Star Wars: Clone Wars

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Clone Wars was made by the same people who brought you the similarly hyperkinetic action-packed anime-wannabe series Samurai Jack and Powerpuff Girls. That should say it all, really.
There's an old saying about the four great Jedi unifiers of the Republic and a bird that refused to sing: Anakin Skywalker threatened the bird, "Sing or I'll Force-choke you"; Obi-Wan Kenobi coaxed the bird by saying "I'll teach you to sing, little bird, as I promised Master Qui-Gon I would"; meanwhile, Yoda sat meditating on his hover chair and said "Wait for the bird to sing I will, nearly 900 years old I am"; and Mace Windu was confused at the bird's method of communication, saying "Galactic Basic Standard, motherfucker! Do you speak it?!"
— Journal of the Whills, 7:477

Star Wars: Clone Wars was a 2003–2005 intergalactic gallery exhibition series of 25 untitled historical holopaintings depicting a war fought across verdant alien landscapes in the vein of romantic nationalism through a campaign of planet-hopping epic battles across the Pacific Outer Rim, fought by space marines. Historians of the Star Wars prequel period believe that the conflict stemmed from the decadence of upper-class special-interest trade guild and banking clan lobbyists with aristocrats in the Galactic Senate prior to the social stratification of the peasantry into stormtroopers challenging the historical monopoly of the Jedi social class on state violence, similar to the situation during the wars of national unity in Sengoku-period Japan.

These paintings bridge the narrative gap between Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith; Neo wasn't the only robot maintenance man from the early 2000s who desperately needed a cool anthology of cartoons to make up for a couple of lackluster blockbusters. However, they are done in an exaggerated and stylized form unlike that of the live-action Star Wars films, with most episodes consisting of 90% nonstop action and the remaining 10% consisting of characters standing around looking cross; for instance, here Mace Windu can single-handedly destroy an entire droid army and a gigantic hole punch with his bare hands, even though if he could do that in the movies, the Clone Wars would've ended at Geonosis.

Star Wars: Clone Wars is not to be confused with Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which looks like Toy Story meets Lego Star Wars, and where Anakin is a protective older brother like figure to an apprentice as Obi-Wan had been to him; no, in this Clone Wars, Anakin just got his license to kill and the ability to legally drink his flashbacks of massacring villages of Tusken Raiders away at the cantina. Clone Wars, like the Star Wars Holiday Special years before it, introduced a cool new villain, yet still officially never happened, for history, as they say, "is re-released as a special edition by George Lucas."

Formal and historical analysis

Volume One

The first volume's works are painted on 3–5-minute canvases, a masterwork of miniature paintings from the Middle Space East, with the exception of the last one which is a seven-minute heraldic tapestry.

Season One (2003)

No. in
TitleOriginal air dateProd.
11 "Chapter 1" November 7, 2003  (2003 -11-07)101
The first work sets the stage, showing the sailing of the Republic Army's ships from Coruscant off to defend their colonies from secession into the hands of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, led by the wicked Sith Lord Count Dooku. Four months after Attack of the Clones, Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi still doesn't trust his Padawan Anakin Skywalker with command over other human beings' lives; however, Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine has bought Anakin a brand-new army with cool ships available at a toy store near you, and he really wants to take his fleet out for a spin. 
22 "Chapter 2" November 10, 2003  (2003 -11-10)102
In the second, Anakin complains to Obi-Wan as they approach Muunilinst's orbit and prepare for battle. Luke had effectively no military training except a weekend Jedi seminar with Obi-Wan and a crash course in piloting from the Yavin 4 flight school, yet he was trusted by total strangers with a squadron; however, after ten years of training, the Jedi Council is still out on Anakin, considering him too much of a loose ion cannon. Kenobi sends an elite dropship of candy-colored ARC trooper commandos who get shot down, easily visible from miles away with their bright markings. 
33 "Chapter 3" November 11, 2003  (2003 -11-11)103
The third depicts ARC troopers engaging in urban warfare on the streets of Space Greece's capital city Harnaidan. Droid snipers with what appears to be glowing red sniper rifles made from Nintendo Virtual Boys open fire from the windows of the dollar bill-colored buildings above. Despite their bulky armor, the clones have no problem running and jumping up the side of an AAT battle tank with their mad parkour skills taught to them on Kamino. The band that's genetically closer than brothers use the latest in remote camera drones and wall-penetrating thermal imaging to locate the heavy artillery guns of Muunilinst
44 "Chapter 4" November 12, 2003  (2003 -11-12)104
The forth work shows the InterGalactic Banking Clan leaders worry in their war room and consider taking their cyanide tablets when Durge, a mysterious masked freelance bounty hunter sent from Count Dooku, lends their commander San Hill's throat a hand. With his swoop bike gang of IG-88 jousters, Durge goes on an elephant hunt against the Republic's SPHA-Ts walkers as he lets out a victory howl. Of course nowadays, elephant mechs are on the endangered species list, and anything made of their ivory needs to be dated or else it's illegal. 
55 "Chapter 5" November 13, 2003  (2003 -11-13)105
The fifth composition answers the question of "What does a lightsaber look like underwater?", as amphibious Jedi Kit Fisto throws the Republic's net of ships over the waters of the divided world of Mon Calamari to open up a couple of cans of Quarren Isolation League submarines. These separatist U-boats were notorious for their role in economic raiding and cutting off supply lines, but they are no match for the clone trooper frogmen in their scuba armor. Fisto shows the Jedi diet is far from kosher when he cracks apart the legs of a giant enemy crab droid with Force bubbles, then dumps the robot into a lava trench and cooks him with the aid of the local cuttlefish militia. 
66 "Chapter 6" November 14, 2003  (2003 -11-14)106
The sixth diptych depicts Count Dooku attending an underground fighting tournament of the gladiatorial corrections facility on planet Rattatak, much like they do in certain places in Thailand. Dooku is impressed when his host is assassinated while sitting next to him, but asks the assassin applicant to demonstrate her typing speed with a lightsaber in the blood pool of applicants below. The applicant then dives off the cliffside pentbox into the pit, and what follows is a colorful cartoon cockfight of carnage from which bald-headed woman Asajj Ventress is the only one left standing. 
77 "Chapter 7" November 17, 2003  (2003 -11-17)107
The seventh composition addresses Dooku's deep concerns over Ventress's cultural appropriation of the Sith; simply getting a tattoo and dressing like a Sith doesn't make someone a Sith, any more than it makes Eminem black or the Wu-Tang Clan Chinese. Ventress denies that she has offended his cultural heritage, believing Dooku to be a foolish old man who knows nothing of the dark side. She goes up to attack him, but like Anakin in Attack of the Clones, fucks up and gets knocked out by Dooku's easily-blockable Force lightning. When she awakens in his penthouse, she does not like Dooku's choice of decoration and trashes the place starting a fight, so he breaks her lightsabers. The noise wakes up his roommate, a mechno-chair hologram of Darth Sidious with robot spider legs, who didn't have time to put his normal false teeth on and instead has nightmarish sharp teeth. Sidious is impressed by Ventress and tells the Sith Lady to start her shift by finding and eliminating a Jedi called Anakin Skywalker. Dooku gifts Ventress curved red lightsabers that he took off the corpse of his last Dark Jedi employee, and Asajj heads off in her sensu fan-shaped starfighter. 
88 "Chapter 8" November 18, 2003  (2003 -11-18)108
In the eighth composition, General Kenobi rides with his speeder bike clone gang through a graveyard of elephant-walker mechs to challenge Durge and his droid crew to a game of chicken with jousting lances. Obi-Wan loses his lance and clone mask but then pulls out his laser knife and blows up Durge's wheels in a fiery inferno. Durge then emerges from the flames and carjacks Obi-Wan, using his ride as a club to smash him into the curb. Kenobi slices apart the bike and shanks Durge but it does't even phase him; Durge then punches Obi-Wan to the ground and shows him his impressive weapon collection, pulling out a projectile launcher, a flamethrower, a flail, and his blaster pistols. Obi-Wan, however, beats through all his defenses, prompting Durge to switch on energy shields in his gauntlets. Kenobi presses his advantage, slashing at Durge's arms multiple times until he loses his focus, allowing Obi-Wan to slice off Durge's left arm and bisect him. After seemingly sending another one up to the Force, Obi-Wan rolls out, not bothering to bury the corpse like some kind of priest, or else he would've seen Durge's remains slither back together. 
99 "Chapter 9" November 19, 2003  (2003 -11-19)109
In number nine, Obi-Wan must've been watching Batman and Robin lately, because he drives up the side of the Banking Clan's command tower and crashes through the roof with a bunch of clones with grappling hooks. Obi-Wan and his clone hoard tell San Hill to surrender unconditionally, or they will burn the city to the ground and salt their homeworlds with their tears in their march to secure the Outer Rim. Before Hill has a chance to wave a white flag, Durge crashes in riding his jetpack but gets riddled with blaster fire and a missile. Out of the smoke comes Durge in his true form, a skinless pile of sinewy muscle that looks like the kid from Akira has been doing some steroids. The beast smashes the holographic diorama of the city in the situation room trying to crush Obi-Wan, until he is restrained by grappling hook cables and blaster fire by the clones, like a swarm of spiders about to be squashed. Durge yanks the clones off their cables, then runs towards Obi-Wan and absorbs him; for a moment it seems like Star Wars has its own Majin Buu, and maybe he's gonna get Obi-Wan's powers and fight Anakin or something. ARC Captain Fordo tries to taze the suspect with his electric grappling hook, hoping he has a nervous system that can be fried without baking Obi-Wan inside him. Before Durge can compliment the chef, Obi-Wan creates some personal space with the Force and puffs up Durge's body, exploding him and sending his oozy bubblegum-colored tentacles flying everywhere. Obi-Wan makes another one of his corny one-liners as the Banking Clan accepts defeat and he picks up Durge's helmet to add to his trophy room, for the second time not noticing the bounty hunter's remains creeping away, presumably reforming to fight another day. 
1010 "Chapter 10" November 20, 2003  (2003 -11-20)110
In the tenth painting, Anakin gets bored of his new toy, testing out all the Azure Angel's special features as he tactfully has his astromech droid R4-P22 shuffle power between weapons, shields, and boosters. While navigating the bullet hell shooter of the orbital defense satellites, he is soon overwhelmed by swarms of enemy craft. Thinking swiftly, Skywalker has his own men fire on him, leading the enemy ships into a flood of missiles that he proceeds to guide into the bigger ships' structural weak points, gaining 100,000 points. 

Season Two (2004)

No. in
TitleOriginal air dateProd.
111 "Chapter 11" March 26, 2004  (2004 -03-26)201
In the eleventh composition, Asajj Ventress swoops in and wipes out Anakin's fleet. Anakin proves not to be particularly interested in commanding anyone, especially not the dead, as he abandons the battle above and heads down to the streeets of Space Greece to fly through the city columns stalking the Sith Lady, despite Obi-Wan's nagging protests over the radio. You see, Anakin does this so that he can be seen as equal to Obi-Wan and at last be proven a man, for the Jedi at this time were indeed little more peaceful than predators. Anakin pursues his prey into space as Obi-Wan dispatches some clone troopers to keep an eye on the boy. 
122 "Chapter 12" March 29, 2004  (2004 -03-29)202
The twelfth composition shows expressionistic clouds and fine brushwork in depicting the wheat fields of Dantooine where Motherfucking Jedi Master Mace Windu Force-runs up to attacking super battle droids and slices apart their torsos. He leads a phalanx of clone troopers to their deaths, as they are ground up with the grain beneath the Separatists' giant hovering Thwomp block that creates earthquakes whenever it ground-pounds. A farmboy named Paxi Sylo watches atop a hill as Windu runs up a crater and loses his lightsaber in a tsunami of dirt, just before he's stuck in the thick of hundreds of some super battle droids. 
133 "Chapter 13" March 30, 2004  (2004 -03-30)203
Composition thirteen demonstrates that while Shaolin monks might be able to break stones, Jedi can do one better and break metal robots in half with their bare fists. Windu parts the battle droids like Moses and Force-bounces around like a pinball until, while caught in another dust storm, he catches sight of his lightsaber and Force-grabs it. Mace then surfs another shockwave and Force-jumps onto the Thwomp block, using his lightsaber as a can opener to enter it. Windu pops open the wall hitting some droids, then swings his lightsaber around like Mario's hammer and tears the place up causing it to crash into the ground. From the explosion, Mean Joe Windu jumps up to the hill where the boy is, getting a drink of Coke from Paxi's canteen and giving that kid his autograph before jumping off once more into the distance. 
144 "Chapter 14" March 31, 2004  (2004 -03-31)204
Composition fourteen explores a less contentious relationship between Master and Padawan than what you normally see, showing Luminara Unduli and Barriss Offee at a sacred Jedi weapons manufacturing plant on Ilum where they mine Force crystals. Luminara and Barriss sense the creeping of invisible spider droids and start swatting them with their lightsabers as they crawl up from underground to bomb their holy site, causing a cave-in that closes off the crystals. The two sit down and pray, keeping the cave temple from collapsing in on them with the Force as Grand Master Yoda gets their psychic text. 
155 "Chapter 15" April 1, 2004  (2004 -04-01)205
Composition fifteen features Yoda using the power of the Force to puppeteer Padmé Amidala's bodyguard Captain Typho into allowing him to bum a ride with them for the rescue mission to Ilum. Yoda is a strict guardian, however, and won't let Padmé go out dancing with the chameleon droids even though she bought a new white fur outfit for just the occasion. Yoda senses the invisible droids in the snow, not by using the Force, or thermal vision, but just by noticing a blank spot in the snowstorm — it really doesn't take Mr. Fantastic to spot the Invisible Woman, yet no one seems to know that lasers generate noticeable amounts of heat in a blizzard. Luckily Yoda is still smaller than the spider droids, so he stabs several of them in the kneejoints and buries the rest with an avalanche like the icy cold killer General Yoda is, before walking into the crystal-filed temple to help spot the weight for his fellow green Jedi. 
166 "Chapter 16" April 2, 2004  (2004 -04-02)206
Composition sixteen focuses on Padmé running out of the ship while she's grounded, after promising to be a good girl and not slip away while her bodyguard isn't looking. R2-D2 senses an ambush as Padmé uses C-3PO as a distraction, marching him out to get fired at and suicide-bomb the enemy. She's about to cap another droid when she notices it's Yoda, who has returned with two more fine bitches to add to his ever-growing harem. 
177 "Chapter 17" April 5, 2004  (2004 -04-05)207
Seventeen shows us that Anakin has tracked his game to Yavin's fourth moon, where he prepares himself for the hunt but is interrupted by the arrival of a chopper of clone troopers. Ready for the fun and games of the jungle, they are welcomed with death as one-by-one an unseen enemy tosses them around like voodoo ragdolls. When he hears screams from the chopper, Skywalker arrives just in time to witness an explosion as Ventress walks through the flickering flames, cuing the WWE theme music for the smackdown that's about to begin. 
188 "Chapter 18" April 6, 2004  (2004 -04-06)208
Number eighteen shows that the lightsaber is the lumberjack's weapon of choice as Anakin and Ventress clear-cut the wilderness. Anakin briefly disarms her but she just jumps into the forest canopy with the wire-fu of the Force and he chases after her. The two leap from branch to branch, swinging like Donkey Kong and pulling out his best Matrix parkour moves on the sides of trees. Emerging on the opposite side of the forest, Ventress remodels the floor of a nearby ziggurat by Force-throwing bricks at Anakin, knocking him off the platform. The two have a Mexican stand-off in the rain, as the droplets vaporize on their lightsabers in the heart of Tikal National Park on planet Space Guatemala. 
199 "Chapter 19" April 7, 2004  (2004 -04-07)209
In number nineteen, Anakin makes the first move and jumps back onto the ziggurat, kicking Ventress and Force-pushing her down into the dark damp temple below. Anakin then explores the temple looking for his foes; luckily, when you have a lightsaber, you never really need a torch. When Ventress ambushes Anakin, he uses the Force to splash water in her face like someone really should've been doing with sand on Tatooine when they fought Darth Maul. Anakin finds that without a giant pillar it really opens up the windows, then throws it on top of Ventress which she easily bench-presses. Anakin has his tunic ripped off when Ventress Force-pushes him against the wall running up the stairs, and he reveals he can apparently just make shit explode by Force-pushing it the right way, blowing Ventress through a wall like he's Link with a bomb. They head outside and hit the stairs for some quick cardio, reaching the top of the temple underneath Yavin's foreboding red glow. They do some more fencing as Anakin is disarmed and about to be ritualistically sacrificed, but then he remembers that he still has superior upper-body strength from a robot hand and being beefier. He uses this cybernetic limb to grab Ventress's arms, stealing one of her red lightsabers as Anakin pulls an Obi-Wan and goes into a berserk rage before knocking a Sith off a ledge, which is good enough for a K.O. in Super Smash Bros. and good enough for Anakin's Klingon-like bloodlust. Unlike Obi-Wan, however, he does not feel the need to bring back a souvenir, and tosses Ventress's saber into the pit. 
2010 "Chapter 20" April 8, 2004  (2004 -04-08)210
Number 20 is a medieval heraldic tapestry fit for a spider general. It begins by exploring the horror genre as werewolf Jedi Voolvif Monn continues the street-fighting in Space Greece, while clone gunships continue to shut down the city before Obi-Wan gives word of the surrender. That mysterious ship from before is spotted sailing towards them with an uncertain flag, when out steps Anakin to boast of his exploits. Obi-Wan is not impressed, telling his apprentice that walking into a trap looking for a fight is nothing to be proud of and that he can't keep his new ship because he's grounded, and to save his bragging for the Jedi mead hall. Obi-Wan then receives a call from Jedi Master Daakman Barrek on Hypori, saying that there's a psycho serial killer out there murdering Jedi; sure enough, when Obi-Wan hangs up Barrek is already dead, as the other five Jedi are held up inside the wreckage of a Star Destroyer while sweating bullets. Padawan Sha'a Gi runs for it but cyborg General Grievous pounces on him, causing the Padawan to inexplicably disappear from existence. Ki-Adi prepares to confront the General, but he jumps up into the wreckage rafters; the Jedi then slowly back up with their backs turned to each other, until the General descends from the ceiling and attacks. Grievous is a slasher with three lightsabers, and their Parkour skills are no match for his wall-crawling, hand-standing, foot-throwing, neck-snapping, and break-dancing — it's as if Spider-Man, Jason Voorhees, Shiva, and a quadcopter all got together and made a baby. One by one the Jedi fall until only Master Ki-Adi Mundi remains, as Yoda feels a disturbance in the Force while lightning strikes in the distant skies of Coruscant. 

Volume Two

The final series of five paintings expand the canvas size to fifteen minutes through a series of fear paintings, murals, hide paintings, biombo screens, and iconoclasts.

Season Three (2005)

No. in
TitleOriginal air dateProd.
211 "Chapter 21" March 21, 2005  (2005 -03-21)301

Composition 21 is a feather painting made of exotic bird feathers from Naboo and Yavin 4. It depicts the medical evac of the Jedi generals by ARC troopers, who lay down suppressive fire on Grievous with a gatling gun as the Jedi are flown to a nearby M*A*S*H unit. Ki-Adi is just thankful that Shaak Ti, of whom he is in a "very secret hush-hush relationship" with, and blue tentacle-haired girl Aayla Secura survived; Master K'Kruhk was seemingly killed by Grievous, but apparently also survived and went into his species' Whiphid healing trance, then returned to Coruscant flying on his iconic straw hat. As the clones leave in their gunship, Grievous takes the dead Jedi's lightsabers to add to his toy collection, musing to his fleeing foes that they are only prolonging the inevitable.

The storyline then jumps ahead two years later (although the editing would make it seem like it's only been a few days or weeks), to the thirtieth month of the Clone Wars. In his meditation chamber on Coruscant, Yoda has a vision of Master Qui-Gon Jinn taking nine-year-old Yipee Anakin to the dark side cave on Dagobah and telling him the only monsters he will find there are the ones inside us, and possibly some ones outside us in the form of Force-sensitive lions, tigers, and bears that live there. The next thing heard is jaguars growling as Yoda awakens from his meditations. Later in the Jedi Temple, the Jedi Council decides they need more Jedi Knights due to several job vacancies created by General Grievous over the course of the war. Obi-Wan, who has been recently promoted to Jedi Master and given a seat on the Council, suggests the Council forgo the traditional Jedi Trials and promote his Padawan Anakin to Jedi Knight. Kenobi says how, despite Anakin bitching at him and disobeying him constantly, he has faced every trial the war has dealt him, with but one trial left, the Trial of Spirit. Despite protests from Council member Oppo Rancisis, reminding the Council that they can't just pick and choose parts of their sacred tradition to follow, Yoda ultimately decides that Skywalker's final trial will be as unorthodox as his career, and "A knight, he shall be."

Meanwhile, Anakin is taking a morning stroll around the lower levels of Coruscant, glaring angrily at the alien scum surrounding him. After noticing a hooded figure following him, he grabs her and drags her into the alleyway, then draws his lightsaber and realizes it's Padmé. They kiss and Anakin rants that they should not have to hide their love, like Ki-Adi and Shaak Ti. Padmé reminds him of his duty to the Jedi Order and that she'll always love him, and Anakin has the best pickup line he will ever come up with when he smirks and says, "You do look really good in the dark." The two are about to conceive Luke and Leia when C-3PO arrives to strip off his disguise and boast of his impressive new gold plating, fit for an opulent senator. Obi-Wan then calls Anakin to the Jedi Temple, and Anakin reluctantly says goodbye to his forbidden lover.

Anakin arrives late at the temple and has a vision that Obi-Wan is going to yell at him, and quickly jabs that he's no Qui-Gon Jinn which makes both of them sad for a moment as they recall their lost mentor. Anakin regrets his hurtful comment and apologizes; Kenobi forgives his student and tells Anakin that it is time they became more than master and student, and that from this day forward they will instead be "brothers". Anakin does not know what his master means by this until Obi-Wan shows him to a dark room, and they both enter. Inside the dark council chamber the Jedi begin their initiation ritual, and Anakin really has to crouch to get knighted by Yoda, who severs his Padawan braid. His braid cut, Anakin gives it to C-3PO, who in turns gives the braid to Padmé, who in turn bequeaths her decade-old R2 unit to Anakin, because the technology seems to have hit a zenith and no innovation seemingly ever occurs in Star Wars after twelve years. R2 shows Anakin a goodbye hologram of his wife which he touches with his robot hand, in a rare moment of being sympathetic, as he sets off, now a prideful Jedi Knight, in the seat of his new Eta-2 Actis-class interceptor. 
222 "Chapter 22" March 22, 2005  (2005 -03-22)302

Chapter twenty-two is a mural done in fresco made at the height of galactic pride, showing Separatist General Oro Dassyne wondering how many Jedi it would take to telekinetically break through his ray-shielded defenses on Bomis Koori IV. Beneath a canopy of Republic attack cruisers and ARC-170 starfighters a mere two take the base in a battle that lasts but seconds. When we see Obi-Wan and Anakin emerge from the dust and chaos of the battle, Anakin now has long hair while Obi-Wan has cut his short and both sport new proto-Revenge of the Sith outfits. A number of Anakin's other heroic exploits are then shown, derided by critics as little more than oil-painted army recruitment posters for young clones, such as helping demon-horned Master Saesee Tiin against tri-fighters, and rescuing three Jedi from a swarm of spider bots. When next we see Anakin as he meets Padmé on Naboo he has a scar over his eye, given to him by Asajj Ventress during an offscreen rematch they had in the Coruscant Underlevels, as well as what appears to be a twinkle in said eye. The two have a somber moment then proceed to spend the night together, potentially leading to Luke and Leia's conception (meaning that either their birth in Revenge of the Sith, six months later, was premature, or that fetuses mature at a faster rate in the Star Wars universe).

The storyline jumps ahead again by six months, bringing us thirty-six months into the Clone Wars and nearing the war's end. On a rainy planet, Obi-Wan sits in a trench complaining to clone Commander Cody that they've been there a month, at which time he is told the siege of the enemy city's energy shield will take another three. Anakin shows up with lunch, a disgusting pile of writhing insects not to be confused with McDonald's; the Jedi are definitely more Klingon than kosher. Anakin says he got it from the enemy's food court, then leads Obi-Wan through the open sewer of this impoverished Outer Rim world towards a secret access ladder made by the same incompetent Trade Federation architect who would later go on to build the Death Star. Anakin wants to take his time killing all the guard droids personally with his lightsaber but Obi-Wan just nudges some explosive marbles towards the shield generator with the Force, destroying it. Once more Anakin and Obi-Wan nonchalantly walk off as the grunts clean up riding tiny AT-STs like horses.

Meanwhile, the Separatists take worlds by land, sea, and air, landing on Kashyyyk as a wookiee swings through the forests and discovers an invasion force of tanks and droid troop carriers. We see tri-fighters fly the crimson skies of another world that falls behind the Iron Robot Curtain, as marine tripods storm the shores and climb the cliff dwellings of Bal'demnic. Elsewhere, Trade Federation cruisers approach a purple planet and clone troopers surrender surrounded by battle droids, while droids march on the planet Orto to the horror of a young Max Rebo and his siblings. Next we see Grievous practice-sparring with Dooku, where he gets scolded by his master and told not to let his materialism get in the way of fighting a war for materialism; rather, he must break the Jedi's spirits before he breaks their bodies. A hologram of Darth Sidious then appears, pleased with them as Grievous reports the Jedi are scattered across the Outer Rim thinner than the Green Lanterns and their little domino masks. The three villains prepare to launch the CIS's final operation, as it is the perfect time to strike at the heart of the Republic.

The rainclouds clear up just as Obi-Wan and Anakin are contacted by Chancellor Palpatine and Master Windu, who order them to investigate a potential base for Grievous on the ice planet Nelvaan. After scanning the planet for life signs, they send a landing party to investigate strange geothermal readings like they were the Starship Enterprise. The troopers nearly fry some woodland critters with their twitchy trigger fingers and PTSD, when in typical horror movie fashion a giant man-eating horax comes out of nowhere. Anakin kills the great horned beast but is shamed by Obi-Wan, as they encounter a party of natives in bright red-white-and-black wooden carved tribal masks worn by the blue dog people of planet Space Canada
233 "Chapter 23" March 23, 2005  (2005 -03-23)303

Chapter 23 is painted on yak hide, opening with Yoda's meditation on Coruscant being interrupted by a rain of droid ships just outside his window, who foolishly chose not to kamikaze the Jedi Temple. Civilian speeders scramble to evacuate away from tarantula-like legs of spider mechs, as carriers ferry tanks and troops; they even have those evil eye-bots, like from Jonny Quest. In typical prequel fashion, Mace Windu and Saesee Tiin walk slowly down a docking bay having a conversation, then deploy into battle from their starfighters. Anakin and Obi-Wan, meanwhile, enter a cliffside village in the tundra atop yaks; Obi-Wan notices the entire village is women and children, as Anakin gets PTSD from his Tusken slaughter three years ago. At the campfire overnight, Obi-Wan reveals he can speak any language as they meet with the local shaman Orvos, where they realize they've interrupted a young boy's rite of passage and that men are desperately needed in the village, having all disappeared.

On Coruscant, Mace Windu's ship is damaged in a droid starfighter storm, and plunges downward. Windu jumps out of his ride in midair and lands on a droid fighter, then cuts it open with his lightsaber and Force-hacks it by the reigns like a horse, riding it into battle. Meanwhile, that old goat-horned Master Saesee Tiin flies into orbit and commandeers an enemy Separatist vessel with a boarding party, leaping into space after strapping a mask on (apparently a spacesuit is not required for him to breathe) and hacking his way to the wheel of the helm. On Nelvaan, the shaman phrophecies around the campfire saying that the "Holt Kazed", or "Ghost Hand", must help the earth, their mother. Getting an idea, Obi-Wan unsheathes Anakin's right-hand glove and holds up his golden robot pimping hand, volunteering him for a side-quest on planet Blue Herring as Coruscant continues to be besieged. On Coruscant, Yoda swats at clouds of ships and throws droids into the air before riding off on his weird alien horse with protective welding goggles. Elsewhere, Padmé's apartment is hit by a missile from hailfire droids; her bodyguard Captain Typho urges her to evacuate but she insists on helping everyone in the building to a shelter, for a photo op come next Senate election season. Witnessing the battle, C-3PO frantically complains that his fellow droids attacking a civilian populace is simply bad manners. Back on Nelvaan, Anakin gets a tribal tattoo from the shaman using some worms; it's temporary, though so is his skin.

The next day, Anakin sets off into the cold, shirtless like a berserk viking, as Obi-Wan tells him that although they skipped his Jedi spirit quest in the cave on Dagobah, one sacred ritual is as good as another and this will officially end Obi-Wan constantly looking down on him. Meanwhile, ARC troopers in section four of Coruscant assist the arriving cavalry, in the form of Yoda on his visor-clad steed and Windu grabbing the manes of his mechanical mount. The ground shakes with explosions as the Chancellor watches the carnage outside his apartment room window in the 500 Republica, sipping tea. Jedi Masters Shaak Ti, Roron Corobb, and Foul Moudama arrive to escort him to safety but he tells Shaak Ti he's standing his ground, unintimidated until the amazing General Grievous crawls down from the wall outside, smashing through the glass window to evict the Chancellor from his posh penthouse. 
244 "Chapter 24" March 24, 2005  (2005 -03-24)304

Chapter 24 is a biombo screen consisting of multiple painted screens designed to partition a room. Shaak Ti Force-pulls Palpatine out of the room and runs as clone troopers and one of the Chancellor's blue guards are cut, crushed, and thrown out the window. Shaak Ti tells the Chancellor to stay behind her as they await the elevator; the sounds of lightsabers, screaming, and apparently buzzsaws fade in the distance. The amazing General Grievous bursts out of the doors and scurries down the hall as the Jedi try to use the Force to crush him into the wall. The Ithorian Corobb's four-throat chanting collapses the ceiling, burying the general under rubble. The elevator arrives and the Jedi hurry in; Grievous, undeterred, emerges from the rubble and tears open the closed elevator doors with his bare hands. As the elevator shoots down the side of the building, Grievous appears in the rear view right behind them, until a clone trooper sprays him with a rocket-propelled can of Raid. On the street below, an army of super battle droids wall them off and begin the death march, when once more the Ithorian Jedi unleashes hurricane Force hymns; however, Grievous cements his claws into the ground and retracts his spine into his legs as he lumbers forward. A trooper reports to Shaak Ti that communications are being jammed, but that's the least of their worries as they run into the latest model of IG-100 MagnaGuard droids equipped with electric purple bo-staffs. The clone troopers soon regret not having been given jetpacks and are tazed off a cliff, leaving the Jedi and Chancellor to cross a bridge with the enemy in hot pursuit.

Back on Nelvaan, Anakin learns a thing or two about composing poetry for the next time he wants to impress Padmé. He follows the winds of Mother Nelvaan's cry, traveling her tears frozen with fear, and entering the Mother's mouth to awaken her inner flame, navigating across icicle-studded cliffs and frozen lakes to a glowing red geothermal cave. Inside it steams like the vents of Cloud City, as Anakin discovers an ancient series of cave paintings and starts tripping on the hallucinogenic gases in the room like the Oracle of Delphi. He sees an awesome cartoon of Nelvaanian village life interrupted by a black tendril that attacks the village, only to be fended off by a warrior with a spear. But before he slays it the darkness bites off the warrior's hand, growing in its place. The warrior defeats many monsters with his newfound arm but eventually it too grows out of control and destroys the very people he loved, as the warrior transforms into a masked figure and he hears Padmé screaming his name. Anakin then collapses from his bad trip, a wiser man as Qui-Gon had long ago intended, in front of a giant tick-looking machine covered in antenna and lightning.

Back on Coruscant, our Jedi heroes leap from platform to platform and the taze-droids start swinging their around staffs like they're an army of Darth Mauls. From rooftops to atop ships acting as hovering platforms, the Jedi now finally know how it feels to be replaced by a machine until Foul Moudama, holding the Chancellor, Force-pushes them away; these bastards are tough though and have grappling hooks for arms, unlike the clone troopers. As Shaak Ti and Roron Corobb continue to show off what they learned studying the 36 Chambers of the Jedi Temple, Grievous brings down the ship crashing into a billboard of a Japanese woman drinking Coca-Cola. The Jedi proceed to head down a subway tunnel and hop over a couple of trains without paying for their tickets. Outnumbered two-to-one, they clash on the center of the rail yard, using the Force to increase the animation quality. Shaak Ti finally lops off one's arm and slices him into ribbons before throwing another onto the track. Corobb rides the rails away from his two opponents and leaps down, assisting Moudama in taking out another one. Just as Palpatine congratulates them, the killer appears suddenly right behind them, following them down the hall and kicking Moudama and Corobb to the curb like stray dogs. Grievous then gives an overdramatic speech, telling Shaak Ti that resistance is futile and she is about to leave this world; while the General is distracted, Ti ties his cape to a train using the Force, yanking him away. Sheev congratulates her but Shaak Ti doesn't want to jinx it and soon they Force-smash a nearby window and jump out, just as more IG-100 MagnaGuards arrive with electric cattle prod bo staffs.

Anakin, meanwhile, climbs up the cave and proves that he too can scale the walls of a military installation as quickly and silently as any angsty young adult bitten by a radioactive arachnid. He front-flips from ledge to ledge like a ninja on the gymnastics team stuck in a 16-bit video game, for what has to be the longest we've ever seen him go without complaining, screaming, or bragging. In the rafters above, Anakin overhears two Techno Union scientists talking about their specimens being experimented on for General Grievous, who aren't ready yet as their brain modulations aren't fully integrated or tested yet. Anakin is horrified as he sees tubes of green liquid filled with deformed Nelvaan warriors and witnesses the transformation of a healthy specimen into a bulking behemoth. Anakin doesn't figure out quickly enough how to save the poor fellow as he transforms, while the young Jedi dismantles some toaster-headed robots and an army of cyborg mutants is unleashed. Anakin tries to reason with them in a rare show of pacifism, as they lurch forward like zombies. 
255 "Chapter 25" March 25, 2005  (2005 -03-25)305

Chapter 25 is the grand finale consisting of an iconostasis, a wall of icon paintings blessed by the Jedi Church. After Yoda dismisses his steed and front-flips slicing through the legs of eye bots, he and Mace Windu battle back-to-back and wonder why this massive army didn't attack the Senate or Jedi Temple when they had the chance — it's almost like the war is being fought by someone who doesn't care if they actually win or not, or it's a trap to kidnap the Chancellor! Windu jumps up into a clone personnel transport ship, flashes his Jedi badge, and commandeers the pilot to turn around. Down below, the three Jedi guarding the Chancellor run down a tunnel to an escape pod. Shaak Ti stays behind for defense and Palatine commends her sacrifice as the pod zips off, leaving her to face nine MagnaGuards, their unblinking red eyes pouring out of the shadows. Meanwhile, Anakin starts disarming the Nelvaan warriors' gun-arms and uses the Force to sumo wrestle them, freeing the most recent conscript from his chamber. Unlike the brain modification chip implanted to control the clone troopers, the cybernetics on the Nelvaan warriors are mostly external and easy to remove by ripping them out like weeds by hand and without extensive surgery. It appears Anakin has learned the Jedi art of listening to others as the men are freed by his new friend, who points to a floating blue crystal in a force field generating electricity. Meanwhile, Speciesist Sheev sits uncomfortably next to a filthy alien, as the other filthy alien who stayed behind to save his life runs up the side of a tunnel like she's Darth Maul going up a half pipe in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. After Shaak Ti's lightsaber is knocked out of her hands she starts blocking MagnaGuard staff blows with her elbows and uses her Shaolin skills to grapple the staff off one of them, using him as a shield, and realizes she should probably switch to a double-sided lightsaber from now on as she quickly dispatches the IG-100s to Robot Hell.

On Nelvaan, Anakin chalks up his hands and preforms his trapeze act swinging and flipping from guard railing to guard railing before jumping down to the big generator as the Nelvaanians tear droids apart like phone books. Anakin pushes his robot hand through the siphon generator's force field, screaming as energy painfully surges through him and his right arm explodes just as everything else starts exploding. Nelvaanians chase the scientists who experimented on them to the surface where geothermal geysers shoot out of the ice. The Sun begins to shine through the dark skies as the ice breaks and an artificial endless winter created by geoengineering at long last is over. Anakin climbs out of a chasm one-handed and takes no prisoners, crushing the scientists with his ghost hand like the Geonosian insects that built the Death Star. Inspired by this, the Nelvaanans ritualistically maim themselves ripping off their robot hands as Anakin becomes the hero to a race of primitive alien people, saving them from a technologically-superior invader using their planet as a military outpost, in a way that almost makes up for the existence of Ewoks. Back at the ranch village, the women and children are at first reluctant to welcome back their men, who have been maimed and mutated by the conflict into unrecognizable beasts, but ultimately decide to hug them regardless of the disfigurements war has inflicted on them. As the tribe families celebrate by dancing around the fire, Anakin relays his reflects to Obi-Wan on his experience in the cave; unfortunately, this is the last time Anakin will show any insight into anything that doesn't involve murdering people more efficiently for the Emperor.

Back in the tunnels of Coruscant, the two Jedi escort the Chancellor through a series of heavy-blast doors, an omen of death for Jedi and Megaman alike. As the doors shut behind them, the sensational cyborg general falls from the ceiling, his prey trapped in his web; Palpatine backs into the shadows beyond where the clashing lightsabers illuminate. Grievous reveals he's been fighting Jedi with two additional hands tied behind his back, as his two arms split into four and he outdoes Darth Maul, butchering the Jedi with four lightsabers. Elsewhere, with her saber back in one hand and a staff in the other, Shaak Ti holds her own until the MagnaGuards suddenly stop and walk away, their general's mission having been accomplished. In horror she runs as fast as Sonic the Hedgehog down the tube to Sheev's bunker, but she is too late to save them, as the Jedi are dead and Sheev is in Grievous's hands. Ti attempts to fight but Grievous subdues her and takes her lightsaber, deciding to leave her with a consolation prize in the form of some free high-voltage hair electrolysis.

Outsider the bunker, Grievous loads the Chancellor onto his tri-wing shuttle when it shoots down a troop transporter carrying Mace Windu. Windu jumps out of the gunship and reminds Grievous he's no Sith when he Force-crushes the ribcage chestplate housing his internal organs, giving the General a cough and raspy voice worse than years of smoking death sticks. Mace leaps after the shuttle but the act of blocking weightless laser beams knocks him back to the ground as the ship skyrockets into orbit. Windu runs into the bunker and discovers Roron Corobb and Foul Moudama dead on the floor and Shaak Ti suspended by electrical wires from the ceiling, apologizing for her failure. Meanwhile, aboard their cruiser the Integrity, Anakin and R2 finish reattaching the reconstructed remnants of his robotic right arm. Obi-Wan gives his apprentice one last prep talk as he informs him that a Jedi's greatest trial is looking inside themselves and seeing things they don't want to see, but that these things don't have to be set in stone and we write our own destiny — Episode III doesn't have to be a steaming pile of Sith like I and II, there's always hope. Just then they receive an urgent message from Mace Windu telling them to return to Coruscant and rescue the Chancellor from Grievous. Anakin gives the order to jump into hyperspace as the fleet clamps down onto the capital world from the reaches of the Outer Rim economic periphery, leading right into the opening minutes of Revenge of the Sith


Captain Fordo kicking some shiny metal ass.

Animator Genndy Tartakovsky was chosen by Emperor Lucas as his apprentice on the strength of his skill at the animated sword. Tartakovsky realized that the principles of the sword and the brush were one and the same, like in that movie Hero with Jet Li, so he had the production crew train in swordsmanship and calligraphy in a Shaolin monastery learning to capture the monks' movements. To see how special forces operate, they watched Band of Brothers marathons, and also went and drew Navy Seals at the zoo.

Volume Two shares aspects of its storyline with the Expanded Universe/Legends novel Labyrinth of Evil by James Luceno. Both works were based on the same manuscript, and Lucasfilm wanted them to fit together, but Tartakovsky ultimately turned his nose up at Luceno's cerebral writings and instead went in a more flashy, actiony direction. In the novel, Anakin and Obi-Wan pursue Count Dooku in the LiMerge Power factory on the planet Tythe, and Anakin literally brings down the house through his Force-scream. However, in the series, Anakin and Obi-Wan investigate a possible base for Grievous on the ice planet Nelvaan, meet some blue dogs, and end up going on a spiritual journey. As everything in the Star Wars EU required a convoluted square-peg-into-round-hole explanation, Holocron continuity database manager Leland Chee explained that at the end of Labyrinth, Obi-Wan and Anakin got the call from Sheev to rescue them, flew their starfighters out to hyperspace rings, but then decided "Nah", detached from their hyperspace rings, went back into the crusier, went to Nelvaan to play with some blue doggos, got another call from Mace to rescue Sheev, and then finally flew to Coruscant to rescue him.

In the end, Tartakovsky was betrayed by his master's promise of leading Lucasfilm Animation into a new renaissance, with Lucas instead hand-picking Avatar Dave Filoni to produce the following Star Wars: The Clone Wars CGI series. But Genndy would lose more than just Star Wars, as Clone Wars grew like a parasitic twin birthed from the side of his other series Samurai Jack, leaving its host comatose for twelve years. Genndy and the animation crew were fighting a war on two fronts and planned to come back for Jack after the end of the Clone Wars, but were ultimately unable to save both shows. Like dancing in a fairy circle or a relativistic time dilation from a war fought with near-lightspeed space travel, everything about Cartoon Network and its lineup had changed, and the Samurai could not return home until 2017, when Adult Swim resurrected his series.

Home media

Many fans have wondered how Grievous went from being a badass here to just plain garbage in Revenge of the Sith. Originally it was theorized that Mace caused this, but thanks to the new CGI The Clone Wars (which takes place before this incident), not anymore...

The first volume was released on stained glass DVD in March 22, 2005 with the second following suit on December 6, just in time for Life Day. Due to a tight schedule and production issues, Volume Two was released a month later than the DVD of Revenge of the Sith; this frustrated fans, as for a whole month they would be unable to complete their Star Wars movie marathons, forcibly having to skip from Volume One over to Revenge and left wondering why Anakin is a Jedi Knight now, why his hair is long, why General Grievous is lame now and sounds like a wheezing Russian, how Palpatine got kidnapped, etc.

Like the Star Wars Holiday Special, Filoni would try and have every copy of the series thrown onto a fire and burned in an iconoclasm, as ordered by Emperor Lucas for his final order, before allowing Disney to buy him out and strike him down in 2012. However, Disney finally repented in 2021 and re-released the 2003 Clone Wars on streaming service Disney+, as part of the "Star Wars Vintage Collection" (alongside significantly older series like the Droids and Ewoks cartoons).

Reception and aftermath

The Clone Wars creator Dave Filoni's reaction to Genndy's Clone Wars and its deft lack of character development.

Many fans and critics were tricked by painter Tartakovsky's visual allusions to classic war films and kung-fu cinema, seduced into thinking there was a chance Revenge of the Sith would be like the reverse of Return of the Jedi and be the only engaging entry in an otherwise tepid trilogy. Many questioned what the economic reasons for the Clone Wars were, why the Jedi would accept a slave army, or why they'd make a man who massacred a village of women and children into a general with honors instead of defrocking him, but most were just glad they got to see Anakin act like a trustworthy adult instead of a hyperactive child, horny teenager, or psychotic mental patient for a full two hours of cosmic chambara. "Unlike some other movies, you won't regret the spent time watching Clone Wars. It gets the job done. 9/10 It's Okay," said Matt Casamassina of IGN.

The series managed to earn two Emmys, but this only nonplussed Lucas more. Other people's success with the hands-off hand George dealt them was like rubbing salt into his wounded pride, so in 2008 George made his own CGI Star Wars: The Clone Wars with Dave Filoni. Finally, in 2014 Disney officially struck the 2D Clone Wars from Star Wars church canon, even though in the new series they never actually show us how Anakin was knighted or how the Jedi first met Grievous and Ventress. In the new series, Grievous is portrayed as being a mustache-twirling cowardly wheezing Russian from the start, unlike in the old series where he used to be a badass Brit but became a coughing Ruskie coward after Mace smashed his internal organs (apparently Force-crushing one's chest affects not only their physical strength and abilities, but also their ethnicity). Anakin is also said to have become a Knight seven weeks into the war, much sooner than the original series where he had to agonizingly trudge through two-and-a-half years of offscreen war labor (told mostly in comics and novels) to reach a promotion. Also the action scenes in TCW are much less intense, as unlike most wars, capes appear scarce in 2008's The Clone Wars because CGI capes are a pain to make look realistic, and the same goes for underwater lightsaber fights; Lucasfilm certainly wasn't about to shell out Pixar-level money for each episode. Nevertheless, Anakin's Padawan Ahsoka does inspire girls to become officers in wars no one understands the reasons and terms for.

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