Star Wars: The Clone Wars is an animated television series set between the events of Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. The series aired on Cartoon Network for five seasons from 2008 to 2013, while an abridged sixth season was released through Netflix in 2014. On July 19, 2018, it was announced that twelve more episodes would be produced for the Disney+ streaming service and was released in February 2020.
George Lucas first had the idea for a Clone Wars animated series in 2002. Star Wars: Clone Wars aired on Cartoon Network from 2003 to 2005, produced by Genndy Tartakovsky. Star Wars: The Clone Wars was then announced at April 2005's Celebration III, which Lucas referred to as "a 3-D continuation of the pilot series." Dave Filoni was hired as supervising director, and was familiar with previous Star Wars animation projects. Filoni's initial idea for the series revolved around a recurring cast of characters who traveled aboard a spaceship similar to the Millennium Falcon; the ship's crew would have included a smuggler, his girlfriend, a Gungan named Lunker, a Jedi padawan named Ashla, and her Jedi Master. This early concept for The Clone Wars was designed not to interfere with existing continuity, and as such would have included only occasional appearances from film characters such as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. However, once Lucas became involved, he decided that the show would focus on the film characters, but would also include some of Filoni's ideas, such as Ashla (whose name was ultimately changed to Ahsoka).
By February 2006, Lucasfilm Animation was working on animation tests and initial scripts, with Lucas playing a large part in the entire process. The crew used Autodesk software to animate both the film and the series. The Maya 3D modeling program was used to create highly detailed worlds, characters and creatures. Lucas and the animation team used this to create Zviz, a system that allowed the animation team complete freedom in framing shots. Script, character design and art direction were completed at ILM, with the animation and rendering done at Lucasfilm Animation Singapore, and also Polygon Pictures between 2011 and 2013. No rotoscoping was involved, however, ILM did use motion capture. The final assembly of each episode was done at Skywalker Ranch. Lucas's involvement resulted in rewrites of most of the scripts, as Lucas insisted on more character development and that the show should not be based in one location, but as many as possible so as to make the story as interesting as possible to the viewer. The animation style was inspired by 1960s-era puppets-in-space serials such as Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds, as well as the character designs from the original Clone Wars series. Each episode of The Clone Wars was designed to be stand-alone, with an opening narration and moral to each story. In terms of story and cinematography, the series was directed as if it were a live-action series, and the episodes were produced in widescreen. Writer Henry Gilroy gained inspiration for the episode titles from the pulpy adventure sci-fi serials of the 1930s. The series utilized unused ideas from Lucas' previous Star Wars projects. Paul Dini pitched at least two rejected ideas for episodes: One involved Jar Jar Binks trying to convince the Galactic Senate that there is life on an obscure planet, and the other involved Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala hiring an Ewok assassin.
According to Filoni and Gilroy, while Lucas gave them creative freedom for most of the series, there were several characters and locations that were off-limits. In respect to the characters, Lucas asked not to use Han Solo, Chewbacca, Boba Fett and Jabba Desilijic Tiure when Gilroy was writing the show bible, but by the time of the next meeting, Lucas had changed his mind about the latter two characters. In respect to the locations, Lucas asked Gilroy and Filoni to not explore the planets seen in the films, with the exception of Coruscant. But as with the character restrictions, he eventually changed his mind.
On March 11, 2013, a video appeared on StarWars.com, in which the crew explained that they were "winding down" the production of the series, and that they had finished the active production of new episodes. Lucasfilm Story Group's Pablo Hidalgo stated that there were 13 story arcs left unfinished. Writer Brent Friedman revealed on his Twitter account that scripts for the unproduced seasons 7 and 8 had been written prior to the series' cancellation. James Arnold Taylor, Obi-Wan Kenobi's voice actor, has stated that prior to the series' cancellation, the actors had recorded at least two remaining unproduced seasons. Since the end of the series, both Leland Chee and the official blog have posted chronological lists of episodes.
The first image released from the series—that of a 3D animated Yoda—was shown at Toy Fair 2007. On May 27, 2007, supervising director Dave Filoni and executive producer Catherine Winder gave a presentation at Celebration IV in which they debuted the first official trailer and poster, and discussed the production process of the previous two years. Filoni and Winder also held similar presentations at Celebration Europe and WonderCon 2008. StarWars.com created a new division of the site dedicated to The Clone Wars, which was regularly updated with relevant content, including news articles, behind the scenes videos, and blog entries by Pete Vilmur.
Lucas shopped The Clone Wars to various networks, but had difficulty securing a buyer due to the show's unique tone. Fox Broadcasting passed on it, and Cartoon Network was initially unsure. Several networks eventually got into a bidding war over the show. Cartoon Network and TNT eventually won the broadcast rights, with Warner Bros. distributing a theatrical debut. Warner had tracked the series' development, and decided on a theatrical launch after viewing some footage. Stuart Snyder, former President of Cartoon Network, said he became interested in the new Clone Wars series immediately upon starting the job in May 2007. Snyder flew out to San Francisco, California to screen several episodes, and told Lucas the only place he wanted to see the show was on Cartoon Network. It was announced on February 12, 2008 that the feature film of the same name was to be released in theaters on August 15, 2008, with the TV debut in the fall. This announcement was accompanied by an update of the Hyperspace online fan club kit, and an offering of Captain Rex and Ahsoka Tano T-shirts to Hyperspace members.
The series premiered on October 3, 2008 at 9 p.m. on the Cartoon Network. It aired on Friday nights as part of an action-adventure block alongside The Secret Saturdays and Ben 10: Alien Force, in an attempt to rejuvenate the network and compete with such channels as Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel. Snyder expressed confidence that the shows would help boost ratings: "You catch me at a time where I have a smile on my face because of our internal results," Snyder said. "I can say there's a little bit of bragging on the third quarter for us." In Canada, the first season aired on CTV and SPACE, while the second through fifth aired on Teletoon, which aired repeats of the first season as part of its Weekday Action Force block. In Australia, the first season aired on Channel Ten. On April 13, 2011, ABC3 aired repeats of first season and has since aired seasons two, three and four. The series was first aired in the UK on Sky Movies Premiere and Premiere HD every Saturday at 5.30PM with the first episode aired on October 25, 2008. As with all programs on Sky Movies, it ran for the first 22-minutes of its 30-minute slot with advertisements shown at the end so as not to interrupt the episodes.
Lucas expected The Clone Wars to run for four or five years, but planned to produce at least 100 episodes regardless of ratings. The first four seasons consisted of 22 episodes, the fifth of 20 episodes, and the sixth of 13 episodes. The 21st and 22nd episodes of Season Four featured a red opening logo, as opposed to the series' standard yellow. In the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th episodes of Season Five, the opening logo was changed to have a blue color in honor of R2-D2. TNT signed a multi-seasonal agreement to broadcast repeats of the series, though only aired a limited run before dropping the series. Episodes began airing in syndication in fall 2012, in conjunction with the series' fifth season.
An abridged sixth season, dubbed The Lost Missions, was released in the United States through Netflix and in Germany on Super RTL. (The Netflix episodes were part of a package deal that included the feature film and the first five seasons.) However, Cartoon Network sometimes used the sixth season episodes. Additional episodes were released in the form of The Clone Wars Legacy, a project that encompasses the comic book series Star Wars: Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir, the novel Dark Disciple, and 8 story reels that were posted to StarWars.com.
The series proved extremely popular with a loyal core of fans, who repeatedly petitioned for the revival of the series, often using the social media hashtag #SaveTheCloneWars. At the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con, Dave Filoni led a panel celebrating the tenth anniversary of the series. The end of the panel saw the announcement that a final set of episodes would be released on the Disney+ in 2020. Filoni credited the immense fan support as being key in Disney's decision to revive the series. To commemorate the completion of the final season, the cast held a D23 livestream on May 8, 2020.
Sue Rostoni first stated in June 2007 that a publishing program based on the series was possible, but had not yet been discussed. Rob Coleman reported that licensees had a very positive reaction upon first seeing footage from the series. A 5-book novel series was released parallel to the television series; The first book, written by Karen Traviss, was a novelization of the film, whereas the subsequent four books retold stories from the series itself. Karen Miller wrote the second book, while Traviss returned for the third, fourth and fifth installments. A 12-chapter comic series was published by Dark Horse Comics, with artwork based upon the visual style of the series. A series of graphic novels were published by Dark Horse. There was also a volume that was made for Free Comic Book Day. To accompany the Season One episodes, StarWars.com hosted a weekly web comic, as well as a HoloNet News podcast. The episodes were available on iTunes the day after they aired, and on StarWars.com and CartoonNetwork.com a week after they aired. LucasArts released three video games: Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Jedi Alliance (Nintendo DS), Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels (Nintendo Wii) and Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes (multiple consoles). Hasbro released a toy line throughout the run of the series. A leaked Hasbro redemption certificate bearing the series' logo implied the release of a preview action figure from the series (possibly Kit Fisto). From 2008 to 2010, Lucasfilm sponsored The Clone Wars-themed exhibits in certain major US cities. Cartoon Network's Mad series parodied The Clone Wars on the 2010 episode "Trans-BORE-Mores/Star Wars: The Groan Wars."
Each season received complete DVD and Blu ray releases:
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season One
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Two
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Three
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Four
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Five
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Lost Missions
Three themed collections of episodes were released: "Bounty Hunters", "Clone Commandos" and Darth Maul Returns (a feature-length edit of a Season Four arc). A feature-length edit of a Season Three arc entitled The Nightsisters Trilogy: Feature-Length Cut was released exclusively on iTunes.
A series of Walmart-exclusive DVDs were bundled with certain action figure sets from 2010 to 2012. Each DVD featured one episode from the series, as well as a trailer for that season's respective DVD release. Target also included an exclusive DVD included in the 2010 action figure sets "Hostage Crisis" and "The Hidden Enemy".
Cartoon Network screened an episode for critics as part of the 2008 TCA tour to generally positive reactions. The series debuted on October 3, 2008 with the episode "Ambush," which brought in 3.96 million viewers, and was the channel's most watched series premiere. Season Two premiered on October 2, 2009 with the episodes "Holocron Heist" and "Cargo of Doom," which averaged 2.58 million viewers. In 2008, IGN listed The Clone Wars as the 89th (out of 100) greatest animated series of all time. In comparison, Star Wars: Clone Wars was ranked 21st (out of 100).
The first season episode "Lair of Grievous" won a Golden Reel Award for best sound editing in television animation. The series was nominated for the 2009 Saturn Award for "Best Cable/Syndicated TV Series." At the 40th Daytime Emmy Awards on June 16, 2013, The Clone Wars won two Daytime Emmy Awards. David Tennant's performance of Professor Huyang in the fifth season episodes "A Test of Strength" and "A Necessary Bond" won him the Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program, while the series itself garnered the Outstanding Special Class Animated Program award. In 2014, the series was also nominated for four daytime Emmys, winning two.
The series' creators originally claimed that continuity with the Expanded Universe was being taken very seriously, with Dave Filoni being well-versed in the material (although Lucas had the right to make slight adjustments for the sake of the story, and was consulted directly when dealing with the major characters). Lucasfilm told TV Guide that The Clone Wars would not supersede the original Clone Wars series in continuity, but would expand upon what the earlier series established. Dark Horse Comics editor Randy Stradley also claimed to have met with Lucasfilm Animation to discuss integrating the show with the Clone Wars comics. However, the feature film and TV series introduced a number of continuity inconsistencies, many of which directly contradict previously published sources and require retcons and major shifts in the previously established Clone Wars timeline, which were never determined by Leland Chee. There were several prominent examples of direct contradiction between The Clone Wars and previous Clone Wars media:
- On August 8, 2009, Republic Commando author Karen Traviss stated that she was leaving the Star Wars franchise due to alleged continuity issues raised with the publication of The Art of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which included information regarding the Mandalorians that clashed with the continuity set up by her novels, most likely in reference to the trilogy of episodes involving Mandalore in the second season ("The Mandalore Plot," "Voyage of Temptation," and "Duchess of Mandalore") in which the main Mandalorian faction is portrayed as a pacifistic society living in arcologies on Mandalore, which is portrayed as a radioactive desert, contradicting all previous appearances. Prior to the April 25, 2014 reorganization of canon, Leland Chee and Sue Rostoni maintained that the complications would eventually be worked out. The two portrayals of the planet were reconciled with retcons issued by The Essential Atlas, and the later Star Wars: The Clone Wars: New Battlefronts: The Visual Guide, which states that the expansive white-sand desert seen in the episodes is only one aspect of the larger overall landscape of Mandalore's surface.
- The use of Eta-2 Actis-class interceptors at the same point in the timeline Anakin is knighted, whereas in The Clone Wars Delta-7B Aethersprite-class light interceptors are used, which were ostensibly used before the later Eta-2s. In addition, some G-canon elements from works like the novelization of Revenge of the Sith are being retconned. For example, in the novelization, Anakin remarks that he has only read about Grievous' IG-100 MagnaGuards in an intel report, despite having fought them in the show. Another very noticeable continuity error is the fact that Anakin has his scar, which he received shortly after the Battle of Rendili from Asajj Ventress. He then injured Ventress so severely that she was forced to recuperate until the Battle of Boz Pity, after which she deserted the CIS and the war for good. However, he was originally shown to receive his scar in 20 BBY, while the series begins in 22 BBY.
- In 2003, the reference book Inside the Worlds of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones established that Jedi Master Eeth Koth died during the First Battle of Geonosis when enemy fire brought down his gunship. However, the character was "resurrected" by the project; he was first mentioned as fighting in the Clone Wars in the 2008 novel The Clone Wars: Wild Space and was later featured prominently in the second-season episode "Grievous Intrigue."
- The third season saw an evolution in the appearance of the main series characters. Ahsoka Tano's new attire represented a more mature look. Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi's attire was adjusted to be closer to how they appeared in Revenge of the Sith.
- In the third season episode "Citadel Rescue", Jedi Master Even Piell died during a mission around the second year of the war. In the 2008 novel Coruscant Nights I: Jedi Twilight, written by Michael Reaves, Even Piell lived through the Clone Wars and died during the Great Jedi Purge in 19 BBY on Coruscant.
- StarWars.com confirmed that Darth Maul survived the Battle of Naboo and would appear in Season Four of the series. Maul returned in the 21st episode, living on Lotho Minor.
- The fifth-season opener "Revival" featured the death of Jedi Master Adi Gallia by Savage Opress on Florrum, despite having previously been slain by Grievous during the Battle of Boz Pity, one of the final battles of the Clone Wars in the 2005 comic Obsession 5.
- The fifth season finale "The Wrong Jedi" showed how Barriss Offee fell to the dark side of the Force and destroys the Jedi Temple hangar, framing Ahsoka Tano, and initiating an investigation against Tano, but Anakin ultimately discovers her plot and Offee gets arrested and taken away to prison. However, the daily webstrips series Reversal of Fortune and the Databank entry of Felucia originally stated that Barriss Offee was killed at the end of the Clone Wars during Order 66 on Felucia, reflecting the original version of Order 66 in Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, in which Offee was to die along Luminara Unduli and Shaak Ti, whose death scenes were too omitted. As Offee was depicted as still serving the Jedi Order, it has been assumed in the Expanded Universe continuity that Offee remained at the Order through unknown reasons. Furthermore, Offee was intended to originally kill herself at the end of the episode, which would have contradicted her post-The Clone Wars EU appearances definitively, but Dave Filoni cut the scene because he "had plans" for the character, which ultimately never came to fruition by the show's cancellation.
- If the show had not been cancelled, there was going to be an episode arc in the seventh season focusing on Darth Maul, which would have delved into his origins. While the episodes went unmade, their scripts were adapted into Dark Horse Comics' comic book series Star Wars: Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir, which revealed Mother Talzin to be Maul's mother, as well Savage Opress'. However, the novel Darth Plagueis had previously established that a Human Nightsister named Kycina was Maul's mother, and the short story Restraint identified her as Opress' mother as well.
- One of the unproduced episodes due the show's cancellation would have featured the Yuuzhan Vong, the extra-galactic species which first appeared in Del Rey's 1999-2003 book series Star Wars: The New Jedi Order. According to Pablo Hidalgo, the episode wouldn't have specified the Vong's origins but only imply that they came from another galaxy, just as The New Jedi Order: Vector Prime originally established. However, Hidalgo has stated that per George Lucas' vision of the Force, the Yuuzhan Vong weren't immune to the Force in the story. This would have contradicted the EU, as the Yuuzhan Vong were established as immune to the Force (except to the Force lightning and Force net attacks) in The New Jedi Order: Edge of Victory I: Conquest.
- Likewise, in a similar way to Barriss Offee and the Yuuzhan Vong, Jaime King's husband Kyle Newman has stated that there were several unfinished episodes planned for the sixth season of the show featuring Aurra Sing, including one in which Sing was to be killed. Had this would have been canonized, it would have contradicted several of Aurra Sing's appearances in EU stories set during the Galactic Civil War and the New Republic and New Jedi Order eras, precisely Coruscant Nights II: Street of Shadows, Star Wars: Demolition and Legacy of the Force: Tempest. Eventually, Sing's fate was adressed in the Star Wars Anthology film Solo: A Star Wars Story, in which it was established that Tobias Beckett pushed Sing to her death.
Filoni defended any differences in continuity: "But there's never an implicit connection between the micro-series that Cartoon Network did previously and the series that we're doing now. I personally as a fan never think of it as discrediting any of the other material, it's just that other material is from a different point of view, a different look at the war and take on the war. It's an ever-Expanding Universe in a lot of ways." At his Celebration IV presentations, Filoni showed a series of slides showing several character sculpture designs for the series—stating that they would share some of the stylization of the original Clone Wars series, but would also have some of the realistic look of the films. He explained, however, that elements of the series would differ slightly from what has been previously established in continuity. Changes were made from the original Clone Wars series: Obi-Wan doesn't wear as much of his clone general armor, Grievous has a cough prior to the Battle of Coruscant, and the Jedi fighting styles are more like the films, and not like some of the exaggerated Jedi abilities portrayed in the original series. Additionally, several duels involving Anakin Skywalker and Count Dooku may retcon the meaning of the two characters' verbal interactions in Revenge of the Sith.[source?]
The Clone Wars was classified as T-canon in the Holocron continuity database. However, on April 25, 2014, it was announced that the Expanded Universe was to be re-branded as Star Wars Legends and that the only past material that would be considered canon would be the original trilogy and prequel trilogy films and The Clone Wars, thus negating any concerns regarding conflicts between the series and past Star Wars Legends material. Novelizations based on the series, however, are not considered canon, nor are video game releases or comics, with the exception of Legacy material and any other upcoming projects based on material that was developed for the television series that ultimately did not make it to broadcast. Reference works based on the series, such as Star Wars: The Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia, are considered part of the "Legends" continuity and are not considered canon sources.
- See also: The Clone Wars Legacy
|Season||Logo||Episodes||First airdate||Last airdate|
Rise of the
The Lost Missions
February 15, 2014 (Germany)March 7, 2014 (US and Canada)
The Final Season
- "Launch Pad"—Star Wars Insider 148
- Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide
- "Cowboy Jedi"—Star Wars Insider 152
- "A Trip to the Light Side"—Star Wars Insider 152
- "Mandalorian Graffiti"—Star Wars Insider 152
- "Blaster"—Star Wars Insider 152
- "Return, Star Wars: The Clone Wars have!"—Star Wars Insider 195
Notes and references