By Kyle Van Pelt
<There are spoilers ahead if you have not yet watched the finale>
The Star Wars sequel trilogy, despite being incredibly lucrative, was met with mixed reviews from fans. Many claimed that Disney would never truly reinvigorate the ridiculously high praise of the original trilogy, until now. The final four episodes of Clone Wars have been hailed as the best episodes of the entire series, and the best Star Wars content in years.
The revival of the Clone Wars series with its seventh season aired six years after the end of season six, bringing teenagers and young adults back to their childhood. Disney allowed the writers of the other six seasons, including George Lucas and Dave Filoni, to create the twelve episode final season. Fans of the show were hooked by a showcase of Anakin Skywalker’s power and progression toward darkness in the season’s first half, then further impressed by the story of Anakin’s light side foil character and former apprentice, Ahsoka Tano.
In the first of the final four episodes, these two protagonists meet for the last time as friends with Anakin gifting Ahsoka her lightsabers and sending her off to Mandalore with a unit of clones. This scene is contrasted to Darth Vader finding Ahsoka’s abandoned lightsaber at the end of the final episode, likely believing himself responsible for her death.
These four episodes not only showcase the tragic relationship between Tano and Skywalker, but they also show the two fundamentally similar Jedi responding to the corruption of the Jedi Order in their own radically different ways. Furthermore, they demonstrate the pinnacle of Ahsoka’s twelve years of learning from Anakin and Obi Wan Kenobi. She is victorious against Darth Maul in one of the most aggressive, acrobatic lightsaber fights ever, and she later combats hundreds of clones turned stormtroopers while trapped on Anakin’s old flagship. The almost Shakespearean tragedy of Anakin and Ahsoka coupled with action scenes unprecedented in even Star Wars made this four part finale a breathtaking experience for fans expecting nothing more than a nostalgic children’s cartoon to distract them from a pandemic.
The heavy praise for The Clone Wars is a huge victory for Disney in these times. Between astronomical profit loss during the pandemic and a relatively negative attitude towards the sequel movie trilogy from Star Wars fans, the success and high praise of The Clone Wars finale is exactly what Disney needed. Not only will the praise persuade more people to download and actually use Disney Plus, it will also increase interest in other Star Wars content like The Mandalorian. Disney drastically improved their ethos with fans as they have constantly been accused of not caring about the story of Star Wars and using the title alone to make money. Now they have proven that they have the capability of meeting such high expectations. For many, Star Wars went from an overused and overrated franchise to the fictional galaxy containing one of their favorite stories: the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano.