August 15, 2023, is the 15th anniversary of The Clone Wars movie. While the film succeeded at the box office, it was a bit of a bomb with fans. They didn’t know what to do with this new character named Ahsoka Tano and also wondered if it was too kiddy.
Many fans adored The Clone Wars movie, and it left an impact. Ahsoka would grow universally with fans to become one of the most important characters in Star Wars. With her live-action series on the horizon and also to celebrate the movie’s birthday, here are 21 reasons we love The Clone Wars movie.
1 – Lucasfilm Animation
While the concept of Lucasfilm Animation has been around since the Star Wars Holiday Special and the creation of shows like Droids and Ewoks, this film kicked off animated Star Wars as we know it. The Clone Wars led into a seven-season series, followed by multiple shows set in various eras. Each mainline Star Wars animated series has won awards, and it all started when The Clone Wars got that ball rolling.
2 – Returning Voice Actors
Unlike most television series, The Clone Wars movie did something special. It brought back multiple Prequel Trilogy actors to reprise their roles in the film. Anthony Daniels will always play C-3PO as long as he’s able, and Matthew Wood would continue to play General Grievous and the B1-Battle Droids in the show. What was unique was the return of Samuel L. Jackson and Christopher Lee as Mace Windu and Count Dooku to make the movie memorable.
3 – Anakin Skywalker
While the movie is Ahsoka’s introduction, The Clone Wars is very much a Skywalker film, with Anakin being the other main character. Matt Lanter captures the essence of Anakin perfectly, making him confident and skilled but nuanced when challenged. The series would carefully flesh out Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side, and it begins here when he’s faced with returning to Tatooine again.
4 – Obi-Wan Kenobi
James Arnold Taylor answers the call to step into the part of Obi-Wan Kenobi after Ewan McGregor defined the role in the Prequel Trilogy. Obi-Wan is the perfect counterbalance to Anakin, who is now his peer since Anakin’s only recently been knighted. Intelligent and full of that dry sass, Obi-Wan is excellent in the movie, whether bantering with Asajj Ventress or having a tea party to stall an enemy.
5 – Ahsoka Tano
Whoever thought that this snippy little flawed teenager making nicknames for her master and R2-D2 would become one of the franchise's most beloved characters? Ahsoka starts incredibly flawed, which is the mark of excellent storytelling. Dave Filoni, George Lucas, and their crew were rightfully smart in this choice because it gives Ahsoka a place to grow throughout the rest of the series.
6 – Commander Cody
Commander Cody was the face of the clones in the Prequel Trilogy. While he's more of a supporting character in the movie and throughout the show, Cody is still a significant figure whenever he’s here. Where Rex compliments his Jedi commander Anakin, Cody is this role for Obi-Wan, which makes Order 66 hard to watch in Revenge of the Sith once their friendship is fleshed out.
7 – Captain Rex
Captain Rex is the Paragon clone. The Clone Wars series has three main characters: Ahsoka, Anakin, and Rex, the usual point-of-view character for all the clones. Sure, other characters like Asajj Ventress have arcs, but when season seven came around, the creators focused on these three characters to tie up their stories.
Unlike Ahsoka, Rex starts as the ideal soldier. He’s brave, brilliant, like outsmarting Ventress, and shows why he’s a great leader. It’s purposeful writing for him as his arc in the show focuses on his disenchantment with the war, leading him to question everything.
8 – The Battle of Christophsis
The movie's opening battle is a great way to kick off the series as a whole. It’s a creative multistage brawl that lets each character get a moment to shine. It sets the tone of the show, especially in the early seasons. Anakin and Ahsoka stumbling to find their footing as a new master and student is hilarious, with Ahsoka almost killing Anakin. It comes to an emotional end with the next entry.
9 – Anakin Accepts Ahsoka as His Padawan
The dust has settled. Ahsoka is clearly upset because she made multiple mistakes. Anakin sits beside her with the setting Christophsis sun behind them. She braces herself as he says, “You’re reckless, little one. You never would have made it as Obi-Wan’s padawan.”
Crushed, Ahsoka hangs her head.
Until Anakin adds, “But you might make it as mine.”
Ahsoka gasps at the acceptance, and from this moment to the end of the show, Ahsoka and Anakin are forever connected. It’s a beautiful, simple scene as the two fully start their journey.
10 – Yoda
Yoda’s not in the movie much, but when he is, it’s to toot on the nostalgia horn. He’s very much a younger version of who he is in the Original Trilogy but with a dash of idealism. Yoda is one of the few bridges to the later films in the timeline.
11 – Admiral Yularen
Yularen is a fascinating character throughout The Clone Wars. His first appearance is A New Hope, where he’s part of the Imperial command on the Death Star. In shows like Star Wars Rebels and Andor, he’s a no-nonsense believer in justice and order, leading the Imperial Security Bureau.
But in The Clone Wars, he’s a good guy who serves with the heroes. He believes in the Republic, is allied with the Jedi, and fights for the same justice and order. He’s a fascinating character between the Prequel era to the Imperial one, shifting from hero to villain. If one character needs a novel to dive deep into him, it's Yularen.
12 – Tom Kane
The Clone Wars would not be what it is without Tom Kane. Not only does he voice Yoda and Yularen, but he is also the Voice of War narrator who reads the opening crawl. Outside of the “Siege of Mandalore” finale in season seven, Kane is in every episode of the show and opens the movie with his iconic voice.
In 2020, Kane suffered a debilitating stroke, forcing him to retire from voice acting. It was a significant blow as both fans and Lucasfilm loved his work.
13 – Kevin Kiner’s Score
As he is poised to make his live-action Star Wars debut with Ahsoka, Kevin Kiner got his start in an animated version of a galaxy far, far away. Outside of Star Wars Resistance, he has scored every major animated series. Along with his son and daughter Sean and Deana, the composers have crafted many memorable songs for animation, including Ahsoka’s theme. The Clone Wars movie is his earliest work, which is fascinating to see how far his music evolved through the franchise.
14 – Asajj Ventress
While The Clone Wars movie wouldn’t be the first appearance of Asajj Ventress, as she had been around in the Legends material, including Genndy Tartakovsky’s Star Wars: Clone Wars, this was her re-introduction to the current canon. Asajj bantering with Obi-Wan at the Battle of Teth is some of their best moments while facing off. She’s a fierce villain in the movie, making for a fun return.
15 – The Battle at the Teth Monastery
The Battle of Teth is centered around a monastery at the top of a plateau and is another creative entry in the opening salvo for The Clone Wars. It’s invented as the tanks crawl like spiders up the mountain wall as Kiner’s music shreds into a rock guitar riff. On one end is Anakin and Ahsoka leading the charge, while Obi-Wan duels Ventress. It’s another spectacular early battle.
16 – Count Dooku
Count Dooku is one of the main villains of the series, and, as mentioned above, it’s a real treat to have Christopher Lee voice him in the movies. Dooku is just as despicable and scene-chewing in The Clone Wars as he is in the Prequels. The show would flesh him out more and set the stage for other series like Tales of the Jedi to dig into his character.
17 – A Return to Tatooine
What is Star Wars if not returning to Tatooine for those nostalgic beats? Jabba the Hutt is here, playing a very different role for him: being a concerned father. The premise of the movie is his son Rotta has been kidnapped. Dooku frames the Jedi while Anakin and Ahsoka try to get the child back. The stakes are whoever wins gets to use Hutt Space for their war effort, so it’s a significant deal.
Where this return to Tatooine works is with Anakin. The events of Episode II: Attack of the Clones are very recent, meaning it’s been maybe months since his mother died on this planet, and he slaughtered a tribe of Tuskens in rage. Matt Lanter takes Anakin to that edge of the Jedi, trying to keep his nerve together in front of his new padawan while pushing back palpable pain.
18 – Rotta the Hutt
Where is Rotta the Hutt? Shouldn’t he be prepped to rule Tatooine in The Book of Boba Fett?
Plot questions aside, Rotta, nicknamed Stinky, is the son of Jabba, who Anakin and Ahsoka must rescue. While divisive among fans, he’s a perfectly made character for kids. The little Hutt poses a moral challenge for Anakin, who used to be an enslaved person owned by the Hutts. His Jedi duty is to save this child, which conflicts with his anger towards the mafia that led to the death of his mother.
19 – Ziro the Hutt
If Rotta was divisive, then Ziro was that tenfold. This writer loved that queer-coded, Truman Captote-esque villain who would continue to be present in the first half of the series. Having a Hutt on Coruscant in the capital of the Republic offers a new take on an old concept. Mileage may vary with fans whether or not Ziro was executed well, but he’s a joy to watch for this writer.
20 – Padmé Amidala
Like Anakin, who gets fully fleshed out throughout the show, The Clone Wars does wonders for Padmé’s character by giving her so much screen time. Showing up in the final third, she faces off against Ziro. While she gets more profound stories in the tv series, this is a nice, short re-introduction to her in animation to showcase why she is capable.
21 – Ahsoka’s First Victory
Anakin and Ahsoka split up. While Anakin faces Count Dooku in an exciting duel to distract the Sith Lord, Ahsoka takes Rotta on her own to race to Jabba’s palace. She’s cut off by Dooku’s MagnaGuards, which aren’t the funny little B1-Battle Droids from earlier. These beastly droids are made to kill Jedi, which is Ahsoka’s first significant test on her own as a padawan.
After a harrowing fight which Ahsoka almost loses if not for assistance from R2-D2, she arrives at Jabba’s palace to reunite the father and son. It’s a hard-earned victory and a shining moment for the young padawan.