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‘Star Wars: the Clone Wars’ is coming back: here’s what you need to know

In case you haven’t noticed, “Star Wars” is big right now. The sequel trilogy just ended, “The Mandalorian’s” Baby Yoda is the Internet’s sweetheart and to the joy of many fans, “Star Wars: the Clone Wars” is coming to Disney+ for its long-awaited seventh season. In a matter of seconds, the full trailer of the seventh season hit number two on the YouTube trending chart, and #CloneWarsSaved blew up on Twitter, referencing the outcry of fans when Disney originally cancelled “Clone Wars” in 2013 after its fifth season finale.

“Star Wars: the Clone Wars” is an animated series that’s set between the films “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith.” It began in 2008 and follows the stories of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padme Amidala and a number of both old and new faces. One such new face is Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan (i.e. apprentice), who starts off as an impulsive teenager who just wants to be a good Jedi. 

Ahsoka Tano was a breath of fresh air, and thankfully, the creative team of “Clone Wars” never let the backlash reduce Ahsoka’s role (which, unfortunately, cannot be said for certain characters in the sequel trilogy). In many ways, Ahsoka became the face of the new generation of fans—young and just as wide-eyed about the world of the Jedi and the Sith. In the earlier seasons, we see Ahsoka rush headlong into danger. She looks up to Anakin as both teacher and friend, even though he himself is deeply flawed. However, as the show continues, we find Ahsoka developing more reservations about the world around her. She learns that, despite what her friends and teachers say, the world is not at all as black and white as it once seemed. 

There were other new characters who became popular among the new generation of fans: Captain Rex, a clone trooper who fights beside Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano, Satine Kryz, duchess of Mandalore (yes, the Mandalore of “The Mandalorian”) and Asajj Ventress, apprentice to the evil Count Dukoo. But when season five ended with Ahsoka Tano leaving the Jedi Order, the fans blew up Twitter with petitions tagged with #SavetheCloneWars.

The season five finale devastated the fans who identified with Ahsoka Tano. They had seen Ahsoka grow from a reckless child to a mature young adult. However, even before the season five finale, there still existed a bit of fear in the fans’ minds: they all knew that eventually, Order 66—the executive order to kill all the Jedi, as seen in “Revenge of the Sith”—would take place. They knew that Anakin would eventually become Darth Vader. Would that mean Ahsoka would be killed by Anakin? The very idea was crushing, especially since the relationship between Anakin and Ahsoka had been a favorite amongst fans.

But such matters resolved themselves once the Jedi Order exiled Ahsoka for a crime she did not commit. Eventually, the real culprit is found by Anakin, who was desperate to redeem his apprentice’s name. At the end of the ordeal, the Jedi Council admits its mistakes in exiling Ahsoka and offers her a place back. We find Anakin holding Ahsoka’s Padawan braid (an accessory that all apprentices wear to signify their role as an apprentice). The following scenes are heartbreaking: we see the shock that slowly dawns on Anakin’s face as Ahsoka walks away from the only family she had ever known.

In a last gesture of desperation, Anakin begs for Ahsoka to come back, but her own answer is clear: “I have to sort this out on my own—without the Council and without you.” We would later find Ahsoka’s separation from the Jedi as a theme revisited in the sequel movies, with Luke cutting himself away from the Jedi in a similar fashion: the Jedi—the heroes so many had thought to be true—were just as flawed as everyone else, and only when Ahsoka walks away did fans start to realize this truth for themselves.

Since 2013, fans have assumed that “Clone Wars” ends before “Revenge of the Sith.” With Ahsoka out of the picture, Anakin would turn into Darth Vader, the Republic would fall to the Empire and we’d resume the timeline of “Star Wars.” Perhaps in an effort to appease “Clone Wars” fans, Disney released another animated show called “Star Wars Rebels,” set during the original trilogy, where we find new characters all fighting against the Empire. “Rebels” is a good show—the characters and plot are solid, and like “Clone Wars,” we catch glimpses of old characters. We find Ahsoka Tano still well and alive, fighting back against the very person who taught her. However, fans still find themselves wondering what exactly happened in the aftermath of “Clone Wars.”

Which finally brings us to the seventh season. Set to be released on Disney+ on Feb. 21, the “Star Wars: the Clone Wars” official final season is about to answer the questions fans have been asking since 2013. The trailer shows clips paralleling the scenes of “Revenge of the Sith,” hinting that the final season will finally close the last few gaps between the show and the movie. We see the Jedi Council, worried about a threat to destroy the Jedi Order. We see the clone troopers head into battle, unaware that they will soon turn on their Jedi commanders. And we see Ahsoka Tano, back and brighter than ever, as she comes back for one last stand with her friends before the world she knows disappears for good.

“Witness the end,” the trailer reads as the music swells with the familiar “Star Wars” soundtrack, and fans know that this final season really will be the end of “Clone Wars.” For one last time, fans will relive the stories that kept them running to the television on Friday nights and Saturday mornings; for one last time, fans will get to spend time with their favorite characters. And for one last time, the fans, like Ahsoka Tano, will come back for one last stand before the world of “Clone Wars” vanishes for good.

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