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‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’: A Long Awaited Return

Meet experimental Clone Force 99, also known as "The Bad Batch."
Meet experimental Clone Force 99, also known as "The Bad Batch." By Courtesy of Disney
By Mikel J. Davies, Crimson Staff Writer

Over a decade after the first episode of the series aired, and after years of questioning whether the beloved series would reach a conclusion, fans have finally been blessed with the staggered release of the final season of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” on Disney+. Releasing as if it were on traditional television, the 12-episode season concludes the intimate story portrayed throughout the series while tying into the beginning of “Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith.” Even after almost a decade of waiting, the show manages to maintain its style, deliver on its story, and give fans what they want: more in-depth chronicles of the struggles during the Clone Wars Era.

Typical of the critically-acclaimed show, creators Dave Filoni, Henry Gilroy, and George Lucas focus on all aspects of the expansive Star Wars universe. Episodes dive into the diplomacy of the galaxy-spanning war and the trials faced by the Jedi while highlighting the lives of individual clone troopers — an insight not shown in any of the live action films.

The episode begins with Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) and Mace Windu (Terrence ‘T.C.’ Carson) strategizing after a series of staggering losses on Anaxes, the Republic’s primary shipyard. Deeming a covert mission necessary, Skywalker and Windu call in a cavalry composed of several individual clones (all of whom are voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) including Captain Rex, Commander Cody, ARC trooper Jesse, a Clone medic, and a squad known as Clone Force 99. Named to pay homage to the deceased Clone 99, this atypical Clone group carries out what most other Clone units would consider suicide missions with perfect success. Led by Sergeant Hunter, a master tracker and hand-to-hand combat specialist, the Bad Bunch also includes Wrecker, Crosshair, and Tech, all named for their unique and necessary skills.

Throughout this episode, the struggles of these Clones become clear in the midst of a never ending war. For years, Captain Rex sees friends die during heated battles and difficult confrontations with the Sith. Reflecting with him on the pains of war, Commander Cody states, “Sometimes in war, it’s hard to be the one that survives.” Doing what few other TV shows can do, “The Clone Wars” addresses the danger of war from all sides. In other episodes, the Jedi struggle as peacekeepers leading the war effort. Diplomats are shut down by assassination attempts and subterfuge. Clones watch their friends die, all the while understanding that they wouldn’t even be alive without the necessity of war. Through an approachable, enjoyable medium, “The Clone Wars” appeals to audiences of all ages while still delivering these kinds of meaningful messages and deliberate conversations.

“Star Wars: The Clone Wars” is a show like few others in its combination of wide-reaching viewership, consistently positive reviews, and diverse episode topics. Once again, Lucas and his team of creators promise to deliver a visually appealing, entertaining, and original show within one of the most-loved science fiction story arcs ever created. This particular episode lacks some of the theatrics and excitement of others, but nevertheless demonstrates that the beloved stories are back. The remaining 11 episodes will conclude the Clone Force 99 story and address many more, with new episodes of Season Seven of “The Clone Wars” releasing every Friday until the 12-episode final season reaches its conclusion on May 8 of this year.

— Staff writer Mikel Davies can be reached at mikel.davies@thecrimson.com.

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