Thoughts on The Clone Wars animated series + Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston

I’ve been meaning to write this post for months now, but it meant closing a chapter on Clone Wars and Ahsoka, and I haven’t felt ready to transition into watching Rebels yet. But after seeing and pretty much hating Last Jedi, all I’ve been wanting to do is go back to Ahsoka’s story (because it’s much better, in my opinion).  🙂

I know Clone Wars is very old news at this point, but I’ve been trying to slowly make my way through all the Star Wars canon. Clone Wars aired between 2008 and 2014. I admittedly wasn’t excited about it then, but I’ve been on a big Star Wars kick this year and wasn’t feeling like a true fan without having watched it. And it’s available on Netflix, so I really had no excuse to not watch it.

After finishing the series, I jumped into the novel Ahsoka written by E. K. Johnston (author of Exit, Pursued by a Bear…which I loved). Honestly, Ahsoka is the best thing about Clone Wars, so I was excited to see her story continue. Keep reading to hear my thoughts both on the animated series and the novel.  😀


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I was very skeptical about Clone Wars. Whenever it aired, it seemed like a weird spinoff to me, one that didn’t look or sound appealing at all. And to be honest, it takes awhile to get used to. But I’m so, so glad that I gave it a chance. I think it is one of the more redeeming qualities of the prequel story arc.

Things I liked

-I love the prequels. Please don’t turn away; I’m trying to be honest here to disclose any bias I might have before we continue. I love the prequels because of the world it creates. I love learning more about the galaxy before the Empire. I love seeing the Jedi Order. I love seeing the corruption sprinkled throughout, and subtle clues about what is to come.

I admit that the prequels aren’t as high of quality as the original movies. I totally get that. I get that a lot of it has changed how fans view a story that was beloved to them. But if you take away some bad acting, bad romance, and some weird filmmaking decisions, underneath there is a setting full of fascinating characters and societies. This series shows that setting without a lot of the weird things that the prequel trilogy includes, and when it gets it right, it really gets it right.

– This is the best time of Anakin’s life. Anakin always seems incessantly broody in the movies. In Episode I, he wants to be a Jedi. In Episode II, he whines about still being a padawan. In Episode III, he’s finally a Jedi Knight but he can’t stop whining about not being a master. After that, he’s Darth Vader and perpetually cranky because he’s lost everything he loved. And in the gaps, he’s temperamental, violent, and having dreams about people dying. In the movies, we never really see him as a happy Jedi. But during Clone Wars, he pretty much has everything he wants—he’s not a Padawan anymore and he’s married to the love of his life. He’s a trusted and talented Jedi Knight, and he even takes on his own Padawan, whom he develops a close relationship with. Which leads me to…

– Ahsoka might be the greatest gift of the Star Wars universe. She is so awesome. By far my favorite female Star Wars character. (And overall 2nd favorite of the series…I have a soft spot for Anakin.) Her cocky/sarcastic personality meshes well with Anakin’s, and I think they bring out the best in each other.

– The clones become their own characters. I feel like the clone wars is made out to be a big deal…it’s mentioned near the beginning of Episode IV, and the title of Episode II is titled “Attack of the Clones”…but the clones aren’t given any real development in the movie. They’re just stock characters. You feel nothing when one of them dies.

Clone Wars does a great job of differentiating between the clones and treating each of them as individuals. You learn so much about them, and seeing the clones and Jedi in combat really brings everything into perspective. Before this show, I never actually felt the wars part of Star Wars. Sure, there were battles, but it never actually felt like a war. This show makes it feel like a war.

– You meet new characters and revisit old favorites. There is so much character development in this show, especially with the Jedi masters. You see them here and there in the prequels, but they always feel like secondary or tertiary characters and are rarely given lines. Clone Wars includes masters throughout the series as our main characters team up on different missions. I loved learning more about Masters Luminara Unduli, Plo Koon, Kit Fisto, Shaak Ti, and Aayla Secura. I love seeing how each Jedi has his or her own personality traits, strengths/weaknesses, and fighting style.

– You see so many new worlds and species. Sure, the movies show a lot of alien species and planets in passing, but Clone Wars shows you so much more about them. There’s a lot of great worldbuilding everywhere.

 

Things I had problems with

– I have no idea what the target age is. The pilot of the show (which is actually a movie) and the majority of the first season feels like it’s aimed at young children. Like, 6-year-olds. But Season Two gets a lot darker. But then sometimes they’ll switch back and forth in subject matter without warning. One episode will be filled with death and torture, and the next is a happy adventure with younglings and droids. There’s not a lot of consistency.

– The animation takes a while to get used to. It’s computer animated but looks very blocky, with hard lines and edges. Almost like Lego Star Wars, tbh. But once I got used to it, I really liked it.

– Most of the show is structured as an anthology, not a linear timeline. This was really disorienting. They will have a few episodes in a story arc, and then that will be over and the next episode will be during an entirely different battle a year into the future, and sometimes later seasons will randomly go back to previous story arcs and fill in gaps, even if we already know what happens to the characters. It’s kind of strange. The later seasons aren’t as bad about it, but the first seasons can be very confusing if you’re not expecting the time jumps.

 

Consensus

The good was so, so good. The bad was kinda pretty bad. But the last half of season five alone makes the entire series worth watching, especially if you like seeing the Jedi in action.

Overall Rating: A-


I jumped into reading Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston as soon as I had finished watching Clone Wars. I wasn’t ready to start Rebels yet, and I was anxious to know how her story continued since she’s not mentioned in Episode III or any of the other movies. (This review is going to be a little short because it’s hard to talk about the events in this book without giving spoilers to Clone Wars.)

Things I liked

– You learn what happens to Ahsoka after the events of Clone Wars. Without giving too many spoilers, it’s a little bit of a mystery where Ahsoka is headed at the end of Clone Wars. I was relieved to visit her character again.

– It shows the very beginning of the Empire’s control. This book takes place after the events of Episode III, so you see the Empire within its first year. That was a very different setting than I had ever seen before, and it was really interesting to see that transition.

– It bridges the gap between Clone Wars and Rebels. From what I’ve gathered without watching Rebels yet, this book serves as a great transition that bridges the two series together and fills in a lot of the gaps between the time jump.

 

Things I had problems with

– Not a lot happens. It’s been a few months since I’ve read this, and I honestly can’t really remember anything about the plot. I remember weird details about the characters, but nothing about the actual story. And I think that’s because not a lot actually happens.

– It’s told from different points of view. The majority of this book is from Ahsoka’s point of view…which you know, I was expecting, because the title is literally Ahsoka. But there were random chapters throughout that were in other points of view. And these sections didn’t feel like they were pertinent to the story…they just felt a little out of nowhere.

– It had a lot of throwaway characters. One character in particular was given a few small chapters from his point of view, only to be killed promptly afterward with no real impact on the story. At first, I thought maybe he was just a thrown in reference because he’s been in something else, but no. He was just a random character that appears nowhere else in Star Wars.

 

Consensus

Only read this if you’ve finished Clone Wars and want to know more about what happens to Ahsoka. I’m not sure if it’s best to read this before or after watching Rebels, but I had no problem with it without watching Rebels (though I do think it has a few references).

Rating: 3/5 stars.

 

–Emily
currently listening to // aisatsana by Aphex Twin

 

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Have you seen Clone Wars yet? How about Rebels? Which one do you like best?
Who is your favorite Star Wars character?

1 Comment

  1. Katie
    December 25, 2017

    This is a great, thorough review. (And my husband would appreciate the prequel love haha!)
    I haven’t watched every episode of The Clone Wars, but I’ve seen a large chunk of them, and there are a lot redeeming qualities that really sucked in the prequels. (Such as character development like you mentioned.) I hope you had a Merry Christmas, I can’t wait to see future reviews!
    Katie recently posted…merry christmasMy Profile

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