So with another series of the Mandolorian now on Disney+ and people considering a massive Star Wars binge, why not look back at a huge part of that: Star Wars The Clone Wars? Not only is there debate over its canonicity but it’s also a phenomenal show in its own right. With some great vocal performances and brilliant storylines, Star Wars The Clone Wars was an integral part of many Star Wars fans’ childhoods. Or maybe it was just mine retroactively…. Anyway, before I get into the list properly, here is some history about the show.
Star Wars The Clone Wars debuted on Cartoon Network in 2008 and ran for 5 seasons there. There were then two further seasons which aired on Netflix and Disney+. The show picks up the story between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. The show’s story follows the Republic as they battle off the armies of the Separatists in order to maintain order in the galaxy. There’s also focus on various bounty hunters, Sith overlords and also pushing the pieces together for the story of Revenge of the Sith. Oh also, there’s genuinely better character work for Anakin and others in this series than in the live action films. And yes I’ll probably touch on that during the list. Anyway, enough with the history of the show, let’s get into the ranking of the best Star Wars The Clone Wars episodes.
10: Lair of Grievous (S1, E10)
Kicking off the list of the best Star Wars The Clone Wars episodes is Lair of Grievous. Now I wonder who’s going to be in the episode…. Anyway, while the film’s never truly captured Grievous’s menace this episode certainly does. It does this when Jedis Kit Fisto and Nahdar Webb find the titular lair and general. Naturally this leads to a heated battle where Webb miserably fails to get revenge for all the Jedi Grievous has killed. This episode gives the audience the first hints the Jedi aren’t doing as well in the war as they think. Oh and once again the fact the episode makes Grievous so much more menacing if not only for a short while….
9: Escape from Kadavo (S4, E13)
Well if you love Star Wars The Clone Wars episodes with lots of moving parts then this is the episode for you. Not only are Obi Wan and Captain Rex forced to do slave labour at the titular prison but Ahsoka’s been imprisoned. And if that’s not enough Anakin is forced to fight Dooku without a lightsaber. Now already the episode deserves credit for dealing with three storylines as well as more universe building. That universe building comes in the form of the slave trade the Jedi have been ignoring. So yeah there’s plenty to enjoy about this episode….
8: Massacre (S4, E19)
Again a running theme of a few episodes on this list is Asajj Ventress, the former apprentice to Count Dooku. So basically the events of another episode on this list see Dooku despatch General Grievous to kill Ventress and her clan: The Nightsisters. Long story short, Grievous does exactly what the title suggests and takes out the whole clan. This is in spite of the Nightsisters raising an army of the dead and killing Dooku in his sleep. Oh also there’s a great fight between Ventress and Grievous with no less than 6 lightsabers. And that’s not even accounting for the great emotional depth this episode gives Ventress or how it sets up her arc later in the season. So lots to love about this episode.
7: Revenge (S4, E22)
Now not for the first time on this list you’re going to hear about Darth Maul and his brother Savage Opress. Very silly name aside, this episode delivers on a long awaited conclusion to the Phantom Menace. Basically, while Maul was thought to have died his sheer anger kept him alive. Hence this showdown. Now despite the world’s most obvious trap for Obi Wan, Asajj Ventress (another name who’s going to pop up a lot) also appears. This leads to a wonderful duo battle between the Maul Brothers and Ventress and Kenobi. Oh and Kenobi even uses a red lightsaber so there’s so much to love about this episode.
6: Holocron Heist (S2, E1)
Now this episode deserves its place on this list because of one particular character: Cad Bane. Now other than Boba Fett, Cad Bane is arguably the coolest bounty hunter in the entire Star Wars franchise. So what does he do that makes him so cool? Well, he attempts to steal a Holocron from the Jedi Temple. And all while Ahsoka, Anakin and Obi Wan are desperately trying to stop him. But what makes this episode truly great is how it switches between Bane and the Jedi’s perspectives which almost makes you sympathetic for Bane. So this episode is not only great but also introduces a phenomenal new addition to the Star Wars universe.
5: Voyage of Temptation (S2, E13)
Now there’s certain rules that Jedi have to follow which involve not forming romantic relationships. And guess what Obi Wan does with the pacifist leader of Mandalore: Sabine? Anyway, when a rogue senator turns out to be a traitor who takes Sabine hostage a moral dilemma emerges for Obi Wan and Sabine. If Sabine shoots him, she’s no longer a pacifist. However if Obi Wan kills him he loses Sabine’s respect. So naturally this leads to Anakin killing him by stabbing him through the back. Oh and the fact the Darth Vader theme is playing quietly in the background as he does this makes the scene even better. Man Star Wars The Clone Wars was a great show…
4: Monster (S3, E13)
Yep it’s once again time to talk about the assassin with the silliest name: Savage Opress. Now this episode also connects Ventress with Maul via them being from the same home planet: Dathomir. Anyway, this episode also sees the Nightsisters gift Ventress’s replacement to Dooku: Savage Opress. Long story short, Dooku thinks his plot to kill her worked. Hence why she’s returned to her clan on Dathomir. Anyway, there’s also a gut wrenching moment as the Nightsisters make him kill his brother who he dearly loved. And no not that brother before you go making connections….
3: To Catch a Jedi (S5, E19)
Now this is a follow up to an episode that doesn’t feature on the list but it basically sees Ahsoka accused of bombing the Jedi hangar deck. And doesn’t take a genius to work out she didn’t do it. But if the prospect of Anakin and fellow Jedi Plo Koon bringing her in for trial wasn’t bad enough, she’s also got an assassin, Ventress, who’s trying to ruin her reputation. Also, the ongoing mystery of who bombed the deck and also the possible fate of Ahsoka beyond the series really adds more suspense and drama to the episode. That’s not even accounting for Ahsoka realising Coruscant has lost faith in the Jedi. So really there’s plenty here to love.
2: Witches of the Mist (S3, E14)
Guess who’s back? Back again? Savage Opress is back. Tell a friend. Ok terrible segue and silly name aside this episode is phenomenal for several reasons. The first is it sees Ventress and Dooku discard Opress for being too weak. While it seems inconsequential, this sets up the Darth Maul reveal. Oh also, this entire episode sees Ventress and Opress tracking Dooku with Anakin and Obi Wan tracking them. Not only are there so many moving parts but the episode makes use of them really well. Oh and also the fact it sets up Opress and Maul’s arc makes this episode even better.
1: Old Friends Not Forgotten (S7, E9)
And the best episode of Star Wars The Clone Wars is… Old Friends Not Forgotten. Now there are arguably better episodes but there’s one particular arc which makes this episode the best. And it’s the reunion of Anakin and Ahsoka before the siege of Mandalore. Despite her being barred from leading Clone troops, Anakin promotes Rex to Commander and gives them to her to use. Oh and the fact he gives her lightsabers makes this even more emotional. And that doesn’t factor in the fact this is the last time they meet before Ahsoka fights Darth Vader. So massive props to this episode for delivering some serious emotional highs.
What are your favourite episodes of Star Wars The Clone Wars? Let me know in the comments below!