Saved, the Clone Wars are! The shocking news from Comic-Con that the beloved animated series would return for 12 final episodes means Clone Wars has a chance to truly finish on its own terms. But in the five years since the show came to its end, we’ve learned about a lot of stories the show had planned on telling, but didn’t have the chance. So what exactly are we about to see?
Plans had already been made for up to eight seasons of Clone Wars when Disney bought Lucasfilm, but the series ended after six (although a truncated set of episodes dubbed The Lost Missions was cobbled together on Netflix to make that sixth half-season). In total, we know of 12 such stories, four-episode-long arcs that would’ve eventually brought the story of Clone Wars to an end. Some of those storylines have lived on in other forms—as books and comics, as packaged early-stage story reels, and others simply as stories, shared with fans as a look at what could’ve have been.
Given that the show’s newly-announced return is for just 12 episodes—three of those four-episode arcs—and we only have a certainty about one of the arcs that will actually be included, it remains to be seen which will become parts of Clone Wars farewell tour, and which will be left unfinished. Here’s a rundown on each arc that we’ve learned about over the last five years.
Son of Dathomir
In the immediate months and years after the cancellation of Clone Wars, a few of its untold stories got adaptations into other formats, as official parts of what was becoming Disney’s new Star Wars canon. The first was Son of Dathomir, one of the final Star Wars comics to be published by Dark Horse before the rights were handed over to Marvel.
The four-issue series offered an important bridge in the story of Darth Maul from Clone Wars to his reappearance on Rebels, and brought to an end another of Clone Wars’ subplots by dealing with Mother Talzin and the sinister Nightsisters of Dathomir. Seeking to destroy any potential dark side rivals ahead of his grand coup, Palpatine goes to war against Talzin and Maul with the help of Dooku and Grievous, successfully eliminating the threat of the Nightsisters while forcing a now-isolated Maul (after the death of his brother Savage) back to his stronghold on Mandalore. Given that the comic series is considered part of the Disney Canon thanks to its origins as a Clone Wars script, it’s unlikely this story will be retold in Clone Wars’ upcoming return.
Another canonical adaptation of an unfinished Clone Wars story comes in the form of Christie Golden’s Dark Disciple, which focuses on another former sith apprentice: Asajj Ventress. Dark Disciple adapted what would’ve been an overarching eight-episode storyline intended for Clone Wars’ complete sixth season, in which the Jedi make the troubling decision to bring an end to the Clone Wars by assassinating Count Dooku.
Jedi Quinlan Vos is given the controversial mission, which forces him to delve into the underworld of Coruscant with an unlikely partner in the form of Ventress, now on her own and operating as a bounty hunter. Ventress leaps at the chance to get revenge against her former master—but when their mission goes sideways, she is forced to rescue Vos from Dooku’s clutches when he purportedly chooses to give into the Dark Side and become Dooku’s latest minion. After Ventress sacrifices herself to save Vos in a final duel with Dooku on Christophsis, Vos returns to the light in remembrance of the fallen former Force user. Given the larger scope of the storyline and its canonization in novel form, this is another tale that’s unlikely to make it into the new season.
Crystal Crisis on Utapau
This story line actually got a sort-of release in the form of a multimedia project called The Clone Wars: Legacy, which included several unfinished story arcs as story reels, featuring voice acting from the Clone Wars cast over early-stage rough animatics.
The first of these four-episode arcs was “Crystal Crisis on Utapau,” a storyline tying into the world first glimpsed as part of Obi-Wan’s arc in Revenge of the Sith. Tasked with investigating the apparent murder of a Jedi Master on the world, Obi-Wan unravels a plot by General Grievous to harvest a ginormous kyber crystal from the planet, heavily implied by the storyline’s end as being Palpatine’s earliest attempts to get crystals for the Death Star superlaser. While it might be quicker for the Clone Wars team to bring these rough-draft animatics to completed episodes, given that these story reels have been out for years, it would be a little odd to treat them as entirely “new” stories as part of the new season. So while it’s possible, don’t expect this storyline to get a new coat of paint as part of Clone Wars’ revival.
Another of these story reel releases was “Bad Batch,” which dealt with the Kaminoans of Attack of the Clones grappling with the degradating genetic data of Jango Fett that they used to manufacture the Republic’s clone armies. While early episodes of Clone Wars had explored what happens when the cloning process with decaying original data goes wrong, “Bad Batch” imagined the inverse: a group of clones that had mutated beyond the standard Fett template with positive abilities like enhanced strength, weapons accuracy, or increased intelligence.
Operating as a Republic Special Forces squad, Clone Force 99—a.k.a. the titular “Bad Batch”—would’ve gotten a storyline that saw them called in to investigate the Separatists’ use of a secret Republic battle strategy known only to a few Clone Commanders, including the deceased Echo. Who, it turns out, was not entirely deceased, and had been kidnapped by the Separatists and horrifyingly kept alive with prosthetics and implants, and was having his brain used as a living computer for the harvesting of Republic strategies. Eww!
Once again, as this story was released in its entirety as part of Legacy, it’s a maybe unlikely it will receive the visual upgrade to completed episodes as part of the next season of Clone Wars. But we know at least one element of the storyline will: Hunter, the leader of Clone Force 99, is actually in the trailer for the final series—he’s that Rambo-looking Commando alongside Anakin as they look up to the vast Republic fleet.
Boba Fett vs. Cad Bane
Now we’re starting to get into the least-finalised story ideas from Clone Wars’ unfinished vaults. Not much of this storyline is known beyond a single clip released at Star Wars Celebration last year, which featured the young Boba Fett squaring off with the menacing Cad Bane, after the latter tried to teach the former about the harsh realities of being a bounty hunter.
The entire story would’ve included Boba finally donning his infamous suit of Mandalorian armour, but we know the fight would’ve also solved another of those Star Wars mysteries that never needed an answer: a shot from Bane would’ve deflected off Boba’s helmet, giving it the dent it has in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Some mysteries are perhaps best left unsolved.
Ahsoka in the Underworld
Although Ahsoka tragically left the Jedi Order at the climax of Clone Wars’ fifth season, the young ex-Jedi would’ve continued to be a major part of the series, as the show explored her trying to adapt to a new life outside of the Temple she’d called home for most of her lifetime.
One story would’ve introduced Ahsoka to a potential new love interest—a young, Han-Solo-esque smuggler called Nyx Okami—as she grappled with trying to survive the seedy lower levels of Coruscant (specifically level 1313, the location of the at-the-time scrapped Star Wars video game, Star Wars 1313) and still trying to do good, as the Jedi had taught her.
A Mystery Under the Jedi Temple
That storyline would’ve lead to a reunion between Ahsoka and her former master—not as a Jedi-in-arms, but with Ahsoka returning from her life in Coruscant’s underworld to warn the Jedi Council that she’d discovered something shocking in the ruins beneath the Jedi Temple: an ancient Sith Temple, hiding a source of untold Dark Side power.
Believing that this was the source of the evil vibes the Jedi had continued to sense about the mysterious Dark Lord in their midst, Ahsoka, Obi-Wan, and Anakin would’ve teamed up once more to investigate, descending to the lowest levels of Coruscant and having an encounter with a mysterious Sith who’s also attempting to access the Temple—none other than Darth Sidious himself.
Yoda on Kashyyyk
Another story idea born out of a line from the movies—Yoda telling the Jedi Council “Good relations with the Wookiees, I have” in Revenge of the Sith—this story would’ve began with the Republic lending aid to the Wookiee homeworld in a battle to defend it from an evil alliance between the Separatists and Trandoshan slavers seeking to hunt new Wookiees for their despicable trade.
As well as setting up what would become a major battle location in Revenge of the Sith, the storyline would’ve delved into the Wookiee culture in ways Star Wars rarely has, exploring their spirituality and their connections to the wroshyr trees and giant animals of their homeworld. A young Chewbacca, who had previously appeared on the show as a captive of the Trandoshans, would’ve played a major role in the arc.
A Captain Rex/R2-D2 Team-Up
This unlikely pairing was first revealed at Star Wars Celebration 2015. Starting out as a jokey Top Gun homage where Rex is forced to fly a mission in a starfighter with R2 after the Clone troopers got into an argument with their brothers in the Republic Navy, this story would then be extended thanks to Rex crashing on one of the moons of Ryloth, struggling to survive with only R2 for company.
The Canonization of the Yuuzhan Vong
Another, and altogether much more potentially controversial, storyline that Clone Wars could have explored had would’ve officially brought a major element of the Expanded Universe into Star Wars canon: the sinister alien invaders from another galaxy, the Yuuzahn Vong.
The Clone Wars storyline wouldn’t have gone as fully off the deep end as the Vong’s presence in the Expanded Universe had, thank goodness. It would’ve been a haunting, X-Files-y alien encounter with a lone Vong scout ship. While the story wouldn’t have explicitly confirmed the Vong’s EU origins as from being beyond the Star Wars galaxy, it would’ve heavily hinted at it—to assess the presence of a civilisation like the Republic and its mysterious Force users.
Although Clone Wars executive director Dave Filoni said his explorations of the storyline never got far, given that the current Star Wars canon seems to be pointing to a potentially similar force existing in the galaxy far, far away—the mysterious Unknown Regions, home to something sinister and dangerous that everyone from Snoke to Palpatine to Grand Admiral Thrawn was meant to be wary of—it’s crazy to imagine that being recontextualized in a world where Clone Wars had gotten to introduce the Vong back in 2014. For now, at least, it’s probably for the best that the Vong remain legends.
Mon Cala’s Political Crisis
One of the final planned stories for The Clone Wars would’ve brought the show back to the Mon Calamari homeworld, which had previously served as the location of a storyline revolving around the ascendance of a new king of the Mon Calamari, Lee-Char (who went on to have a rather tragic life in Marvel’s comics).
This time, the story, which involved Anakin and Padmé, would’ve taken a closer look at the other species that calls Mon Cala home, the Quarren. Growing more and more discontented with Palpatine’s executive power as Chancellor, Padmé would’ve come to Mon Cala to petition the Mon Calamari and Quarren Senators to join her burgeoning petition to oppose Palpatine’s extended stay in office, only to find that the Quarren leader had been murdered.
The Siege of Mandalore
This is the storyline we actually know the most about, thanks to Dave Filoni discussing it in detail at Star Wars Celebration Europe in 2016—and we also definitely know it’s appearing in the last season of Clone Wars, as details from it form most of the Comic-Con trailer’s footage.
Planned as the very final story of The Clone Wars, the Siege of Mandalore intended to re-unite Anakin, Ahsoka, and Obi-Wan for one last mission: to oust Darth Maul from his seat of power on Mandalore (after he’d wrestled control of the world during a coup with the Mandalorian terrorist Pre Vizsla earlier on in the series) and defeat his Shadow Collective one and for all. However, during the battle, Anakin and Obi-Wan would be called away due to an emergency—specifically, the events of the opening of Revenge of the Sith, with Grievous launching a surprise attack on Coruscant and abducting Chancellor Palpatine, cutting their reunion with Ahsoka short.
Before leaving the world and telling his former Padawan how proud he was of her, Anakin left both Rex and a battalion of Clones to support Ahsoka, their helmets re-painted with Ahsoka’s Togrutan face markings, as a sign of affection and a reminder that Ahsoka had grown well beyond the young girl she was when she was first assigned as Anakin’s padawan. Those Ahsoka-homaging helmets appeared on the new poster for Clone Wars’ return, so that touching moment will likely remain in the final version of the story line when we see it on Disney’s still-untitled streaming service.
What was unseen in that trailer, however, was another tidbit Filoni had previously discussed about this final story. Beyond the actual battle for Mandalore the story would’ve gone deeper into the background of what was happening to Rex and Ahsoka during the events of Revenge of the Sith—specifically, how the two ended up surviving Order 66. The details ended up making their way into E.K. Johntson’s Ahsoka novel (Rex had his inhibitor chip disabled after the events of The Lost Mission’s haunting brush with the command, so Order 66 did not affect him—and after escaping the clones the duo faked their deaths and went their separate ways), but whether or not we’ll see them realised in this upcoming season remains to be seen.