Star Wars: The Clone Wars isn’t your average cartoon. The series showcasing the events between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith goes above and beyond the standards for a 22-minute children’s show. Tuning in each week is like watching a mini feature film, and the show only gets more impressive with each season. It’s not just the visual effects that improve every year either; the stories are becoming more expansive and layered. It’s a series for fans of Star Wars, young and old alike. Here’s why you should check out The Clone Wars on Cartoon Network:
George Lucas is involved.
I know some would say it’s not a good thing for George Lucas to be involved. I disagree. Lucas created the Star Wars universe. He created the Force, Anakin Skywalker, and every bit of the world fans know and love. Since he is in the writer’s room with Supervising Director Dave Filoni and the talented creative team, fans get more stories from the source. He’s there to impart knowledge and direction about his universe. For example, when it was decided Anakin Skywalker would have a Padawan, it was Lucas who said it should be a girl. When they talk about bringing original trilogy characters into the series (which they do, by the way), Lucas is there to provide guidance and ensure it makes sense to tell the back story of the character. He’s there to say what Alderaan should look like or to explain the motivations of Chancellor Palpatine at any given moment. It’s his vision, and the series stays true to it.
Could you imagine sitting down to talk about Star Wars stories with George Lucas? It’s just one cog in the huge machine of The Clone Wars, but it’s perhaps the biggest. The series could absolutely happen without Lucas if it had to, but I don’t think it would go as smoothly.
Anakin’s fall to the Dark side
One reason the prequels were exciting is because fans wanted to see how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. How does someone become so full of hatred and evil? The relatively quick turn of events in Revenge of the Sith left many wanting more. To me, Star Wars is the story of Anakin Skywalker and I wanted to see the slow fall instead of the jump over the cliff into the Dark side ocean – well, lava. You get the slower pace in The Clone Wars.
Anakin has to wrestle not only with his attachment to Padmé but also to his Padawan, Ahsoka Tano. He acts very much like a big brother to her and feels responsible for her. That’s not so far from the Jedi way, but when a successful mission depends on him leaving her behind, he finds it hard to walk away. You can see his missteps and watch as they slowly build up. He has to contend with his destiny as the Chosen One and with Palpatine’s subtle pushes. Add those factors into the decisions he has to make to help win the war against the Separatists, and you can see the path to Mustafar widen in front of him.
You know all those planets you would have liked to visit in the movies but never got to see? The Clone Wars goes to places like Alderaan and Mandalore. You also spend time in familiar locations like Coruscant, too, but you get to view different parts of the city. The season four premiere takes place underwater on the Mon Calamari home world. Each location is meticulously designed. Not only are the models and lighting stunning, but the civilization is completely developed. Consistent shapes and motifs are visible in the architecture and clothing. If the set is less city and more nature, assets and layers are added to give it the dense feeling it needs to look real. The planets visited in the second half of season three will make you wish you could grab an intergalactic passport and take a tour.
The Clone Wars were mentioned in A New Hope. It’s an interesting time period in Star Wars history. The universe is divided between the Republic, the Separatists, and the planets that just want to stay out of it. The Jedi are numerous and forced into the roles of generals instead of peace keepers. The Republic has a Clone Army stocked with troopers born and bred for fighting. Battles rage across the galaxy. It’s a story that has to be seen, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars is showing every angle of the war. You see the space fights, the front line skirmishes, and the way it affects civilians. The show takes the time to explore the behind the scenes politics and how the clones develop and have different personalities. Plus, plenty of cool lightsaber battles happen.
Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan started out as a spunky youngster. Ahsoka has come a long way in three years, and her relationship with Anakin has matured, too. She’s finding her own way and handling more missions without Anakin. She’s learning the Jedi way in the time of war; that has to be having an effect on her actions and beliefs. Her fate is the biggest question mark of the series. She obviously isn’t around for Revenge of the Sith, and Anakin never mentions her. Whatever happens to her will probably play a significant role in his turn to the Dark side.
If you have any affection for the galaxy far, far away, you should give The Clone Wars a chance. Season four premieres tonight at 8pm EST on Cartoon Network. It’s also worth noting that the Star Wars Blu-ray is available today, as well as LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace DVD and Blu-ray. Here’s where the fun begins!