log in

cinelinx-banner-2

Why Clone Wars is a Vital Part of the Star Wars Universe

“CLONE WARS” IS NOT PART OF THE “STAR WARS” UNIVERSE! HOW DARE YOU DESECRATE OUR SACRED SOIL SO!!!!!

Okay, this conversation did not actually happen. However, given how passionate a lot of long-time Star Wars fans are at the very mention of “the CW word” (not to be confused with the TV network of the same name), it might as well had happened. This, despite the fact I’ve gone to at least two or three major Sci-Fi/Comic conventions here in Dallas and see cosplayers dressed as Clone Troopers based off of information they could have only gotten from the series. I also had a friend from Memphis who one year cosplayed as Ahsoka Tano (Anakin’s first apprentice) at the Middle Tennessee Anime Convention in Nashville. With this being Star Wars month, I decided to set the record straight about this wonderful addition to the SW universe and why at some point every fan should watch it.

JbBbWjX - Imgur

 Each month the Cinelinx staff will write a handful of articles covering a specified film-related topic. These articles will be notified by the Movielinx banner. Movielinx is an exploration and discussion of our personal connections with film. May (the) 4th is Star Wars day, and because of this we will honor Star Wars all month long. What do you love about Star Wars? How did the franchise influence you? Feel free to add your comments and reviews!

When Clone Wars first came out as a theatrical featured film, it got panned royally (18% from Rotten Tomatoes). A lot of what was written was justifiable: crappy animation, weak script, the opening was not the “true” opening, Obi-Wan’s beard resembled a snow-plow, etc. etc. I’m not going to argue with any of that because it is what it is. A theatrical release of a franchise intended for television can sometimes be an unwise decision but I don’t make those decisions so couldn’t tell you their logic for why they did it. What I can say is that it did get better with the passage of time.

The first two seasons are more action-oriented than anything. Adults who are avid sci-fi junkies and wanting some sort of character development are going to be solely disappointed. But to some people, like myself, who crave just about anything Star Wars (short of the Lego parody movies), this series more than fit the bill. It had both the action seen in the movies as well as pushing the limits of Cartoon Network’s standards and practices. Clone Wars aired at a time when half the stuff they were showing (people getting shot and killed, anatomy innuendo, habitual alcohol use [and abuse] by consenting aliens) would have had the show automatically segregated to the Adult Swim block or re-edited like when the network aired Tenchi Muyo! (a-la “special tea”). In this case, the network realized Star Wars is a mainstream institution that has entertained people of all ages for more than 35 years and needed to be shown as intended.

Clone Wars 4

As popularity grew, the remaining seasons had less stand-alone episodes and more story arc episodes which helped in the character development of a lot of the leads; specifically Anakin, Padme, and Ahsoka. It also allowed viewers into worlds that are part of the SW universe but have rarely been mentioned. We even get to meet the clones themselves and how they create their own unique personalities and deal with the pressures and strife of ongoing war and its true cost. This is especially laid out in an important story involving a clone defector who given the opportunity leaves his unit after watching his comrades killed off because they were too damaged to save. He then becomes a farmer with a biological family only to be discovered by another clone unit and has to come to terms with his past. Other shades of gray conflict can be found throughout the series. Just like with our civil war, not everything the Republic Senate (Union) did was “good” and not everything the Separatists (Confederacy) did was “evil”. In fact, the Jedi themselves are not the seen by all as the golden knights of the universe. Yoda himself references an alien race strong with the Force who considered the Jedi Order “kidnappers of children” in the early years of existence regarding their practice of taking children as young as four or five away from their families only to be trained in the service of the Republic for the rest of their lives. There are also countless worlds that remain neutral that want nothing to do with either side. The show also covers a lot of topics that could be seen as a reflection of current events such as domestic terrorism, forced occupation, political cover-ups, people questioning their own ideals, and so on. Even as great as the movies are, there is only so much one can cover in a 120 minute film. This series allows the fans to see “the rest of the story” as the late Paul Harvey was coined to say.

Clone Wars 5

One personal thing I like about Clone Wars is how well-acted the characters are portrayed. I know most people think voice-acting is easy, but to generate the same kind of action-reaction in a “cartoon” on the same level as a live-action episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation or Battlestar Galactica (the newer series) is a lot harder to pull-off. An example of this is the fact fans have always criticized how “stilted” the acting was in the prequels as well as Anakin’s and Padme’s relationship. Clone Wars was allowed to correct some of that. While the relationship is no definitely no Han and Leia, it is a little more realistic when compared to the movie versions and even tackles some issues regarding the relationship itself (long distance apart, trust issues, etc.). With the exception of a few comical episodes, yes, Jar-Jar is present in 5-6 episodes total, you’d sometimes forget this is an animated series as a whole.

While Clone Wars is official cannon within the SW Universe, newer fans do not have to be concerned about viewing the series for fear of references that might be slid into the upcoming films. The main reason being there’s a 50 year time frame between Clone Wars and “The New Republic” (my name for the new trilogy at the time of this writing). Most fans already know what happens through the movies themselves. With Clone Wars, we basically get to see what went on in the background that have allowed the events in the movies to materialize in the first place. This is also where most of the fun in watching the series actually lies. As canon, when you watch all six seasons, you see components of the key characters that you may not have known about. Especially with Anakin and Yoda. Like a lot of long-time SW fans, I always had the established notion of who the characters were and what they were about. If you watch Clone Wars and then watch the movies again (specifically Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi), it is LITERALLY like watching the movies completely new again. You envision Darth Vader’s and Yoda’s personality differently than the first time you watched them. You’ll begin to ask questions like was Anakin still inside Vader all these years and struggled internally with the monster he had become or was he dormant only to have his own son awaken what little was left of his personality? On a more trivial observation, you wonder how Darth Vadar (assuming some of old Anakin was still in there) would feel knowing he blasted the same droid he was fiercely loyal to throughout the series. The same loyalty as if it were your horse or dog. And then there is the revelations seen in the very final story arc with Yoda as the central character which is considered by many fans to be one of the most powerful stories currently in the SW universe. I guarantee after watching it you will never see the Dagobah scene with Luke and Yoda the same way ever again.

Clone Wars in my opinion is as essential to the Star Wars universe as the movies themselves. Simply because it allows fans to re-watch the movies in a different light and in some cases see the entire universe differently. To a lot of fans, that is more of a gift then all the high-end special effect enhancements imagined.

Add comment
Load Previous Comments
  • Thank you.

  • Guest - Asajj

    Report

    Probably one of the best animated show ever made, nice to see more and more people giving it a chance now that it's on Netflix. Let's hope Young Indy is next, another great show who deserves more credits.

  • I was actually the same age as 16 (actually 17) year old Indy when "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" aired on ABC. Even though it never found an audience nor could ABC stick with format (started as a weekly series and then morphed into a movie-of-the-week thing). It was definitely ahead of its time. Especially with its graphic portrayal of WWI.

    That being said, as much as long time Indy fans were not cozy with "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull", the fact Harrison Ford (who did do a narration cameo in one episode) made a verbal nod to the series (The Poncho Via episode) was five degrees of awesome.

    Thanks for commenting.

  • Guest - John

    Report

    I loved this show!! I really am going to miss. By the way I do not like the trailer for the Star Wars Rebels. The animation sucks compared to Clone Wars. This whole show looks catered to youngsters. I like Clone Wars because it was made for adults.

  • I do admit though the animation does look a little "basic" compared to how Clone Wars looked. At the same time, I'm reminded of the famous line in Iron Eagle II as quoted by Sgt. Neville Downs (played by the late Maury Chaykin):

    Don't judge the cuisine until AFTER it's been served...Ka-BOOOM!!!!

    That being said, I'm not about to dismiss "Rebels" before giving it a shot. It's not going to be as good as Clone Wars because Disney does not offer the same "liberties" as Cartoon Network. At the same time though, I can recall when CN did not have those same liberties we now take for granted. However, Disney XD appears to have a little bit more "wiggle room" if you will for content compared to the original DC so that plays in "Rebels" favor.

    Thanks for reading and please share.

  • Guest - helas

    Report

    watch the darth maul returns arc the clone wars team recut as a movie and tell me thats not one of the greatest stat wars stories in any medium ever. maul, savage, and especially asajj ventress are great characters and rival any in the films

  • Agreed. Truth be told Ventress had been one of my favorite SW villians ever sense that epic light saber duel with Anakin in original 2-D Clone Wars. And the one episode that tells her backstory, both tragic and awe-inspiring. Good call.

    Comment last edited on about 5 months ago by Jonathan M Cook
  • Guest - Will

    Report

    Loved the series and the character devopment.... And how you get to see Anakin slowly get darker. I didn't like how they ended Ashoka (she was to awesome) and Darth Maul made the series feel like they had run out of ideas.

  • I'm an older casual fan of the original trilogy and have never watched any of the CW... Do I need to start with the movie, or can I jump right into the seasons?

  • Hey Jeff,

    First, I want to apologize for not replying immediately to your inquiry. Unfortunately, we all don't do this thing professionally and have to hold 9 to 5 jobs in order to make the egg and butter money. Also, you can't make a car payment using Firehouse Subs. And the fact is I have a trip next week back to my hometown in Tennessee so I'm knocking out as much OT as possible.

    The truth of the matter is YES, you can skip the movie! By all means! It looked good in the trailer, but that was it. In reality, a lot of the story points in the movie don't play into later episodes. In other words, it's pretty stand-alone. Some of the movie characters (like Jabba's uncle who acts more like that Kingfish governor from Louisiana then an actual hutt), do make reappearances only to be killed off an episode later. The only real significance in the movie is how Anakin and Ahsoka first meet (Yoda basically assigns her to him after finishing youngling training which is the first level in a Jedi training) If you've seen Naruto, you should already be familiar with this: school institution = apprentice with master = ninja (or in this case, Jedi).

    Most everything you need to know backstory-wise can easily be found on Wikipedia or StarWars.com or your average Jedi at comic book convention X. Just read-up on just the backstory and then start with episode 1, season 1. Hope this helps.

back to top

Around the Web

Log in or create an account

fb iconLog in with Facebook