For seven seasons and 133 episodes, Star Wars: The Clone Wars cemented itself as one of the most impressive pieces of Star Wars canon ever made. Released during a time when the prequels were still mostly punching bags and Star Wars as a whole was on a steep decline, The Clone Wars proved that the series still had gas left in the tank.
The show’s unique anthology-like structure helped it stand out from other shows of the time. Its story arcs, ones that rarely spanned more than 3-4 episodes, helped establish a wide array of characters and events that showcased the sheer scale of the Clone Wars while also delivering some of the best individual stories in the franchise.
Updated on September 4, 2023, by Diego Pineda Pacheco:
Star Wars fans are incredibly excited for Ahsoka and all that it might do for the beloved storylines and characters that have been introduced both in the main canon, and in spin-offs. To boost your enjoyment of the show even further, it’s a great idea to check out some of the most important Ahsoka arcs from The Clone Wars, which there is no shortage of.
18 Padmé Amidala
Season 3, Episodes 10 & 11 (2010)
Closing off the first half of season 3 of The Clone Wars, “Heroes on Both Sides” and “Pursuit of Peace” are two of the most underrated episodes in the whole show, telling the story of Padmé finding herself in the midst of a political conspiracy.
If you like your Star Wars with a side of political intrigue and thriller elements, this is the arc for you. Giving Padmé, Ahsoka, and Bail Organa some great character development, the story shows that the struggle between Republic and Separatists was never black and white, and that there were always good and bad guys on both sides. It isn’t typically counted among the best Clone Wars arcs, but it definitely deserves more love.
Season 3, Episodes 1 & 2 (2010)
The show’s third season started off strong with the “Kamino” arc, where the story takes a deep dive into the training and everyday lives of the clones on the Kamino cloning facility, culminating in an explosive battle against General Grievous.
The Clone Wars is typically at its strongest when it focuses on its real protagonists: The clones. This arc provides some emotionally powerful character arcs and incredibly fun moments for fans that enjoy these kinds of clone-centric episodes, as well as one of the most thrilling battles in the entire series.
16 Magic of the Holocron
Season 2, Episodes 1-3 (2009)
The first chronological appearance of fan-favorite Cad Bane (one of Star Wars‘ best bounty hunters), this three-episode arc opens Season 2 in grand fashion. In it, Cad Bane is hired by Darth Sidious to steal a Jedi Holocron so he can use it to find Force-sensitive children across the galaxy.
The stakes are high as the Jedi race against time to get the Holocron and crystal back, but the real treat of the arc is seeing Cad Bane always one step ahead of the Jedi, lending them a fallibility that puts their eventual fall into more perspective.
Season 5, Episodes 2-5 (2012)
As The Clone Wars progressed, the line between good and evil kept getting blurrier and blurrier, with the show successfully showing that nothing is ever so black and white in a war. The “Onderon” arc proves this idea further, showing a group of rebels that fight against the Separatists but don’t side with the Republic.
Dark, gritty, mature, and with some much-welcome development for Ahsoka in what’s perhaps the best season for her as a character, these four episodes are crucial for understanding the chaotic nature of the Clone Wars.
14 The Bad Batch
Season 7, Episodes 1-4 (2020)
They now have their own groundbreaking story arcs in their own show, but it’s worth remembering that the Bad Batch was introduced in the final season of The Clone Wars, in a 4-episode arc about the titular team aiding the Republic in uncovering the Separatists’ strategies.
Considering how the episodes introduce the main characters of the spin-off The Bad Batch, it’s safe to say that it’s one of the most important Clone Wars arcs. As if that weren’t enough, it adds an entertaining and action-packed narrative and a number of memorable characters, making it one of the most fun stories in the show.
Season 1, Episodes 19-21 (2009)
As the penultimate arc of the first season of The Clone Wars, the “Ryloth” arc had a lot on its shoulders, and it delivered. It’s a story that encapsulates all that makes the show so enrapturing: Nail-biting action, moving character moments, and impressive animation, all of which make it no wonder why this is considered one of the best-ever animated sci-fi shows.
With some of the most interesting clone characters in the series, and some really exciting Jedi action led by Mace Windu, the arc was one of the first to show the impressive scale that the Clone Wars reached in their most pivotal moments.
12 The Citadel
Season 3, Episodes 18-20 (2011)
Star Wars has seen its fair share of terrifying villains, but few as menacing as Wilhuff Tarkin. It’s in the “The Citadel” arc where fans are shown the character’s first chronological appearance in a major piece of Star Wars media, as a group of Jedi and troopers break into a Separatist prison to rescue a vital group of higher-ups.
The arc, aside from having sky-high stakes and being incredibly entertaining, shows the Separatists at their strongest. Perhaps most importantly, it shows the dangerous mentality of who would become one of the Empire’s key leaders.
Season 6, Episodes 10-13 (2014)
Yoda-focused Clone Wars stories are rare, but always bound to be a great, fantastical spiritualistic journey. The Jedi Master is contacted by the long-deceased voice of Qui-Gon Jinn, forcing him to go on a journey of self-discovery and reflection as he learns that even he has things to discover about the nature of the Force.
This story stands out not just for its simplicity, but for how it recontextualizes Yoda in the prequels. It explains that even he lost his way during the war, but the difference between him and the rest of the Jedi is that Yoda began to find his way back. It’s arcs like these that make The Clone Wars one of the most bingeable animated shows of the 21st century.
10 Crisis on Mandalore
Season 2, Episodes 12-14 (2010)
While its initial airing was met with controversy from long-time Legends fans due to its deviations from canon, Crisis on Mandalore is still exceptional in its own right. Obi-Wan heads to Mandalore to work with Duchess Satine and figure out the culprit behind missing Republic forces, while also dealing with his feelings for her.
While it’s fun seeing Obi-Wan reckon with his past, the real meat of the arc explores themes of terrorism and internal corruption. Plus, the introduction of the Darksaber and the Death Watch are a treat to see in retrospect, in what’s undoubtedly one of Clone Wars‘ best arcs.
9 The Nightsisters Trilogy
Season 3, Episodes 12-14 (2011)
Also known as the “Witches and Monsters” arc, this one finds Asajj Ventress chasing her revenge against Count Dooku when the Sith Lord betrays her and leaves her for dead. It’s a fascinating story, and no fan would have complained if it had gotten an equally interesting spin-off after Clone Wars.
There is no shortage of things to love about this arc. It introduces one of the show’s most iconic and important characters in Savage Opress, gives Ventress some much-needed development, and explores the mystique of Dathomir’s Night Sisters and their intriguing culture.
8 Corruption on Umbara
Season 4, Episodes 7-10 (2011)
“Corruption on Umbara” is unique among Clone Wars arcs, as it focuses almost entirely on side characters. Anakin is briefly shown at the start of the arc, but leaves a third of the way through the first episode and is replaced by Jedi Master Pong Krell, who turns out to be a tough general. Maybe a little too tough.
Filled with morally grey characters and scenarios, Umbara presents a darker side of the war that would probably be left out of the history books. It’s one of the darkest parts of the entire series, and its eventual resolution is left up to the audience’s interpretation of whether the clones did the right thing in the end.
7 Return to Geonosis
Season 2, Episodes 4-8 (2009)
As the longest arc in the series, the Second Battle of Geonosis absolutely justifies its length by exploring the lead-up, the battle itself, and the aftermath all in one go. The Separatists have built yet another droid factory on Geonosis, this time far better and deadlier. The Republic begins their assault on the planet to put a stop to it once and for all.
This is the biggest the series had gotten up to that point, and the huge battle that results from it is impressive and remains one of the highlights of the entire season (and is among the best Star Wars battles), full of interesting set-ups for the future of the show and pay-offs for what had come before.
6 Darth Maul Returns
Season 4, Episodes 19-22 (2012)
In the closing arc of Clone Wars‘s fourth season (one of its best, and one of the main reasons why this is still the best Star Wars animated show), Ventress is finding her way through the galaxy while Savage Opress embarks on a quest to find the legendary Darth Maul, his long-lost brother.
Any fan of the show will remember where they were when they saw Darth Maul return, and what their shocked reaction was like. Aside from having a bunch of iconic scenes and engaging action set pieces, the arc brings back what became one of the franchise’s most crucial villains over time.
5 The Mortis Trilogy
Season 3, Episodes 15-17 (2011)
Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Ahsoka find themselves in a mysterious realm only known as Mortis, whose only residents are The Father, The Son, and The Daughter, all representing different aspects of The Force itself. Here, Anakin’s destiny becomes clear as The Son plots to overtake The Father as the ruler of Mortis.
Steeped in subtext, metaphor, and symbolism, The Mortis Trilogy marked a change in tone for the series as it headed into a bleaker, more mature direction. Its exploration of The Force brings it back to its mystical, mysterious nature from the original trilogy, and Anakin’s development is a crucial turning point that leads into Revenge of the Sith, making it one of the most essential Clone Wars arcs.
4 The Shadow Collective
Season 5, Episodes 14-16 (2013)
In his attempts to finally take down Kenobi, Maul forms an alliance with Death Watch to lure him back and finally take his revenge. What follows is one of the most heartbreaking segments of the entire series, and certainly one of the best arcs in Clone Wars.
It’s a rough one to sit through, especially if you’ve been watching chronologically. Seeing Obi-Wan at his lowest point prior to Revenge of the Sith is hard, and it also features Maul at his most terrifying, fully showcasing why he’s a force to be reckoned with.
3 The Rogue Jedi
Season 5, Episodes 17-20 (2013)
One of the questions that many fans had going into The Clone Wars was “what will happen to Ahsoka?”. After all, she isn’t so much as mentioned in the Skywalker Saga, so clearly something dire must have happened.
The final four episodes of Season 5, which was the final season aired on Cartoon Network before its initial cancellation, explain what happened in great detail. Suffice it to say, it’s a massive piece of growth for Ahsoka as a character and cements her place as one of the Star Wars canon’s greatest characters.
2 Clone Protocol 66
Season 6, Episodes 1-4 (2014)
In one of the most tragic arcs of the entire series, Fives discovers a conspiracy that affects all clones, and it follows his fruitless efforts to expose it despite the audience knowing that, no matter what he does, he has to fail. Order 66 must happen, and Fives can’t get out of this alive.
Normally with prequels, there can be a sense of redundancy to everything since the audience knows what is going to happen, but the great thing about this arc is that it plays into that. There is a great air of tragedy looming over the whole story, resulting in some of the clones’ best moments in The Clone Wars.
1 The Siege of Mandalore
Season 7, Episodes 9-12 (2020)
The final arc of the series, the Siege of Mandalore, was a dream come true for many Star Wars fans to finally see come to light, and it did not disappoint. Taking place at the same time as Revenge of the Sith, it follows Ahsoka and Rex as they lead a squad of troopers to Mandalore to reclaim it from Death Watch and Maul, while then dealing with the events of Order 66.
Like a lot of great finales, the Siege of Mandalore focuses on what makes Clone Wars great in the first place by centering on its two real leads: Ahsoka and Rex. Their arcs are wrapped up beautifully, turning this into arguably the best Clone Wars arc of them all.