Star Wars: The Clone Wars is an animated television series set between the events of Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Cartoon Network aired five full seasons of the series from 2008 to 2013, with each season's length ranging between twenty and twenty-two episodes. The series entered syndication on American television in 2012. It was pulled from Cartoon Network in March 2013, leaving the remaining episodes of a sixth season to premiere on Netflix in the US and Canada on March 7, 2014—as part of a deal including the feature film and the series' first five seasons—and in February/March 2014 on the German TV network Super RTL. By its end, the series totaled one hundred twenty-one episodes.
- "It's very much Star Wars. It's not a, you know, South Park comedy. It's not a baby girls show like Hannah Montana. It's sort of the first dramatic animated show that is, um, PG-13, so it doesn't really go on late night, it doesn't go on Saturday afternoon, it actually doesn't go anywhere. I don't know what we're gonna do with it, but we're having a hell of a lot of... a great time making it."
- ―George Lucas on the May 1, 2007 episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien
George Lucas first had the idea for a Clone Wars animated series in 2002. Star Wars: Clone Wars aired on Cartoon Network from 2003 to 2005, produced by Genndy Tartakovsky. Star Wars: The Clone Wars was then announced at April 2005's Celebration III, which George Lucas refered to as "a 3-D continuation of the pilot series." Dave Filoni was hired as supervising director, and was familiar with previous Star Wars animation projects. Filoni's initial idea for the series revolved around a recurring cast of characters who traveled aboard a spaceship similar to the Millennium Falcon; the ship's crew would have included a smuggler, his girlfriend, a Gungan named "Lunker", a Jedi Padawan named "Ashla" and her Jedi Master. This early concept for The Clone Wars was designed not to interfere with existing continuity, and as such would have included only occasional appearances from film characters such as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. However, once Lucas became involved, he decided that the show would focus on the film characters, but would also include some of Filoni's ideas, such as Ashla (whose name was ultimately changed to Ahsoka).
At Comic-Con 2005, Steve Sansweet confirmed that preproduction had begun. He described the look of the new series as "a melding of Asian anime with unique 3-D animation styling." Lucasfilm Animation Vice President and General Manager Gail Currey had a positive reaction to the early episodic treatments for the series. Many digital artists and other production and creative talent were hired from California and Singapore to work on the series. By February 15, 2006, Lucasfilm Animation was working on animation tests and initial scripts, with Lucas playing a large part in the entire process. Catherine Winder later revealed at Celebration IV that Lucas was mostly focused on the story, and that Lucas and Winder both work on the scripts with the writers. In terms of story and cinematography, the series was directed as if it were a live-action series. At Comic-Con 2006, Sansweet promised that footage would be shown at Celebration IV, and revealed that the series is set late during the Clone Wars after Anakin Skywalker has achieved the rank of Jedi Knight. The first group of scripts had been completed, and initial episodes were being worked on.[source?] Lucasfilm Animation used Autodesk software to animate both the film and the series. The Maya 3D modeling program was used to create highly detailed worlds, characters and creatures. The animation style was inspired by 1960s-era puppets-in-space serials such as Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds, as well as the character designs from the original Clone Wars series. Each episode of The Clone Wars was designed to be stand-alone, with an opening narration and moral to each story. Henry Gilroy gained inspiration for the episode titles from the pulpy adventure sci-fi serials of the 1930s. The episodes were produced in widescreen. At the time of the series creation, Lucas had expected the series to run for four or five years, but planned to produce at least 100 episodes regardless of ratings.
While at Imagina 2007, Rob Coleman revealed that Lucas was heavily involved in every step of the production, from script to final completion. In terms of effects, there was no rotoscoping involved in any of the images from the series. However, ILM did use motion capture. Script, character design and art direction was being done at ILM, with the animation and rendering done in Singapore. The final assembly of each episode is done at Skywalker Ranch. As of August 31, Lucas's involvement had resulted in rewrites of most of the scripts, as Lucas insisted on more character development and that the show should not be based in one location, but as many as possible so as to make the story as interesting as possible to the viewer. At Lucas's March 3 appearance at the 2007 William S. Paley Television Festival, he discussed the series' episodic structure, and that the series would not focus on the Skywalker story. Specifics mentioned were that there are "episodes with nothing but Clone Troopers" and an "episode just about Kit Fisto." At the time, there was no television network set for the series. In a September 2007 interview, Lucas said that "we're on [episode number] 40 right now. We'll probably end up with 50 to 60 episodes before we start to put it on the air. We'd like to put it on next fall, in about a year from now, but we'll see what happens." He initially planned to produce 100 episodes, but the series eventually moved past that number. The series utilizes unused ideas from Lucas' previous Star Wars projects.
On March 11, 2013, a video appeared on StarWars.com, stating that they were "winding down" the production of the series, and that they had finished the active production of new episodes. The sixth season, dubbed "The Lost Missions," first aired in Germany in February and March of 2014, and was then released on Netflix in the US and Canada on March 7, 2014. In May 2014, series writer Brent Friedman revealed on his Twitter account that scripts for the unproduced seasons 7 and 8 had been written prior to the series' cancellation. In March 2016, Lucasfilm Story Group's Pablo Hidalgo stated that there were 13 story arcs left after the release of the sixth season.
Paul Dini pitched at least two rejected ideas for episodes: One involved Jar Jar Binks trying to convince the Galactic Senate that there is life on an obscure planet, and the other involved Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala hiring an Ewok assassin. Had the series continued to a final conclusion, the final episode would have taken place during and after the events of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith.
The first image released from the series—that of a 3D animated Yoda—was shown at Toy Fair 2007. In a regular update to StarWars.com a few weeks before 2007's Celebration IV, fans were informed that executive producer Catherine Winder and supervising director Dave Filoni would be giving a presentation on the series at Celebration IV. It was held on Sunday May 27, 2007 in the Celebration Theater (Room 408AB). Winder and Filoni explained the origins of the series and the production process during the previous two years. The two also screened the series' first trailer to the attendees, which was later posted on StarWars.com. (Prior to the release of the trailer, the site had posted a banner promising a "surprise" to be posted on the site on that day.[source?]) Copies of the first official poster for the show were given away to all who attended the presentations. The two also held similar presentations at Celebration Europe in July 2007. StarWars.com created a new division of the site dedicated to The Clone Wars, which is regularly updated with relevant content, including news articles, behind the scenes videos, and blog entries by Pete Vilmur. Winder and Filoni again held a presentation at WonderCon 2008.
The Clone Wars was introduced with a feature film of the same name in theaters on August 15, 2008. The first four seasons consisted of 22 episodes, the fifth of 20 episodes, and the final season considered "lost episodes" and released in the United States through Netflix and in Germany on Super RTL. TNT signed a multi-seasonal agreement to broadcast repeats of the series, though only aired a limited run before dropping the series.
Following the completion of the first twenty-two episodes, Lucas had shopped the series to various networks. However, he had difficulty securing a network due to the fact that it has a unique tone from most animated series. Fox Broadcasting passed on it, and Cartoon Network was initially unsure. Several networks eventually got into a bidding war over the show. Cartoon Network and TNT eventually won the broadcast rights, with Warner Bros. distributing the feature film debut. Warner had tracked the series' development, and decided on a theatrical launch after viewing some footage. Stuart Snyder, who oversees Cartoon Network and other Turner Broadcasting System cable networks, said he became interested in the new Clone Wars series immediately upon starting the job in May 2007. Snyder flew out to San Francisco, California to screen several episodes, and told Lucas the only place he wanted to see the show was on Cartoon Network. It was announced on February 12, 2008 that the feature film was to be released in theaters on August 15, 2008, with the TV debut in the fall. This announcement was accompanied by an update of the Hyperspace online fan club kit, and an offering of Captain Rex and Ahsoka Tano T-shirts to Hyperspace members.
Cartoon Network aired episodes on Friday nights, due to school days. The Clone Wars premiered on October 3, 2008 at 9 p.m. on the Cartoon Network. Snyder also scheduled The Secret Saturdays and Ben 10: Alien Force to create an action-adventure block of shows on Friday night in an attempt to rejuvenate Cartoon Network and compete with such channels as Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel. Snyder expressed confidence that the shows would help boost ratings: "You catch me at a time where I have a smile on my face because of our internal results," Snyder said. "I can say there’s a little bit of bragging on the third quarter for us." In Canada, the first season aired on CTV and SPACE, while the second through fifth aired on Teletoon, which aired repeats of the first season as part of its Weekday Action Force block. In Australia, the first season aired on Channel Ten. On April 13 2011, ABC3 aired repeats of first season and has since aired seasons two, three and four. The series was first aired in the UK on Sky Movies Premiere and Premiere HD every Saturday at 5.30PM with the first episode aired on October 25, 2008. As with all programs on Sky Movies, it ran for the first 22-minutes of its 30-minute slot with advertisements shown at the end so as not to interrupt the episodes.
The 21st and 22nd episodes of Season Four featured a red opening logo, as opposed to the series' standard yellow. In the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th episodes of Season Five, the opening logo was changed to have a blue color in honor of R2-D2. Following the release of the sixth season in March 2014, Leland Chee released a chronological list of episodes on his Twitter account. The official blog also posted a timeline.
Episodes of The Clone Wars first began airing in syndication in fall 2012, in conjunction with the series' fifth season. Following the series' cancellation, prior episodes continue to air on Cartoon Network (under Adult Swim, and during the Toonami block) on Sunday mornings at 5:30 AM ET.
According to series co-director Rob Coleman, some licensees had a very positive reaction upon first seeing footage from the series. Sue Rostoni first stated in June 2007 that a publishing program based on the series was possible, but had not yet been discussed. In summer 2008 it was announced that a five-book novel series would parallel the television series. The first book in the series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, written by Karen Traviss was a novelization of the theatrically released movie that kicked off the television series. The subsequent four books retell stories from the series itself. The second book in the series, The Clone Wars: Wild Space, is authored by Karen Miller. Karen Traviss has written the third installment which is titled The Clone Wars: No Prisoners, the fourth, titled Clone Wars Gambit: Stealth and the fifth, Clone Wars Gambit: Siege.
A 12-chapter comic series was published by Dark Horse Comics, with artwork based upon the visual style of the series. A series of graphic novels were published by Dark Horse. There is also a volume that was made for Free Comic Book Day. To accompany the Season One episodes, StarWars.com hosted a weekly web comic, as well as a HoloNet News podcast. The episodes were available on iTunes the day after they aired, and on StarWars.com and CartoonNetwork.com a week after they aired.
LucasArts has released three video games: Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Jedi Alliance, made for the Nintendo DS, includes a plot involving the Nightsisters of Dathomir. Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels is made for the Nintendo Wii and utilizes the Wii remote to simulate fighting with a lightsaber through the events of the movie and parts of the TV series.  The third video game, Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes, which is based on the TV series, was released on October 6, 2009, and takes place between Season One and Season Two.
Hasbro released a toy line based on the series, continued from the movie, which continues throughout the run of the series. A leaked Hasbro redemption certificate bearing the series' logo may imply the release of a preview action figure from the series (possibly Kit Fisto).
Cartoon Network screened an episode for critics as part of the 2008 TCA tour. The episode received generally positive reactions. The series' debuted on October 3, 2008 with the episode "Ambush", which brought in 3.96 million viewers, and was the channel's most watched series premiere. Season Two premiered on October 2, 2009 with the episodes "Holocron Heist" and "Cargo of Doom," which averaged 2.58 million viewers. The first season episode "Lair of Grievous" won a Golden Reel Award for best sound editing in television animation. The series was nominated for the 2009 Saturn Award for "Best Cable/Syndicated TV Series." In 2008 IGN listed The Clone Wars as the 89th (out of 100) greatest animated series of all time. In comparison, the original Clone Wars series, Star Wars: Clone Wars, was ranked 21st (out of 100).
At the 40th Daytime Emmy Awards on June 16, 2013, The Clone Wars won two Daytime Emmy Awards. David Tennant's performance of Professor Huyang in the fifth season episodes "A Test of Strength" and "A Necessary Bond" won him the Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program, while the series itself garnered the Outstanding Special Class Animated Program award. In 2014, the series was also nominated for four daytime Emmys, winning two.
The Clone Wars was classified as T-canon in the Holocron continuity database. The series' creators originally claimed that continuity with the other Expanded Universe was being taken very seriously, with Dave Filoni being well-versed in the Expanded Universe. However, Lucas had the right to make slight adjustments for the sake of the story. Additionally, he was consulted directly when dealing with the major characters. Lucasfilm told TV Guide that The Clone Wars would not supersede the original Clone Wars series in continuity, but would expand upon what the earlier series established. Dark Horse Comics editor Randy Stradley also claimed to have met with Lucasfilm Animation to discuss integrating the show with the Clone Wars comics.
However, the feature film and TV series introduced a number of continuity inconsistencies, many of which directly contradict previously published sources and require retcons and major shifts in the previously established Clone Wars timeline, which were never determined by Leland Chee. Filoni defended any differences in continuity: "But there's never an implicit connection between the micro-series that Cartoon Network did previously and the series that we're doing now. I personally as a fan never think of it as discrediting any of the other material, it's just that other material is from a different point of view, a different look at the war and take on the war. It's an ever-Expanding Universe in a lot of ways."
At his Celebration IV presentations, Filoni showed a series of slides showing several character sculpture designs for the series—stating that they would share some of the stylization of the original Clone Wars series, but would also have some of the realistic look of the films. He explained, however, that elements of the series would differ slightly from what has been previously established in continuity. Several changes were made from the original Clone Wars series: Obi-Wan doesn't wear as much of his clone general armor, General Grievous will have a cough apparently prior to the Battle of Coruscant, and the Jedi fighting styles are more like the films, and not like some of the exaggerated Jedi abilities portrayed in the original series. Additionally, several duels involving Anakin Skywalker and Count Dooku may retcon the meaning of the two characters' verbal interactions in Revenge of the Sith.[source?]
On August 8, 2009, Republic Commando author Karen Traviss stated that she was leaving the Star Wars franchise due to alleged continuity issues raised with the publication of The Art of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which included information regarding the Mandalorians that clashed with the continuity set up by her novels, most likely in reference to the trilogy of episodes involving Mandalore in the second season ("The Mandalore Plot," "Voyage of Temptation," and "Duchess of Mandalore") in which the main Mandalorian faction is portrayed as a pacifistic society living in arcologies on Mandalore, which is portrayed as a radioactive desert, contradicting all previous appearances. Prior to the April 25, 2014 reorganization of canon, Leland Chee and Sue Rostoni maintained that the complications would eventually be worked out. A reconciliation of the two portrayals was established with retcons issued by The Essential Atlas reference book, and the later Star Wars: The Clone Wars: New Battlefronts: The Visual Guide book, which states that the expansive white-sand desert seen in the episodes is only one aspect of the larger overall landscape of Mandalore's surface.
Several other examples of direct contradiction between The Clone Wars and previous Clone Wars media:
- The use of Eta-2 Actis-class interceptors at the same point in the timeline Anakin is knighted, whereas in The Clone Wars Delta-7B Aethersprite-class light interceptors are used, which were ostensibly used before the later Eta-2s. In addition, some G-canon elements from works like the novelization of Revenge of the Sith are being retconned. For example, in the novelization, Anakin remarks that he has only read about Grievous' IG-100 MagnaGuards in an intel report, despite having fought them in the show. Another very noticeable continuity error is the fact that Anakin has his scar which he received shortly after the Battle of Rendili from Asajj Ventress. He then injured Ventress so severely she was forced to recuperate until the Battle of Boz Pity, after which she deserted the CIS and the war for good. However, he was originally shown to receive his scar in 19 BBY, yet the series takes place in 21 BBY.
- In 2003, the reference book Inside the Worlds of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones established that Jedi Master Eeth Koth died during the Battle of Geonosis when his gunship was brought down by enemy fire. However, the character was "resurrected" by the project; he was first mentioned as fighting in the Clone Wars in the 2008 novel The Clone Wars: Wild Space and was later featured prominently in the second-season episode "Grievous Intrigue."
- The third season saw an evolution in the appearance of the main series characters. Ahsoka Tano's new attire represented a more mature look. Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi's attire was adjusted to be closer to how they appeared in Revenge of the Sith.
- The third-season episode "Citadel Rescue" featured the death of Jedi Master Even Piell, even though the character previously died in the 2008 novel, Coruscant Nights I: Jedi Twilight, written by Michael Reaves. Even Piell lived through the Clone Wars and died during the Great Jedi Purge in 19 BBY on Coruscant in the novel, while in the episode, he died during a mission around the second year of the war.
- StarWars.com confirmed that Darth Maul had survived the Battle of Naboo and would make an appearance in Season Four of the series. Maul made his return in the 21st episode, living on Lotho Minor.
- The fifth-season opener "Revival" featured the death of Jedi Master Adi Gallia by Savage Opress on Florrum, despite having previously been slain by Grievous during the Battle of Boz Pity, one of the final battles of the Clone Wars in the 2005 comic Obsession 5.
On April 25, 2014, it was announced that the Expanded Universe was to be re-branded as Star Wars Legends and that the only past material that would be considered canon would be the six prequel trilogy/original trilogy films and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, thus negating any concerns regarding conflicts between the series and past Star Wars Legends material. Novelizations based on the series, however, are not considered canon, nor are video game releases or comics, with the exception of Star Wars: Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir, the novel Dark Disciple, and any other upcoming projects based on material that was developed for the television series that ultimately did not make it to broadcast. Reference works based on the series, such as Star Wars: The Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia are considered part of the "Legends" continuity and are not considered canon sources of information.; According to the Force and Destiny source-book under Legends, some planets (including Carida) may have enforced Imperial law that underwent review of all records involving the Clone Wars and change parts of it that did not maintain Imperial standards. And since Clone Wars episodes are in-universe news reals being podcast by the former Republic (now the Empire), this could be interpreted to mean that some of the contradictions in the series were due to "Imperial Propaganda" made to mislead historians.
|Season||Logo||Episodes||First airdate||Last airdate|
Rise of the
The Lost Missions
February 15, 2014 (Germany)March 7, 2014 (US and Canada)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: "A Galaxy Divided"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: "Clone Commandos"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season One
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Two
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Three
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: "Darth Maul Returns"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Four
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Five
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Seasons 1-5 Collector's Edition
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Lost Missions
Notes and references