2. Themes and relationships are unpacked
More so than simply getting to spend more time with our favorite heroes, we get to see some important themes and relationships for the prequels unpacked. One of the great things the movie and subsequent show do is provide background to the galaxy-changing decisions made by Anakin Skywalker in Episode III.
In Episode II Anakin is unable to let go of his mother, his attachment to her providing the fertile soil for his descent into darkness. In Episode III we see Palpatine manipulate this even further, with Anakin’s attachment to his wife Padme Amidala the crux of his decision to pursue the dark side of the Force.
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In The Clone Wars we see his attachment issues from the start. Even with a Padawan learner he just met, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda understand that he may grow overly attached, with Yoda commenting it will not be training Ahsoka Tano but letting her go that could prove the most difficult for the Jedi Knight. Early in the first season we similarly see Anakin go to great lengths to rescue R2-D2.
His attachment to the people he loves is both commendable and unhealthy, and continually he is manipulated into situations where others suffer due to his inability to let go. He wants to ensure everyone around him is safe at all times. We love when he goes the extra mile to save someone he cares about, but we cringe when he makes a clearly wrong decision motivated by his desire to control and hang on.
Other themes spin out from Anakin as well. We see his reckless tendencies mellowed as he seeks to pass some amount of restraint on to his eager apprentice Ahsoka Tano. We see Obi-Wan Kenobi balance his role, no longer as Anakin’s day-to-day master but still trying to provide counsel to his friend and comrade.
We see Anakin’s relationship with Padme develop and exert influence on his decisions. We see Obi-Wan’s growing rapport with the Jedi Council as he becomes a major player in the Jedi Order. We also get to see Palpatine balancing the war on the point of his own knife, feeding the Separatists more information than they should have while leading Republic himself. Many of the background themes of Episode III are developed and highlighted here in The Clone Wars.