Mining for Lore in Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Updated: Jan 5
It all re-started with Baby Yoda. You weren't going to get Disney+, but he was so cute, and his mysterious metal dad seemed kind of hot. "I like Star Wars," you said out loud to yourself as you logged into your new account and set C3PO as your avatar. It was around Christmas 2019, and little did you know the last movie you would see in a theater for a significantly long time would be Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. It was your destiny.
Fast forward to Christmas 2020: You've now rewatched all of the movie trilogies. You'd been cooped up in your house that Summer reading Kylo Ren x Reader fanfic after your job had to let you go because of a global pandemic. You had also realized around that time that Season 2 of The Mandalorian was coming back in the fall and that you still weren't sure what that fancy black sword at the end of Season 1 was. Now you're on the couch crying through Season 7 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars (simply referred to as "Clone Wars" from here on out), a cartoon that provides all of the lore that you've been missing since you were introduced to Star Wars in the fifth grade when you, and Anakin Skywalker, were nine years old. You've cosplayed Ahsoka Tano on TikTok, and The Dark Saber is all you think about.
Finally, you sit down to write a blog post about where to find all the lore in Clone Wars because you were The Chosen One of your friend group. You alone had time to watch it all (and take copious notes), so it became your duty to summarize it for those who are still gainfully employed at a 9-to-5 in 2021. This is that summary.
SPOLER ALERT: If you haven't watched The Mandalorian Seasons 1 & 2 and you haven't seen all the Star Wars movies, spoilers abound below the jump. I've written this to help you piece together your lore and connect dots quickly. There are only big Clone Wars plot points here -- nothing that will ruin your Clone Wars viewing experience! This also assumes you have not watched Rebels yet and makes no reference to things that happen in that series.
BACKSTORY OF JEDI MASTERS
SEASON 3, EPISODES 15-17
Here we find our three besties, Obi, Ani, and Ahsoka, crash landing on what I can only describe as "The Force Planet". These episodes seem like they're from an entirely different show. The Anakin-as-Sith-Lord character development here is incredible.
SEASON 5, EPISODES 6-9
Episode 6 is where we learn how a Youngling finds their Kyber Crystal, the power source for a Padawan Learner's first lightsaber. 7-9 are a fun little side quest that they go on with Ahsoka to hone their skills. We get a look at the lightsaber building process in Episode 7, which is pretty cool, but there’s not much more lore to be uncovered after that.
SEASON 6, EPISODES 11-13 (also listed in Backstory of the Sith Lords)
Previously unexplored corners of the Force are revealed when Yoda and R2D2 pick up where Anakin, Ahsoka, and Obi-Wan left off in Season 3. Yoda’s adventure here gives him a blueprint for the trials he will face in Revenge of the Sith and the subsequent movies. I wouldn't be surprised if Luke and Grogu end up having some connection to this planet at some point.
BACKSTORY OF THE SITH LORDS
SEASON 1, EPISODE 10
I always thought General Grievous was some kind of super droid, but turns out it's a little more complicated than that.
SEASON 3, EPISODES 12-14
SEASON 4, EPISODES 19-22 (ep 20 also listed in Setup for The Mandalorian)
SEASON 5, EPISODE 1
This is the Dark Side lore you've been waiting for. These episodes, while separated by almost an entire season, work back to back as one complete story. The promising Sith apprentice, Asajj Ventress's falling out with Darth Sidious and Count Dooku and her subsequent revenge mission lay the ground work for the return of a very important Sith and his newfound brother/apprentice. They're all from the same planet, governed by witches using dark magic, and it is one of the coolest planets in the whole series, Dathomir.
SEASON 5, 14-16 (also listed in Setup for The Mandalorian and Filling Prequel Plot Holes)
The Phantom Menace, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and The Mandalorian collide in this continuation of the Dathomir and Death Watch storylines. If you’re going to randomly watch any group of episodes, it should be this one. These fill in a lot of holes in the lore of the live action Star Wars media.
SEASON 6, EPISODES 11-13 (also listed in Backstory of the Sith Lords)
Like I mentioned in the section above, this is mostly about Yoda proving himself as the wisest Jedi and learning some new Force tricks. However, where there is light, there must be dark. Sidious and Tyranus make a significant appearance here that explains how Grandpa Sheev does some of his spooky mind probe stuff in The Sequels.
SETUP FOR "THE MANDALORIAN"
SEASON 2, EPISODES 12-15
Obi-Wan Kenobi is assigned to protect Duchess Satine of Mandalore from a terrorist group called Death Watch. You'll recognize some of the key players in Death Watch from Season 2 of The Mandalorian. That's all super important, but Satine and Obi-Wan have a...shall we say "complicated" relationship. It's spicy. Satine is also good friends with Padme, and these episodes give us an amazing glimpse into her political importance in The Galactic Senate.
SEASON 2, EPISODES 20-22
A young Boba Fett seeks revenge for the death of his father at the hands of Mace Windu (iconic Attack of the Clones moment). This is Boba's villain origin story, and thus very important to Star Wars lore.
SEASON 4, EPISODE 20 (also listed in Backstory of The Sith Lords)
Here we have a side quest with Asajj Ventress and a young Boba Fett. She teaches him an important lesson, and I have a hard time believing their paths won't cross again in the next season of The Mandalorian.
SEASON 3, EPISODES 5&6
These episodes provide some insight into the Mandalorian education system and Satine's leadership style. Both of which are pretty telling signs of why Mandalore ended up how it did.
SEASON 4, EPISODE 14
Ahsoka has her first significant run in with Death Watch. She also gets a love interest, which is sweet, but as we know, a significant issue for a Jedi.
SEASON 5, 14-16 (also listed in Backstory of The Sith Lords and Filling Prequel Plot Holes)
This is the Dark Saber/Bo-Katan backstory moment, and also just incredible Star Wars storytelling.
SEASON 7, EPISODES 9-12 (also listed in Filling Prequel Plot Holes and Asoka's Super Hero Origin Story)
I am adamant that I will not spoil these episodes at all here because I, not knowing what to expect, cried for the full four.
AHSOKA'S SUPER HERO ORIGIN STORY
SEASON 5, EPISODES 17-20
These are the penultimate Ahsoka episodes that set up her status when we meet her again in The Mandalorian. Obviously the five seasons that lead up to this provide the character development which makes this climax really pay off. If you're watching Clone Wars for Ahsoka, just watch the whole thing. Don't skip any episodes. It's her show.
SEASON 7, EPISODES 5-8
Ahsoka’s back and finally someone mentions Crimson Dawn by name! You can really see the setup for more Disney+ content in these episodes. Qi'ra, Han Solo, Zorii Bliss, and even Poe Dameron are now fair game for the Ahsoka series based on the antics Ahsoka and her new friends get up to here. Episode 7 has a really specific callback to Season 3, Episodes 8 & 9 which was otherwise a seemingly insignificant storyline about a Hutt named Ziro. If you want to connect the dots, you can go back and watch those too.
SEASON 7, EPISODES 9-12 (also listed in Filling Prequel Plot Holes and Setup for The Mandalorian)
Again, no spoilers. Just psych yourself up and watch these after you've watched the the whole series. It would be a crime to watch these as a stand alone story without the buildup of the other episodes (even though I'm of the opinion that they're the second best Star Wars movie behind Revenge of the Sith).
SETUP FOR "THE BAD BATCH"
SEASON 3, EPISODES 1&2
SEASON 4, EPISODES 7-10
If you've ever been morally conflicted about the idea of creating an army of cloned human beings as a weapon of mass destruction, these are the episodes for you. These two story arcs show us that the clones are unique individuals who cannot be programmed to follow orders like The Separatists' droid army. It is really heartbreaking to step into the shoes of a clone trooper.
SEASON 7, EPISODES 1-4
These are The Bad Batch’s episodes.
NOTE: I'm going to assume you will also really need to watch all the episodes in the Filling Prequel Plot Holes section to fully understand The Bad Batch. The clones as a unit are among the most important characters ever introduced in Star Wars and arguably the single most Galaxy-altering plot device in the whole series.
FILLING PREQUEL PLOT HOLES
SEASON 3, EPISODE 7
While Anakin is away on a mission, his Padawan, Ahsoka, is tasked with protecting his secret wife, Senator Padme Amidala, during a political summit. In the movies, we don't get to see Force dreams from very many characters. Everyone, however, remembers Anakin's as they're the central plot device in Revenge of the Sith. Turns out, Ahsoka has bad dreams about Padme dying too.
SEASON 4, EPISODES 15-18
Here we see just how complex the Jedi Council's (Yoda/Mace Windu/Obi-Wan) relationship is to Anakin's tenuous control over his dark side. More importantly, Chancellor Palpatine sees it too. These episodes really helped me rationalize why Mace didn't want to let Anakin become a Master just yet.
SEASON 6, EPISODES 1-4
Very very important Revenge of the Sith foreshadowing in these episodes, specifically pertaining to the Clone Trooper programming and Order 66. In the movie it seems like Jedi Master Shak-Ti is killed in a “wrong place wrong time” mishap with the separatists and the Jedi. Based on her role in Clone Wars as the Jedi who decides which clones are fit for battle, her capture and assassination was definitely much more strategic. Count Dooku (ie Darth Tyrannus) and Emperor Palpatine (ie Darth Sidious) are starting to openly show their Sith sides much more.
SEASON 5, 14-16 (also listed in Setup for The Mandalorian and Backstory of The Sith Lords)
These are just super important episodes. I don't know what else to say. It's the main inciting incident the series.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 4 & 5
SEASON 6, EPISODES 5-7
Just in case you forgot, Padme and Anakin are married throughout the whole run of this show. These are the marital spat episodes. Padme has a sketchy maybe-ex-boyfriend (Rush Clovis) and Ani feels incredibly threatened by him. Typical Anakin. Incredibly, Obi-Wan gives him The Talk in Season 6, Episode 6. There’s also some really important lore about The Banking Clan in here, but I’m more interested in Clovis crushing his hand on Anakin’s robot fist.
SEASON 6, EPISODE 10
Remember when Obi-Wan went to Kamino, and they let him waltz right in because he said Master Sifo-Dyas sent him? And then we never heard that name again? Well here’s to tying up that loose end.
SEASON 7, EPISODES 9-12 (also listed in Setup for The Mandalorian and Asoka's Super Hero Origin Story)
This four part Film is better than The Mandalorian. Get ready to cry. Where is the Oscar nomination?
May the Force be with you,