2019 had a few major Star Wars–related releases. From Jedi: Fallen Order to The Mandalorian then The Rise of Skywalker, it was a big year. Now, the beginning of 2020 will have one of the biggest Star Wars releases in recent memory, and that’s the final season of The Clone Wars. It was highly successful during its run on Cartoon Network, and now it’s coming back to finish the story it started after almost seven years away.
With that said, what made George Lucas create the show in the first place? For some, Star Wars might only be feature films in their minds. But The Clone Wars has added so much to the lore and world of Star Wars and is one of the best things to come out of the franchise.
George Lucas wanted to dig into the Clone Wars while also showing more than just Anakin Skywalker’s story
In an interview with ScreenSlam.com, George Lucas explained how he came up with the idea to make a TV series about this part of the Star Wars saga. “The Clone Wars are basically a footnote in the saga of Anakin Skywalker. And that’s what the features are about,” he said. “They’re really about Anakin, they’re about his son. It’s very narrow-focused about his descent into the Dark Side. I wanted to do something when I was doing Episode III, I wanted to do something that involved the Clone Wars.”
Lucas explained how he was “disappointed” that he couldn’t delve into the war in the movies. They’re not strictly just about Anakin Skywalker whereas the movies, especially the prequels, are. So, Lucasfilm started with the 2-D series on Cartoon Network, and after that did so well, they wanted a bigger animated show with CGI. He liked that so much, that the first few episodes turned into a feature film — The Clone Wars 2008 movie — to introduce Anakin’s Padawan Ahsoka to the world.
Lucas lead Dave Filoni in telling this new side to Anakin Skywalker’s story
Lucas was executive producer of the show that he created, but let others like Dave Filoni eventually spearhead. And originally, because Lucas had Filoni as a showrunner, Filoni didn’t think they would deal with established characters.
At Star Wars Celebration 2018, Filoni shared that he was creating new Jedi for the show with his team. But then Lucas stated that Anakin and Obi-Wan would be the leads. “We just never presumed that we would be working with those characters. You know, because who am I to write Anakin Skywalker, this hugely important character?” Filoni said. “But George was like, ‘I’m going to teach you all about this,’ and he did. So, we ended up with the show we did under his direction.”
Even in the feature film, iconic characters from Jabba the Hutt to Count Dooku and Yoda all appeared. And it really accomplished Lucas’ goal to dig into this moment in Star Wars history and in Anakin’s story, which he wasn’t able to do before.
“It’s too bad [we jumped over the Clone Wars before] because it’s like World War II — it’s a huge canvas to be mined,” Lucas said at a press conference in 2008, according to io9. “[With this series] I got to fill in a blank and go around in a universe that’s not as restrictive and not as dark. It’s more lighthearted. The series will be more like Indiana Jones — episodic. And we used ideas from anime and manga too.”
Lucas created Ahsoka to give Anakin responsibility and a chance to “settle down”
And one of the biggest aspects to come out of The Clone Wars was Ahsoka Tano. As stated before, she was Anakin’s Padawan but went on to become so much more than that. Anakin was very reluctant to take on a student, but once he saw how alike they were, he really couldn’t deny training her.
“[With Ahsoka] I wanted to develop a character who would help Anakin settle down. He’s a wild child after [Attack of the Clones],” Lucas pointed out, according to io9. “He and Obi-Wan don’t get along. So we wanted to look at how Anakin and Ahsoka become friends, partners, a team.”
Many have likened Ahsoka and Anakin’s relationship to a sibling bond, but it delves more into guardian and child sometimes, too. “When you become a parent or you become a teacher you have to become more responsible,” Lucas said. “I wanted to force Anakin into that role of responsibility, into that juxtaposition. I have a couple of daughters so I have experience with that situation. I said instead of a guy let’s make her a girl. Teenage girls are just as hard to deal with as teenage boys are.” And Ahsoka was a handful. Something Obi-Wan could say about Anakin, too.
The Clone Wars makes its triumphant return on Feb. 21 on Disney+.