Star Wars done right: The 15 best episodes of The Clone Wars

It's been 32 long years since we last saw our heroes on the big screen in Return of the Jedi. But on Dec. 18, one of the most famous franchises -- if not THE most famous franchise -- in movie history is returning to theaters in the much-anticipated next chapter of their story with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Over the next 20 weeks, we will celebrate the franchise by looking back and ranking the best, the worst, the weirdest and the most amusing moments in Star Wars history

After just five seasons on TV, Star Wars: The Clone Wars was, sadly, canceled. Though it would return with a Season 6 on Netflix and unfinished story reels on, it still feels like the show ended with so many stories left to tell. After being introduced to great characters like Ahsoka Tano  and gaining further insight into the once-mysterious Clone Wars, it’s hard not to think about what else future episodes could have shown us.

The stories that the beloved animated series did get to tell, however, remain some of the best in the franchise. There are so many great episodes that aired during The Clone Wars’ run that making a list of the very best was a difficult task. Still, for anyone who wants to watch the finest episodes from the series, I’ve tried to narrow it down to a helpful list of 15 that I think notably stand out from the rest. Here are my choices for the top Clone Wars episodes.

15. Orders (Season 6)

“The Lost Missions” on Netflix contained some of the greatest episodes of the series. This episode ended the story arc in which ARC clone trooper Fives tries to find out why a fellow trooper turned on a Jedi Master. He discovers that there are chips being placed inside clones when they are still embryos and ultimately uncovers the truth about Order 66. However, his attempt to do the right thing and tell the others ends in tragedy. This episode is a great example of what made The Clone Wars such a good show; it may have been an animated series, but it didn’t pull any punches. This time period was a dark one in Star Wars history, and The Clone Wars thankfully didn’t hide that — even if that was unfortunate for Fives. Plus, it gave us some answers into how these loyal troopers we’ve come to know could turn on their Jedi comrades so easily.


14. Rookies (Season 1)

Learning more about the clone troopers was one of the best things about this series, and this episode played an integral part in that. It follows a group of rookie troopers who have to deal with a droid invasion as Commander Cody and Captain Rex arrive to conduct an inspection. We’re introduced to clones Echo and Fives, who we’ll get to know even better through the seasons. Animated series or not, this episode is another example of the solid character development as some clones go from once eager-for-battle rookies to facing the horrible truth of being in the middle of the war.


13. Heroes on Both Sides (Season 3)

Padmé Amidala really shined whenever the show tried to balance political issues while keeping its Star Wars cartoon spirit. The best example of this combination is found in this episode. Padmé and Ahsoka travel to the Confederacy to try and see if a negotiated peace is possible. Ahsoka struggles to realize that not all Separatists are bad and sees how the war is impacting people on the other side. It’s an issue that many don’t often discuss when it comes to times of conflict, and to see an animated series try to tackle it is refreshing. It makes us face the fact that not everything is as simple as good versus evil.


12. Deception (Season 4)

We all know when Obi-Wan Kenobi dies, but that didn’t make this arc kickoff with his apparent death any less interesting. We get an unprecidented look at Anakin Skywalker’s reaction to the loss of his master and one-time friend, and meet more of the criminal elements in the Star Wars universe as Obi-Wan goes undercover to try to find out about a plot against Chancellor Palpatine. Ultimately, it leads to him teaming up with one of our favorite bounty hunters, Cad Bane.


11. Hostage Crisis (Season 1)

Speaking of Cad Bane, the Season 1 finale is where we first meet the bounty hunter. Bane, one of the coolest characters introduced by the show, leads a group of bounty hunters into the Senate Building and holds Senators hostage in order to free Ziro the Hutt. It’s great to see Bane, Aurra Sing, and the other bounty hunters in action in an episode that left us wanting to follow Bane's story even more. 


10. Landing At Point Rain (Season 2)

The Jedi are forced to return to Geonosis in “Landing at Point Rain.” This action-packed episode has the Jedi leading Republic forces in an attack to destroy a droid factory. The tough battle results in numerous losses. There are points where the characters don’t know if their fellows are dead or alive, but the reality of having to keep their heads in the fight means they can’t worry for long. It’s another episode that really puts a spotlight on the terrible nature of war.


9. Nightsisters (Season 3)

This episode gives us some fascinating insight into the backstory of Asajj Ventress, which we were psyched to learn includes the Nightsisters of Dathomir! Ventress’ journey is a complicated one that includes a traumatic past where she was abandoned as a child, becoming a Jedi, losing her master, and going to the dark side. The episode makes Ventress one of The Clone Wars most intriguing characters in the series. It also lets us finally see what the Nightsisters’ powers are like in action.


8. The Mandalore Plot (Season 2)

Obi-Wan travels to Mandalore to investigate rumors of the neutral planet building an army to fight for the Separatists and discovers a group of renegades called Death Watch. The group wants to return to their culture’s old warrior ways and causes trouble for Mandalore’s current peaceful government. Not only does learning more about Mandalore and its politics make this an episode not to be missed, but we get a look at a different side of Obi-Wan, as well, when we learn about his past and connection to Duchess Satine.


7. The Lost One (Season 6)

Finally, we get to learn more about the Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas, who we were told was behind the clone army in Attack of the Clones. Jedi Master Plo Koon discovers Sifo-Dyas’ lightsaber and the Jedi begin to investigate his death once again. The Jedi don’t get to learn much, but it leads to an exciting confrontation with Count Dooku that finally reveals him as Darth Tyranus and reveals his involvement with the creation of the clone army.


6. Revenge (Season 4)

Darth Maul is out for blood in this episode, which includes an unlikely team up between Obi-Wan and dark Jedi-turned-bounty hunter Asajj Ventress. Ventress and Obi-Wan take on Darth Maul and Savage Opress in a must-watch face off. It’s great to see the four go head to head but especially great to see Ventress in her new role as a bounty hunter bantering with Obi-Wan!


5. Carnage of Krell (Season 4)

The end to an incredible arc that began with “Darkness on Umbara,” this episode gives us the confrontation we’ve been waiting for: Captain Rex against the Jedi General Krell. We see the struggle Rex has with being loyal and following orders or doing what is right. His ultimate decision that Krell has to be stopped reveals a horrible truth and shows how messed up the war really is.  


4. Sacrifice (Season 6)

The final episode of the Netflix season brings us to the end of a gripping arc focused on Yoda. Yoda faces the dark side on Moraband as he gets a glimpse of the Sith and of what the future holds. Everything he goes through leads to him ultimately being worthy of training with Qui-Gon Jinn in how to retain his consciousness after death. The episode feels like it’s leading us right up to Revenge of the Sith as it reveals more mysteries of the Force.


3. Ghosts of Mortis (Season 3)

The whole Mortis arc deserves a watch, but this final episode tops the rest. The balance of the Force on Mortis is at stake and Anakin struggles with the dark side as he gets a view of what will become of him in the future. As with Season 6’s Yoda arc, we learn a lot about the Force here to add to the Star Wars mythology.


2. The Lawless (Season 5)

This episode proves that bringing Darth Maul back from the dead was a fantastic decision. We see how ruthless and evil he truly is as he continues his revenge against Obi-Wan and captures Satine. Obi-Wan takes a risk to go and help Satine on his own, once again giving us a glimpse of a different side to the Jedi Master. It’s painful to watch Darth Maul torture Obi-Wan by hurting Satine, and you can feel Obi-Wan’s pain as she dies. Despite his strong feelings for her, though, he doesn’t give in to his emotions and remains a true Jedi through it all. It’s a roller-coaster ride that only gets better when Darth Sidious makes a personal visit and gives us an unforgettable dark side battle. In the end he takes Darth Maul for his own plans that we only wish we could have seen play out in future seasons.


1. The Wrong Jedi (Season 5)

This Season 5 finale was the last episode to air on TV and stands as the very best example of what The Clone Wars had to offer. Ahsoka is expelled from the Jedi Order and faces trial, only for it to be revealed that Barriss Offee was the one behind it all! While Barriss might not be right, seeing how the council treats Ahsoka really makes us think about how much the war has changed the Jedi.

Watching Ahoska walk away from Anakin and the Order is the most emotional moment of the series. We might not have known exactly what was to become of Ahsoka, whether she would be killed as part of Order 66 or escape, but seeing her leave the Jedi in this way was a welcome surprise that left the door open to many possibilities for her character. It was a stellar episode that only made it all the sadder when the show’s TV run was ended.


That's our list! What do you think of our choices? What are some of your favorite episodes of The Clone Wars ? Let us know in the comments!

Previously in 20 Weeks of Star Wars...

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10 of the weirdest Star Wars tie-in products ever made

Silent but deadly: The best Star Wars characters with no dialogue that deserve their own spinoff.

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9 Ways George Lucas nerfed Return of the Jedi

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