Ten years ago, the worst reviewed Star Wars movie ever hit theaters. No, it wasn’t any of the prequels, but instead, an animated feature called The Clone Wars, a movie that launched a cartoon TV series of the same name. And, even though that pilot movie didn’t leave a great impression, The Clone Wars show did end up with a loyal following. After all, if you were 12 years old when the Clone Wars movie hit theaters, then you’re 22 now. In other words, Star Wars nostalgia has clearly changed drastically while no one was paying attention, which is why the surprise announcement that The Clone Wars would get another new season, five years after the show was canceled isn’t really a surprise at all.
On Thursday, at San Diego Comic-Con, Disney and Lucasfilm announced The Clone Wars would get a new 12-episode season that will air on the new Disney streaming service. For those who are confused and feel like this seems like a step back in time, you’re not wrong. The last Star Wars cartoon was called Rebels and it was chronologically set after the Clone Wars. It ran for four seasons and was canceled last year. The other new Star Wars cartoon is called Resistance, and it’s set right before The Force Awakens and it’s not out yet. So, why is Disney doing another set of animated episodes about an era in Star Wars history that is in its distant past? There are two reasons. First, believe it or not, but this prequel-era cartoon stuff is the new nostalgia. Second, people love the character of Ahsoka Tano.
For better or for worse, Star Wars fans tend to agree that the best thing that came out of the three Star Wars prequels was actually this animated series released three years after Revenge of the Sith came out, and sandwiched in between that movie and Attack of the Clones in terms of the timeline. A lot of this has to do with the fact that people like a lot of war in their Star Wars, and as you might have guessed by the title, clones who are at war, do in fact dominate a lot of the narrative of this show.
But, the other reason why hardcore Star Wars fans like this show is the one that it tended to humanize the characters of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, who occasionally came across stiff and unlikeable in the prequels. By giving Anakin an apprentice in the form of Ahsoka Tano, it also helped make the man who would be Darth Vader a little less terrible, too. After all, this was (and is) a show aimed at children. Because Ahsoka was a mouthy teenager when the show started, she was something of an audience surrogate for those kids.
Although the adult Ahsoka appeared on Rebels, it seems clear that the kids who loved her (and the nicer version of Anakin) are happy to have their old friends back. For Star Wars fans over 30, nostalgia is about Luke, Han, Leia, and Lando. But, for Star Wars fans even just a tad younger, that nostalgia is clearly about Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex.
-There is no release date yet for the new Clone Wars from Disney. However, the first 6 seasons of the entire series is streaming on Netflix.