George Lucas’s apprentice Dave Filoni has given us a grand finale to Clone Wars inseparable from Revenge of the Sith. My guide to viewing the two works together as an apex of Star Wars glory.
SILVER SPRING—This is one of my shortest posts ever on my site, and counts among one of the few that stray from the real world, but on Disney+ Day 2021, behold: the “Bfry Cut” for the combined viewing into one supercut of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars finale arc and Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which mostly take place concurrently with each other.
This presentation is for maximum emotional impact and makes for one of the most emotional Star Wars viewing experiences possible (perhaps even the most). At the very least, this presentation hopes you have seen Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones, the 2008 Clone Wars movie, and the rest of the Clone Wars series (the 3D, not the also-riveting 2D microseries). While you may have seen other relevant installments like the Original Trilogy, The Mandalorian, the recent The Bad Batch, and Clone Wars’s far-lesser successor Rebels (spoilers in that link!)—as I did, meaning that I knew the fates of all the main characters—this presentation works in terms of giving the viewer the maximum emotional impact whether you know the eventual fates of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padmé Amidala, Chancellor Palpatine, Yoda, Ahsoka Tano, and Captain Rex or not (given Disney’s remarkably haphazard chronological storytelling here, plenty of you may know and plenty of you may not know what happens, and either is ok).
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW for The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Clone Wars, and Revenge of the Sith. I could do a whole other discussion of how this presentation fits into wider Star Wars in a deeper sense, and perhaps I will another time, but for now, let’s set up the presentation itself.
We have followed the developments of Chosen One Anakin Skywalker, at least chronologically, since The Phantom Menace, when he was ripped apart from his mother and ended up with Obi-Wan as a brother-and-mentor figure and something of an oedipal complex with Queen Padmé Amidala as a replacement for his mother figure and feminine love in his life. In Attack of the Clones, that love becomes a full romance (and a forbidden marriage) as a teenage Anakin fails to rescue his dying other and is thrust into the Republic’s civil war as the Clone Wars begin, seeing Chancellor Palpatine also take on something of a mentor relationship with Anakin but being more of a father figure to him than Obi-Wan. The Clone Wars movie and series have shown us Anakin’s deepening relationships with those we already know but also shows us the new relationships with Clone Captain Rex and, especially, a padawan he reluctantly takes on under the prodding of Master Yoda, Ahsoka Tano (and the relationship between Ahsoka and Rex, too).
We have followed their many ups and downs throughout the war, Anakin seeing the war strain his relationships with Padmé, Obi-Wan, and the Jedi Council and also seeing his padawan tearfully leave the Jedi Order after it accused her of being a terrorist. Not long after this, a heartbroken Anakin almost had Padmé leave him after the Council involves her in a dangerous investigation into her old flame’s involvement with the Banking Clan. The final season of Clone Wars begins with two arcs, the first four showing Anakin (albeit not as the central character) willing to walk and cross the line to achieve victory, the second showing us how an Ahsoka on her own gets sucked into the whole Darth Maul/Mandalore saga, so you should finish those two arcs (they take place in reverse chronological order, so I recommend Season 7, Episodes 5-8 and then 1-4) first if you have not seen them already. As a bonus refresher, I also recommend two of the YouTuber AD_edits’s reimagined modern trailers for The Phantom Menace (here) and Attack of the Clones (here) before beginning my supercut.
The Bfry Cut for Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and the Clone Wars Finale
Here, my recommended Bfry Cut presentation begins with a deleted scene from an unfinished arc of Clone Wars, produced and voiced before Disney acquired Lucasfilm and recently finished by a fan using the unreal engine; here, Anakin vents his frustration to Obi-Wan about Ahsoka leaving the Order, how he blames himself, and asks Obi-Wan how he would feel if he, Anakin, turned out to be a disappointment. Each step represents starting a viewing of one item and then a switch to another piece of media or back, and I recommend alcohol (my vote is for whiskey) during the viewing (roughly 3 hours, 50 minutes and I recommend doing it in one sitting if possible
1.) Watch this aforementioned deleted scene (below, watch in full-screen to avoid possible spoilers from video suggestions):
2.) Start the first episode of the final arc of Clone Wars (CW) Season 7, which is Episode 9. Roughly midway through that episode, switch at 16:22 (when some major characters have to interrupt a meeting and run off) to Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (ROTS).
3.) Start ROTS. At 27:37 in ROTS (right after a reunion for two major characters and a cut to s ship flying in space), switch back to where you left off at 16:22 in CW (to see what is happening back at this end during what you just saw in ROTS).
4.) Finish CW Season 7, Episode 9. Continue into CW Season 7, Episode 10 until 2:57 (the end of a fight and a cut to a subsequent after-action meeting). Then switch back to ROTS where you left off at 27.37.
5.) Continue into ROTS until 52:24 (when it fades to black after two main characters part ways as one goes off on a mission) then go back to where you left off in CW, Season 7 Episode 10, at 2:57, to how things tie in directly there.
6.) Finish CW Season 7, Episode 10 (if you must break into two separate viewings, I recommend breaking after finishing this episode, but if you can do it all in one sitting!). Then go back to that fade-to-black spot in ROTS at 52:24.
7.) Finish all of ROTS, and do finish all the music/credits after the final shot. Then go back to CW, to start Season 7, Episode 11.
8.) Finish the final two episodes of CW (Season 7, Episodes 11-12) straight-through, including the final episode’s music/credits after the final shot.
You will be in shock, perhaps tears. I recommend taking some deep breaths and drinking more whiskey or your drink of choice.
© 2021 Brian E. Frydenborg all rights reserved, permission required for republication, attributed quotations welcome
See my related take for Dork Side of the Force about how the Clone Wars finale is some of the best Star Wars out there and my own takes here on what Star Wars can teach us about good and evil in the real world and how Clone Wars was one of the most popular shows of 2020.
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