Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 7 episode 1 review: Worth the wait — and more

Above all, it’s already clear everyone involved in bringing the final season of The Clone Wars back to the small screen gave it their all.

Since the day Dave Filoni and cast of The Clone Wars announced the return of the series, Star Wars fans haven’t stopped talking about what the final season might look like — even before they knew it would be the last.

Now, Season 7 is off to a near-perfect start — somehow, in the eyes of many, even better than expected. Why the doubt? Managing our expectations, perhaps. It proved nearly impossible to be disappointed.

There’s always this worry that you’re going to let your excitement get the best of you, and what you end up getting isn’t going to fit the perfect picture you had in your head. It’s the reason so many fans feel lost after months of hype and buildup lead to a movie or show that didn’t follow the stories they’d written in their heads.

That didn’t happen today. Quite the opposite, actually.

Seeing that title logo and hearing that theme music broke me. Followed by the opening Tom Kane narration (I’m just a pile of broken pieces breaking into smaller pieces at this point) and panning through that base until we reach Mace and Anakin.

Then Rex and Cody appear, and that’s it. I am no longer a functioning human, because the TV series that started out when I was still a closeted Star Wars fan (#TeenageGirlProblems) is releasing new episodes and I can’t deal.

Let’s look more closely at the actual story here for just a minute. Rex and Cody need to infiltrate a station and enlist the help of Clone Force 99 — a.k.a. The Bad Batch. These guys can take out an entire battalion of battle droids without blinking. Their style? Charge and destroy. Between them, they have all the strengths a group of mutated clones needs to succeed.

Once they fight their way inside, Rex’s suspicions are confirmed: Echo might be alive. And it’s going to take traveling off-planet to find him.

This episode has already set us up for what’s to come over the episodes that follow. The clones’ trust in the Jedi is wavering. Rex is starting to question his purpose in the war. And it’s no accident that it feels as though — even to the audience — the clones and droids are fighting back-and-forth battles that don’t seem to make large-scale differences in the war.

Something big is coming. Our heroes don’t know it yet. But we do.

If I have to relive Order 66 in its entirety in animated form, I’ll do it. But I can’t promise I’m going to readily forgive Filoni for putting us all through that heartbreak again.

It truly feels — despite the significant improvement in animation technology even since The Lost Missions — like no time has passed. Somehow, after all these years, the true heart of The Clone Wars remains intact. Thanks not only to Filoni, but to the cast and all involved who clearly don’t have to try very hard to let their passion shine in every frame of the final product we’ve seen so far.

The story was intriguing. The action was jaw-dropping. Above all, it’s already clear everyone involved in bringing the final season of The Clone Wars back to the small screen gave it their all in every possible way.

And this is only the first episode of the first arc. We have 11 episodes still to go. Something tells me it’s only going to get better as the weeks fly past.

I’m not ready. But also? Bring. It. On.

Related Story: The Clone Wars: 3 reasons Season 7 premiere was so much fun

Was the first episode everything you hoped it would be? Share your favorite moments in the comments below.

The Clone Wars is streaming on Disney+.