“Star Wars: The Clone Wars” is a unique and interesting beast, for many reasons.
For starters, it’s the biggest and most commercial attempt by creator George Lucas to bridge the gap between any two Star Wars films. Sure, there’ve been books and comics and video games written and designed to expand the scope of the series, but they’ve never been able to reach and reclaim that massive audience the films enjoy.
The idea behind “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” was to lift the veil on the legendary war waged between the Galactic Republic and Confederacy of Separatists, chronicling the final days of the Jedi Order. But while each episode represents an unknown chapter in the Star Wars bible, most of the book has already been written and read.
The series focuses around characters like Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, General Grievous, Count Dooku, and other staples of the Prequel Trilogy. The problem is: these characters’ stories have already been told, thus, eliminating almost all tension, drama, or conflict. Almost every character meets their end or destiny in “Revenge of the Sith,” leaving many of the story arcs and battles feeling anticlimactic.
One would be hard pressed to find someone unaware of Anakin Skywalker’s fall from grace or the massacre of the Jedi or the totalitarian regime of the Galactic Empire. The only real question lingers around the fate of Anakin’s young apprentice, Asoka Tano, who never appears in the feature films.
Simply put, the show puts us on a path to a place we’ve already been.
While the Prequel Trilogy only gave us a taste of what the Jedi can do, Master Yoda’s reputation as a great warrior, and the combat skills of the Clone Troopers, “The Clone Wars” makes it the main course. Each episode centers on a different threat, skirmish, or mission undertaken by the clone troops and their Jedi generals, from launching all out space battles against massive battleships to rescuing downed soldiers.
And though the series doesn’t change the course of the franchise, the action keeps you on the edge of your seat with its surprisingly brutal fight scenes and cinematic space battles in line with Lucas’ original vision.
Plus, having the room to take the camera off the main characters and put it on, say, a small group of rookie Clone Troopers trying to defend a strategic base against an invasion of droids not only shows that war wasn’t just a series of epic space battles and lightsaber duels, but gives the often faceless, nameless clones a touch of humanity, and enhances their roles in Star Wars universe.
In the end, “The Clone Wars” might not be redefining the Star Wars legacy, but does a good job of keeping the fun and adventure Star Wars brought to the silver screen going on the small screen.
Look for “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” on Cartoon Network, every Friday at 9:00pm. Follow Frank DeAngelo on Twitter at @modernheart.