Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008 — 2020) is one of the most beloved TV shows in the entire Star Wars franchise. And though it’s animated, it’s easy to place it among the live-action movies. After all, it fills in the three-year gap between Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith (2005).
By fleshing out the likes of Anakin Skywalker, Padme Amidala, Yoda, Mace Windu, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and even Jar Jar Binks, while bringing in new Star Wars characters such as Ahsoka Tano, The Clone Wars achieves what George Lucas’ prequel trilogy could not — it expands on the titular wars, the clones themselves, and the effects of the war on its many characters and the galaxy.
With 133 episodes and a movie to its name, it’s no surprise that The Clone Wars is filled with many satisfying moments, most of which involve awe-inspiring lightsaber duels and villains finally getting what they deserve. But it’s not all about epic battles, as such moments can also take on the form of cameos and scenes that connect us with the wider Star Wars franchise.
So here are the seven most satisfying moments from Star Wars: The Clone Wars…
7. Jar Jar vs. Grievous — “Shadow Warrior” (Season 4)
While he is pretty annoying in Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace (1999), we think Jar Jar Binks gets a hard time from fans. But you might be surprised to know that the Gungan actually has some redeeming moments in The Clone Wars, with one of the more stand-out episodes being Season 4’s “Shadow Warrior”, in which he ends up battling the formidable General Grievous!
The cyborg Separatist is enraged to learn that his attempts to trigger a conflict using the Gungan army have failed. And upon his arrival on Naboo to find out why, he faces the wrath of Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best) and his people. The scene comes as a huge surprise, and it’s thrilling to watch the despicable villain get beaten within an inch of his semi-artificial life by the Gungans!
6. Ahsoka vs. Maul — “The Phantom Apprentice” (Season 7)
When we discuss our favorite lightsaber duels from Star Wars, it’s easy to think only of those seen in live-action, with the ‘Duel of the Fates’ from The Phantom Menace being one of many fan-favorites. But The Clone Wars is also home to some of the greatest duels in Star Wars history, and the fact that they’re animated only lends to the visuals.
In “The Phantom Apprentice”, which forms part of the show’s four-episode finale, Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) and Maul (Sam Witwer) engage in a truly epic lightsaber fight. Not only is it beautifully choreographed, but the cinematography and animation are superb. The duel also uses motion-capture performances, with The Phantom Menace actor Ray Park reprising his role as Maul!
5. Ahsoka on the Run — “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much” (Season 5)
There’s nothing more frustrating than watching your favorite character get framed for murder while the Jedi Council, of all people, fails them on an unforgivable level (their lack of support is disturbing). But that’s exactly what happens in “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much”, the second part in a four-episode story arc that focuses on the end of Ahsoka’s journey as a Jedi (well, sort of).
On the other hand, it’s thrilling to watch the Jedi evade the clones when she goes on the run to try and prove her innocence. Following an action-packed pursuit, Ahsoka finds herself at the edge of a maintenance tunnel on a stormy Coruscant, where Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) tries to talk her down. But in a scene very reminiscent of The Fugitive (1993), she jumps off the edge!
4. General Krell’s Death — “Carnage of Krell” (Season 4)
The Clone Wars probably has as many villains as it does heroes, and while some are very likable (Maul, Asajj Ventress), there are those who are utterly despicable and really get under your skin – even if their time in the show is short-lived! In the ‘Krell’ story arc, Besalisk Jedi General Krell (Dave Fennoy) leads a company of clone troopers through the forests of Umbara on a dangerous mission.
However, it soon becomes obvious that Krell is a corrupt Separatist, and he even puts clones Fives and Jesse up for execution for disobeying orders. But he isn’t just a villain — he’s also an extremely unlikable character. Fortunately, just as it seems he’s going to get away with his crimes, he’s apprehended by Captain Rex (Dee Bradley Baker) and his men, and is ultimately executed by one of the clones!
3. Ahsoka Hears Anakin’s Fall — “Shattered” (Season 7)
There are a handful of times throughout The Clone Wars when the show tethers itself directly to the Star Wars movies, with one of the most memorable being Anakin’s vision in “Ghosts of Mortis”, which teases his tragic downfall in Revenge of the Sith. But there’s a scene in “Shattered”, the penultimate episode in the series, which uses actual audio from the movie!
While en route to Coruscant with an incarcerated Maul on board, Ahsoka suddenly hears the voices of Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), Mace Windu (Samuel L Jackson), and Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). This is the audio from the scene in Revenge of the Sith in which Windu is brutally killed, moments before Anakin becomes the Sith Lord Darth Vader. One word: chills.
2. Maul’s Escape – “Shattered” (Season 7)
After sensing Anakin’s fall and the death of Mace Windu, Ahsoka is attacked by Captain Rex and all the other clones on board. Yes, Palpatine has executed Order 66, causing all the clones to turn on the Jedi! But in an attempt to remove the inhibitor chip from Captain Rex’s brain, Ahsoka frees Maul so that he can cause a huge distraction and buy her some time.
Let it be said that, despite how popular he is, Maul is certainly no hero — he just happens to be one of the most interesting and complex Star Wars villains ever. With that said, watching the disgraced Sith Lord use blast doors as floating shields and kill any clone who gets in his way is strangely satisfying! Not only that, but it makes him the hero of the hour!
1. Qui-Gon’s Appearance — “Overlords” (Season 3)
When fans think of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), it can often leave a bitter taste. While the Jedi Master has gone on to become one of the most highly respected characters in Star Wars, he has only ever appeared in The Phantom Menace — at least where the movies are concerned. Much to the delight of fans, Qui-Gon also had a surprise appearance in The Clone Wars.
Season 3’s “Overlords” sees Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor), and Ahsoka Tano stranded on the spiritual world of Mortis, where Obi-Wan meets the Force ghost of his dead master Qui-Gon Jinn. Naturally, Obi-Wan is very surprised, but it’s the fans who were left totally stunned when they realized Liam Neeson had returned to reprise his role as the Jedi!
Characters from The Clone Wars, such as Ahsoka Tano and Bo-Katan Kryze, have since made their live-action debut in The Mandalorian. Bo-Katan (played again by Katee Sackhoff) is expected to return for the third season, while Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) will be starring in her own live-action show Ahsoka (2023).
All seven seasons of The Clone Wars are now streaming on Disney+.
What moments from Star Wars: The Clone Wars did you find the most satisfying?