Star Wars: Clone Wars is an animated television series that chronicles the Clone Wars between the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Produced by Cartoon Network Studios, the series originally aired from 2003 to 2005, and was intended to serve as a bridge between the films Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. The series consists of twenty-five chapters; Seasons 1 and 2 (Volume I) are made up of three-minute installments, while Season 3 (Volume II) is made up of twelve-to-fifteen minute installments. The success of Star Wars: Clone Wars led to production of the similarly titled Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
In the early 2000s, Hasbro asked Lucasfilm to develop something between prequel films, which they hoped would boost action figure sales and help promote the upcoming Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Cartoon Network—who had previously worked with Hasbro on their Transformers series—suggested Genndy Tartakovsky, who was finishing work on the animated series Samurai Jack. Lucasfilm met with Tartakovsky, who agreed to the project if the shorts could be extended from the original proposed 1-minute runtime up to 3-to-5 minutes.
Tartakovsky pitched the show as having "a Band of Brothers-feel to it—where it's episodes of different battles and strategies during the Clone Wars." After Lucasfilm and Cartoon Network approved the idea, Tartakovsky produced twenty 3-minute episodes. The series was produced using mostly traditional animation techniques. For example, Tartakovsky animated C-3PO's eyes in a way that pays homage to the animation style of Nelvana, who produced the Droids and Ewoks series and The Star Wars Holiday Special's animated segment—all of which he had grown up with.
The series's success led to the greenlight of a third season consisting of five 12- to 15-minute episodes. Cartoon Network held a poll to determine which of three new Jedi should be introduced in the series. The three choices were Roron Corobb, Voolvif Monn, and Foul Moudama. Voolvif Monn won the vote and was introduced in "Chapter 20." The other two Jedi were later introduced anyway, both of whom played parts larger than Monn's.
Star Wars: Clone Wars ran on Cartoon Network from November 7, 2003 to March 25, 2005. The episodes were released simultaneously on television and online for members of the Hyperspace fan club. They were available the next day on cartoonnetwork.com and on StarWars.com for non-Hyperspace members. In an act of cross-promotion, Cartoon Network ran a Star Wars contest involving the 2004 DVD release of the original trilogy.
20th Century Fox released the series on home video in two phases in 2005; The first DVD was released on March 22, 2005 (one day after the third and final season began airing) and contained Chapters 1 through 20. The second DVD was released on December 6, 2005 (the same day as the "family pack" DVD re-release of the original trilogy) and contained Chapters 21 through 25. Chapters 1 and 8 were also included on a "Bonus Lightsaber Action DVD" that was packaged with Hasbro's Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader toy lightsabers.
A PhotoComic adaptation of the entire series was released on May 21, 2008. Dark Horse released a comic book series based on the artwork and atmosphere of the show, in some cases with direct plot tie-ins. Hasbro released three waves of action figures—one for each season. The first two were initially available exclusively at Target, and then later at StarWarsShop.com, whereas the final wave was released at multiple retailers. In July 2021, following the Disney+ release of the show, StarWars.com announced that Hasbro would be producing Clone Wars figures for its Black Series and Vintage Collection lines.
Clone Wars was one of the first online series to win an Emmy Award, due to the fact that it was released on television and the internet simultaneously. Seasons one and two won an Emmy award for "Outstanding Animated Program" in 2004, and season three won in 2005 for the same category. Background key designer Justin Thompson also won in "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation" for his work on season three. The series was also a nominee and winner, respectively, of the 32nd and 33rd Annie Awards for "Best Animated Television Production." EW.com ranked the series 20th out of 25 of the best science-fiction films or television of the previous 25 years (1982–2007). IGN ranked Clone Wars as the 21st (out of 100) greatest animated series of all time.
|Season||Episodes||First airdate||Last airdate|
|One||10||November 7, 2003||November 20, 2003|
|Two||10||March 26, 2004||April 8, 2004|
|Three||5||March 21, 2005||March 25, 2005|
- Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume One
- Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume Two
- Star Wars: Bonus Lightsaber Action DVD