Happy belated Star Wars Day!
Tonight I'm reviewing the seventh and final season of the popular animated television series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
As the waging battles of the Clone Wars reach their turning point (leading up to the events of Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith), we focus on three story arcs which consist of: A rag-tag team of Clone Troopers known as The Bad Batch who are assigned to help the Galactic Republic find the source of the Separatists' droid army and how they have been victorious in many of their conflicts; Ahsoka Tano, who previously quit the Jedi Order and is now living in the lower level sections of Coruscant, joins two sisters to help get out of debt from a crime syndicate known as the Pykes while also discovering they have a common enemy with the leader behind it all; On the planet Mandalore, Darth Maul (who has been the ruler of the denizens and the Death Watch army) comes face to face with Ahsoka and he senses someone far greater with the Sith that will heavily impact the Republic and the war.
Now here's a little backstory. I've been a huge Star Wars fan all of my life and to this day, I love the original trilogy and they've been a huge phenomenon of films that I can always go back to, play the video games, and have so much nostalgia and appreciate the impact it has made for movies as well. While I'm not a huge fan of The Phantom Menace and Attack Of The Clones in the prequel trilogy, I still highly enjoy Revenge Of The Sith and the former two still have merits with the story that George Lucas planned out and I give them credit with doing something to add with the universe and creating new ideas that I've come to enjoy in the long run.
Back in 2003, there was a micro-series called Star Wars: Clone Wars that came out on Cartoon Network that I first got into the Clone Wars stories that bridged the gap between Episodes II and III and I thought it was a pretty good show.
When 2008 came around and they announced that there was going to be a new CGI animated series with the same name, I was skeptical at that point because I felt like Star Wars had ran its course after Revenge Of The Sith and I avoided the 2008 series a long time because I felt like it was an unnecessary attempt to either reboot or in some way continue the other show and I just wasn't interested in it, especially when the 2008 animated film came out that was more of a backdoor pilot to the series itself.
With that being said, I still finally watched the series a few years ago and I have to admit, I really enjoyed it overall. While the first season had a not so good start apart from some episodes, I really got into the rest of the seasons and the stories surrounding the Clones, Anakin's relationship with Ahsoka, and especially the return of Darth Maul. After I finished the six seasons, I felt like the show deserved way more credit than it deserved and was a little bummed that it got cancelled. Then when I heard the news broke out that Disney was planning to get their own streaming service called Disney+ and they announced that The Clone Wars would be coming back for its final season, I was so incredibly hyped. After watching all 12 episodes of the last season, I can honestly say this was very good and it had an intense and triumphant way to end the series on.
The clones, especially Rex and the Bad Batch team really get to shine in this, especially in the first 4 episodes that showcase on how badass the Bad Batch are and use their own tactics against the droid army that reminded me of 80s macho action heroes. Rex, in particular goes through a great arc in this that shows his loyalty to his comrades and something also happens later on in the season that I thought was a great closure for his character when a certain event happens that I won't spoil.
The show starts to really get into high gear with the story when it gets to the last 4 episodes that are the darkest and most anxiety-driven level that I've had for in this entire show. When it gets to the moments surrounding Darth Maul and the tie-ins that happen with Revenge Of The Sith, I not only loved how it was overlapping with the story and how it went along, but I was also feeling like I was having anxiety, especially with the score that sounds like a combination of Blade Runner 2049 and Hans Zimmer's music that sounds epic and very profound at the same time.
The animation and visual look are excellent. The detail they make with the characters on how they look have come a long way since the beginning of the show, especially with how crisper and clear cut they are with the facial expressions, the design of the locations, etc.
The performances are all outstanding too. The two that stood out for the me the best were Sam Witwer and Ashley Eckstein who voiced Darth Maul and Ahsoka, respectively. Sam Witwer in particular brings a compelling, menacing and sophisticated approach with Maul and there's a scene in particular where he's getting information from a clone trooper and I was on the edge of my seat and it made me really see Maul in a whole new light after his underused presence in The Phantom Menace. Plus, it's a nice treat to see Ray Park reprising his role as Maul by doing motion capture for the fight scenes that use his acrobatic moves.
Ashley Eckstein is terrific as usual playing Ahsoka and the morality that her character has to go through in this season feels very grounded in a way since she's no longer a Jedi and she's basically a citizen. There's also something that happens later on in the season that kind of remind me of The Last Jedi when she ends up confronting Maul.
My biggest problem is the pacing and plodding.
I felt like episodes five through nine were filler because they didn't really have much of a compelling storyline involving the two sisters that Ahsoka comes across, other than Ahsoka learning to bond with others and trying to find herself on her own since she's no longer a Jedi. I found the two sisters forgettable, uninteresting, and they were more like characters added at the last moment to give Ahsoka something to do to advance the plot along and it was dragging it out on the pacing. It probably would've been more interesting if they could've explored a different route that maybe tied some things with Solo: A Star Wars Story since they were going for a similar vibe with the crime syndicate storyline.
Another minor thing I felt like they could've done was a missed opportunity with the Bad Batch. After the first 4 episodes, we don't see them again and it would've been interesting to see at least a final closure on what happened to them when the events unfold toward the end of the series, but I understand they were only meant to be in just the first four episodes since there were other important plot elements that needed to be addressed with Ahsoka, Maul, and the rest of the characters that it was centered on.
Overall, I highly enjoyed this season and I found it to be a great conclusion to the series and while it would've been cool to see them make some episodes longer and filled in the time more wisely, I'm still glad to see Star Wars is still staying strong in the universe and I will always remember this show as a great bridge between Episodes II and III and will be interested in more Star Wars related media in the future like The Mandalorian with its next season as well.
What were your thoughts on this season and the show? Comment below and I'll see you on my next review.