A long time ago, on a small terrestrial planet called Earth, home to a race of nerdy and opinionated sentients known as humans, one among them had a vision that would define a generation of geeks, unleashing the phenomena known as Star Wars onto the planet. The year was 1977, and this “chosen one” was named George of Lucas. From then on, Star Wars would grow to become one of pop culture’s most powerful and intriguing mainstays. While Star Wars was here to stay, many fans, after returning to Lucas’s galaxy in 1999, were disappointed with the direction their beloved series had turned.
They thought that the Prequels were a huge misstep in the mythology Lucas himself created. Fans flocked to every new movie, yet they still riled against them, figuratively tearing down the monuments which they had built over the years. Lucas, however, continued moving forward with his vision, and while he was betrayed with his stories on the silver screen, he decided to try his hand at securing our living rooms, with a Marque style of animation used to bring The Clone Wars to life!
The show was, at first, panned; the theatrical movie it kicked off with kinda sucked, and there were a few hit-and-miss episodes in the first season. Fortunately, Lucas and the showrunners soldiered on, and The Clone Wars began gaining the following and respect it deserved. It broke down various Star Wars stories in arcs and expanded on characters new and old, giving us new favorites, amazing new worlds, and even new Jars Jars we will love to hate (Gascon from Season 5 really grinded my gears).
Star Wars was always a property I’m sure many companies were willing to pay top dollar to acquire, and Disney was the likely winner of that outcome, especially since they already housed a bunch of Indiana Jones and Star Wars rides at their theme parks. However, to fork out $4B, they needed a cast-iron guarantee that it could be a hit once again.
Finishing its fifth season when Disney bought Lucasfilm, Clone Wars was well-received by critics and fans old and new. The stories did not focus on a group of heroes, but spanned the entire Star Wars galaxy, telling stories of what the citizens of the galaxy were going through, the soldiers, the heroes, the villains, all while also expanding on Anakin’s role as a hero and how he would fall to the Dark Side, which had been growing in him throughout the series. Since the series is considered canon, it completely expanded upon the entire Prequels period, allowing fans to watch it whilst feeling content rather than in disgust. It featured new understandings of what the Force is, what the Chosen One was meant to do and what he had to sacrifice to do so, making Anakin’s fall much more tragic.
The Clone Wars has won over 10 awards including IGN’s Best Summer Movie Award for Best TV Animated Series, an Emmy and Behind the Voice Award for David Tennant’s role as the ancient droid Huyang and even Sam Witwer’s portrayal as Darth Maul. Other actors who have lent their names to the series’ success have been Jon Favreau as Death Watch leader Pre Vizsla, Jamie King as the deadly Aurra Sing, Clancy Brown as Darth Maul’s magically enhanced brother, Savage Opress, and Katee Sackhoff as Mandalorian warrior Bo Katan, as well as other actors such as George Takei, Phil Lamar, Anthony Daniels, Ron Perlman, Mark Hamill as Darth Bane, and returning from The Phantom Menace, Liam Neeson as Qui Gon Jinn.
Not many people will agree with me, but for these reasons I believe The Clone Wars is a vital reason for Disney reviving Star Wars theatrically and continuing the story Lucas had began. Disney could have easily dissolved the hated Prequels, rendering them non-canon like they did the EU, as well as cancel the Clone Wars, letting it fade along with the old Droids and Ewok cartoons from the 80’s. Instead they allowed the series to finish what it could and placed it amongst the new Star Wars canon, which – at that point – only consisted of the six films.
I’m sure Disney has always had plans to buy Star Wars at some point, but I believe that this little cartoon showed them that there was still life in the franchise. This meant they keep both sides of the fandom – the Original Trilogy purists and the Prequel lovers – happy, by keeping both trilogies intact, while also moving forward with an all-new trilogy for a new generation of fans, which will include my own children when I take them to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Long live Star Wars!