Updated: May 16, 2020
*HUGE SPOILERS FOR THE FINALE OF STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS AND THE REST OF THE SHOW*
Wow. What a way to go out. After 12 years and 133 episodes, we’ve finally come to the end of the road for this era of Star Wars storytelling. There will always be more stories to be told in the Prequel Era of Star Wars, but for the most part, this is it. We’ve waited a long time - 6 years in fact - since the Lost Missions were released on Netflix as the truncated 6th Season of the show after production halted following the Disney/Lucasfilm acquisition.
I personally loved the entirety of this final season. It seems some people thought it was just fine until this last arc, but I loved all of it. The Bad Batch focused on Rex and the Clones and how the war has affected him, while Ahsoka’s Walkabout showed Ahsoka just how much of the galaxy she doesn’t understand, and reminds her what the Jedi mean to people who only see them as soldiers. This final arc takes both of those ideas and takes Ahsoka and Rex into their most dangerous and heartbreaking place yet.
The endgame was always The Siege of Mandalore. From the earliest days of the show, it was planned as the finale, and it has always been stuck to in Star Wars canon. Go back and watch Rebels and you’ll see several references to the just now finally unleashed arc, in particular dialogue between Rex and Ahsoka. The Ahsoka novel’s opening pages feature a near perfect summary of the last few episodes of the show - minus a few inconsistencies that come with Dave Filoni finally being able to put his ideas to screen. I’m sure future editions of the book will clear up any canon discrepancies.
More important than that, is the story. I said this when I watched the first part of the Siege, and I’ll say it again. This feels not only like a movie, but the 4th prequel. Yes, there’s the Clone Wars movie, awful as it may be, but even that felt like an extended episode of Season 1 (it was initially intended as a 4-episode arc), while this feels integral to the story. Filoni sees the story of the prequels and, to an extent, the originals as the story of Anakin Skywalker, so to him anything that wasn’t in the movies wasn’t relevant to that story enough to tell. That’s likely why this final arc (which I will bet serious money will be edited into a feature film at some point, it fits to perfectly in that format) focuses so heavily on Ahsoka and Rex. They are the lead characters of the Clone Wars, but also Anakin’s story at this moment has already been told in Revenge of the Sith.
Speaking of which, the way this arc intersects with that movie is masterful, and will for sure change how people view it from now on. Fan-edits stitching the two together are inevitable, and I can’t wait to watch what people come up with. I have a feeling this above everything else in the show will become essential viewing for casual movie fans in the future.
I want to quickly touch on that ending though. The silence is perfect, as the animation and music by Kevin Kiner (who has produced his best work to date in this arc) tell the story. Ahsoka pays tribute to the clones, who payed tribute to her only days before, by painting their armour to resemble her, as she leaves her lightsaber, the last link she has between her and her master, behind as she goes into hiding. Then years later, Vader arrives at the same spot, covered in snow and frozen solid, as he picks up that same lightsaber and switches it on, remembering the life her had before, and then takes it with him because he can’t let it go. The final shot is Vader as he walks away, with his reflection in a dead clone’s helmet (one coloured like Ahsoka) leaving that life behind. Beautiful.
Filoni and crew had the unenviable task of telling a satisfying ending like any other showrunning team, while also keeping suspense high despite people knowing exact details of how things ended up. Somehow, he pulled it off. Then again, this is the apprentice of the master himself, George Lucas - although in my opinion, he had already surpassed him long ago - but this arc? This is his greatest achievement yet, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for Ahsoka and other fan favourites in shows like The Mandalorian and the rumoured Rebels sequel series. May the Fourth be with you.
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