Monday was Star Wars Day and the franchise celebrated by releasing the final episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The series is George Lucas' last contribution to the worldwide phenomena he created back in 1977. Lucas and executive producer Dave Filoni always intended for The Clone Wars to bridge the gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. In the new era of Star Wars since the Disney acquisition, it does even more than that. The Clone Wars serves as the cornerstone and binding agent for most of Star Wars television. That includes the animated series Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars' first live-action series, The Mandalorian.
Star Wars Rebels offers direct continuations of the stories of some of the characters from The Clone Wars. The Mandalorian's connections to Clone Wars are less direct, at least thus far, but no less important. We're here to help piece together the narrative web that Filoni has woven between these three television shows. There's a rich tapestry there that deserves to have a light shone on it. Keep reading to get the full picture of how these series connect.
The final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars is now available to stream via Disney+. Every episode of Star Wars Rebels is also available to stream on Disney+. The first season of The Mandalorian is streaming on Disney+, and work on the second season is underway. Disney+ also debuted Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Mandalorian, on Star Wars Day.
The Clone Wars focuses most on characters from Attack of the Clones, but it also rescues The Phantom Menace's villain from obscurity. Darth Maul looked tough in the lead up to the release of the first Star Wars prequel. Then he went down by the end of the movie and replaced by Count Dooku, a.k.a Darth Tyrannus, in the sequels.
The Clone Wars revealed that Maul survived what seemed like a fatal blow from Obi-Wan Kenobi. His brother, Savage Opress, found him. He got new artificial legs and went on to become a nuisance to the galaxy again. In Clone Wars, he becomes a crime lord and takes control of the planet Mandalore.
The final episodes of The Clone Wars show him finally taken into custody by Captain Rex and Ahsoka Tano. He manages to escape and later returns in Star Wars Rebels. By then, he's become obsessed with Obi-Wan Kenobi and tries to corrupt young Jedi padawan Ezra Bridger to serve his purposes.
Introduced in the original Clone Wars movie, Ahsoka Tano is Anakin Skywalker's padawan. While The Clone Wars had an ensemble cast and told a variety of tales, it's Ahsoka's arc from padawan to ex-Jedi that served as the series' backbone. It also turned her into a breakout character, the first Star Wars television character to rival the popularity of those from the films.
Ahsoka's story continues from Jedi outcast to Rebel Alliance agent in Star Wars Rebels. It may continue further in the upcoming second season of The Mandalorian.
As much as The Clone Wars focuses on Ahsoka Tano, it also offers new details on the story of her master, Anakin Skywalker. One of the greatest accomplishments of The Clone Wars is that it adds new depth to Anakin, putting on display many of the endearing characteristics that the prequels insisted Anakin possessed but couldn't produce on-screen.
While The Clone Wars enriches the story of Anakin's fall to the dark side, it doesn't stop there. The emotional last scene of The Clone Wars foreshadows a duel between master and apprentice that takes place during Star Wars Rebels.
Thanks to Ahsoka, Rex managed to escape his Order 66 programming. He went underground with a couple of other clones who appeared throughout The Clone Wars — Gregor and Wolffe. All three appear in Star Wars Rebels after Ahsoka sends the Ghost crew to seek their aid in the fight against the Empire.
The Clone Wars spends several episodes dealing with the politics of Mandalore. The planet has a historic enmity with the Jedi, having once fought wars of expansion against the Force-wielders. Under the rule of Duchess Satine Kryze, Mandalore traded its warrior ways for pacifism and neutrality during the Clone Wars.
That didn't stop the planet from becoming embroiled in Darth Sidious' plot to overthrow the Republic. This led to civil war. The traditionalist Death Watch tried to remove Satine from power, necessitating Jedi intervention.
Then Maul came to Mandalore. He killed Satine and took control of Mandalore from the shadows, installing a puppet governor. The final story arc of The Clone Wars covers the Siege of Mandalore, which freed the planet from Maul's control.
That didn't last. The Empire soon occupied Mandalore. Though the Mandalorians at one point united to fight back, as seen in Star Wars Rebels, the planet was later "purged" by the Empire. Though the details of this event remain unclear for now, we know Moff Gideon from The Mandalorian had something to do with it.
One symbol of Mandalore's importance to the history of the Star Wars universe is the Darksaber. According to legend, Tarre Vizla created this unique, black-bladed lightsaber. Tarre was the first Mandalorian Jedi and later became Mand'alor, the traditional leader of Mandalore. After his death, the Darksaber resided in the Jedi Temple. House Vizla recovered it during the fall of the Old Republic and made it a symbol of the house.
Pre Vizla had the Darksaber when he staged his coup against Duchess Satine. The weapon later came into the possession of Darth Maul, who still had it in his possession during Star Wars Rebels. Ezra Bridger took it from Maul and gave it Sabine Wren, who used it to unite the clans of Mandalore against the Empire. She passed it onto Bo-Katan Kryze, but it fell into the hands of Moff Gideon sometime after the Purge of Mandalore. He possesses the weapon as of The Mandalorian's first season.
Gar Saxon is a Mandalorian and a member of the traditionalist House Vizla. When Maul took control of the planet, Vizla allied himself with the former Sith Lord's Shadow Collective. He even modified his Mandalorian armor to resemble Maul with a black and red color scheme and horns on the helmet. Because of this, he's sometimes referred to by fans as the "Mauldalorian."
Saxon returns in Star Wars Rebels. By then he's the leader of the Imperial Supercommandoes, the Mandalorian faction loyal to the Empire.
It was Bo-Katan's Nite Owls who reached out to the Republic for aid. In the final season of The Clone Wars, Bo-Katan finds Ahsoka and gets her to convince the Republic to lay siege to Mandalore and take out Maul. In Star Wars Rebels, she fought alongside Sabine Wren and the rebels to free Mandalore from Imperial occupation. She accepted the Darksaber as a token of leadership.
Sabine Wren is the daughter of Ursa Wren, the leader of Clan Wren and one of Bo-Katan's Nite Owls. Her relationship with her mother strained during the imperial occupation of Mandalore. Sabine left Mandalore to join the rebellion.
After coming into possession of the Darksaber, Sabine returned to Mandalore to unite the clans and fight the Empire. She passed the Darksaber onto Bo-Katan, leaving Mandalore again to continue to fight for the rebellion elsewhere. After the fall of the Empire, she joined with Ahsoka in searching for young Jedi Ezra Bridger, who had gone missing.
When he was a child, the settlement where Djarin lived became the site of a battle during the Clone Wars. Separatist battle droids invaded the town, killing almost everyone living there. He survived thanks to the intervention of members of the Death Watch but lost his parents. Mando now lives by the tenets of the Tribe.