Finding What's Been Lost in The Clone Wars: The Lost Missions
Trying to figure out how The Clone Wars cartoon fits into the overall story of Star Wars could be described as a game of Jenga played while blindfolded—only someone with Houdini-like Jedi powers could attempt it, but hey, why bother at all? Does anyone care? But if you know anything about Star Wars fans (particularly if you are one of them) then you know Star Wars fans want answers. So, what answers will you get from these final episodes of The Clone Wars? Much like Luke Skywalker facing his fears on Dagobah; your satisfaction with the Netflix-only final pieces of The Clone Wars depends greatly on what you’re hoping for going in.
Though it seemed to begin life as a cynical “product” of the over-merchandized prequel era, The Clone Wars has mostly accomplished exactly what it set-out to do (tell different stories from “The Clone Wars”), and isn’t worried too much about the recognition of keeping the Star Wars flame alive during what is otherwise a fairly dark time for the Force. Starting out as kind of a joke, and becoming humbly awesome, The Clone Wars is to the rest of Star Wars what the suddenly sexy-cool Neville Longbottom was to his fellow Hogwarts students at the end of the Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows.
Or maybe, a more apt analog for the growing maturity of the show is the Clones themselves; as Yoda says toward the end of this 13-Episode run “brave men the clones have proven to be.” And yet these guys are destined to be the murders of the Jedi! How could you reconcile your feelings about all of this?
Well, you can’t. At all. Because, like that game of blind Jenga, The Clone Wars has always been and always will be building on a shaking foundation: the events of the prequel era films themselves. Unless you’re in the minority of actually preferring the prequels to the classic era films (you must be out there!) most Star Wars fans probably think of the prequel films and the surrounding mythology attached to them like family members; you love them, but they aren’t always your favorites. If you have this default love, then a ton of the references and plot unfolding in The Clone Wars will be totally gratifying. If you’re wondering how Sifo-Dyas created the Clone Army back during Attack of the Clones, that gets explained, kind of. If you were dying to know what Jar-Jar Binks was up too, you’ll find out.
More interestingly, if you’re into understanding how the Jedi started to not only believe in ghosts, but become ghosts themselves, you’ll be super pumped. Far and away the most compelling and emotionally moving storyline involves Yoda’s decent into the spirit world. Here, the old Jedi Master’s faith in his communion with the spirit of Qui-Gon Jinn makes all of his Jedi cronies think he’s gone bonkers or worse—is being tricked by the baddest asses of the Dark Side. Though a weak-minded cynic might suggest Yoda (in his adorable tiny Jedi Starfighter!) flying to Dagobah to talk to the spirit of Liam Neeson is nothing but fan service, it’s all super-watchable and emotional in a way the majority of the hollow dialogue from prequel films never was. To put it another way: try not to tear-up during Yoda’s emotional quasi-religious journey into the heart of Star Wars itself.
But what truly became of our favorite Jedi Knight—the progressively charming Ahsoka Tano? While she does appear in a heart-wrenching and almost Dickensian vision experienced by Yoda toward the end of the series, Ahsoka herself does not actually turn up during the actual linear events of the end of the season. Meaning, it’s possible to assume the character survived the mass genocide of the Jedi in the events in Revenge of the Sith and the subsequent destruction of the Jedi.
But, this doesn’t make it any less painful when her ghostly-self asks Yoda why he left her behind. And when you’re watching the final episodes of The Clone Wars, you too might be wondering why we all have to leave Ahsoka and all her wonderful friends in the dust. Watching these final episodes of the The Clone Wars then feels a lot like a vision one might experience while in touch with the Force, or as Yoda said in The Empire Strikes Back: “the past, the future, old friends long gone.”
What did you think of the end of The Clone Wars?