Jango Fett insists that he's never heard that name, and it was Tyranus who hired him.

If you want an extensive history on this plot, I'd recommend checking out James Luceno's novel Plagueis. The book is considered Legends now, but the information on Sifo-Dyas still holds true.

Sifo-Dyas secretly hired a clone army for the Republic, after Palpatine suggested that the Republic could not defend itself against dissenting systems. However, on a mission to meet with the Pykes, Sifo-Dyas died at their hands. (Count Dooku had paid them off.) Dooku then assumed control of the cloning project, hiring Jango Fett and implementing Order 66 into the inhibitor chips. It's never quite clear how Sidious planned to reveal the clone army to the Jedi, as Obi-Wan stumbles upon it by chance. But they come swooping into the Battle of Geonosis, and the rest is history.

I really appreciated the clarification on all this. It is very vague in Episode II.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

2. Ahsoka’s departure was the push Anakin needed to consider leaving

After Barriss grew disenfranchised with the Jedi Order, much in the same way Dooku did (again, check out the Plagueis novel), Ahsoka was blamed for a bombing and ended up leaving the Order. The scene in which Anakin tries to hand her back her padawan beads, and she pushes his hand closed, is a traumatic moment for Star Wars fans.

The most interesting part to me is that Anakin isn't disappointed in her- he actually assures her that he shares her grievances. He's just not ready yet to leave the Order. But when she's gone, Anakin has less of an excuse to stay. I think that moment is when he really starts doubting himself, and wondering if the Jedi aren't the best path after all.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

1. The love of Anakin's life wasn't Padme, Obi-Wan, or even Luke- it was Ahsoka

Anakin loved. A lot. He even left the Jedi Order because of it. He loved his mother so much that he broke many rules to try to save her, and he stayed committed to Padme even when their relationship was more of a burden than a joy. But who did Anakin love the most? Who was the person closest to him? You might think it was Obi-Wan, and that could be true. They were more like brothers than master and apprentice, and Obi-Wan tells Anakin that he loved him on Mustafar even though "attachments are forbidden." But the truth is that Anakin doesn't respect Obi-Wan. He had problems with a lot of things about Obi-Wan. He especially felt that Obi-Wan underestimated him and held him back, and because of that he never felt like he could truly connect to him. The Jedi Order was always a barrier in their friendship.

Enter: Ahsoka. Known to each other as Snips and Skyguy, Anakin and Ahsoka were a team. With each other, they could truly be themselves, even if that meant disobeying orders. I think Anakin and Ahsoka had a friendship that was deeper than any of Anakin's other relationships. They held nothing back from each other, and Anakin didn't have to perform in front of her like he did with Obi-Wan and Padme.

Anakin was heartbroken when she left, but he respected her enough to not go looking for her. They met again just before Anakin left to go rescue Chancellor Palpatine in Episode III.

During Order 66, Ahsoka was able to learn the truth of the inhibitor chips in time to save Rex, and the two of them left together. They crash landed on a moon, and Ahsoka buried her lightsabers in the snow. In the heartbreaking final scene of The Clone Wars, Darth Vader visits the moon and discovers the sabers. I firmly believe he shed some tears under that helmet, and if he didn't, I cried enough for both of us.

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Emma Mankowski

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