At SDCC 2018, Lucasfilm unveiled a first glimpse at a surprise new project - a Star Wars: The Clone Wars revival. The audience at San Diego believed they were just attending a 10-year-anniversary celebration. Instead, they were on hand to hear Dave Filoni announce the next Star Wars project, and reveal that The Clone Wars would be returning exclusively to the Disney streaming service in 2019.
Lucasfilm released what appears to be a trailer, although it's important to note that Filoni insisted the project is currently in its early stages. That means this could essentially be a "sampler," produced by the animation team before they actually work on the finished product; consequently, we should be wary of trying to deduce specific story beats from this. At the same time, though, the designs and concepts in play do still give us an idea of what to expect, and everything has been included for a reason.
Here, we're going to dive into the top takeaways from Lucasfilm's Star Wars: The Clone Wars revival teaser. What is Lucasfilm trying to convey with their choice of scenes and images?
15. The 501st Memories
The teaser was released at the 10-year anniversary panel, and so it's fitting that the first sequence is heavily nostalgic: it feels almost like a memorial to Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a celebration of everything the show was; dedicated to its original characters and demonstrating its overarching themes. This is done by showing the 501st marching away into the smoke - notably leaving their helmets behind - with voiceovers of dialogue from previous seasons.
The first batch of dialogue is all lifted from moments of peace, when characters were introducing themselves or interacting with one another. It's perfectly designed to remind viewers of the Clone Troopers they'd come to know and love over the course of The Clone Wars.
14. The Clone Troopers Evolve
But the scenes change in a wonderfully stylish and atmospheric way, with a row of helmets that gradually transforms from those early designs seen in Attack of the Clones to the near-Stormtrooper take of Revenge of the Sith. The focus is on the evolution of the Clone Troopers, on how they became the foundation upon which the Empire itself was built. At the beginning, designs are highly individualized, with each helmet distinctive and unique. By the end, they're identical, emphasizing the crushing conformity of the soon-to-be Empire.
The voiceovers change, too; no longer are they lifted from scenes where characters interact with one another, but instead are desperate and rushed, pulled from action sequences. Individuality is being lost in the tide of war.
13. The Cost of War
This sequence comes to its inevitable close with the voiceovers blending into one another until they're overwhelmed by cries of horror and pain. A rocket strikes the ground, and a wave of fire sweeps across the helmets, obliterating everything in its path. It's a beautifully symbolic way of representing the cost of war, of reminding viewers that every single one of these Clone Troopers was created to be a soldier who died on the front lines - not to be a person.
12. Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer Music
Where most of the trailer stresses continuity with previous seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the music choice is rather incongruous; it's actually the theme from trailers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It may be that Lucasfilm is choosing to use this music in order to reinforce the new Star Wars brand; it may also serve as a subtle cue that The Clone Wars' revival will be used to bind the trilogies together, and that plot threads will be planted that will only grow to fruition in the Sequel Trilogy. Or, it may simply be that it's highly evocative music.
11. A War Left Unfinished... Until Now
Although Star Wars: The Clone Wars was successful, in March 2013 Lucasfilm announced that the series would be winding down. Season 6 episodes - called "The Lost Missions" - were made available for streaming on Netflix, and The Clone Wars Legacy project began adapting some of the unused concepts into a wide range of other mediums. Several key stories were released, some as unfinished animations that can be viewed online, others as novels or comics. Dave Filoni, who seems to dislike loose ends, did his best to tie many of them together in episodes of Star Wars Rebels. Still, it was hardly a satisfactory close to a popular and much-loved Star Wars series.
Thankfully, this line promises that Lucasfilm will actually finish the story of the Clone Wars, leading us up to Order 66 - and presumably beyond.
10. The Republic Outpost Symbolizes The End
The teaser then moves to a long shot of a gunship arriving at a Republic outpost. Again, notice the symbolism; it's dusk, the time when the light dies. At first, it seems as though the outpost is relatively deserted, but as this sequence continues we'll see that this is the staging post for a major Republic attack upon the Confederacy - likely the Outer Rim Sieges.
9. ARC-170s Are Coming Into Their Own
Alongside the AT-TEs and Republic Gunships, note the familiar ARC-170s, viewed as the best Republic starfighters of their time. Created as a successor to the Clone Z-95 starfighter, the ARC-170s are nimble and swift multipurpose starships. They became increasingly common towards the end of the Clone Wars, and featured in Revenge of the Sith during the Battle of Coruscant. Their presence hear again highlights the later stage of the conflict.
8. Anakin is Older (And So Is Obi-Wan)
We only catch a brief glimpse of Anakin and Obi-Wan, but it's clear the animation team have switched up the design a little for the return of The Clone Wars; the models are notably older, closer to the looks the characters have in Revenge of the Sith. Everything in this teaser reminds viewers how close it is to the tragic end of the Clone Wars.