With season 7 of The Clone Wars looming, let’s take stock of where the animated series left the galaxy far, far away back in 2014, and speculate about where it might be headed next.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars was unceremoniously cancelled after season 5 aired in 2013. It was given a brief reprieve courtesy of Netflix, which released 13 leftover episodes as season 6, dubbed “The Lost Episodes”.
Although these two seasons feature some of the show’s best moments, neither was originally intended to be the grand send-off. As such, important story threads have been left hanging. With season 7, Dave Filoni and crew finally get the chance to right this injustice.
Here’s what we’re most anticipating seeing on February 21.
Timelines crossing over
The Clone Wars has, until now, avoided retelling events from the movies and taken place in the safe territory between Episodes II and III. The most interesting element of the latest trailer (above) signals a change to this approach.
At least some parts of season 7 will overlap with the tragic events of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
In Episode III, Mace Windu warns that he senses “a plot to destroy” the Jedi. “Great care, we must take,” cautions Yoda, via space-Skype. In the season 7 trailer, this same scene plays out but from a different perspective; Windu is delivering his line as a hologram. The implication is clear: we’ll see familiar events but from new angles.
The scene is also made more tantalising by the (holographic) presence of Jedi Master Depa Billaba and her Padawan, Caleb Dume a.k.a. Kanan Jarrus. One of the few survivors of Order 66, you might know from Star Wars: Rebels.
The Kanan standalone comic has already told the story of what happens to Billaba and Dume during the pivotal moment of clone betrayal, so we might not witness that again, but it’ll be fascinating to spend some time with young Kanan.
The Shadow of Order 66: “Good soldiers follow orders”
Season 6 of The Clone Wars began with one the show’s best, most consequential arcs. During an assault on the Separatist stronghold of Ringo Vinda, Tup, an elite clone solider, loses control and murders Jedi Master Tiplar, one of the generals leading the charge.
Over the course of four episodes, it emerges Tup’s bio-chip, secretly implanted in the clones during their production on Kamino, had malfunctioned, leading to a premature triggering of Order 66. As the arc plays out, the Jedi get painfully close to uncovering the plot against them but are ultimately kept in the dark by the deft manoeuvrings of Palpatine, Dooku, and some convenient clone murder.
The Jedi couldn’t have come any closer to unearthing Order 66 if Palpatine accidentally CC’d them in on his emails.
Season 7 is clearly edging us ever closer to this pivotal turn, but it’s hard to see how this can be re-trod without the Jedi coming across as the world’s most inept detectives. It’s right there, man!
The one crucial perspective missing thus far around Order 66 is that of Captain Rex. A stalwart of The Clone Wars, Rex has stood at Anakin and Obi-Wan’s side through countless battles, across countless worlds. He’s entirely absent in Revenge of the Sith, but we know from Star Wars: Rebels that he manages to disable his programming and go into hiding. Seeing exactly how Rex manages to break free of Order 66 would be a fascinating fresh angle for the show to take with season 7.
Ahsoka Tano and Darth Maul
At the end of season 5, Ahsoka “Snips” Tano, one of the main protagonists of The Clone Wars, leaves the Jedi Order on less than ideal terms. She’s framed as the perpetrator of a deadly terrorist attack on the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and flees to the planet’s grimy lower levels to undercover the real assailant.
She ultimately proves her innocence, but the damage has been done.
Anakin, her master, is the only Jedi that defends her during the ordeal. Ahsoka feels betrayed by the Council and walks off into the sunset. She’s absent from season 6 but later shows up in Rebels, working for the Rebellion as the secret agent codenamed Fulcrum. Season 7 promises to fill in some of the intervening events.
It’s clear from the trailer that Ahsoka will confront Darth Maul. Maul, at this point in time, is busy establishing his secret crime empire, Crimson Dawn, after overthrowing Duchess Satine Kryzehas and seizing control of Mandalore. The Siege of Mandalore – almost certainly one of the battles depicted in the trailer – is canonically one of the final battles of the Clone Wars, taking place around the events of Order 66.
Intriguingly, through Rebels we know that Captain Rex was present during the Siege, fighting alongside Ahsoka. Could Ahsoka be responsible for helping Rex break free of Order 66? This would be a neat way to combine these key arcs: Rex’s whereabouts during Order 66, Ahsoka’s missing years, and Darth Maul’s fate between the Siege and when he next appears at the end of Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Anakin and Padmé
Anakin in The Clone Wars is almost an entirely different character than Anakin in the movies. Where the films have needed to focus on sowing the seeds of his descent, the show has had the breathing room to present him at his best: brave, caring, nurturing, good. For kids that have only seen him in his animated form, he’s the hero.
This… is about to change.
If we see Order 66 and Anakin’s fall to the dark side play out in season 7, and it indeed looks like we will, the cinematic and animated Anakins will be reconciled together.
Already Anakin has taken on his Revenge of the Sith appearance at the start of the season. His clothes are darker, his demeanour has soured, his hair has gone full mullet. Padmé, too, is clearly in the early stages of pregnancy, subtly clutching her belly during a holo-call – this scene taking place during the months the doomed lovers spent pining for each other across a war-torn galaxy before being reunited at the start of Revenge of the Sith.
The fall is rapidly approaching, and it’ll be fascinating how much of it we get to see. The final act of Revenge of the Sith is about as dark as Star Wars gets, and depicting these events in an animated series aimed predominantly at younger audiences will require some deft writing to not feel too tonally dissonant with the rest of The Clone Wars.
Not to mention traumatising a bunch of kids. If this season can mesh the animated and live-action timelines together, while expanding the lore by presenting unseen perspectives on familiar events, it’ll be a powerful, important part of the wider Star Wars canon.
PowerUp! was given early access to the first two episodes of Season 7 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
It will debut on Disney+ on February 21, 2020.