Clone Wars Season 7 Episodes 9-12 Breakdown
The whole season is great. However, these four episodes that overlap with Episode III definitely stand out. This is Star Wars at its best, and everything about these episodes is executed carefully and tastefully. It’s the Star Wars the fans deserve, and I love it.
Episode 9 - “Old Friends Not Forgotten”
Ahsoka joins forces with Bo-Katan in efforts to capture Maul and take back control of Mandalore. They seek out help from Anakin and Obi-Wan. However, Obi-Wan soon breaks the reunion with news that Coruscant is under attack. Revenge of the Sith has begun.
When Bo Katan pleads with Anakin and Obi-Wan to help her take back Mandalore, Obi-Wan defers to the standard protocol and says that he will discuss with the Jedi Council to come to an informed decision. With time of the essence, Bo Katan pushes Obi-Wan.
“He murdered their ruler, my sister! I thought she meant something to you.”
“She did. And still does. But I cannot allow my feelings to cloud my judgement. The council will decide what our course of action will be.”
At that moment, Obi-Wan looks down in sadness reflecting on his failure to save his only love, Satine Kryze. Anakin watches his master’s reaction. Just days after this scene, Anakin will have premonitions about losing Padmé, and he will be forced to make a choice: turn his back on the Jedi or seek the power needed to save the one he loves. Anakin pursues a path that he hopes will not land him the same tormented fate as his master. This small moment in this episode is just one more part in Anakin’s eventual turn to the dark side. Moments like this add weight and reason to Anakin’s turn which is definitely not as sudden as Revenge of the Sith makes it out to be. There have been moments like this building up throughout Clone Wars, and Episode III just shows the breaking point.
Ahsoka reunites with Rex and the 501st Legion who have painted their helmets in honor of Ahsoka, and Anakin gifts Ahsoka her lightsabers back as she embarks on a dangerous journey into Mandalore.
Obi-Wan soon rushes in with news that Grevious has attacked the capitol, and Anakin and Ahsoka are forced to say their goodbyes. Ahsoka is off to the Siege of Mandalore with half of the 501st (now the 332nd Legion), and Anakin and Obi-Wan are off to the Battle of Coruscant. Revenge of the Sith has begun. The trio will never be together after this moment.
The next time Anakin will meet Ahsoka will be as Darth Vader.
Obi-Wan is like a brother to Anakin, and Ahsoka is like a sister to him. After the final goodbye, there is an uneasy feeling on Ahsoka’s face, as if she senses the uncertainty and darkness in the air.
Episode 10 - “Phantom Apprentice”
Ahsoka faces off in an epic lightsaber duel against Maul who has had visions of the dark future that lies ahead
The title of the episode “Phantom Apprentice” is clearly a callback to “The Phantom Menace.” The phantom apprentice is Anakin Skywalker—the dark side pupil nobody saw coming. It is interesting to see that the old phantom menace now wants to kill the new phantom apprentice while both have been pawns in Darth Sidious’s machinations.
In the beginning of the episode, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka speak via hologram. He updates her that Anakin has killed Count Dooku while rescuing the Chancellor. What’s undeniable here is the sense of disappointment and worry in Obi-Wan’s face. While Obi-Wan has seen Anakin be more than willing to take an enemy’s life during the Clone Wars, this was a situation in which the enemy was completely unarmed (literally). In addition, the enemy was once a Jedi Master, and more specifically, the master of Obi-Wan’s master Qui-Gon Jinn. This is such a great example of the TV show adding to the main films without retconning or taking anything away from the original story. In many ways, a lot of what happens in these four episodes represents all of which should have made it into Revenge of the Sith but did not, as the movie would have ended up being four hours long.
As The Siege of Mandalore continues, Ahsoka confronts Maul who has had visions of the dark future that lies ahead.
“What do you want with Anakin Skywalker?”
“He is the key to everything.”
“To bring balance to the force?”
“To destroy. . He has long been groomed for his role as my master’s new apprentice.”
“I’m afraid not. In fact, I was so certain of his fate that I orchestrated this war to lure him here with Kenobi to kill him. Thus, depriving Sidious of his prized pupil.”
“I know Anakin. Your vision is flawed.”
He offers his hand to Ahsoka so they can defeat Anakin and Sidious together and prevent the catastrophe to come, but Ahsoka’s faith in Anakin is unshaken and she refuses. Just thinking about if Ahsoka joined Maul, could they have defeated Sidious and Anakin together? Could Ahsoka have brought Anakin back to the light in such a face-off? Better yet, if the Jedi heard Maul’s vision of the dark future, would they have believed him and been able to prevent everything to come?
And the lightsaber duel that ensues. Amazing choreography. It is so insanely life-like I felt like I was watching Ray Park play Darth Maul again. And unsurprisingly, it is really him. The Clone Wars team used motion capture on Ray Park to bring this to life.
Ashoka eventually defeats Maul, and as he is falling to his death, she reaches out with the force to hold him in the air long enough for the clone troopers to subdue and capture him. As he is being captured, Maul screams in desperation.
“Let me go! Let me die! You’re all going to burn! We’re all going to die! You don’t know what you’re doing!”
Maul is genuinely scared. More than scared, he is panicking. This is not just any person, this is a fearsome ex-Sith Lord who is utterly terrified. He has seen what Darth Sidious is about to unleash upon the galaxy, and he knows this power from years of brutal training as a Sith and later defeat and torture by Sidious himself. Even when Ahsoka saves his life, he would rather die than live in a world where Sidious gains ultimate power. The seriousness of the situation suddenly feels so real, when even Maul is afraid.
Out of all the characters that have been shown during this time, Maul seems to be the closest to unraveling Sidious’s wicked plan—even more than Count Dooku. This might be due to a few reasons:
- Maul was apprentice to Sidious since he was a young boy. He has a connection to the Sith Lord that few others have besides maybe Sidious’s own master.
- After his defeat to Obi-Wan on Naboo, Maul sustained his life through complete immersion in the dark side. As a result, his connection to the dark side of the force is extremely strong, granting him foresight others may lack.
- Sidious was able to cloud the Jedi’s judgement and prevent them from looking into the future, but the same power may not work against a dark side user like Maul.
Episode 11 - “Shattered”
Maul is captured, and Ahsoka is en route to Coruscant with Rex and the 332nd Legion to bring him to the Jedi.
Ahsoka joins a call with the council where she informs them that Maul is in custody and she will escort Rex back to Coruscant. This scene is actually taken straight from Revenge of the Sith, and Ahsoka joins the call right after the camera cuts away in the film. One way to think about it is that Ahsoka is really in Revenge of the Sith; she just doesn’t have any screen time.
On the call, Ahsoka says that she has done her “duty as a citizen” and “not as a Jedi.” As the council discusses the current events that are unfolding, Ahsoka attempts to further participate in the discussion by inquiring more about the Chancellor, but Mace Windu rudely stops her.
“I’m sorry, citizen. These matters are for the council to discuss.”
This gives the impression that Mace Windu feels he has nothing more to gain from Ahsoka’s participation in the discussion. It is like the Jedi feel they have all the knowledge they need in a time when they know absolutely nothing about what is to come. Only Yoda kindly inquires if Ahsoka has more to say after the other Jedi drop off the call. Darth Sidious has a great quote in Revenge of the Sith when he is about to fight Yoda.
“Your arrogance blinds you, Master Yoda.”
While Yoda is not necessarily the arrogant one, it can be argued that the Jedi as a whole had gotten arrogant through fighting a long and grueling war instead of being the peacekeepers of the galaxy that they were supposed to be. The arrogance of the Jedi did truly leave them vulnerable to a Sith Lord scheming away right under their noses.
Shortly after, Ahsoka hears the voices from the climax of Revenge of the Sith through the force. The audio is taken straight from the film which further blends the TV show and film together.
“Don’t listen to him Anakin!”
“It’s not the Jedi way.”
“He must live.”
Order 66 has begun and with it one of the most emotional moments of the entire show. Rex turns on Ahsoka—ready to shoot her down.
Tears stream down Rex’s face as he tries to fight the programming from the inhibitor chip in his head. Clone Wars manages to give so many clones, who all look the same and all sound the same, each unique personalities. More so, it makes the audience actually care about each one of them. So when Rex cries in this scene, I felt like crying. Order 66 is a tragic event, and it was quite an emotional montage of Jedi being shot down and younglings being slaughtered in Revenge of the Sith. However, many of those were just characters we did not know anything about. Now, the audience is shown this tragedy through two fully fleshed out characters whose friendship has spanned seven whole seasons. Truly heartbreaking.
Episode 12 - “Victory and Death”
After removing Rex’s inhibitor chip, Ahsoka and Rex fight their way out of a star destroyer rapidly crashing towards the surface of a planet while also dealing with the chaotic Maul.
Maul is a savage. Ahsoka releases him in Episode 11, so he could serve as a distraction while she escapes the clones. She tells him, “Now go cause some chaos. It’s what you’re good at.” And that’s precisely what he does. With no weapons in hand, he creates a path of incredible destruction. He guts clone troopers with only his mind and destroys the entire hyperdrive room leaving everyone on the ship to die as he escapes in a shuttle. This is the ruthlessness and selfishness I expect only from Maul.
Even as all the clones are trying to kill her, Ahsoka still shows the utmost restraint in the way she escapes the situation. It is hard enough to try to escape the crashing star destroyer with an entire legion of clones firing at her, but Ahsoka still tries to subdue the clones instead of killing them. She is even willing to die with the legion, because she will not be the one who kills them. I don’t know if many of the Jedi would behave as she does in this situation. In many ways, Ahsoka has become something far greater than a Jedi.
The final scenes of this are epic. They wrap up the Clone Wars perfectly. There is no dialogue, just an incredibly powerful score. Ahsoka jumps out of a star destroyer as it is crashing towards the planet’s surface, and boards Rex’s shuttle mid-air. She buries the entire 332nd Legion—her most trusted comrades and her closest friends. While Ahsoka wins this battle and stays alive, she has ultimately lost everything, and she drops her lightsaber in sadness and defeat.
The robe Ahsoka dons is a direct parallel to her final appearance in the Rebels TV show that takes place many years later.
Quite some times passes, and Vader arrives to see the wreckage of the crashed star destroyer. He ignites his old padawan’s lightsaber and looks at the clone trooper helmet that he had once organized to be painted with Ahsoka’s colors.
At this point, so soon after the aftermath of Revenge of the Sith, Vader is still very much Anakin. In fact, upon watching this final scene several times, I noticed that Vader is much thinner than he is normally portrayed, and his mannerisms perfectly match Anakin’s. The way he walks and the way he gently brushes off the snow off Ahsoka’s lightsaber. It all feels like Anakin and not Vader.
Anakin gifted this lightsaber to Ahsoka. It’s important to note that kyber crystals are alive. They bond with the Jedi and take on a color respective to their wielder. Ahsoka’s lightsabers are originally green and yellow, but once she leaves the Jedi Order, Anakin continues to care for the sabers, and he changes their color to blue. It’s quite likely that Anakin never swapped the original kyber crystals out, but instead, bonded with Ahsoka’s existing kyber crystals to turn them blue. What Vader holds up is a physical representation of Anakin and Ahsoka’s relationship.
As Vader looks up to the vast, empty sky, he realizes he is all alone. His mother murdered. His brother disgusted by who he has become. His wife killed by his own hand. And finally, his sister, the last person in the galaxy who he believed to have an untainted relationship with, dead in a crash caused by him.
The imagery of Vader holding a blue lightsaber in a background of pure white is haunting. Such an image has yet to exist in canon.
And with that, Vader walks away from his old life with the clones and Ahsoka. He effectively leaves Anakin Skywalker behind and truly becomes Darth Vader.
Ahsoka went from being an annoying padawan in season one to a wise grey Jedi (if we can even call her that) in season seven. Nobody liked her in the beginning, and now everyone loves her, and I think that was precisely the point. The character development of Ahsoka Tano is amazing, and it is probably second only to that of Anakin Skywalker’s.
Vader will forever be the greatest villain of all time. And the reason he continues to be the greatest villain even 40+ years later is because we get content like Clone Wars that continues to explain the man behind the mask and the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker.
The final scenes of this finale did so much with zero dialogue, and they mark the end of the Clone Wars. The greatest era in Star Wars history.