By Daniel Guerrero
Two years ago, Disney announced that “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” would be renewed for a final season on Disney+, with episodes airing weekly starting on February 21, 2020. Fans demanded that the series receive a proper finale when it was canceled after airing five seasons on Cartoon Network in 2013 and a sixth on Netflix in 2014. After fans created the #SaveCloneWars hashtag on Twitter and waited on the edge of their seats for years, Disney finally released season seven, with its final episode airing on May 4 in celebration of Star Wars Day.
The final season consists of 12 episodes that are split into three and four-episode story arcs, with crossing plotlines from “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones” to “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.”
The first story arc focuses on a clone trooper, Rex (Dee Bradly Baker) in his search for his long-lost friend, Echo (Baker) with Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) and the Bad Batch, a squad of clones that contain special abilities.
The second story arc transitions to Ashoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) and her journey as a citizen after leaving the Jedi Order with a technician named Trace Martez (Brigitte Canales) and her hustling sister Rafa Martez (Elizabeth Rodriguez) in the lower levels of Coruscant.
In the last story arc, formally known as the “Siege of Mandalore” arc, the main protagonists finally reunite with one another to fight against Darth Maul (Sam Witwer) and his Mandalorian troops on the planet of Mandalore.
Of the three arcs that the show presents, the “Siege of Mandalore” stands out the most because of its immediate cinematic experience. As soon as the original Lucasfilm productions title card emerges on the screen, audiences know that they are no longer watching just another episodic show in the Star Wars franchise.
The “Siege of the Mandalore” arc is also arguably some of the best Star Wars content that fans have seen in years. Knowing that Order 66 was going to appear once again, the real question fans wondered was how it was going to play out through Ahsoka and Rex’s perspectives. Luckily, it did not disappoint. Similar to “Star Wars: Revenge of Sith” in the prequels, it acts as an emotional beat to the show as well. After receiving an order from the Sideous to fire Ashoka, it was heartbreaking to watch Rex struggling to fight the functionality of the chips he had inside of him.
Along with its emotional beats, the upgraded quality of the animation from the first season is breathtaking. The long shot of Ashoka with her jedi coat, scanning all of her clone troopers’ graves in front of the crashed spacecraft and the pan shot of Darth Maul asking her to join forces in the Sundari Royal Palace are admirable shots worth pausing for, and are bound to fill fans with satisfaction.
More than anything, the show has great choreographed action scenes and dialogue between the characters, especially Ahsoka and Maul. It is impressive to see Ashoka not believe Maul’s vision that Anakin will follow a dark path in the future, but instead stay true to her character arc and her constant optimistic view on Anakin over time. In addition to their conversation, Ahsoka and Maul’s dual lightsaber battle on Mandalore is mind-blowing to watch, as it feels so real and immersive for audiences. This comes as no surprise, as this action scene was motion-captured by stunt performer Lauren Mary Kim and actor Ray Park, who previously portrayed Maul in “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.”
However, well-choreographed action scenes are not singular to the “Siege of Mandalore” arc. The action scenes between the Bad Batch and their combating system against the battle droids is just as entertaining to watch.
However, there are a few weaknesses in the show that many fans have pointed out. Many were annoyed and bored by Trace and Rafa in the second arc. They are both hypercritical of each other’s actions and continue fighting each other and Ashoka at random times. Because of this, this arc drags the season. It should have been condensed into two episodes instead of four. There is one episode in this arc that felt entirely unnecessary, where it ended exactly the same way as it began.
Nevertheless, the beloved characters conquering the outcome of Order 66, the framework, and the action scenes still make this final season of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” worth watching. Even though there no plans to continue the series, this will not be the last time that Ashoka will make her appearance, as she is scheduled to be in the second season of “The Mandalorian.”