At the risk of boiling down the magic of Star Wars to a series of middle management focus group buzzwords, the prequels didn’t have an identification figure for the audience to view the unfolding drama through. That’s why Doctor Who travels with Muggles and why we spent a good 20 minutes listening to Luke Skywalker whine about wanting to go to Tosche station to pick up some power converters in A New Hope, so that we’d instantly feel invested. Who hasn’t wanted to blow the chores and head on over to Tosche Station and honk at the Twileks? In The Phantom Menace we sort of had the young Anakin, but we didn’t get to see him for ages, and when we did he was some sort of precocious prodigy superbrat. Star Wars: The Clone Wars makes amends instantly with the introduction of Anakin’s own padawan Jedi-in-training, Ahsoka Tano who gets bonus daring points for being a strong willed, entirely believable teenage girl in a universe that previously consisted mostly of princesses and whose core audience seems to be ten year old boys who hide in their tree house from their little sister.
9. “He was the best star pilot in the galaxy, and a cunning warrior”
From unlikable and wooden to unlikable and hammy, Anakin goes from smugness in The Phantom Menace to spending Attack Of The Clones and Revenge Of The Sith whining and having tantrums. With Ahsoka as the teenager and the source of doubt and moral lessons, Anakin is transformed into a daring young Jedi – the one Obi-Wan remembers when he talks of serving with Luke’s father in the Clone Wars – who leads by example, and occasionally grits his teeth with determination and flashes of anger, foreshadowing his eventual fall from grace with far more subtly than having him advocate fascism at a picnic. When we first heard about the prequels, and combed the dialogue of the original trilogy for clues to what it might involve, this is the Anakin we pictured.
Rescued from his role in the joyless direct-to-DVD Anakin/Obi-Wan buddy comedy that scenes in Attack Of The Clones and Revenge Of The Sith descended into, Obi-Wan is redefined as a wise and witty leader of men, gentle and firm – exactly the sort of man that Bail Organa would turn to in his hour of need, a glimpse of whom we caught in his negotiations with Han Solo.
7. Mesa not in this much
Alright, Jar Jar Binks is still here for some ‘light hearted fun’ but this is an entire series – you can just not watch an episode with ‘Bombad’ in the title and you won’t miss anything that’ll come up again. It’s not the same as having to watch him gurn around in the background, knocking stuff over and treading in poodoo while some essential exposition is happening.
6. It’s not for kids (well, it is)
Often dismissed as being for children, it’s a bit of a kneejerk reaction to claim it isn’t, but it’s as much aimed at kids as the original trilogy were. Star Wars: The Clone Wars seems to stand alone in giving kids what they want – excitement and adventure – and not shying away from death, deception and the harsh cost of war. Star Wars: The Clone Wars starts ringed by darkness and gets progressively more adult, with affairs, plots and the Dark Side of the Force.
5. It actually feels like a war
At no point in Attack Of The Clones or Revenge Of The Sith did it feel as though a war was happening, merely a bunch of flashy action sequences as a backdrop to the plot, like cutscenes in a videogame. In Star Wars: The Clone Wars we see campaigns in detail, different challenges and encounters, concerns, plans and defeats with an atmosphere that’s more Band Of Brothers than Mysteries Of The Sith.
Yoda’s lightsaber duel in Attack Of The Clones was one of those moments that really divided fandom, while some whooped like monkeys on a banana boat, others sat aghast at Frank Oz bouncing around like Sonic The Hedgehog, his idiosyncratic speech patterns reduced to a tedious rote. Yoda stays mostly out of situations where he’s required to cleave foes in half with Jedi-fu, instead infuriating and irritating characters around him, before flooring them with nuggets of incisive wisdom and warmth, much more in tune with his depiction in The Empire Strikes Back.
3. It’s not afraid to have multi-part stories
In an age where you can’t even make TV for grown ups that has multi-part stories without the network panicking and the ratings dropping – Star Wars: The Clone Wars often offers up narratives split across three or episodes, each standalone but each connected in an arc. That’s a huge amount of trust for a series to invest in its audience when other shows are convinced you’ve got the attention spans of bluebottles thanks to your diet of own-brand cola and violent videogames.
2. They’ve really made the effort
The level of background detail is staggering considering TV animation is perceived to be such a disposable format, accents are consistent between races (they weren’t even consistent with characters in the original trilogy, so this is a step up of several magnitudes) and non-English languages are often used without network executives worrying that it might confuse the viewer or lead them to think “it’s French or something”, and every planet even has its own theme tune. The standard of animation is dizzyingly high end and it’s all in glorious high definition wide-screen too. However you spin it, it’s a feast of production values.
1. Most importantly of all, you guys love it too.
“I’ve only watched the movie and Season 1 so far…..and yes it is indeed downright awesome.”
“I’ve enjoyed Clone Wars from the word go. Well simply put the animation is real good the voice actors are solid and the plot is actually pretty good.”
The Show how gets darker each season. Season 1 is setting up the main stage but by end S2 it’s not for kids! Fett, senatorial killings… Political intrigue, strategic warfare, mercenaries, a secret love affair for Obi Wan.. It’s Star Wars for fans packaged for kids.
The cartoon is better than the three prequel movies. I watch it because its the only good thing LucasFilm have done with Star Wars for many many years.”