Star Wars: The Clone Wars has come to an end. The critically acclaimed series began in airing in 2008 and took its final bow this year on May the 4th with a beautiful and heartbreaking episode. For viewers who heard of the acclaim the series’ final story arc received, but are weary of committing to seven seasons of a television series, this list is for you!
While Anakin (Matt Lanter) and Obi-Wan (James Arnold Taylor) are integral to the series, The Clone Wars is ultimately about Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) and Captain Rex (Dee Bradley Baker). These two characters and their relationship are integral to the story. The finale focuses largely on the emotional and physical turmoil these two go through as the Clone Wars themselves come to a tragic end. Keeping those two specific characters and the overall plot of the final story arc in mind, I’ve put together a mostly chronological list of the most essential Clone Wars episodes. (And don’t worry, more lists are coming!)
1. “Hidden Enemy”/”Clone Cadets”/”Rookies”/”ARC Troopers”
Episodes 1.16, 3.01, 1.05, 3.02
These four episodes serve as a proper introduction to the clones, who they are, and what they care for in each other.
2. “Cloak of Darkness”
The first episode where you see Ahsoka without Anakin to guide her. The excellent Paul Dini scripts and the neo-noir atmosphere is excellent.
3. “Storm Over Ryloth”/”Innocents of Ryloth”/”Liberty on Ryloth”
An excellent trilogy of battle episodes where Ahsoka learns the difficulties of being a leader responsible for the lives of others.
4. “Landing at Point Rain”/”Weapons Factory”/”Legacy of Terror”/”Brain Invaders”
A standout Clone Wars arc, these four episodes take the audience back to Geonosis and manage to give different feels to each of them while commenting beautifully on the nature of the relationship between Ahsoka and Anakin. The concluding episode in particular is a knockout – and essential viewing for the final arc.
5. “Grievous Intrigue”/”The Deserter”
A pair of excellent and fun episodes, the latter of which asks the question: “What kind of future can the clones have beyond the war?”
6. “The Mandalore Plot”/”Voyage of Temptation”/”Duchess of Mandalore”
Essential for the Mandalore plot in the finale – and for every Obi-Wan fan.
7. “Heroes on Both Sides”/”A Friend in Need”
Episodes 3.10, 4.14
The first installment begins the growth of Ahsoka as a character who develops a much more nuanced view of the conflict around her – and the first hints of romance.
8. “Overlords”/”Altar of Mortis”/”Ghosts of Mortis”
These episodes dive deep into the more mythical lore of the Star Wars mythology – which may be hit or miss depending on what you like in your Star Wars. The visuals are great, the music is stirring, and some of the character beats are excellent.
9. “The Citadel”/”Counter Attack”/”Citadel Rescue”
An excellent, action-packed trilogy that show the beginning divergence in the paths that Ahsoka and Anakin will respectively choose.
10. “Padawan Lost”/”Wookiee Hunt”
The essential Ahsoka Tano episodes where she learns to fight, survive, and believe in herself.
11. “Darkness on Umbara”/”The General”/”Plan of Dissent”/”Carnage of Krell”
A heartbreaking group of episodes with stunning visuals and a deep commentary on the brotherhood that binds the clones together.
12. “The Gathering”/”A Test of Strength”/”Bound for Rescue”/”A Necessary Bond”
An interesting group of episodes that takes a deeper look at what it means to be a Jedi, how to build your lightsaber and what that means, and Ahsoka as a role model for those who may or may not come after her.
13. “A War on Two Fronts”/”Front Runners”/”The Soft War”/”Tipping Points”
There is an irony in Anakin being heavily involved with the beginnings of the Rebellion, but these episodes serve as a great lesson for Ahsoka as she understands the cost of what it means to fight for liberty.
14. “Revival”/”Eminence”/”Shades of Reason”/”The Lawless”
Episodes 5.01, 5.14-5.16
A standout of The Clone Wars, these episodes bring together the return of Darth Maul (Sam Witwer) and the beginnings of the destruction of Mandalore.
15. “Sabotage”/”The Jedi Who Knew Too Much”/”To Catch a Jedi”/”The Wrong Jedi”
The most heartbreaking episodes as Ahsoka Tano forges her own destiny, beginning her journey to becomes the truest epitome of what it means to be a Jedi. The next stage of her character development begins here.
16. “The Unknown”/”Conspiracy”/”Fugitive”/”Orders”
A dark set of thriller episodes reveal the origins of Order 66. Essential viewing for the finale.
17. “The Lost One”/”Voices”/”Destiny”/”Sacrifice”
A set of Yoda- (Tom Kane) centric episodes that bring to light some new information on the origins of the Clone Wars.
18. “The Bad Batch“/”A Distant Echo“/”On the Wings of Keeradaks”/”Unfinished Business”
Thin on plot but serving excellent action sequences and inspired camera work, these episodes are essentially about the clones never giving up on one another – for now, at least.
19. “Gone with a Trace“/”Deal No Deal”/”Dangerous Debt“/”Together Again“
While the episodes are not strung together nearly as tightly as they should have been, Ahsoka learns a valuable lesson about what the Jedi mean to those with less privilege, what they ought to, and what her place could be in the chaotic galaxy.
The best of Star Wars. The heartbreak we wanted from the prequels. The tragedy has never hit harder and the emotion has never been stronger. Masterpiece.
Enjoy and let us know below: What are your favorite Ahsoka and Rex episodes?!
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