Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a CGI-animated film and television series taking place between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. The pilot film was released theatrically in the United States on August 2008 and the subsequent TV series debuted on Cartoon Network two months later in the same year.
In Star Wars history, the Clone Wars were violent struggles between the Galactic Republic and the violently secessionist "Separatists". Members of the Jedi Order serve as the generals of the Republic's Clone army, with Jedi Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi acting as the main characters. In the pilot movie, Anakin is forcibly given a Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, and they deal with the various battles and adventures fought during this epic war up until Revenge of the Sith.
The series is a Spiritual Successor to Star Wars: Clone Wars, the 2003-2005 mini-episode Animated Series created by Genndy Tartakovsky. Although it had no writers or producers in common with the previous production other than George Lucas, The Clone Wars borrows many design and plot elements from its predecessor while exploiting its longer format to build on the characters and stories. Dave Filoni (previously known for his work on Avatar: The Last Airbender) served as the supervising director and head writer.
The series utilized an anthology format with Anachronic Order as an intentional stylistic choice. Within each season there is a loosely connected Story Arc (generally composed of two- or three-part episodes) while the Filler tends to jump around to any point in the timeline. This has resulted in some Story Arcs being told almost in reverse. As the series progressed it shifted away from filler and more towards story arcs, to the point that Season 5 was composed of five four-part stories.
A major advantage of the television format and choice timeslot is the inclusion of PG-13 level content. Characters are killed in unsettling and dramatic fashion, and some adult language and mild sexual content have slipped in under the radar. Like Clone Wars, episodes feature more obscure Jedi, stories centered entirely around Clone Troopers and sometimes even the politicians.
The series was in production of a sixth season but was cancelled shortly after the Season 5 finale because of Disney's buyout of Lucasfilm, who wanted a tv show on their own network and did not want to invest in a Channel Hop for one starting to wrap up. The episodes in production were released as a Netflix exclusive. Unproduced story arcs were adapted into other mediums. Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir served as a comic book adaptation of a four-episode storyline. A novelization of another arc, Dark Disciple, starring Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos, was released on July 7th, 2015. Story reels for a third arc, "Crystal Crisis on Utapau" were released on the official Star Wars website on September 25th, 2014. A fourth, "Bad Batch," following on April 29th, 2015.
This series is the final installment produced by George Lucas prior to selling the franchise to Disney, and brings the prequel era to a close after fifteen years. Owing to Lucas' involvement, The Clone Wars is the only non-theatrical Star Wars production to be considered as canon going into the Disney era. An Art Shifted Sequel series called Star Wars Rebels takes place before A New Hope and has some of the same production staff.
See Clone Wars Gambit for the novel tie-ins, which are no longer canon.
The film and show in general provide examples of:
- This is a war. If we aren't willing to do what it takes to win, we risk losing everything we try to protect.