‘The Clone Wars’: Will the New Season Live Up to the Hype?

Seth Eislund
TV Animated Series
TV Animated Series Star Wars

So far, 2018 has been a turbulent year for Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise. Following its release in December 2017, Star Wars: The Last Jedi divided the fandom. Later, in May 2018, Solo: A Star Wars Story received a negative reception from much of the Star Wars fan base.

In light of this, the fans needed something that would redeem the franchise. Therefore, it must have been an incredible surprise when longtime series showrunner Dave Filoni announced that Star Wars: The Clone Wars would be renewed for a seventh season at the San Diego Comic Con. Naturally, the audience went wild. Today, many fans hope that The Clone Wars will return the Star Wars franchise to its old, vigorous self. Thus, it must be asked: will the seventh season live up to the hype?

Why ‘The Clone Wars’ is Back

Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi as they appear during the Season Seven Reveal Trailer.

The Star Wars fandom cheered when it heard that The Clone Wars would be returning. The show meant so much to fans because it was relatable. Its characters felt captivatingly human. They were perseverant, flawed, and complex. However, as information about the show’s new season emerged, the reasons for its return felt more suspicious. It seemed like Disney tried to overhype Season 7 by crediting the fans with The Clone Wars’ reemergence. For instance, in an interview with StarWars.com, Dave Filoni implied that the fans were responsible for bringing back the series. The exchange went as follows:

StarWars.com: “What can you say about the fans’ enthusiasm over the years and, really, their role in making this happen?”

Dave Filoni: “Well, thankfully, their enthusiasm is relentless. Their love of these characters and stories hasn’t diminished. I actually think their voice has gotten louder as the years have gone by. It’s been very humbling to have their support and to have people continue to hashtag me, ‘#SaveTheCloneWars.’”

Disney’s narrative may be convincing to some. Its flattery of the fans was intended to increase their investment in and excitement about the series. That doesn’t change the fact that fans have called for the revival of The Clone Wars for years. However, the narrative that they were solely responsible for its return is suspect. With its wealth, Disney could have revived the series years ago. It has been on a hiatus following its cancellation in 2013 and the release of the Lost Missions in 2014. So, why has The Clone Wars returned now?

While it’s true that Disney brought back the series to give it a much-deserved ending, that isn’t the only reason. Disney chose to bring back The Clone Wars because the Star Wars franchise was at its weakest. Following the mixed-to-negative reception of The Last Jedi and Solo, fans attacked Disney for its perceived mismanagement of the franchise. Thus, the company wanted to save one of its most valuable properties from ruination. The best way to do this was by reinstating a fan-favorite series, namely, The Clone Wars, and manipulating the fans’ excitement. The move was a well-calculated business decision, not an appeal to the fandom.

‘The Clone Wars’: A Welcome Return

Anakin Skywalker and Ashoka Tano prepare for battle against the Separatists.

Regardless of the reasons for its return, fans will welcome The Clone Wars with open arms. And they should! The Clone Wars was an amazing series, filled with brilliantly-written episodes and impactful characters. In fact, many fans believe it to be one of the best forms of Star Wars media ever made.

As one of the greatest entries in the franchise, The Clone Wars expanded the Star Wars mythos like never before. New characters such as Ashoka, Captain Rex, and Domino Squad stole the show with their struggles, triumphs, and loyalty to their comrades. Additionally, older characters were given much greater depth than in the prequels. The backstories of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Asajj Ventress, Darth Maul, and Yoda were elaborated upon and their motivations were made clearer. Even Anakin Skywalker went from being a much-maligned character — thanks to the prequels — to one of the series’ most compelling and interesting characters.

A New Season, An Old Purpose

Darth Sidious and Count Dooku prepare to fight Yoda and Anakin.

It is also important, however, that Star Wars fans’ expectations of the series should not become too overblown. As Disney and Dave Filoni stated, the new season aims to finish The Clone Wars. The show was left in an unfinished state with Seasons 5 and 6 and never received an official ending. This means that the series won’t go in bombastic or over-the-top new directions. It’s not meant to be avant-garde. Its only goal is to finish story arcs that were in production but weren’t ultimately finished.

Some of the storyboards of these unfinished arcs can be seen fully realized in the Season Seven reveal trailer. Chief among these are “The Bad Batch” and “Bo-Katan and Ashoka.” Other storyboards shown at the 10th Anniversary Clone Wars panel depicted the unfinished “Son of Dathomir” story arc. The storyline, which focused on Darth Maul’s capture at the hands of Darth Sidious, was turned into a comic series by Dark Horse. It may be featured in the seventh season as well because the new episodes will focus on the “Siege of Mandalore.” This storyline features Anakin and Ahsoka teaming up for the last time to destroy Darth Maul’s evil reign over Mandalore.

The Verdict

Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul engage in a duel on board a cargo ship.

Will Season Seven live up to the hype? The answer is clear: Star Wars fans should expect more of the same. They should expect the classic and beloved style of action, storytelling, and character development that The Clone Wars does so well. So yes, Season 7 will live up to the hype. However, it won’t be doing anything revolutionary or groundbreaking.

Seth Eislund
Seth Eislund is currently a student at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. He is interested in history, religion, and politics, as well as Monty Python. He blogs at https://medium.com/@seislund.
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