Why The Clone Wars movie seems so awful compared to the TV show


Ten years ago today, Lucasfilm released its first-ever Star Wars animated movie. The Clone Wars film was not the hit the studio hoped for. But the show that followed exceeded their expectations.

As the Star Wars fandom waits anxiously for new episodes of The Clone Wars to air next fall, series re-watches stream on Netflix and run on DVD players everywhere.

If you’re watching in chronological order, you might hesitate when you get to The Clone Wars movie on your list. Watch it, or skip it? Is it worth giving a second (third? Fourth?) chance?

The movie made a little over $35 million at the box office in the U.S. and received an 18 percent freshness core from critics on Rotton Tomatoes. The holiday special received a 33 percent score.

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And yet, the TV series got a 95 percent rating. Its 2013 cancellation broke millions of hearts. And the entire fanbase lost its mind when Dave Filoni and company announced they were officially bringing the series back.

How did a series that started with such a misstep become one of our favorite on-screen Star Wars creations of all time? We have a few theories.

Ahsoka who?

Even though her surprise appearance was possibly the best part of the new Clone Wars trailer, Ahsoka Tano wasn’t always a beloved Star Wars character. In fact, many people hated her in the beginning. It’s actually pretty understandable why.

If you thought Anakin was annoying in the prequels, his new padawan seems a thousand times that when you first meet her. She’s “snippy.” Young. Outspoken. Put there to make Obi-Wan’s apprentice seem more mature, perhaps.

But Ahsoka is actually the one who matures the most over the course of the series. And maybe that was the point. She goes from naive padawan to a member of the Jedi Order wise enough to know it’s time to leave it.

Season five Ahsoka is a completely different character than original movie Ahsoka. It takes a series for her to grow up.

It wasn’t originally supposed to be a movie …

For the most part, TV series aren’t usually their best in the beginning. It can take awhile for a show to hit just the right tone and style it’s going to stick with for the rest of its run.

Technically, The Clone Wars wasn’t supposed to start with a feature-length movie. The film is really several episodes of the show edited together.

So if it seems awkward and rough, that’s because it is. It took some time, but the series eventually evolved into something unforgettable.

The series got better as its seasons progressed

Compared to the movie that started it all, later seasons of the show are just … better.

As the show progressed, it got deeper and darker. Not so much that young kids couldn’t still watch, but it lost most of the “cringe” the original movie and early seasons hadn’t yet figured out how to shake.

All shows — and their characters — take a little time to grow into what they’re supposed to be. As a cluster of TV episodes, fans probably could have more easily forgiven the disaster the movie ended up as. Treating it as a standalone project just makes it seem much worse than it actually is.

dark. Next. What we know about Ahsoka’s role in the upcoming Star Wars: The Clone Wars season

Whether you include the movie in your rewatch of the series or not, it’s probably not as bad as you remember it. Or, at the very least, you can watch it knowing there’s much better material soon to come.

Did you see The Clone Wars in theaters? Will you rewatch it again before new episodes air in 2019?