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The Clone Wars comes back this Friday, Feb. 21, and fans of the show are finally getting the conclusions they’ve been begging for over the last six years. The series started in 2008 and went on to deliver some of the most beloved scenes in all of Star Wars. However, it wasn’t able to finish closing the gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith like it was originally meant to because Lucasfilm canceled the series in 2013 after Disney bought the company. Now, it’s finally get its ending and showrunner Dave Filoni is still surprised that it can.

Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, and Obi-Wan Kenobi on the poster for 'The Clone Wars' Season 7.
Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, and Obi-Wan Kenobi on the poster for ‘The Clone Wars’ Season 7 | Lucasfilm/Disney+

Dave Filoni was surprised that ‘The Clone Wars’ lasted more than a few years

After Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas had ideas for animated and live-action series to come out of his Star Wars franchise. He handpicked Filoni to help create these ideas and bring them to the small screen. That’s how The Clone Wars was born, and where the idea for the recently leaked Star Wars Underworld series came from. 

But, even though Lucas brought Filoni on for this Star Wars project, Filoni didn’t think it would last very long. “I thought Clone Wars, like most animated series, was going to be a two-year [or] three-year job maybe, where I would learn a lot, have a great experience, and then be back in Los Angeles,” Filoni told Entertainment Weekly on Feb. 19.

Finishing off a series that started over a decade ago was a big undertaking, and Filoni knew how to do it right. “I tried to do things that honored what we had been doing on this series when I was working with George [Lucas],” Filoni said. “At the same time, I knew this had to have a sense of completion.”

There are some good things that came out of the long wait

If you remember, The Clone Wars has gone through a couple of style-changes throughout its run. Halfway through the third season, not only did Ahsoka Tano get a new outfit and lightsaber situation, but the animation as a whole looked better and a lot more fluid. Now, going into Season 7, viewers will probably notice that all the characters look slightly different again. That’s thanks to new technology they didn’t have in 2008 and 2010. 

“We have tools and capabilities that we did not have in the beginning of Clone Wars, just because animation’s come so far,” Filoni explained. “There are many things that we can render with nuance and detail that we just couldn’t before.”

Ahsoka’s journey continues to focus on the struggle of selflessness vs. selfishness

Ahsoka is one of the most important characters in The Clone Wars, and in Star Wars lore in general. So, finishing her arc for this time period was equally as crucial. Fans know what happens with Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and the rest of the Jedi Order thanks to Revenge of the Sith. But, other than the Ahsoka novel by E.K. Johnston, Ahsoka’s arc needs tying up.

Ahsoka Tano faces off against Maul in 'The Clone Wars' Season 7.
Ahsoka Tano faces off against Maul in ‘The Clone Wars’ Season 7 | Lucasfilm/Disney+

As Entertainment Weekly notes, Filoni revealed that Anakin’s former Padawan is still struggling with the Jedi way she grew up on. She has to choose to either follow that code or turn in on herself and abandon the service to others she knows so well. “It’s really the backbone [of the Star Wars saga],” Filoni said. “It’s that personal journey. [We saw that] with Luke Skywalker, and we’ve seen Rey going on this journey. But for me now with Ahsoka, she’s been the student Jedi the whole time, and she’s finally being challenged by what she will do with her knowledge and her training and her abilities when faced with the ultimate test — which is what you’ll see at the end of Clone Wars here.”

Filoni knows audiences are familiar with the ending, but that’s the fun part

Like stated above, viewers know how this story ends. They know that Anakin falls to the Dark Side, Padmé dies while giving birth to Luke and Leia, and Palpatine wins (for now). But Filoni had a strategy on how to create this world and give fans something exciting to watch, even though the ending is already written. 

“There’s no escaping that. It’s this inevitability,” Filoni shared about this final season of The Clone Wars. “We know what happens,” he teases, “[but] you don’t know precisely how it happens.”

The Clone Wars is set to come back on Feb. 21 with 12 weekly episodes.