My ten favorite arcs of Star Wars: The Clone Wars

The seventh and final season of The Clone Wars returns this month!

It’s something we were never sure if we’d get to see, but the show is coming back for a proper finish. The first six seasons are filled with some incredible storytelling, but if you’re looking for a quicker refresher than watching all six seasons, here are my ten favorite arcs from the first six seasons of the show, as we eagerly await the seventh!


Rookies

1.5 (“Rookies”)

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The only single-episode arc to make my top ten, this episode early on in season one proved that this show could go to new heights by exploring the clone troopers. The episode focuses almost entirely on a group of clones defending a remote outpost that suddenly and secretly is invaded by Separatist droids. The clones must work together to fight back and alert the Republic of the danger. One of the things that The Clone Wars does so incredibly well is give character and personality to these clone troopers, making us care about them as individuals.

Kamino

3.1-2 (“Clone Cadets”; “ARC Troopers”)

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Speaking of the clone troopers, next up is another clone-centric arc, and it’s the two-episode Kamino arc in season three. The first episode focuses on a squadron of clone cadets undergoing their clone training on Kamino and having to learn to work together in order to succeed. In the next episode, this group is thrust into action alongside the other clones and Jedi Generals Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Shaak Ti as they defend the planet and the cloning facilities from a Separatist attack led by General Grievous and Asajj Ventress. Also included here is the heroic character of 99 and the emotional story that is told with him. So, again, the clones are awesome.

Nightsisters

3.12-14 (“Nightsisters”; “Monster”; “Witches of the Mist”)

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Moving away from the clones a bit is a three-episode arc in the middle of season three that introduces us to the Nightsisters. Darth Sidious fears that Asajj Ventress has grown too powerful and orders Count Dooku to destroy her. Dooku turns on her, but Asajj survives and flees to her home of Dathomir, to reunite with Mother Talzin and the Nightsisters. We learn Ventress’ backstory, and the Nightsisters aid her in seeking revenge on Dooku. This ultimately leads them to Savage Opress, who becomes Dooku’s new apprentice as part of the Nightsister plot. Their plan ultimately fails, however, and Opress is sent to find his long-lost brother… Maul.

Mortis

3.15-17 (“Overlords”; “Altar of Mortis”; “Ghosts of Mortis”)

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Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Ahsoka Tano are lured to a mysterious place called Mortis, where they meet the Father, Son, and Daughter, powerful Force-wielders who resided in this place strong with the Force. The Father brought Skywalker there to confirm whether he is in fact the Chosen One, and he verifies that it is true. But the Son, who embraces the dark side, tries to escape Mortis, which leads to conflict that ultimately results in much death. This three-episode arc is perhaps the most significant arc in The Clone Wars when it comes to understanding other Star Wars and the nature of the Force, as George Lucas really explored in fascinating detail aspects of the Force – and as Skywalker was confirmed to be the Chosen One. This is not only a really well-done and interesting arc, but it’s also a very important one.

Umbara

4.7-10 (“Darkness on Umbara”; “The General”; “Plan of Dissent”; “Carnage of Krell”)

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Returning once more to the clone troopers, this four-episode arc is basically all about them. As the Jedi and clones fight for control of Umbara, Anakin Skywalker is recalled to Coruscant and General Pong Krell takes his place leading the 501st. Krell has a reputation for success but also for high clone trooper casualties, and as various battles ensue the clones become increasingly skeptical of the General. When they discover that Krell secretly sent them to kill other clones, they recognize Krell as a traitor and Captain Rex leads the clones in a fight to arrest the General. Viewing him as a traitor, Krell is executed just as the Republic gains victory on the planet. It’s really hard for me to choose a favorite arc in this show, but at this point, it really might be the Umbara one. It’s just so good. The clones are individuals, and this arc beautifully displays that. Rex and the others are conflicted, Krell is such a fascinating character, the action is tremendous, and this whole storyline is simply incredible.

Obi-Wan undercover

4.15-18 (“Deception”; “Friends and Enemies”; “The Box”; “Crisis on Naboo”)

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While on a mission with Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano, Obi-Wan Kenobi is apparently killed by a bounty hunter, and a funeral is held at the Jedi Temple – leading Skywalker ever closer to darkness. But unbeknownst to Anakin, Obi-Wan is alive; his death was part of a plan to allow him to assume the identity of a bounty hunter and investigate undercover a plot against the Chancellor. This leads him on a series of adventures and team-ups with other bounty hunters (including Cad Bane), and ultimately he helps prevent harm from coming to Palpatine – though at a potentially damaging cost to young Skywalker.

Maul

5.14-16 (“Eminence”; “Shades of Reason”; “The Lawless”)

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The return of Maul was shocking, but whatever fears I initially had about it dissolved upon seeing the incredible characterization that George Lucas, Dave Filoni, and Sam Witwer brought to the character. That culminated (at least in the first six seasons) with this three-episode arc near the end of season five. Maul and his brother, Savage Opress, rally Death Watch to their cause, taking control of Mandalore. Obi-Wan Kenobi joins the fray to come, alone, to the aid of Duchess Satine, and winds up facing Maul – who deals a tragic blow to his Jedi rival. But Kenobi escapes, and Maul and Opress are confronted by an even greater foe: Darth Sidious. This arc is dark, heartbreaking, but so well-done.

Ahsoka

5.17-20 (“Sabotage”; “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much”; “To Catch a Jedi”; “The Wrong Jedi”)

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The final arc of season five – and of the show’s broadcast TV run before cancellation – was an incredibly significant one for Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano. They are recalled to Coruscant to investigate a deadly bombing at the Jedi Temple, and along the way Tano is implicated as being behind it. She is arrested, but upon escaping, goes on the run – eventually finding an unlikely “ally”. Meanwhile, Anakin desperately attempts to prove his padawan’s innocence. Ahsoka is eventually brought to trial and faces execution for treason, but Skywalker prevails in finding the true culprit and exonerating Tano. Having seen the Jedi turn on her, however, Ahsoka declines the offer to re-join the Order and decides to walk away.

Order 66

6.1-4 (“The Unknown”; “Conspiracy”; “Fugitive”; “Orders”)

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A sixth and then-final season of The Clone Wars was released on Netflix, and it began with this fantastic four-episode arc in which clone trooper Tup kills Jedi Master Tiplar in battle. This is investigated on Kamino, and tests are run on Tup – through which Fives discovers that there is a chip in Tup’s head that malfunctioned. Fives discovers the truth behind these chips, which would lead to Order 66, and for which Chancellor Palpatine was at least partially responsible. He attempts to expose this plot, but is killed before he can. We later learn in Star Wars Rebels, however, that Fives was successful in persuading at least some clones, as Rex, Wolffe, and Gregor did remove their chips before Order 66. If you ever wondered how an entire army of clone troopers could all turn instantly on the Jedi they served with for so long, this arc provides the answers in a very compelling and suspenseful story.

Yoda

6.11-13 (“Voices”; “Destiny”; “Sacrifice”)

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The final arc of the show (so far!) is all about Yoda, and it’s another significant one. The Grand Master hears the voice of Qui-Gon Jinn, which greatly worries the Council. Yoda enlists Anakin Skywalker’s help to escape the Temple, and he goes to investigate alone. Yoda follows Qui-Gon’s voice to Dagobah, where he learns that Jinn has discovered a path to immortality, and where he sees a vision of the destruction of the Jedi. He is next sent to a mysterious Force world, where he undergoes – and withstands – a series of temptations. Finally, he travels to the ancient homeworld of the Sith, Moraband. Darth Sidious and Count Dooku sense this, and they attempt to manipulate and tempt him, but Yoda fights back and withstands it. In the end, Yoda learned the pathway to immortality, and realized the Jedi were in a war they probably shouldn’t be. This arc is a brilliant one about Yoda, once again delving into the nature of the Force, and teaching the wise Master many important lessons.


Honorable Mention:

  • Lair of Grievous, 1.10 (“Lair of Grievous”)
  • Ryloth arc, 1.19-21 (“Storm Over Ryloth”; “Innocents of Ryloth”; “Liberty on Ryloth”)
  • Geonosis arc, 2.5-6 (“Landing at Point Rain”; “Weapons Factory”)
  • Mandalore arc, 2.12-14 (“The Mandalore Plot”; “Voyage of Temptation”; “Duchess of Mandalore”)
  • The Zillo Beast, 2.18-19 (“The Zillo Beast”; “The Zillo Beast Strikes Back”)
  • The Citadel, 3.18-20 (“The Citadel”; “Counterattack”; “Citadel Rescue”)
  • The Lost Ones, 6.10 (“The Lost Ones”)

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