Lucasfilm is finally bringing back Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series in a thrilling move that finally undoes Disney's first Star Wars mistake. After waiting for years, fans will finally find out the true story about what happened after the cliffhanger ending to the show's 5th season and learn how those events eventually lead int Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.
In an era where there were no new Star Wars movies on the horizon, several years before Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm, The Clone Wars was a great solace to any Star Wars fan desperate for fresh content outside of the Expanded Universe. The show got off to a rocky start, especially because one arc from partway through the first season was consolidated into a theatrical release that served as a poor introduction to the series, but by the end of the show, it had gained a strong following, offering some peak moments in the franchise and delving into the lore in ways even the movies never did.
Despite its growing popularity, The Clone Wars got the axe shortly after Disney purchased Lucasfilm, alongside the entirety of the Expanded Universe. While many fans have considered both of these decisions a mistake, making the Expanded Universe non-canon "Legends" was actually the right call. First of all, it was never canon in the first place. George Lucas didn't abide by it and The Clone Wars itself contradicted large swaths of the books and comics that made up the EU. Second, while the EU had some shining and memorable stories, it also had a lot of not so good stories. And third, Lucasfilm was looking at telling new stories across all eras of the Star Wars franchise, and with how pervasive the EU was at that point, it would be nearly impossible to keep things fresh, abide by the EU canon (which was hardly existent anyway), or expect audiences to stay informed on the intensive backstory. So, designating the EU non-canon wasn't a mistake, but canceling The Clone Wars was.
Since the show's cancelation, Disney has seen Star Wars thrive in a number of ways, launching 3 critical hits and setting box office records before finally landing a dud with Han Solo. Despite the missteps of Solo, things are generally headed in the right direction. Besides, Solo's failure was more on the financial front, as reviews are generally positive, and it's certainly less divisive than some of its predecessors.
The amazing part is, through all the ups and downs of "new Star Wars" The Clone Wars has been at the core of almost everything the franchise is doing, with some of the concepts from the canceled arcs playing as a prominent influence in several new movies and numerous books and comics. With concepts ranging from the beginning of the fall of the clone armies to Ahsoka Tano's departure from the Jedi Order to Darth Maul's bid to build a criminal empire to kyber crystals to the very nature of the Force, so many concepts from the lost episodes play into the new canon that the unfinished seasons are basically a major black hole of backstory.
Shortly after The Clone Wars was canceled, Star Wars Rebels was announced to take its place. Rebels enjoyed an excellent 4-season run, taking tons of inspiration from The Clone Wars stories that proceeded it, and even provided a semblance of closure for some characters (particularly Darth Maul), actually making the appetite for more Clone Wars worse. It was clear that so much had happened to characters like Ahsoka and Rex, and Rebels made it clear that those stories still needed to be told.
Bringing Clone Wars back isn't just a great sign because of all the lost stories that could be told by the revival, but it's also a sign from Lucasfilm that nothing is ever truly lost. While The Clone Wars cancelation is hardly the biggest or most contentious divide in Star Wars fandom, it still represents a facet of something that some disgruntled fans have been concerned about - that their favorite stories and eras weren't being serviced.
That's not to say The Clone Wars' return will heal the divide in Star Wars fandom. In fact, with the way these things tend to go, it's just as likely to spark new debates. But when the franchise is moving away from the time periods fans know and love and phasing out fan-favorite characters, it's bound to be reassuring for many that Lucasfilm will get back to service the eras and characters that fans do want to see eventually.
Now that The Clone Wars is coming back to finish what it started, fans of the show won't just finally have a complete story, but the other stories that have been told in the years since that hinge on the events that haven't been told could gain even more perspective and meaning. There may be a lull in Star Wars due to the long wait for Episode IX in December of 2019, but with more Clone Wars on the way, fans have a lot to look forward to in the much nearer future.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019