How Star Wars: The Clone Wars Enhances The Prequels
How Star Wars: The Clone Wars Enhances the Prequels
Some spoilers for The Clone Wars to follow…
Star Wars: The Clone Wars is an animated TV show which began with a feature film also titled The Clone Wars with both the film and the show set between Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The series debuted in 2008 on Cartoon Network in the U.S and is created by George Lucas and Dave Filoni. The series features familiar faces such as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as well as a host of new characters but its most impressive feature is that it adds new features, insight and in some ways makes sense of the prequel trilogy. Unlike most of the Extended Universe (the books, comics and other stories created outside of the official Star Wars films), The Clone Wars is part of the official Star Wars story or canon moving forward under Disney’s leadership.
The show is undeniably aimed towards a younger demographic however, it is a series that is worth seeing if you are a Star Wars fan no matter your opinion on the prequels themselves. The Clone Wars while far from perfect episodes themselves add new information and elements to the period known as The Clone Wars which is largely the focus of Episodes II and III. For example, how was Order 66 (the order for the clones to turn on the Jedi) actually implemented? Who exactly created the clones and why are there no Force ghosts in the prequels? A lot of the lingering questions that were left behind by the prequels are answered in The Clone Wars. On top of this, the show is beautifully animated, especially the fight scenes.
Another cool aspect of the show is the dynamic between Obi-Wan and Anakin, an area that many Star Wars fans feel the movies didn’t quite nail down. The characters really feel like friends and the show does a good job of showing the warmongering side of the Jedi. Anakin is much more likeable in this representation voiced by Matt Lanter who is helped by the fact that the show isn’t bogged down in his path to the dark side all the time, for the whole series he is the Jedi Knight that while still unpredictable and rash is fundamentally good which we weren’t really shown in the films. Interesting new characters make their appearance in The Clone Wars too such as Ahsoka Tano, a lively and ambitious apprentice to Anakin and yes, it is addressed why she doesn’t appear in Episode III.
The Clone Wars enhances the prequels by adding context and fleshing out the idea that the clone war is a galactic war. Episodes which are around 20 minutes long often feature far-flung worlds and how they are affected by the war. Many are neutral and are trying to avoid being influenced by the Republic or the Separatists. While it may be dismissed by some fans as a kids show, The Clone Wars often delves into more serious themes such as the effect of war, corruption and greed which the prequels did not dwell on. Politics is still a big part of the show as it is in the films but there’s often better stories told in these bite-sized episodes than the entire prequel trilogy. Filoni and Lucas cast a different light on the events of the prequels too as the Jedi council is shown to be indecisive and weak at times. Some characters in the series point out that as they are effectively war generals at this time, the Jedi are no longer the guardians of peace and their reasoning holds up when you think about it.
More of Darth Sidious’s scheming comes into play as we learn more about how he’s manipulating events in the Republic and Separatist camps to his advantage. The Clone Wars also demonstrates that not all of his schemes go to plan and there are points where he has to cover his trail to avoid any Jedi discovering the truth. The show isn’t afraid to give screen time to fan favourite characters such as Darth Maul who we discover is still alive after his ‘death’ in Episode I. Maul is in a pitiful state after his crushing defeat and is a cool villain with some much-needed dialogue to chew on in the show. There are times when the show may bore its audience with multiple episodes dedicated to the life of the clones or a spotlight on Jar Jar Binks but overall the storylines are fun to watch.
One of the biggest issues with going back and watching the show now is that The Clone Wars was cancelled in its sixth season which does come across as disjointed. Some plot lines are hurried to a conclusion as the show rapidly tried to sync up with what’s to come in Episode III. Showrunner Dave Filoni had plenty more ideas for episodes in the pipeline but was unfortunately unable to air them. Some of these ideas have been incorporated into The Clone Wars’ spiritual successor: Star Wars Rebels. That show takes place between Episode‘s III and IV and features a team of rebels fighting against the Empire with numerous characters from The Clone Wars beginning to re-emerge in this show. In addition, the stakes are a little lower in The Clone Wars, with many characters as you ultimately know their fate but its a fun ride nonetheless.
Have you seen The Clone Wars? What did you think of the show and how it played off the prequels?
Let me know by commenting below this page. Thanks!
P.S: I’ll have more thoughts on Star Wars: Rebels at a later date (I’ve finished season one at the time of writing).