Dave Filoni and his crew at Lucasfilm animation are hard at work crafting the seventh and final season of The Clone Wars, now finally able to give the show a proper conclusion.
And at the panel for the show at Celebration, Filoni discussed what fans can expect from the twelve episode final season, which appears to include three main arcs: one familiar, one brand new, and one that has been highly anticipated and talked about for a while.
THE BAD BATCH
The first arc of the final season will actually be one that fans of The Clone Wars have seen before, albeit in very rough and unfinished animation. The Bad Batch was a story that had already been storyboarded and was heavily along in the process when the show got cancelled, so Lucasfilm eventually uploaded those unfinished reels online for fans to watch. Now, they’ve gone back and finished those – and improved upon them, from what it sounds like. Here’s Filoni discussing this arc:
“And we’re going to watch a story that is primarily about clones, and it actually is one that diehard fans of the show know, called Bad Batch, which is the first arc. And they’re a group of clones that are really genetically engineered specialists. It was an idea George had had, that what if there was like a group of clones that had bizarre traits and instead of getting rid of them the Kaminoans enhanced those traits based on something Commander Cody wanted them to do to experiment with making super soldiers. It comes out of the Clone 99 arc that we did and the Kaminoan arc, so it’s an extension of that. And it’s something we had planned to do, and these episodes actually, what’s interesting about them, is that they were all shot, meaning pre-vis and pre-animation, prior to us stopping making Clone Wars before. So these story reals existed, so I went back into them and just retold them a tiny bit because you’ll see some of the story process and the evolution that we go through to make things better as we go and improve the film, but they are probably the most authentic to the time period of when we were way back finishing out Clone Wars before. They will feel very authentic to those episodes and that scale.”
Again, the Bad Batch is a misfit group of Clone Troopers who are brought in by Cody to accomplish a particular mission (spoiler alert: Admiral Trench is involved, as seen in the trailer). These Troopers are pretty awesome and will get a chance to shine in these episodes, and Filoni showed a clip from this episode. It’s the clip where the Bad Batch charges an army of Battle Droids, managing to take all of them out with their skill and ingenuity. It’s just really great to see all of this animated, as it looks so good. So even though fans for the most part know what happens in these episodes, that won’t make it any less special to actually see them finished – and, again, from what it sounds like, improved upon.
The first new arc that we have heard about is one that takes place on Level 1313 of Coruscant (again, something that Star Wars fans are no doubt familiar with), as Ahsoka Tano wrestles with what life is like after leaving the Jedi Order. Here’s how Filoni explained it:
“But her journey as it was was a big question as what does this person do who’s raised in this Temple with this ordered life, how does she react to everyday life? What does it mean that she’s on the outside? And how does she rectify who she was trained and raised to be versus what she experienced with leaving the Jedi Order and feeling somewhat betrayed by them and not supported by them except for Anakin? And so I came up with a story that worked off of one of our older stories and I found a way to tell that story so that it was relevant to her for who she was, who she could potentially become, and who she really needs to be. Which is really the question with Ahsoka is always there’s this option, there’s this option, but then there’s choosing what is right for you, for yourself inside, trusting and believing, having faith in yourself. And so there’s an episode arc that mainly revolves around that, and she meets two new characters, two sisters, named Trace and Rafa. … Again, it’s Ahsoka experiencing what it’s like for these two women to live in the underworld of 1313, and what their lives are like contrasts heavily versus what her life was like and her involvement in the war and with Jedi, versus kind of more everyday people just fighting to survive.”
So it seems that Filoni took elements of that 1313 story that was planned for Ahsoka and adapted it for this arc, including creating two new characters, Trace and Rafa Martez. These sisters (who you can get a look at below in the concept art revealed in the panel) live in the Coruscant underworlds and have a life entirely different from Ahsoka’s previous life. I like Filoni’s choice to bring Ahsoka into contact with two people who live entirely different lives than she used to, and I’m excited to see how her character continues to grow and develop.
Filoni showed a clip from this arc in which Ahsoka is riding a speeder bike on Coruscant, when all of the sudden the bike shorts out and she begins to plummet. She tries to regain control of it, but eventually crash lands on a platform and just barely is able to hang on without plummeting to her death. She lands in front of a girl who I assume to be either Trace or Rafa, and so I’m guessing that this is how she comes to meet them.
I’m actually really happy that this is one of the arcs, because seeing Ahsoka’s journey from the character she is in The Clone Wars to the mature and wise leader she is in Rebels is something that should be explored. In many ways TCW is Ahsoka’s story, and devoting time to following her character post-Jedi is important. That’s something we didn’t get any of in season six of the show, and it’s something that season seven will show us. Plus, seeing Ahsoka wrestle a bit with her life outside of the Jedi Order will make the final arc that much richer.
THE SIEGE OF MANDALORE
And finally, this is the arc that we’ve all been waiting years to see. The Siege of Mandalore. We’ve known for a long time that this is how the show was supposed to end and we knew some plot details – for instance, that Ahsoka fought Maul – but we’ve never had the full telling of this story. That is, until now, as The Clone Wars will finally be able to end the way it was intended to. This is surely the most anticipated arc of them all, and I suspect that this will be the true heart and gem of this final season. Here’s what Filoni said about finally being able to bring this arc to life:
“It’s a big deal. It’s the story I’ve thought most about, probably, over the last decade, and how does that all work and how can we produce it and make it happen? This is a very challenging episode, very large-scale, but the arc of it is probably the most important. From several standpoints, but one of the most challenging things about Clone Wars is how it’s integrated with the other films. It’s between two and three and I have to adhere to a lot of continuity between those things, and when you get towards the end, I mean that gap gets narrower and narrower. George experienced this too, making Revenge of the Sith and he had to link up much more closely with what he was doing in A New Hope. And so a lot of the things that are in this story are things that were long-planned, some things changed because of things that had happened in Rebels, but I think frankly always for the better, some things that exist in the story are things he and I discussed, George before he sold the company and we moved on. So it’s been very important to me to keep the DNA of what we were doing alive in this whole thing, that it’d feel authentic to Clone Wars. So this was a very big challenge as an arc, but I knew with the talent I have and the crew that we could do it. So it’s been a kind of a something fulfilled that I never got to do. I feel really good about this one in particular.”
So it will have some elements that have always been intended and that arose out of conversations between George Lucas and Dave Filoni, and it will also have some elements that have been changed because of what Filoni did in Rebels (primarily, I’m assuming, with the characters of Ahsoka, Maul, Bo-Katan, etc., who all play major roles in the arc).
Filoni showed an unfinished clip from this arc, but it’s a heartwarming one. Anakin and Ahsoka walk through the hallway and several clones salute Ahsoka as they walk. She’s clearly uncomfortable with this and tells Anakin as much, since she’s no longer a commander, but Anakin says that to the clones experience outranks everything. They enter a door, where Rex and several clones are waiting for them. Rex shows a helmet to Ahsoka that is painted in honor of her, and the clones standing at attention are all wearing those helmets.
This arc is going to be amazing and emotional, and it’s by far the one I’m most excited for. I can’t wait to see all three of these arcs, but this is the biggest and most special of them all. This is the one that truly brings us into the Revenge of the Sith timeline, and this is the one that truly ends the show. And as the finale of Rebels showed us, Dave Filoni knows how to end a show when he’s given the chance. I’m so happy he has now gotten the chance to do that with The Clone Wars as well.