Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Star Wars: Rebels both aired during my childhood. However I never got the chance to watch them at the time due to them being shown on Cartoon Network, and Disney XD respectively. Whilst I could have found them online, I never made the effort to… but with their release on the streaming service Disney+ it became easier than ever, so I took the plunge. Instead of doing a small review episode by episode, I chose to review them season by season. The following is a collection of those reviews, with a newer summary of my overall feelings on both shows.
Series 1 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars does a wonderful job of easing us back into the prequel era and setting up the series’ to follow. Marvellous voice work and solid animation (for the time).
Series 2 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars is where the show really settles into its own. Great character development and huge ramifications towards the series’ end.
The first several episodes of Series 3 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars are an odd dive back into the first couple of series. When it finally decides to progress the story is when the show becomes most impressive and intense.
Series 4 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars leans heavily on the actual “war” aspect. It’s gritty and doesn’t hold back on how people can be swayed. The finale is also one of the best things to happen to Star Wars.
Series 5 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars is your reminder that you can make a show for children AND address morality. It’s also a heck of a lot of fun and an emotional roller coaster.
Series 6 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars provides a definitive shift in tone. The energetic entertainment of Attack Of The Clones is gone and the dark powerhouse that is Revenge Of The Sith has arrived. I don’t think I’m ready for this to end.
Series 7 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars may be one of the finest pieces of television ever devised. Solid plot, CGI and score throughout. As a Star Wars fan watching the finale I am both delighted and emotional.
Series 1 of Star Wars: Rebels is interesting. More a show for children than a children’s show, which makes sense given the Disney buyout. The animation also comes off a little bit flat though I’d imagine I’ll get used to it. I see A LOT of potential.
Series 2 of Star Wars: Rebels feels, at times, like a sequel to Clone Wars and whilst I can appreciate that, I like when it is its own thing. By the end of the finale I was sold on Rebels as a whole and am really looking forward to Series 3.
Series 3 of Star Wars: Rebels is unapologetically and sometimes forcefully Star Wars. The show has finally let itself become a show centred on its cast and Grand Admiral Thrawn is a fantastic addition. There were laughs, cries and closure.
Series 4 of Star Wars: Rebels is a beautiful ending to a show I found myself adoring. The entire second half is essentially one long episode and it holds ZERO punches. This franchise wont end and I won’t stop loving it.
Overall, I definitely prefer The Clone Wars to Rebels, but both shows have their own pros and cons. The Clone Wars gives us a closer look at one of the biggest wars in the entire franchise with a decent balance of action and politics. The animation is a little rough to start with but progresses quickly, and by the end of the show’s run, it is simply stunning to look at. Having experienced the prequels fairly young, I was really interested in spending more time in that era with the characters I knew, and the development of those characters was filled with a lot of emotion. I also loved the new additions like Ashoka, Captain Rex, and Hondo Ohnaka, and explorations of the Clone psyche. However, those first few seasons are a little slower than the latter seasons with episodes that weren’t released in chronological order, which made following the story a little difficult at times.
Meanwhile, Rebels introduces us to a brand new cast of main characters that become compelling despite their lack of importance to the main “Skywalker Saga”. The animation can be jarring at first, but it looks like a 3-D rendering of Ralph McQuarrie’s original artwork which is a nice touch. The first half of the show can feel like a continuation of The Clone Wars, but when allowed to tell its own stories, they’re full of heart. Sabine Wren very quickly became one of my favourite characters in the whole franchise, and Chopper continues the trend of sassy astromech droids.
Something that both shows handle exceptionally well is the villains. Clone Wars introduces us to Asajj Ventress while continuing the story of Darth Maul and the rise of Emperor Palpatine. Rebels gives us more time with Admiral Tarkin whilst introducing Imperial Agent Kallus and Grand Admiral Thrawn, who quickly became one of my favourite characters. Both shows give more than satisfactory endings with Clone Wars especially feeling like it should have had a theatrical release.
If you haven’t seen either of these shows, I highly recommend them. It’s clear that Lucasfilm is planning to incorporate both of these shows in their ever-expanding universe, and with many shows on the way, it may be easier to catch up sooner rather than later.
May The Force Be With You…