Western Animation: Star Wars: Clone Wars

aka: Clone Wars
"Like fire, across the galaxy, the Clone Wars spread."

Star Wars: Clone Wars is an Animated Adaptation Miniseries, written and directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, and produced by Cartoon Network. Clone Wars is set in the Star Wars universe, between the events of Episode II and Episode III. Where the prequel trilogy teases us with the beginning and end of the Clone Wars, this miniseries puts the "Wars" back in Star Wars and actually shows the meat of that galaxy-spanning conflict.

It should not be confused with the CG film and TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It could be considered a spiritual pilot for that series, and the two share a few voice actors, but don't have any of the same writers.

The first volume of the series (Seasons 1 and 2) shows Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker leading the Clone forces in the Battle of Muunilinst. Obi-wan leads the ground forces, and ends up battling the mercenary Durge. Meanwhile, Anakin leads the space battle, then gets drawn into a one-on-one fight with the Dark Jedi Asajj Ventress.

Interspersed with this are shorter scenes from other characters and other battles: ARC troopers taking a key enemy position, Kit Fisto fighting underwater, Yoda and Padme rescuing two Jedi ambushed on an ice planet, and Mace Windu battling an army on Dantooine.

Then General Grievous shows up and kills a bunch of Jedi.

The second volume of the series (Season 3) has only two main storylines and no side-stories. Beginning with the rescue of the Jedi from the last season's cliffhanger, it shows the tide of the war shifting against the Republic due to Grievous' arrival. The Jedi Council responds by promoting Anakin to Jedi Knight. A montage of Anakin kicking butt ensues, then he and Obi-wan are dispatched to Nelvaan to find Grievous. In this story, Anakin receives a trippy vision quest that foreshadows his later fall to the Dark Side.

Meanwhile, Grievous leads a massive attack on Coruscant. Yoda and Mace Windu lead the counterattack, while Shaak Ti attempts to escort Chancellor Palpatine to safety.

The animation style is similar to Samurai Jack, but with outlines and CG spaceships. The series was originally broadcast as four-minute episodes for the first two seasons, then as twelve-minute episodes for the third season. Even in this format, the series earned an Emmy award.

This microseries provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Used by Obi-wan and Anakin to sneak into an enemy base.
  • Adaptational Badass: Everyone is depicted as far more powerful than they were in the movies. The most egregious and infamous example is General Grievous, because he was introduced in the series as being capable of curb-stomping five — albeit exhausted — Jedi, whereas George Lucas intended him to be a mustache-twirling villain, but hadn't yet made the final decision when he decided to give the character to the crew of the series.
  • All There in the Manual: Volume II serves as the manual for portions of Revenge of the Sith, as it is meant to bridge the gap between Episodes II and III, in particular introducing General Grievous, showing C-3PO's new gold plating and Anakin becoming a Jedi Knight (as well as the cosmetic changes he and Obi-Wan undergo), and especially showing the Battle of Coruscant before Episode III drops everyone into the tail end of it.
  • Animesque
  • Arm Cannon: Most of the Nelvaanian warriors were given these as part of their grotesque body modifications. They tear them off after Anakin loses his own cybernetic arm, as a sign of respect to "holt kazed" — and to symbolize that they won't let themselves be what the Techno Union turned them into.
  • Ascended Extra: Shaak Ti.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Both used straight by many Jedi, and mixed with Deadly Dodging by Shaak Ti.
  • Badass:
    • Mace Windu. To utterly ridiculous levels.
    • General Grievous, notably moreso than in the live-action film, due to the Force crush from Mace Windu.
    • Captain Fordo, leader of the ARC trooper squad.
  • Badass Crew: The Muunilist 10, the group of clones that take out the gun platform in the first season.
  • Bald Woman: Asajj Ventress. Also, Bald of Evil, obviously.
  • Beam Spam: A lot of it.
  • BFG: Some of the ARC troopers are armed with this.
  • Big Entrance: Our introduction to General Grievous.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Very little of any remains are shown. Taken to ridiculous extremes when there is no visible body left after General Grievous's Goomba Stomp.
  • Body Horror:
    • What happens to the male Nelvaanians.
    • What Obi-wan does to Durge, exploding him all over the walls from within.
  • Broken Faceplate: In one scene, General Grievous grasps a clone trooper's head with his clawed foot and smashes him against a wall so hard that his helmet shatters and his jaw is visible. There's no blood, but it's reasonable to assume that trooper is down for good.
  • Captain Obvious: "The city is under attack!" Said by Windu to Yoda, as a veritable rain of droid starfighters are flying past a Jedi Temple window.
  • Chase Fight: The Jedi and General Grievous during the battle of Coruscant. The Jedi are trying to get Palpatine to a safe bunker while Grievous and his Magnaguards are trying to kidnap him. It all comes to naught in the end, though, as Grievous somehow makes it there ahead of them.
  • Chiaroscuro:
    • The knighting ceremony.
    • Anakin's fight with Asajj briefly has them fighting in a darkened tunnel. All you can see is the red-blue reflections of their lightsabers. Anakan is in blue, Asajj in red; when they emerge atop the temple, into the light of a red gas giant in the sky, and Anakin finishes Asajj with her own lightsaber and the Dark Side, they are both shown in red.
  • Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: Palpatine does this in his first scene, complete with what sounds vaguely like bones rattling when he taps his fingertips together.
  • Clifftop Caterwauling: Anakin, after his fight with Ventress.
  • Conspicuous CG/Cel Shading: Spaceships are animated with cel-shaded CG.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: Notably averted. Though characters and objects are typically solid colors and backgrounds are painted, an object will be painted to match the background to avoid giving the game away. For example, when Asajj destroys a branch Anakin is standing on with the Force and a flick of her finger, the branch very nearly matches the tree.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Numerous lines from the original trilogy appear in different contexts: "I have you now", "What a wonderful smell you've discovered", "Impressive. Most impressive", "There are alternatives to fighting", and "I've got a bad feeling about this."
    • The Speeder Bike scenes to the Endor battle in Return of the Jedi.
    • The overhead shots of the clones' cockpits are made to evoke those of the Original Trilogy.
    • Anakin's cave vision of Darth Vader is a mirror of Luke's.
    • The fight between the Mon Calamari's organic mounts and the machines of the CIS is meant to evoke the Gungan vs. Droid battle of The Phantom Menace.
  • Cosmetic Award: Captain Fordo (The red ARC trooper) receives a unique helmet insignia for his service in fighting Grevious in the beginning of season 3. An unusual case of a cosmetic award actually being considered good — it's a highly prized Mandalorian symbol of heroism and honor.
  • Disney Villain Death: Asajj and Anakin climb to the top of a ruined temple over a cliff. Anakin pummels her so hard, the part of the temple she's standing on gives way and she falls into the darkness. She was much too awesome a villain to kill off, so she returned in the expanded universe and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
  • Dogface: The Nelvaanians.
  • Dual Wielding:
    • The ARC Trooper holding off a line of Super Battle Droids by himself during the Invasion of Coruscant.
    • Asajj Ventress with lightsabers.
    • Shaak Ti with a lightsaber and a MagnaGuard's staff.
    • Grievous with four lightsabers.
  • Dynamic Entry: Durge makes his appearance against the Troopers (after his battle with Kenobi) by dramatically bursting through a window with his jet pack. The clones shoot him, shoot his jetpack, and shoot his body when it hits the ground, rounding it off with a rocket launcher. Durge unveils his more venous and large form after that.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Revenge of the Sith doesn't allow you to see just how vicious General Grievous can be. His first entrance here has him taking on, and beating, no less than 5 Jedi at once. And we do mean beating.
  • Evil Laugh: Durge lets rip an epic one after Obi-Wan's attempt at stabbing him.
  • Expy: Sha'a Gi is an expy of Shaggy. He was intended to have the exact same voice, but the producers decided against it because they felt it would have given his death an overtone of inappropriate humor.
  • Face Palm Of Doom: Grievous does this to one Jedi. With his foot.
  • Fake Static: "Sorry Master Kenobi, your transmission is breaking up."
  • Fast Roping: After ascending an enemy tower, the Obi-Wan and the ARC troopers come sliding straight down into the war room.
  • Flat "What.": From a droid a split second before it becomes two half droids.
  • Flynning:
    • Holy crap, so much Flynning. There's times when the Jedi and their opponents are just sort of waving frantically in each other's direction. This seems inversely proportional to how close the camera is to the combatants.
    • Deconstructed briefly; Count Dooku is shown training Grievous to defy this trope, which is part of how he's able to defeat so many Jedi. Dooku himself is more economical with is movements than most in his duel with Asajj.
  • Futureshadowing:
    • In a cave, Anakin hallucinates, seeing pictures on a wall move before his eyes, foretelling his fall to the dark side.
    • An earlier scene has Anakin walking as the lone human in a crowd of aliens with resentment and anger growing in his face, foreshadowing the Empire's anti-alien specism.
  • Gatling Good: Some of the clone troopers.
  • Goomba Stomp: How Grievous kills the Jedi Sha'a Gi.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Not as far as violence, there is no radar for that, but Chapter 22 has a sequence of Anakin and Padme embracing followed by a shot of a building with a single window lit. No points for guessing what happens when the lights go out. It gets even better as the series implies that this was the night Luke and Leia were conceived.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Magnetic pistols are used to propel the ARC troopers up a tower and away from the exploding cannon at its base.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: The Nelvaanians speak Hungarian with a few Russian words thrown in.
  • Guns Akimbo: Captain Fordo's weapons of choice with his standard ARC trooper kit are his pistols. Then, in one brief but completely awesome scene, he does this with a pistol and the standard DC-15a heavy rifle.
  • Gun Twirling: Fordo pulls off this trope in a scene
  • Hand Signals: Used by the ARC troopers during the stealth mission in episode 3.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic:
    • Averted with the clone troopers, as even the ones who get a degree of individual characterization never remove their helmets.
    • Played straight by Obi-Wan, who wears a helmet for exactly one battle, and it quickly gets knocked off.
  • Hero Killer: General Grievous. In total, he effortlessly kills Daakman Barrek, Sha'a Gi, Tarr Seir, four Arc Troopers, 17 clone troopers (and that's just on-screen), two Senate Guards, Foul Moudama and Roron Corobb. The first six alone were in his first appearance.
  • Hero-Tracking Failure: The Gunship Rescue doesn't seem to land a single shot on Grievous. Also, the droid Nantex-class fighters targeting Anakin in Season 1 provide the page image.
  • Hollywood Tactics: During the Battle of Muunilinst, both sides are guilty of these. Especially notable when the droid speeder bikes charge at clone troopers who ... stand still and wait to be run down.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: The lightsaber construction ceremony.
    Luminara Unduli: The crystal is the heart of the blade. The heart is the crystal of the Jedi. The Jedi is the crystal of the Force. The Force is the blade of the heart. All are intertwined: the crystal, the blade, the Jedi. You are one.
  • Impending Clash Shot: A terrifying one occurs at the end of Chapter 20. Weaponless, Master Ki-Adi Mundi's spirit breaks as he watches General Greivous, wielding a lightsaber in each hand, strike the fourth of a five Jedi team across the length of the room and into a pillar, which collapses upon them. Greivous turns his attention to Ki-Adi before picking up a third lightsaber; he prepares to strike. Ki-Adi's spirit returns and he grabs another lightsaber from Grevious's belt with the Force. They wait. Suddenly Greivous leaps at him — all three blades drawn; Ki-Adi plants one foot behind and prepares to engage him. End of the season.
  • Implacable Man: Grievous, who seems to be constantly aware of everything going on around him, allowing him to block and counter nearly anything thrown at him. It helps that he belonged to a race of proud warriors.
  • Least Is First: When Anakin returns with the horribly mutated males of the local Proud Warrior Race Guy tribe, a small child is the first one to welcome them back to the tribe.
  • Lock and Load Montage: A couple of them.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Used twice by Anakin during the space battle in the first season.
  • Made of Explodium: Somehow, machinery is even more explosive than it is in the films. Tanks and artillery emplacements fall apart after being poked with a lance or slashed in the side with a lightsaber. After watching for a while you start expecting everything to explode into red smoke if it's so much as touched.
  • Magical Native American: The Nelvaanians are this IN SPACE!.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Roron Corobb, due to Ithorians having four throats.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The Ithorian from the Make Me Wanna Shout is named "Roron." Say it phonetically.
    • There's a wolf-man Jedi named Voolvif Monn.
  • Misguided Missile: Used by Anakin to take out one of the enemy ships. They were actually fired by his squadron, but due to the exact circumstances a few missiles happened to lock onto Anakin's ship by mistake.
  • Morally Bankrupt Banker: A Planet of Hats of them in the Banking Clan.
  • More Dakka: Almost all the ranged weapons are fired continuously until the opponent is reduced to scrap.
  • Motorcycle Jousting: There's a pair of episodes (Chapter 4 and Chapter 8) in which Obi-wan Kenobi and a platoon of clone lancers do this against IG lancer droids and the bounty hunter Durge, on speeder bikes.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Mace Windu drinking from the wide-eyed kid's canteen is very nearly as awesome as the rest of his actions in Chapter 13.
  • Mushroom Samba: Anakin's vision in the cave.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Durge. At the end Obi-Wan makes him explode from inside and his pieces are still shown crawling away afterwards. Other comicbooks and novels confirm that Durge fights the Jedi again, and has to be dropped into a star to be killed.
  • No Dialogue Episode: A few combat-centric or clone-centric episodes. Helped by the fact that the episodes are only about four minutes long.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Palpatine pretends to be horribly Genre Blind while he's being chased by Grevious.
  • One-Man Army:
    • Many Jedi, most notably Mace Windu and Yoda.
    • The first scene in Episode 22 has a commander of a droid base bragging that it would take at least 50 Jedi to take it. The droid standing next to him tells him there are Jedi approaching. The commander's first guess at their number is 1000, but there are only two. Those two are Obi-Wan and Anakin, who utterly destroy the droid army without batting an eye. The massive army of non-Jedi they brought with them probably helped.
    • General Grievous.
    • Durge.
  • Out of the Inferno: So cool, they do it twice. First with Durge, then with Asajj Ventress.
  • Pendulum War: Constantly, with the ground battle for Muunilinst being the best example.
  • Person of Mass Destruction:
    • Every single Jedi.
    • The ARC troopers to a lesser extent.
    • Yet again, General Grievous. Example: While escorting Palpatine to the safety bunker, the three Jedi taking him hop on a transport ship moving away from Grievous. His solution? Jump on the ship and slice the engines open, causing the ship to crash into the streets below.
  • Pimped Out Cape: Amidala's ice planet suit has a fur cape.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: One of the Jedi during the space battle of Coruscant:
    Clone Trooper: General Tiin! The ship is lost!
    Saesee Tiin: It's time to get a new one.
  • Pretty in Mink: Amidala's ice planet outfit is trimmed with light blue fur on the cape and gloves.
  • Psycho Strings: Used to introduce Grievous. Also used when Durge's true form is revealed.
  • Pulling Themselves Together: Durge.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Mace Windu goes all Kenshiro on some super battle droids after losing his lightsaber.
  • Rule of Cool: The series runs on it.
    • Speeder-bike jousting.
    • Also, when the Jedi are waiting for the elevator to arrive, and are listening to Grievous beat the tar out of a several dozen clone troopers, a chainsaw can be heard, something which is not often noted to be in his arsenal of weapons.
    • The "Seismic Tank" on Dantooine.
  • Sarashi: The top half of Ventress' outfit kind of looks like one.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Count Dooku's response to Ventress' Single-Stroke Battle.
  • Sexophone: Used as a joke when C-3PO first shows off his new gold plating.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • Anakin when he gets tattoos.
    • Kit Fisto while battling underwater.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: Asajj Ventress against the last of the gladiators.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of the first Jedi killed by Grievous is named Sha'a Gi, and he's a dead ringer for Shaggy.
    • The scene where Anakin uses his robot arm to slide down to the core of the Techno Union's factory was strongly reminiscent of I, Robot.
    • Planet Nelvaan was named for Nelvana Studios, who had created the Droids and Ewoks animated series, as well as the Boba Fett cartoon that was the single best part of The Star Wars Holiday Special. C-3PO's eyes are animated in homage to his portrayal in the Droids series.
    • In one very brief crowd shot, a Cylon is seen.
    • The Nelvaanian shaman's hair clip bears the zintaris, which was a prominent clan symbol in Tartakovsky's other hit series.
    • More of an allusion, and most likely not deliberate, but the last two thirds of Chapter 20 showcase almost an identical scenario — in mood, conflict, and even soundtrack and sound effects — to the episode "Jack and the Ultrabots" from Genndy Tartakovsky's Samurai Jack.
  • Smoke Shield: Used on Durge and Grievous.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Asajj Ventress' introduction.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Palpatine's composure while Coruscant is under attack. It's easy to remain calm when he secretly orchestrated the whole thing.
  • Stock Scream: When Grievous' MagnaGuards knock the clone troopers off a skyscraper, one of the troopers lets out a Wilhelm Scream. The scream is also heard from a clone thrown through the air by the seismic tank on Dantooine.
  • Stylish Protection Gear: Amidala's ice planet outfit. Since it's a white camo Spy Catsuit (she is in a snow environment), it also doubles as Fanservice.
  • Super Speed:
    • Mace Windu.
    • Shaak Ti, right before her final confrontation with Grievous.
    • Asajj Ventress in her opening scene against the gladiators.
  • The Oner: A dogfight between Anakin and Asajj through a battle cruiser required a 50 foot painting. And still needed to be cut for time.
  • Thick-Line Animation: The opposite of Tartakovsky's other swordfighting series.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: It does when it's a Laser Blade. Being able to control its path and call it back to your hand helps.
  • Train Escape: Used by the Jedi to end the fight with MagnaGuards at the train station.
  • Unnecessarily Large Interior: The bridge of the Republic Cruisers.
  • Vision Quest: Anakin goes on one that almost perfectly foretells his fall to the dark side. It even ends with a twisted (and rather horrifying) image of Darth Vader's mask.
  • The Voiceless: Despite being an important character (and not being a taciturn guy in any other adaptation), Durge never talks on-screen in the series, aside from a brief Evil Laugh.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction:
    • The Seismic Tank. Unfortunately for the tank it encounters Mace Windu shortly after its appearance.
    • The giant underwater cannon on Mon Calamari. That one encounters Kit Fisto.
  • Weather-Control Machine: An side-effect of whatever the Techno Union was doing on Nelvaan.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Asajj Ventress, on the receiving end of Dooku's Force lightning.
  • You Shall Not Pass: Shaak Ti against the MagnaGuards. Subverted horribly — Grievous is already waiting in the shelter she's guarding.

Alternative Title(s):

Clone Wars, Star Wars Clone Wars