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Rescued From The Scrappy Heap / Star Wars: The Clone Wars

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"I think with the storytelling at its core, you have to connect with the characters that you're gonna be living with, right? And if we had four hours to connect with Anakin, it's hard. Because first of all, he goes on this downward spiral from good to the worst villain in the galaxy in the course of like two hours. And prior to that, a lot of people said he's whiny and it just wasn't enough time to take a guy from teenage angst into the worst villain. We needed more time and I think George and Dave understood that and understood that we gotta connect with the character more."
Matt Lanter on Anakin's characterization

The Clone Wars redeems a number of characters that were introduced in the Prequel Trilogy as well as the series itself.

  • Anakin Skywalker was originally a Base-Breaking Character at best in the Prequel Trilogy, but The Clone Wars retroactively redeems Anakin by presenting him with a stronger characterization and fleshed out role as a likable, heroic, and responsible Jedi Knight of the Galactic Republic as well as a decreased tendency for Wangst. The Clone Wars also presents that Anakin will do anything to protect those he cares about and bring peace to the galaxy and reveals that he has a lot of reasons to distrust the Jedi Order, which retroactively make his eventual and inevitable turn to the Dark Side significantly more believable than what was presented in the Prequel Trilogy. Matt Lanter's performance as Anakin being considered superior to Hayden Christensen's own and having much better dialogue to work with helps tremendously.
  • Ahsoka Tano is one of the poster childs for this. She began with having levels of hatred that were similar to those of Jar Jar Binks as a result of being mostly perceived as a Creator's Pet, Spotlight-Stealing Squad, and Bratty Half-Pint who was just there to appeal to the younger audiences. However, her overall reception became more positive by the time of the second season after being pulled back from appearing in nearly every episode (which prevented her from being one of the more talkative characters in The Clone Wars) and having several well regarded episodes that highlighted her own personal growth. The emotional response to Ahsoka's decision to leave her master and the Jedi Order has made it safe to say that her "Scrappy" status has been revoked as Ahsoka is now considered a major fan favorite character.
    • Ahsoka's popularity has also developed over the years. The franchise under Disney has seen a push towards more female leads, but the reception to said characters have been divisive. Thanks to The Clone Wars' popularity over time, Ahsoka is heralded as one of the best female characters in the canon.
  • Padmé Amidala was initially unpopular for undergoing a Badass Decay throughout the Prequel Trilogy due to her very polarizing romance plot with Anakin in addition to being his motivation to turn to the Dark Side, but The Clone Wars retroactively redeems Padmé through presenting her with a better characterization and fleshed out role as a well-meaning politician in the Galactic Senate, portraying her relationship with Anakin more naturally and romantic, and featuring her badassery when push comes to shove. As with Anakin above, the fact that Catherine Taber's performance as Padmé is much less wooden than Natalie Portman's own and has better dialogue helps enormously.
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  • Jar Jar Binks of all people was successfully rescued from the scrappy heap in The Clone Wars after the infamously negative reception he had back in The Phantom Menace (yeah, you read that correctly, make no mistake). The series did so by emphasizing his friendliness as being his greatest strength to the point of being The Beast Master (as he once called upon a Kwazel Maw for help) in addition to playing down his clumsy side in order to make sure that it always ended up doing more good than harm along with the fact that he gets to show that under his overly friendly and clumsy nature is indeed a smart guy who takes his duties seriously. His cowardly nature is also almost nowhere to be seen. His most highly-regarded episodes are those where he's paired up with another character to act as a counterpart to his wackiness (such as C-3PO, Bail Organa, and Mace Windu). While there is still some vitriol directed towards him for the reputation he has in the films, the reception to him in the series is significantly less caustic, making him more of a Base-Breaking Character than the near-universally loathed Scrappy that he was originally.
  • During the first season, the B1 battle droids were mostly disliked by older audiences as they felt their excessive stupidity and slapstick comic relief contributed to The Clone Wars' initial Animation Age Ghetto, which also resulted in some outright questioning why they don't just get replaced with the more badass and popular commando droids (ignoring the Word of God justification of their high In-Universe production costs). As The Clone Wars went on, reception to them began warming up when they started showing their strengths (being deadly in numbers and being genuinely intimidating when silent). When the later seasons became Darker and Edgier, the battle droid humor was less frequent to the point that it was tolerable and provided at least a little bit of levity in the darkness while still retaining both their Butt-Monkey status and occasional lethality.
  • Many of the poorly-received alien races in the canon that have been introduced in the Prequel Trilogy were given characters that could be appreciated far better in The Clone Wars.
    • The Toydarians, aka Watto's species, were widely considered as an uncomfortable Jewish stereotype in the Prequel Trilogy, but they were represented much better in The Clone Wars by the noble and wise King Katuunko.
    • Outside the stigma that came with being Jar Jar Binks' species, the Gungans were disliked for being on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle by the Trade Federation during the Invasion of Naboo back in The Phantom Menace, but The Clone Wars presents them as being capable of handling themselves through taking down General Grievous in "Shadow Warrior", albeit only when Captain Tarpals pulls a Heroic Sacrifice, successfully incapacitating him and allowing him to be briefly captured.
  • Inspector Tan Divo wasn't a particularly well-liked character during the episodes of The Clone Wars that he appeared in due to his abrasive and condescending personality, his ineffectiveness as an inspector, his rather weird character design among the human characters, and generally feeling out of place in the Star Wars universe. The guide book Scum and Villainy: Case Files on the Galaxy's Most Notorious, where he and his family are narrators, presented him with a less bizarre character design while still being recognizable, added some Hidden Depths by revealing his disdain for the corruption going on in the Republic (including their treatment of clone troopers) and later the Empire, having respect for Quinlan Vos when compared to other Jedi, and going into incidents where he is portrayed as more knowledgeable and competent than his appearances in the series indicated.


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