Gaming Editor Alex Green raves about how the Clone Wars has brought a vibrant new side to the Star Wars galaxy
Within the monumental amount of Star Wars content we have now in 2020 in every conceivable medium, few entries have been as fondly remembered by Star Wars fans as the animated show Star Wars: The Clone Wars. At the time of its airing in 2008, The Clone Wars rapidly transformed from a simple cartoon with lightsabers and clone battles to a surprisingly nuanced and character-driven show aided by classic characters such as Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) to new favourites like Padawan Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein). Sadly, the show was cancelled with the purchase of Lucasfilm by Disney, but now with Disney+ out for all, former supervising director Dave Filoni gets one last season to add the final chapter of one of the most important areas of Star Wars lore.
What we get is twelve episodes, split mainly into three distinct arcs in which Clone Captain Rex (Dee Bradley Baker) must team up with a specialist clone force, Ahsoka Tano finds a new path after she makes a life-changing decision and both of these lead up to the final four-part arc based around the Siege of Mandalore and events around it, an important conflict in the lore.
Whilst many people have been watching The Mandalorian, season seven of The Clone Wars is further proof of the viability of Star Wars on the small screen and most importantly, a highly worthy send-off to one of the best pieces of content ever produced in the Star Wars canon. Whilst this may seem hyperbolic, watching season seven feels like some of the most well written and thoughtful content, mainly because the show is far and away not just a ‘kids show.’
It finds its footing through three story arcs, all complimenting each other and re-introducing old characters eloquently. In particular, the returns of characters such as Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) doing their usual ‘old married couple’ banter is wonderful and smaller characters emerge for some pleasant cameos. However, the supremely built narrative of season seven hangs on the three standout characters of Ahsoka Tano, Captain Rex and the villainous Darth Maul. The story of The Clone Wars and all its thematic beats, the ideas of betrayal, loyalty and the loss of faith, all hang on the shoulders of these three characters. Through their character arcs, the excellent voice acting performances courtesy of Ashley Eckstein, Dee Bradley Baker and Sam Witwer, and the delicately balanced writing, The Clone Wars season seven is a story stuffed with tragedy and emotion, all expertly navigated by a brilliant writing team.
Beyond the storytelling elements, The Clone Wars obtains a visual glow-up thanks to improved animations, particularly when it comes to displaying emotion, and tremendous lighting and art direction. The worlds of Anaxes, Kessel and Mandalore, in particular, have a wonderful style. Within this season also lies a stunning score helmed by series regular composer Kevin Kiner, providing a perfect auditory accompaniment to the storytelling on display, whether it be beautifully melancholic pieces or booming numbers to aid the action scenes.
Speaking of which, these action scenes are some of the usual lofty quality, with huge battles being a particular high point as well as a truly mesmerizing duel in episode 10, highlighting continued excellence in balancing flashy choreography with weighty fighting in lightsaber duels and the true brutal scale of war when it comes to the battle sequences. The series has always excelled in these elements and continues to do so here.
Aside from maybe small missteps, owing to some odd appearances not being explained and an occasional cliché moment here or there, there is nothing fundamentally flawed here. This truly feels like a culmination the series deserved, a heartfelt and yet heart-breaking final look at the true horror and tragedy at the centre of The Clone Wars. It feels like the story Dave Filoni had always wanted to end on, to properly say goodbye to the show. With that, Filoni did so and did so in the best way possible. Even if you do not watch animated shows, you will want to stick with this to see some of the best content available from the Star Wars saga.
Rating = 5/5
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