The Siege of Mandalore was recently released, marking the end of critically acclaimed series The Clone Wars.
Spanning a feature film, seven seasons, and 133 episodes, the show tells the story of the Clone Wars we heard about all the way back in A New Hope. Along the way it gave us some of the best Star Wars characters and stories, and the ending arc was one of the best Star Wars stories ever told.
But if you’ve been hearing all of this talk about that final arc, the Siege of Mandalore, and want to check it out, you might also be wondering whether you can just start watching it without having first seen the prior 129 episodes. The answer is yes, though of course things will mean a lot more if you watch the prior ones. But in this article, I give three main things you’ll want to know about the prior six seasons if you’re going to be watching The Siege of Mandalore!
There will only be vague spoilers for the Siege of Mandalore, but obviously there will be significant spoilers for the first six seasons of the show (primarily seasons five and six).
1. Maul is back
Pertinent episodes: “Brothers” (4.21), “Revenge” (4.22), “Revival” (5.1), “Eminence” (5.14), “Shades of Reason” (5.15), “The Lawless” (5.16)
After being seemingly killed when Obi-Wan Kenobi cut him in half on Naboo in The Phantom Menace, The Clone Wars reveals that Darth Maul actually survived! Kept alive by his hatred for Kenobi, Maul was dumped on the junk world of Lotho Minor. He remained on this planet for over a decade, going insane and losing his mind. He was eventually found by his brother, Savage Oppress, who brought him home to Dathomir, where a group of witches called Nightsisters lived. There, Maul’s mind was restored and he was given new legs.
He set out, with Oppress as his apprentice, to get revenge against Kenobi. He would wind up dueling Kenobi a couple of times during the War, but Maul also began building a criminal enterprise known as the Shadow Collective. Allying himself firstly and most closely with Mandalorian Pre Vizsla and his Death Watch clan, Maul’s Shadow Collective eventually included criminal organizations like the Pyke Syndicate, Black Sun, the Hutts, and more.
Maul used this Collective to take control of Mandalore, wresting power away from its ruler, the pacifist Duchess Satine. Maul took control of the planet and killed Pre Vizsla in a duel. Meanwhile, Maul used the fact that Satine and Kenobi were in love to lure the Jedi to Mandalore. Coming alone due to the Republic’s unwillingness to get involved, Obi-Wan Kenobi witnessed Maul murder Satine and cradled her as she died. Kenobi was freed by Bo-Katan, a former member of Death Watch and the sister of Satine. Maul, however, was confronted by Darth Sidious, who killed Savage and imprisoned Maul.
The rest of the story is told in the Son of Dathomir comic, which tells an unfinished arc of the show, where Maul is rescued from Sidious’s captivity by Death Watch – though all according to Sidious’s plan to find Mother Talzin, ruler of the Nightsisters. Maul eventually unknowingly leads Sidious to Talzin, and there General Grievous kills Talzin as she allows Maul to escape.
2. Ahsoka is gone
Pertinent episodes: “Sabotage” (5.17), “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much” (5.18), “To Catch a Jedi” (5.19), “The Wrong Jedi” (5.20)
In The Clone Wars movie, which kicked off the series, we are introduced to the padawan Ahsoka Tano – who is assigned as the apprentice to Anakin Skywalker. As one of the central figures of the show, much of the first five seasons include her – so to get a better understanding of her as a character, to see her learning from Anakin and Obi-Wan, to see her growth as a Jedi, etc., there are a lot of episodes to choose from.
But especially relevant for this final arc is what happens at the end of season five. Anakin and Ahsoka are recalled to Coruscant to investigate a deadly bombing at the Jedi Temple, but before long Ahsoka is framed for the bombing. She goes on the run but is eventually caught and imprisoned and put on trial, while the Jedi Council fails to stand behind her. Only Anakin believes in her innocence, leading him to frantically look for the truth. This leads him to another Jedi apprentice, a friend of Ahsoka’s named Barriss Offee. He discovers that she is the true culprit behind the Temple bombing and duels her, eventually besting her and bringing her to Ahsoka’s trial.
With Barriss’s confession, Ahsoka is exonerated. The Jedi Council offers Ahsoka an invitation to re-join the Order, seeing it now as her trial from the Force, but she declines the offer and walks away. Anakin runs after her, and the two share an emotional conversation before Ahsoka walks off into the sunset.
In this final season, the middle arc shows what Ahsoka has been up to after leaving the Order, trying to fit in and find her place in the galaxy now that she is no longer a Jedi. This eventually leads to her joining Bo-Katan to investigate Maul’s reappearance on Mandalore.
3. Fives discovered a plot…
Pertinent episodes: “The Unknown” (6.1), “Conspiracy” (6.2), “Fugitive” (6.3), “Orders” (6.4)
During the Battle of Ringo Vinda, as Jedi Generals Anakin Skywalker, Tiplee, and Tiplar led their forces into combat, a clone trooper from Skywalker’s 501st legion, Tup, killed Tiplar during battle. Word of this got back to Count Dooku, who ordered the Separatists to capture the clone, but ultimately the Republic transported Tup to Kamino for further study. There, the Kaminoan cloners lied about what happened, explaining it away as a virus or something like that.
Another 501st clone trooper, Fives, wasn’t convinced. Deciding to stay by his brother’s side on Kamino, Fives launched his own investigation with the help of a medical droid, discovering a tumor in Tup’s brain. They removed the tumor shortly before Tup died and discovered that it in actuality was an inhibitor chip – leading to the discovery that the chips were implanted in the brain of every clone. And that this chip was what malfunctioned in Tup, leading to him executing Tiplar. Fives’s investigation eventually took him from Kamino to Coruscant, and along the way he discovered that the chips could be part of a sinister plot that went all the way up to Chancellor Palpatine himself.
Fives shared this information with Anakin Skywalker and Captain Rex (the clone leader of Skywalker’s 501st legion), but they did not initially believe him. As clones of the Coruscant Guard Approached, Fives grabbed a gun to defend himself, but this provoked Commander Fox to shoot and kill Fives, who died in Rex’s arms.
In the aftermath, the cover-up by the Kaminoans, Count Dooku, and Darth Sidious had been successful, convincing the Jedi that a virus had caused it. In speaking with Dooku, Sidious explained that their plans for Order 66 were still safe.