After seven seasons that aired on three different networks in the span of twelve years, Star Wars: The Clone Wars finally reached its conclusion. What began as a theatrical film in 2008 evolved into a television series that covered a mostly untold period of time between the end of Attack of the Clones and the beginning of Revenge of the Sith. Dave Filoni, the man in charge of the film and the series (as well as most of the Star Wars shows going forward), took this gap of time and introduced new characters and planets to this already massive universe. When the show began it was a quirky children’s show that had a few very solid stories mixed in. By the time it ended, it was a fully realized and beautifully produced series of television and a very necessary part of the Star Wars universe.
The Clone Wars was made up of both individual episodes with quick stories that may connect to others throughout the series. Meanwhile, other storylines were arcs that consisted of three or four episodes that were tightly wound and worked more like short films. Having said that, let’s take a look back at what made this series so memorable with the top 25 episodes/arcs.
25. “Ambush” (Season 1, Episode 1)
This was the first episode of the series that aired on Cartoon Network and really set the tone for what this show would be. It followed Yoda and a small group of clone troopers who were set to meet with a king to gain his support in the war. When the evil Sith assassin Asajj Ventress arrived with her droid army first, a dangerous game begins with the winner getting the support of the king. This episode had such a good message of inspiring others by being a great leader no matter what the odds may be. It also gave the audience their first interaction with some of the clone troopers who are all humanized throughout this series and become likable.
24. “Jedi Crash” (Season 1, Episode 13)
During a battle above a peaceful planet, Anakin was injured after an accident that leaves him stranded with Ashoka, Captain Rex and fellow Jedi Aayla Secura. When Ashoka goes to find help for her master, she finds the natives of the planet are unwilling to help because they are pacifists and refused to take part in the war. This is a great episode where Ashoka gets to learn from another Jedi Master and learns a hard lesson in attachment and the risk of losing Anakin to his injuries. It’s also great to finally get to see Aayla Secura in action and speaking instead of just being another victim of Order 66 in Revenge of the Sith.
23. “The Wrong Jedi” (Season 5, Episode 20)
This was not only the last episode in a very intense arc, it was also the sudden last episode of the series because the series was canceled after only five seasons in 2013. With Ashoka on the run for several episodes after being framed for a crime she didn’t commit, the Jedi finally caught her and brought her in for her trial in front of the Senate. Before the trial, Anakin goes out on his own in a last-ditch effort to prove Ashoka’s innocence. Although he’s able to track down the real criminal and clear Ashoka’s name, Ashoka still chooses not to return to the Jedi Order. This was an extremely powerful episode as we really never saw a Jedi choose to leave behind their title before, especially someone like Ashoka who had lost her trust and faith in the Jedi after all she had just gone through.
22. “Massacre” (Season 4, Episode 19)
Of all the characters in this series, Asajj Ventress definitely had the biggest transformation. This episode is the beginning of the new Ventress after she was betrayed and left for dead by her former master Count Dooku. She returned home to Dathomir where the powerful witch Mother Talzin and the Nightsisters were waiting for their sister to become one of them. Just as she was welcomed home and about to become a true Nightsister, General Grievous was sent to Dathomir with his droid army by Count Dooku to wipe out Ventress, Mother Talzin and all the Nightsisters. This was an important episode because it was the birth of a new version of Ventress who was forced to reinvent herself as her connection to the Dark side had been severed and her people wiped out by her former master. These events shape the anti-hero she became going forward.
21. “The Bad Batch” (Season 7, Episode 1)
This was a highly anticipated episode as it was the first one on Disney+ and the beginning of the final season of the series that fans around the world were so happy to get after years of uncertainty. When Anakin and his army of clones, led by Captain Rex and Commander Cody, began to notice that their battle tactics weren’t working anymore, they called in an elite group of clones known as the “The Bad Batch,” five clones unique and highly skilled in their own fields of expertise. As Rex and his clones set out with the Bad Batch, they began to see that they operated very differently and that, in order survive, they’d need to figure out how to work together. This was a great start to the season and really showed off the new animation technology that had come out since the start of the how back in 2008.
20. “Sacrifice” (Season 6, Episode 13)
This was another great Yoda episode and the last episode in a Yoda-centric arc. Season six was the one season that came out when the show briefly found a new home on Netflix Cartoon Network. It was known as “The Lost Missions” and was definitely full of very different and strange episodes. After going on a journey to learn more about the force and being given many trials along the way, Yoda travels to the Sith home world of Moraband to face an evil figure drawing him in. This episode has a fantastic fight scene that imagines an alternate timeline where Anakin and Yoda take on Count Dooku and The Emperor long before the events of Revenge of the Sith. It’s an awesome fight with a crazy ending that I was genuinely not expecting.
19. “The Mandalore Plot” (Season 2, Episode 12)
The planet Mandalore was a very important location in The Clone Wars and was revisited numerous times throughout the seasons. This is the first time the series visited Mandalore and the story followed Obi-Wan Kenobi going to visit an old friend and love interest, Duchess Satine, who was struggling to keep Mandalore neutral in the war. When Obi-Wan heard rumors of the Death Watch — an ancient warrior group led by Pre Vizsla (voiced by Jon Favreau) that once controlled Mandalore — was attempting to return and seize control, Obi-Wan went investigation to uncover their plan. This episode was a great introduction to Mandalore and the Death Watch, who remain a powerful enemy throughout the series and wreaked havoc across the galaxy.
18. “Brothers” (Season 4, Episode 21)
This episode was one that fans were both excited and nervous about since it was teased in the previous season: the return of Darth Maul. Savage Opress, the brother of Darth Maul, was sent on a journey to find his brother who was believed to be dead after his defeat at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menace. Savage ended up on the junk planet of Lotho Minor where he found a severely unstable and damaged Maul with overgrown horns, attached to a mechanical spider body. His defeat and mutilation sent Maul into a deep depression and drove him mad. Darth Maul was always a fascinating villain that fans wanted to know more about. Thankfully his reintroduction in The Clone Wars ended up being one of the defining components of the entire series.
17. “Cargo of Doom” (Season 2, Episode 2)
This was the middle episode of a heist arc that served as the real introduction of the bounty hunter Cad Bane, after being softly introduced in The Clone Wars season one finale. After the slick Cad Bane succeeded in stealing a holocron for Darth Sidious from the Jedi Temple, Anakin and Ahsoka pursued him to get the relic back before he can escape. The Jedi boarded the cruiser Bane was given by Sidious and fought their way through his small droid army, with the bounty hunter ready to counter their every move. This was a great and very exciting episode that felt very much like what Star Wars should feel like. There were space battles, lightsabers, blasters, and some big action sequences.
16. “ARC Troopers” (Season 3, Episode 2)
This episode was the second part of a clone-centric small arc that showed the beginning of the clones training on Kamino where they are made. When General Grievous and Asajj Ventress were sent to Kamino to destroy the cloning factory, Anakin and Obi-Wan rushed to defend the extremely important facility. The group of clones — who went through training together before they were sent on their first assignment to guard an outpost in the episode “Rookies”) — returned to Kamino to help in the defense of their home from the Separatist attack. This episode had some incredible action sequences and really did a lot to make the clones feel more unique and memorable.
15. “Hunt for Ziro” (Season 3, Episode 9)
After the notorious crime lord Ziro the Hutt (relative of Jabba the Hutt) was broken out of prison by Cad Bane at the end of season one, Obi-Wan Kenobi and the cocky Jedi Quinlan Vos were dispatched to hunt down and recapture Ziro, unaware that he was being put on trial by his fellow Hutts. It’s a race to get to Ziro before Cad Bane can reach him first and eliminate the target. This was a fun episode that showed Obi-Wan interacting with another Jedi, someone he very obviously didn’t like or trust. But, they’re forced to work together and face off against Cad Bane.
14. “The Citadel” (Season 3, Episode 18)
This was the first episode in a three-episode arc that followed Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka, along with their best clone troopers, on a rescue mission to a high security Separatist prison knows as The Citadel. They were all frozen in carbonite and delivered to the planet, where they sneaked into the massive complex and located the kidnapped Jedi Even Piell. After they reached the Jedi, they were then faced with the challenge of escaping the prison with the evil warden watching their every move and setting traps for them along the way. This was a very intense and intricate episode and stood out in the series to me. It’s also the first time we saw Anakin and Tarkin interact before they met again in the future.
13. The Zygerrian Slaver Arc (Season 4, Episodes 11, 12 and 13)
This was a rather serious arc that dealt with the topic of slavery. Anakin, Obi-Wan, Ahsoka and Rex discovered that an entire civilization of people vanished, taken by Zygerrian slavers and tricked into becoming slaves. After Anakin went undercover and became the queen of Zygerria’s personal security detail while Obi-Wan and Rex became slaves themselves, they arranged for the reinforcements to come and liberate the people and destroy the slavers in a massive attack. This arc stood out in the series because of the Dark side that it brought out of Anakin, who had come from slavery before he was rescued from it in The Phantom Menace.
12. “Crisis on Naboo” (Season 4, Episode 18)
This iwas a fun episode that capped off a four-episode arc that featured Obi-Wan Kenobi undercover as a bounty hunter. However, Anakin believed that he was dead. This episode saw Kenobi gaining the trust of Cad Bane, the leader of the bounty hunter group selected to kidnap the Chancellor during a ceremony on Naboo by Count Dooku. After three episodes spent trying to prove himself to Bane and the other bounty hunters, Kenobi enacted his actual plan of stopping the kidnapping and calling in the Jedi to capture the bounty hunters in the process. This episode was my favorite of this arc because it felt like a heist movie mixed with a spy thriller. Getting to see how the bounty hunters operated while also getting to see Obi-Wan step out of his comfort zone were both fascinating and fun to see.
11. “Rookies” (Season 1, Episode 5)
This episode was a defining moment for a lot of The Clone Wars fans. Up until this point, the clones were simply soldiers in a war that were all in full uniform and weren’t really even given names. After a new group of clone troopers were attacked by dangerous commando droids, Captain Rex and Commander Cody arrived to help the rookie clones rise to their full potential and defend the outpost. The clones introduced in this episode (Hevy, Echo, Fives, Cutup, and Droidbait) had a presence throughout the rest of the series and were just a few of the many clones that were given the spotlight throughout the series. This episode proved that there didn’t need to be lightsabers or Jedi or even space battles for a Star Wars story to be entertaining and well made.
10. “Revival” (Season 5, Episode 1)
In the season four finale, Maul was properly reintroduced into the Star Wars universe. He made a very loud statement that he was back and he was angry. Having escaped his failed attempt to kill Obi-Wan, Maul and his brother Savage roamed the galaxy, wreaking havoc on whoever they stumbled upon, innocents included. Maul began to realize that he and Savage couldn’t take over the galaxy alone, so he found some unsuspecting (and pretty unintelligent) pirates to join his cause.
Obi-Wan and Jedi Adi Gallia were alerted to the new alliance and rushed to stop Maul from gaining any more support. The Jedi engaged Maul and Savage as Hondo Ohnaka, leader of the pirates, attempted to regain control of his men. After sadly losing Adi Gallia in battle, Obi-Wan was able to wound the brothers and sent them limping away, just as their former pirate allies turned on them. This was a great episode for Maul and Obi-Wan’s story arc and an excellent way to start a season. Maul trying to learn how to be a leader, and failing, was interesting to see knowing how powerful he became later on in the story.
9. The Umbara Arc (Season 4, Episodes 7, 8, 9 and 10)
This was a very unique arc in the series and it was another surprisingly dark story. A full assault on the planet Umbara was underway when Anakin Skywalker was suddenly called back to Coruscant. He left control of his clones to Jedi Pong Krell, a Jedi General that didn’t think highly of the clones. After putting Captain Rex and his clones in danger by sending them on suicide missions, the clones began to take a stand against Krell. When Krell attempted to have a few of the clones executed for treason they didn’t commit, Rex banded together his men to take down the corrupt Jedi General. This was a powerful arc that really shined a light on Captain Rex, who was one of the main characters of The Clone Wars next to Ahsoka. The way he fearlessly led his men against a very powerful Jedi showed just how much he cared about every single one of them. It was also interesting to see how other Jedi viewed the war and the clones, even if they had bad intentions.
8. “Grievous Intrigue” (Season 2, Episode 9)
The evil droid leader General Grievous had captured Jedi Eeth Koth in an attempt to lure the Jedi to him. Anakin, Obi-Wan and Adi Gallia set off to rescue Koth and walked right into a trap set by Grievous and his droids. While Obi-Wan distracted General Grievous, Anakin and Adi located Koth and fought their way off the massive ship. While the episode didn’t have a very deep story to it, it was a very exciting and action-packed episode from beginning to end. Seeing Grievous fight the Jedi was always fun to watch.
7. The Nightsisters Arc (Season 3, Episodes 12, 13 and 14)
This was a very special arc because it was the first one that was mainly centered around villainous characters. Asajj Ventress’ world was turned her upside down after Count Dooku was instructed to eliminate her. She was betrayed and left for dead by her old master, resorting to the only family she had left: the Nightsisters of Dathomir. There, Ventress and Mother Talzin made a plan to get revenge on Dooku by creating a new apprentice for him that will be secretly under their control. This was the introduction of Savage Opress, the brother of Darth Maul. Once he gained the trust of Dooku and completed several missions for him, Ventress revealed her plan and took on her old master with the help of Savage. Realizing he became a pawn, Savage escaped both their control, even fighting off Anakin and Obi-Wan in the process. This arc was filled with plot changes that affected the story going forward and set in motion the return of Darth Maul.
6. “Landing at Point Rain” (Season 2, Episode 5)
This was such an awesome episode for anyone who loves war films. After a giant droid factory was discovered on Geonosis, the Jedi (Anakin, Obi-Wan, Ahsoka and Ki-Adi-Mundi) led an army of clone gunships to reach landing points and fight past the massive defensive force of the Geonosians. With most of the gunships being shot down or pinned down once they landed, the Jedi were forced to split up and complete their missions with their clones in order to take down the droid factory. This was by far one of the more intense and battle-heavy episodes of the series. It felt almost like an intergalactic version of the Normandy scene from Saving Private Ryan. In fact, when Dave Filoni and George Lucas were preparing for this episode, they used that film along with The Longest Day and several others to illustrate what these massive battles would feel like.
5. “Lair of Grievous (Season 1, Episode 10)
General Grievous was by far one of the most curious villains in the Star Wars universe. We really didn’t get to learn much about him in Revenge of the Sith before Obi-Wan destroyed him. Thanks to The Clone Wars, however, we got to learn much more about the droid general. In this episode, Jedi Kit Fisto and his former padawan were unknowingly led to the secret lair of General Grievous as a test of Grievous’s loyalty to Dooku. The two Jedi learned how Grievous was able to put himself back together after being damaged in battle and then faced all of the traps set around the lair. This episode was almost like a thriller or horror movie and Grievous was slightly terrifying with two Jedi lurking around in his home.
4. The Mortis Arc (Season 3, Episodes 15, 16 and 17)
This arc took our three main Jedi (Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka) on a strange and crazy adventure to the planet Mortis, where they encountered three god-like beings: The Father, The Son and The Daughter. These three powerful beings drew Anakin and his friends to Mortis to test if he was truly “The Chosen One.” The Father was the balance in the force, The Daughter was the light side of the Force and The Son was the Dark side.
These three beings were locked in an eternal struggle for control over the Force and Anakin was possibly the key to ending their struggle. Obi-Wan saw visions of his dead master Qui-Gon Jinn, Ashoka was taken over by The Son’s influence and forced to fight her friends, and Anakin was drawn as close to the Dark side as he’s ever been and even shown what his future (which included the events of Revenge of the Sith). Ultimately, Anakin turned down The Father’s offer of taking his place as the balance in the Force and Anakin and his friends’ memories of their journey to Mortis were erased. This arc was the most abstract and emotionally deep section of this series that stuck with me to this day.
3. “Revenge” (Season 4, Episode 22)
Although Darth Maul was technically reintroduced in the episode before this one, called “Brothers,” this episode showed Maul being restored to his actual self. He was given new robotic legs and his severed lightsaber. Mother Talzin used her magic to clear Maul’s mind of all his pain and fear from his time in exile and repaired his legs using pieces from leftover battle droids. Once restored, Maul sole mission was to kill Obi-Wan Kenobi. To draw Kenobi out, Maul and Savage traveled to an innocent planet, slaughtering numerous of innocent civilians publicly.
Maul and Savage were waiting for Kenobi when he arrived on the planet and very easily overpowered the lone Jedi. Elsewhere, Asajj Ventress heard of a bounty on Savage and insisted on taking the job. On her mission to track him down, she stumbled upon Savage and Maul torturing Kenobi and decides to help him. Ventress and Kenobi faced off against Maul and Savage in an intense lightsaber duel that ended in a draw, with both parties escaping just barely. This fight only strengthened Maul’s need to end Kenobi. This episode solidified my excitement that Darth Maul was here to stay and would soon become one of the best parts of this series.
2. The Maul Mandalore Arc (Season 5, Episodes 14, 15 and 16)
By this point in the series, if the episode involved Mandalore or Maul it was bound to be important and amazing. This arc was one of the most vital arcs of the series and also one of the best from a story standpoint. After the events of the episode “Revival,” Maul and Savage were left wounded and defeated in their broken-down ship. They’re discovered by the Death Watch, led by Pre Vizsla, and taken back to their camp to be fixed up. Once Maul was back on his feet (literally) he began plotting with Pre Vizsla, recruiting crime syndicates and gangsters to create an army big enough to help the Death Watch reclaim Mandalore and overthrow the Duchess Satine.
Once Maul gathered his army, they storm Mandalore and strategically took over the planet by staging fake criminal activities and having Pre Vizsla and the Death Watch save the day and gain the trust of the people. Once they were able to get Satine out of power, Maul sensed that the Death Watch are going to betray him, deciding to strike first by killing Vizsla and claiming control of the Death Watch and Mandalore. These actions not only got the attention of Obi-Wan Kenobi (who arrived just in time to watch Satine be murdered by Maul), but Maul’s former master Darth Sidious, who arrived to put Maul in his place. The arc was incredible and worth watching a few times!
1. The Siege of Mandalore Arc (Season 7, Episodes 9, 10, 11 and 12)
I don’t even know where to begin. These four episodes, which were the series’ final episodes, were some of the best episodes of television I’ve ever seen. In a perfect world, these would be combined into a movie to be shown in theaters as big and loud as possible. As the series came to a close, the events of the story had to begin to line up with the events of the movies. These episodes took the best three characters from the entire series (Ahsoka, Rex, and Maul) and showed the audience where they all were during the chaotic events of Revenge of the Sith, while tightly tying the events of the movie to the show. While Anakin and Obi-Wan headed off to rescue the Chancellor from General Grievous and Count Dooku, Ahsoka and Rex took a regiment of clones to Mandalore to capture Maul at the request of Bo-Katan, the sister of Duchess Satine. While Ahsoka did not take back her title as a Jedi, she did take back her lightsabers and the respect of her clones. Together, they fought through Maul’s forces and chased him through the underground of Mandalore.
While the battle for Mandalore raged on in the city, Ahsoka and Maul fought each other in the best fight of the series, all while Maul tried explaining what was about to happen with Ahsoka’s master. Ashoka didn’t listen and was able to capture Maul, just as Order 66 was declared and her ship full of clones, including Captain Rex, turned on her. These episodes were intense, brutal, emotional and visually breathtaking. This series couldn’t have a happy ending simply because of where it took place in the timeline. The writing, the animation, the voice acting and the overall production of these final four episodes were something that will be talked about forever and beautifully closed a chapter in the Star Wars saga while helping other series and films in the future in the process.