The 10 best ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ arcs, ranked

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First premiering in 2008, Star Wars: The Clone Wars would lay the foundation of the expanded galaxy in Disney’s new Star Wars canon. The series filled the galaxy far, far away with new characters and became essential viewing for fans of the prequels. After facing an untimely cancellation after six seasons, The Clone Wars returned bigger and better than ever with a new and final season in 2020 that gave us all a bit of closure — and with it some tears — by finally connecting the show to Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Here are our favorite moments along the way.

The Citadel

Episodes 3.18 – 3.20

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Anakin and Obi-Wan work together again to save Republic prisoners from an imposing Separatist prison. The Citadel arc is The Clone Wars’ take on a heist movie, with plenty of its hallmark action, espionage, and droid-filled shenanigans. It’s also the series’ introduction of Captain Wilhuff Tarkin. The Republic officer — who would go on to serve the Empire as Grand Moff and command the Death Star in A New Hope — forms a quick bond with Anakin, a grim portent of what’s to come. The Citadel arc also features the heroic sacrifice of the ARC Trooper Echo, who was thought lost until the season seven finale aired.

Kamino

Episodes 3.01 – 3.02

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The first episode of The Clone Wars’ third season, “Clone Cadets,” put a face to the soldier and showed how, despite their genes and training, each trooper has their own story. Echo, Fives, Hevy, and Cutup of Domino Squad butt heads while struggling to pass their final exam and enter combat. Worried they may be doomed to maintenance, Jedi Master Shaak Ti gives them a second chance. “Arc Troopers” features a decisive attack and iconic battle on the clone’s home world of Kamino. Set after Cadets, only two members of Domino Squad can return to save their planet, but each owes their lives to the sacrifice of the heroic maintenance clone, 99.

Clone Protocol 66

Episodes 6.01 – 6.04

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Clone Protocol 66 is the first arc of the series’ sixth season, which originally aired on Netflix rather than live on Cartoon Network. With the events of Star Episode III: Revenge of the Sith approaching, one clone moves into the endgame a little too early. When Tup kills Jedi Master Tiplar, the Sith’s secret plan to weaponize the clones against the Jedi is jeopardized as our beloved Arc Trooper, Fives, hunts for answers. While we learn news details of how Order 66 was planned and implemented, Fives goes too far in uncovering the plot to destroy the Jedi, prompting Supreme Chancellor Palpatine to make a surprise entrance and silence the rogue clone. The Clone Wars would be canceled at the end of the season before season seven was announced six years later.

Corruption on Umbara

Episodes 4.07 – 4.10

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When Anakin Skywalker’s 501st Legion and Obi Wan Kenobi’s 212th Attack Battalion are left under the command of Jedi Master Pong Krell on Umbara, the clones will have to work together to survive. With visuals inspired by Vietnam war films, this four-episode arc from season four of The Clone Wars is a step forward in the production of the series as a whole. But, the battle on Umbara takes a dark turn when we learn Kell’s careless leadership and poor strategy have been intentionally costly for the clones. While we sympathize with Rex, Cody, Fives, and the bunch, we can’t help but know Krell was ultimately one of the few people in the galaxy who foresaw the events of Order 66, something even Yoda and Mace Windu could not. 

Bad Batch

Episodes 7.01 – 7.04

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Before they had their own spin-off series, Clone Force 99 made their debut in The Clone Wars’ final season. The squad of experimental clones are the stars of the first arc of the final season, using their unique and individual talents to help Mace Windu and Anakin Skywalker best Separatist forces on Anaxes. The arc also features the return of Echo, who was revealed to be captured during The Citadel arc and forced to help droid computers strategize against his clone brethren.

Obi-Wan Undercover

Episodes 4.15 – 4.18

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Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi dawns a disguise and infiltrates a separatist mission to kidnap the chancellor as the bounty hunter Rako Hardeen. Slipping right under the nose of his master’s master, Obi-Wan passes Count Dooku’s trials to join the group of bounty hunters alongside the infamous Cad Bane, who thinks he’s just killed the Jedi Master. The wide array of killing implements in the criminal underbelly of the galaxy is put on full display as we see the best of the best fight it out before acting on their doomed plan to abduct the chancellor. Plus, Obi-Wan has too much fun playing dead. 

Shadow Collective

Episodes 5.14 – 5.16

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Working together, Darth Maul and Savage Opress team up with the Mandalorian insurgency group Death Watch to overthrow the Duchess Satine and bait Obi-Wan Kenobi into a lethal confrontation in the Mandalorian Capitol. And while Maul gets his revenge, he loses much in the process when Darth Sidious shows up. With some of the best blaster and saber action in the entire series, the Shadow Collective shows the fall of Mandalore as a great personal tragedy for Obi-Wan Kenobi and further complicates Maul’s vicious character.

Secrets of Mortis

Episodes 3.15 – 3.17

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It would be hard to talk about the legacy of The Clone Wars without looking at the trilogy of episodes above the titular mysterious dream world in season three. Secrets of Mortis is one of the first deep dives into the ontology of the force in the current canon, sending Anakin, Ahsoka, and Obi-Wan on a tumultuous journey with powerful, archetypal avatars of the force. But while our heroes are shown ominous visions of their future under the Empire, none seems able to remember their adventure on the surface. As if it was all a dream.

Rogue Jedi

Episodes 5.17 – 5.20

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Ahsoka Tano stands trials and departs the Jedi order in one of the most consequential arcs of season five. After she was framed for a deadly bombing in the Jedi Temple, the loyalty of both Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan and the Council are tested. She stands trial alone — save for Anakin — as the Jedi stand by and watch her take the fall for a mysterious incident. And after fighting to prove her innocence, Ahsoka chooses to leave the order that didn’t trust her, fomenting an irreconcilable division between Anakin and his Jedi masters.

Siege of Mandalore

Episodes 7.09 – 7.12

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The final arc of The Clone Wars, the Siege of Mandalore, crashes into Revenge of the Sith and reveals the tragic fates of the series’ many original characters under Order 66. Shortly after returning to the field, Ahsoka is thrust into chaos and must work together with Maul to survive the betrayal of the clones and save any she can. Siege of Mandalore brings together the developments of many arcs before, including Rogue Jedi and Clone Protocol 66. Holding nothing back, the three climatic episodes of season seven capture the personal loss of clones and Jedi alike and the grim bewilderment of the Night of a Thousand Tears, making it a fitting conclusion to everything the series built. 

You can watch The Clone Wars on Disney Plus.