Star Wars: The Clone Wars tells the story that was left greatly underserved by the films: Anakin's days as a general in the Clone Wars, and it's been doing a fantastic job.
I can honestly say I enjoy The Clone Wars more than any other non-film Star Wars production, and even more than a few of the films themselves, and the most recent season was the best yet, with lots of great revelations and interesting character moments.
The series deals quite a bit with the commanding of clones and the fighting of droids, but it also analyzes the characters of Anakin and Obi-wan very closely, and slowly we're seeing the events that turned The Republic into The Empire, divided the Jedi across political lines, and transformed the Clone Troopers into the Storm Troopers. Setting us up for the events of Episode 3, in which these transformations and divides become final and terrible.
Showrunner Dave Filoni Recently interviewed with Sci-fi Now, a UK based science fiction magazine. (Note that in the UK, Season 5 of the show has not yet begun airing, while in the US we are five episodes in).
When asked about the direction of the show this season, he confirmed that a large part of the season's purpose is to start showing the movement of Anakin toward the Dark Side.
"I think the story [this season] is much more forward ," he said, "not that it didn’t used to – but we’re definitely reaching a point in the war where we can say 'I see how these things connect to the Star Wars films much more directly,' and if you’ve been a watcher of The Clone Wars each season, there’s some really nice payoff for you with the characters and with the events within the show. So it’s a really big season for us, a really exciting season. ... [The show was] designed to start out with a lot of whimsical stories; a lot of fun, high adventure-type stories, because it kind of symbolizes how the Jedi were before the downfall, and now as we’ve crept closer to Revenge Of The Sith, as you’ve noticed, things have gotten bleaker. The stories have a lot more dimension and things have gotten more at stake than [previous seasons]."
He also talked about George Lucas' role in the show. We've alweays known that the veteran filmmakerand Star Wars creator had given some input, and last year, he even elevated the show to the status of top-level canon, meaning that the events of the show are on the same official canon level as the six films, a status no other non-theatrical Star Wars project has ever had.
According to Filoni, however, Lucas doesn't just sign off on the show; some of the more profound ideas came directly from Lucas, including the resurrection of Darth Maul and the introduction of the Nightsisters. "[Lucas] came into to the writers’ room and said, 'I want to do these witches.'" admits Filoni. "That was something new because it really fits with those mythological ideas of the witch and the earth mother kind of character. Are they evil? What is their ultimate purpose? ... anything that makes us question that in such a well defined universe, like Star Wars, is a really good creative area to be in."
With such an incredible show that delves so deep into Star Wars lore and world-building, it's great for any Star Wars fans. but the showrunner also understands that a large part of his audience is children, and he conscious that he's creating Star Wars for them. The films are only about 12 hours of material, but The Clone Wars, by the end of Season five, will be over 40 hours of content at the same canon level.
" We have a whole generation of kids who ... know The Clone Wars as their Star Wars. Ahsoka and Rex and Ventress and those characters are in some ways their Han, Luke and Leia as [their parents] knew it, so it’s going to be fun and intense as we reach the ending of the whole thing." he said, adding that this new generation of fans also boasts a higher female ratio.
"It’s kind of interesting looking back. We have created the Cad Bane and Savage Opress characters, but for the most part I would say the strongest and arguably the most interesting characters we’ve created within Star Wars are more your Mother Talzins and your Ahsokas, fleshing out Ventress’s character, even the Mandalorians Bo-Katan and Satine.
"I just seems like even with Princess Leia and Padme, there was room for strong female characters in Star Wars and we’re at a time in fandom when female fans have a much stronger voice than they used to. People are ready to recognize that girls are just as much into Star Wars, Lord Of The Rings and Avengers as boys are, so that’s our changing world."
The rest of the interview, which delves deeper into the character of Darth Maul and touches on the vocal performers for the show, can be found over on Sci-Fi Now's website.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars is currently airing on Saturday mornings on Cartoon Network.