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For other uses, see Clone Wars (disambiguation).

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, which were released beginning in February 2020 and ended on May 4, 2020.

Development

(left to right) George Lucas, Dave Filoni, and Catherine Winder discuss the series.

George Lucas first had the idea for a Clone Wars animated series in 2002.[51] 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."[52] Dave Filoni was hired as supervising director, and was familiar with previous Star Wars animation projects.[53][54] 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).[55]

By February 2006, Lucasfilm Animation was working on animation tests and initial scripts, with Lucas playing a large part in the entire process.[56][2] 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.[57] Lucas and the animation team used this to create Zviz, a system that allowed the animation team complete freedom in framing shots.[58][59] 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.[60] No rotoscoping was involved, however, ILM did use motion capture. The final assembly of each episode was done at Skywalker Ranch.[61] 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.[7] The animation style was inspired by 1960s-era puppets-in-space serials such as Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds,[62] as well as the character designs from the original Clone Wars series.[63] Each episode of The Clone Wars was designed to be stand-alone, with an opening narration and moral to each story.[64] In terms of story and cinematography, the series was directed as if it were a live-action series,[2] and the episodes were produced in widescreen.[65] Writer Henry Gilroy gained inspiration for the episode titles from the pulpy adventure sci-fi serials of the 1930s.[66] The series utilized unused ideas from Lucas' previous Star Wars projects.[51] 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.[67]

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, or Jabba the Hutt 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.[68]

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.[69] Lucasfilm Story Group's Pablo Hidalgo stated that there were 13 story arcs left unfinished.[70] 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.[71] 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.[72] Since the end of the series, both Leland Chee and the official blog have posted chronological lists of episodes.[73][74]

Release

The exclusive Celebration IV poster for the series

The first image released from the series—that of a 3D animated Yoda—was shown at Toy Fair 2007.[75] 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.[48][76] Filoni and Winder also held similar presentations at Celebration Europe and WonderCon 2008.[77][78] 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.[79]

Television

Lucas shopped The Clone Wars to various networks, but had difficulty securing a buyer due to the show's unique tone.[80] Fox Broadcasting passed on it, and Cartoon Network was initially unsure.[51] Several networks eventually got into a bidding war over the show.[81] 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.[82] 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.[83] 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.[3][84][81] This announcement was accompanied by an update of the Hyperspace online fan club kit,[85] and an offering of Captain Rex and Ahsoka Tano T-shirts to Hyperspace members.[86][87]

The series premiered on October 3, 2008 at 9 p.m. on the Cartoon Network. It aired on Friday nights[88] 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 channels, such 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."[83] In Canada, the first season aired on CTV[89] 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.[90][91]

Lucas expected The Clone Wars to run for four or five years, but planned to produce at least 100 episodes regardless of ratings.[92][65][93][94][95] 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.[96] 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,[97][98] though only aired a limited run before dropping the series.[99] Episodes began airing in syndication in fall 2012, in conjunction with the series' fifth season.[100]

Post-cancellation

An abridged sixth season, dubbed The Lost Missions, was released in the United States through Netflix and in Germany on Super RTL.[4][101] (The Netflix episodes were part of a package deal that included the feature film and the first five seasons.[4]) 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 but were later taken off the site.[102]

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.[5] To commemorate the completion of the final season, the cast held a D23 livestream on May 8, 2020.[103]

Merchandising

Sue Rostoni first stated in June 2007 that a publishing program based on the series was possible, but had not yet been discussed.[104] Rob Coleman reported that licensees had a very positive reaction upon first seeing footage from the series.[105][61] 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.[source?] A series of graphic novels were published by Dark Horse. There was also a volume that was made for Free Comic Book Day.[106] 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.[107] 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.[108] A leaked Hasbro redemption certificate bearing the series' logo implied the release of a preview action figure from the series (possibly Kit Fisto).[109] From 2008 to 2010, Lucasfilm sponsored The Clone Wars-themed exhibits in certain major US cities.[110][111][112][113] Cartoon Network's Mad series parodied The Clone Wars on the 2010 episode "Trans-BORE-Mores/Star Wars: The Groan Wars."

Characters from The Clone Wars were added to a DLC expansion of Star Wars Battlefront II.[114][115][116] Hasbro will also produce new The Clone Wars toys.[117]

Home video

Each season prior to the seventh received complete DVD and Blu ray releases:

A Collector's Edition boxed set of the first five seasons was released in 2013.[118]

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.[119][120][121][122] Target also included an exclusive DVD included in the 2010 action figure sets "Hostage Crisis" and "The Hidden Enemy".[123]

Reception

Cartoon Network screened an episode for critics as part of the 2008 TCA tour to generally positive reactions.[124] The series debuted on October 3, 2008 with the episode "Ambush," which brought in 3.96 million viewers,[125] and was the channel's most watched series premiere.[126] Season Two premiered on October 2, 2009 with the episodes "Holocron Heist" and "Cargo of Doom," which averaged 2.58 million viewers.[127] In 2008, IGN listed The Clone Wars as the 89th (out of 100) greatest animated series of all time.[128] In comparison, Star Wars: Clone Wars was ranked 21st (out of 100).[129]

The first season episode "Lair of Grievous" won a Golden Reel Award for best sound editing in television animation.[130] The series was nominated for the 2009 Saturn Award for "Best Cable/Syndicated TV Series."[131] 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.[132] In 2014, the series was also nominated for four daytime Emmys,[133][134] winning two.[135] In 2021, the series' revived seventh season was nominated for three Emmys[136]

Continuity

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).[2] 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.[97] Dark Horse Comics editor Randy Stradley also claimed to have met with Lucasfilm Animation to discuss integrating the show with the Clone Wars comics.[137] 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.[138] There were several prominent examples of direct contradiction between The Clone Wars and previous Clone Wars media:

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."[152] 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.[153] 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,[153] and the Jedi fighting styles are more like the films, and not like some of the exaggerated Jedi abilities portrayed in the original series.[2]

The Clone Wars was classified as T-canon in the Holocron continuity database.[154][155] 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.[156][157] 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.

Seasons

Season Logo Episodes First airdate Last airdate
One
TCW S1.png
22[6]
October 3, 2008[6]
March 20, 2009[24]
Two
Rise of the
Bounty Hunters
TCW RedLogo.png
22[158]
October 2, 2009[159]
April 30, 2010[160]
Three
Secrets Revealed
TCW S3.png
22[161]
September 17, 2010[161]
April 1, 2011[162]
Four
Battle Lines
TCW S4.png
22[163]
September 16, 2011[163]
March 16, 2012[164]
Five
SeasonFiveLogo-Gold.jpg
20
September 29, 2012[165]
March 2, 2013[166]
Six
The Lost Missions
TCW S6.png
13[4]

February 15, 2014 (Germany)[101]

March 7, 2014 (US and Canada)[4]
March 8, 2014 (Germany)[101]
Seven
The Final Season
TCWs7 red logo.png
12[5]
February 21, 2020[167]
May 4, 2020[168]

Credits

By type 
Cast Crew

Cast

Crew

Art Department:

Visual Effects:

Animation Department:

Bibliography

Notes and references

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  1. TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Ambush"
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  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 StarWars.com Star Wars: The Clone Wars's Final Season, "The Lost Missions," to Hit Netflix on March 7 on StarWars.com (backup link)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 StarWars.com SDCC 2018: Star Wars: The Clone Wars to Return With New Episodes on StarWars.com (backup link)
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 6.18 6.19 6.20 6.21 6.22 StarWars.com The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Ambush on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link)
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  29. 29.00 29.01 29.02 29.03 29.04 29.05 29.06 29.07 29.08 29.09 29.10 29.11 TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Water War"
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 30.4 30.5 TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "To Catch a Jedi"
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  32. 32.0 32.1 SWInsider.png "Launchpad"—Star Wars Insider 148
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  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 38.3 38.4 38.5 38.6 38.7 StarWars.com The Clone Wars Episode Guide: The Mandalore Plot on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link)
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 39.4 39.5 TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Mercy Mission"
  40. 40.0 40.1 TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The General"
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 41.3 41.4 41.5 TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Friends and Enemies"
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 StarWars.com The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Shadow of Malevolence on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link)
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 StarWars.com The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Rookies on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link)
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 44.4 TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Gone with a Trace"
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 StarWars.com The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Lair of Grievous on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link)
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 46.3 TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Deal No Deal"
  47. 47.0 47.1 SWInsider.png Star Wars Insider 129
  48. 48.0 48.1 48.2 StarWars.com Meet the Producer and Director Of The Clone Wars at Celebration IV on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link)
  49. 49.00 49.01 49.02 49.03 49.04 49.05 49.06 49.07 49.08 49.09 49.10 49.11 49.12 StarWars.com The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Rising Malevolence on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link)
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