When Disney released the highly anticipated season 7 of the animated TV show Star Wars: The Clone Wars in 2020, it did not disappoint. Now, we have shows like The Bad Batch to fill the Clone Wars sized gap in ours lives. But, that doesn’t stop me from reminiscing. With that said, I’m counting down my top five favourite story arcs in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
5. The Mandalore Plot
Perhaps I’m just a sucker for the forbidden romance trope, or maybe I never get tired of hearing Obi-Wan’s line: “we need to stand and fight, or in your case just stand.” But The Mandalore Plot is one of my most rewatched Clone Wars arcs.
When Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi is reunited with the pacifist Duchess Satine and it’s clear that the pair have history. In one of my favourite Clone Wars sequences, he’s captured by Death Watch and it’s left up to the Duchess to rescue him. It’s a near-miss, but Satine saves him in time.
The pair continues to tread the line between arguing and flirting throughout the three-episode arc. It’s during the second episode, Voyage of Temptation, that we see a new side of Obi-Wan Kenobi. After a lot of bickering back and forth, Satine finds herself held at blaster-point. She tells Obi-Wan that she’s always loved him, and he even admits that he would have left the Jedi Order for her.
This whole arc adds a new dimension to Obi-Wan’s character and his interactions with Satine are my favourite scenes. Although their relationship is dysfunctional at best, I can’t help but love the two of them together.
4. The Wrong Jedi
Although this one breaks my heart every time I watch it, I can’t make this list without including it since Ahsoka is my favourite character. The first time I watched Ahsoka be blamed for bombing the Jedi Temple and subsequently murdering a suspect, I couldn’t quite believe that the Clone Wars was originally made for children’s TV.
As much as it hurts to watch Ahsoka walk away from the Jedi, it needed to happen. Her leaving was part of what pushed Anakin to the darkside. Besides, we knew that she would need to be canonically out of the picture before Revenge of the Sith. Seeing her work with Ventress and explore Coruscant’s lower levels in order to clear her name is a constant guessing game. Until we discover that Barris Offee betrayed her friend and the Jedi… for the record, I don’t necessarily think Barris was wrong, but I still hate her for framing Ahsoka.
When she denies the offer to return to the Order and she parts ways with Anakin, it’s heartwrenching. The soundtrack is top tier and pulls the entire scene together. Now we can watch this knowing that the pair will be reuinted for one final time, but that doesn’t make this scene any easier to watch.
In a show named after the clones who fought in the war, it’s only right that some of the best arcs centre around the clones themselves. Umbara is a prime example of Star Wars at its best. I also think it’s one of the darkest and most thought provoking arcs in the show. What makes a good soldier? Blindly following orders, or standing up to oppression? There’s such good depth of character, separating each clone as a their own personality whilst still keeping them as a cohesive brotherhood.
This was a huge arc for the clones as they faced the moral dilemma of disobeying orders and turning on a superior officer, especially after Pong Krell manipulated them to fire on each other. There’s an intense divide between those of them who wanted to rise up and those who believed they should follow their orders.
With a tight plot and some stunning visuals, Umbara easily earned its place on my list. It creates a larger narrative for the clones and only makes Order 66 even more meanicing. We see the clones discover their autonomy, but we know that their implanted chips are destined to tear this away from them.
2. The Seige of Mandalore
When you combine the stunning season 7 animation/motion capture, peak storytelling and amazing characters, you get The Seige of Mandalore. Ahsoka being reunited with Anakin, Obi-Wan and the 501st is heart-touching, particularly when Anakin presents her with her Lightsabers and the 501st paint their helmets in the style of her face markings. However, heart-warming is in short supply with this story. It’s quickly replaced with the looming shadow of Order 66 and the Empire.
I daresay that this arc has some of the best storytelling for Ahsoka and Rex. We see the callback to Fives’ discovery of the clones inhibitor chips and it’s a relief when Rex is saved from his fate. Another standout moment is the Ahsoka vs Maul fight. The use of motion capture made everything feel so real, it may well be my favourite duel in Star Wars.
What we see in this arc that we never got in Revenge of the Sith is the impact that Order 66 had on the clones. When faced with Ahsoka and Rex standing over a graveyard of the 501st’s helmets, it’s truly haunting, especially after we spent seven seasons growing to know and love each clone as an individual.
We knew that Order 66 was coming, but that didn’t make it hurt any less to watch.
If you ever needed proof that Anakin Skywalker is The Chosen One, Mortis is it. This arc is so important to the larger plot of The Clone Wars. The moment when Anakin brings the Daughter and the Son to heel is chilling. Obi-Wan’s face says it all. The story also makes the term ‘bring balance to the Force’ a lot more clear.
We also see how deep the bond between Anakin and Ahsoka is, and the future impact that her leaving the Order will have on him. When she dies, Anakin is willing to do anything to save her in that moment. So much so that the Daughter gives up her life force for Ahsoka (something which has larger implications, but is a discussion for another day).
What really cements Mortis as my favourite arc is that we preemptively see the fall of Anakin Skywalker. The Son shows him all of the pain and suffering he’ll cause as Darth Vader. Seeing what his future holds is enough to temporarily corrupt Anakin and turn him to the Dark Side. As a viewer, I know that this will canonically happen either way. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting Anakin to turn back to the Light, even if it’s only temporarily.
The inclusion of The Imperial March soundtrack and the visuals of Anakin’s vision, as well as the rest of Mortis, help earn this arc the top spot on my list.
Do you agree with my ranking? Let me know, and share your favourite Clone Wars arcs!
Star Wars: The Clone Wars seasons 1-7 are available to stream on Disney+