Season 7 of “The Clone Wars” features some of the best Star Wars we’ve had in decades. After suffering through the highly disappointing experience of ” The Rise of Skywalker,” it was nice to revisit prequel territory and experience some high quality storytelling. Granted, this final season of “The Clone Wars” isn’t all great. While it may feature Star Wars at its finest, it also has some of the least consequential episodes of the entire series. This final season is broken up into three separate arcs each four episodes long. The first two arcs serve their purpose but lack what’s most important in this final season – stakes. The third arc is where the stakes are finally built up, and the four-part finale is truly a tremendous experience. In fact, were it not that the first two arcs were important to establishing the status of some of our favorite characters, I’d suggest skipping the first eight episodes and delving right in to the final arc of the season. About 25 minutes in length, the final four episodes essentially combine to create the best Star Wars movie we’ve had since “Revenge of the Sith.”
“The Clone Wars” movie that came out in 2008 was a complete failure in just about every category. Though commercially it did alright, the film opened to the worst critical reception of any Star Wars film and was a huge disappointment in regards to its inconsequential plot, clunky animation, and poorly-written dialogue. It seemed like nothing set in the world of the prequels would ever turn out well (though I really enjoyed “Revenge of the Sith”). Then came the TV series to Cartoon Network. The first two seasons were fun and light in tone, but as the series continued, the stakes were raised and the tone drastically became more dark. The show became more adult than some of the Star Wars feature films. I really enjoyed the show during my teen years and was sad to see it get cancelled back in 2013. The show introduced compelling characters we hadn’t seen before and brilliantly fleshed out the events of the Clone Wars that took place between Episodes II and III. For a lot of fans, it legitimized the story arc of the prequel trilogy and made it far more interesting. It introduced exciting new locations and stories in Star Wars lore and provided depth to characters’ arcs that was desperately lacking in the cinematic installments.
Season 7 has been released seven years after the show was initially cancelled, and we’re fortunate to get to experience such a dramatic finale that officially (and satisfyingly) closes the chapter of the Clone Wars. Filoni and crew clearly always had a great sense of respect for Star Wars as a brand and understood what it meant to its fans. The animation grew considerably more advanced as the show went on. Some images even reached the point of looking near-realistic. The voice acting was tremendous – the actors conveyed a great sense of emotional range in all of their characters. Some of the best story arcs of the entire Star Wars universe exist scattered among the seven seasons of the show. Ahsoka Tano was easily my favorite addition to “The Clone Wars,” and she receives an immensely fulfilling end to her journey in season seven.
I don’t feel as though I can rate season seven of “The Clone Wars” as a whole. I’m going to proceed to rate and and review each of the three arcs in the season:
- The Bad Batch
The first four episodes make up “The Bad Batch” story arc, which centers around a group of highly skilled and lethal misfit clones who operate as sort of a special ops team for the Republic. There are a lot of great action scenes and the animation is very impressive (as was to be expected). A lot of the action scenes consist of the clones tearing in to enemy bases and dispatching Separatist droids left and right; Separatist droids who can’t seem to hit a target the size of a football field. The heart of these four episodes belong to the clones, who are mounting a rescue mission for a POW who was captured several seasons back. There are some touching moments, and it’s great to get the sense that the clones would never give up on one of their brothers even with the odds set against them.
2. The Martez Sisters
The second arc of the season revolves around the return of Ahsoka. After leaving Anakin and the Jedi Council behind, she crash lands near a mechanic workshop. There she meets the Martez sisters and inadvertently becomes involved with their money issues. The sisters are trying to scheme their way into spice trades going on between some contemptible clients in the sector. Ahsoka, familiar with the true objective of the spice trades, attempts to convince the sisters that their clients actually use the spice for reprehensible purposes in the war. She has to hide the fact that she’s a Jedi from them because as we find out, the sisters have a grudge against the Jedi due to an incident that happened in their childhoods.
That dynamic is the most interesting aspect of these episodes. There are some great character building moments for Ahsoka in this arc. She comes to realize just how out of touch the Jedi Council was from the people living on Coruscant and recognizes who she was really fighting to protect during the Clone Wars. Unfortunately though, the story arc drags at times, and doesn’t end up feeling like it was necessary to have four episodes to flesh it out. The animation isn’t quite as good as it was in the previous four episodes as well. The dialogue is very clunky. One episode ends in the exact same place it begins and feels completely useless. It’s understandable how this story arc was necessary in the grand scheme of things, but we could have summed it up easily in half the amount of episodes.
3. The Siege of Mandalore
Gratefully, a rather mundane season is redeemed in its final four episodes, which as I stated earlier, make up some of the best Star Wars content we’ve had in decades. These four episodes are so far and above anything else in the season that it’s hard to understand why Filoni didn’t just take these four episodes, extend them into 45 minutes each, and produce a limited episode mini-series. These final episodes were clearly separate in the minds of Filoni & crew when they were being made. The Lucasfilm logo appears at the start of each one of them and the “Clone Wars” text appears as red rather than yellow. The music takes on a completely different tone. Darth Maul returns, and the fight choreography was done through motion capture. Ray Park was brought back to pull it off, which was a great wink to fans, especially when we see some of the familiar moves from “The Phantom Menace.”
The writing was fantastic, the dialogue had many emotional moments, and the character work was amazing. The story was ingeniously intertwined with events from “Revenge of the Sith.” We feel a great sense of dread as events unfold, many of which we are already familiar with on a certain level. Since we know things like Order 66 and Anakin’s turn to the dark side are going to happen, there’s a great sense of suspense building up to those moments as seen through the eyes of Ahsoka and Captain Rex. The music even had some terrific callbacks to themes found in the “Revenge of the Sith” soundtrack. The duel between Ahsoka and Maul will undoubtedly go down as one of the best in all of Star Wars. The final scene of the season is simply heartbreaking, conveying how Anakin essentially lost everything and everyone he cared about upon his turn to evil.
In summation, season seven is worth your time as a Star Wars fan, particularly the final arc of the season that has delighted audiences all over the world. The $6.99 for Disney plus is worth it just for those final four episodes. It’s great to get some high quality Star Wars content on television at least while the cinematic branch figures out what the hell they’re going to do moving forward. I for one am optimistic about the future of the Star Wars brand.