Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, and Star Wars Resistance all had their individual strengths, but which show created the best series finale?
In the last two years, fans have seen the Star Wars animated shows The Clone Wars, Rebels, and Resistance all reach their respective conclusions. Rebels ended in 2018 while both Resistance and The Clone Wars concluded in 2020.
Pulling off an effective series finale can be tough. Beyond just tying up storylines, a series finale also needs to provide emotional weight and a satisfying culmination of the main characters’ development. The finale to a Star Wars show should also find meaningful ways to connect with the larger universe and avoid contradicting any other stories within the canon.
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With these series finales still fresh in the minds of Star Wars fans, it’s the perfect time to reflect back on these episodes and determine which show had the strongest conclusion.
The Resistance series finale was one of the better episodes in the show’s second and final season, but it still pales in comparison to the finales of The Clone Wars and Rebels. The Resistance finale did some things well, the most important being that it provided a satisfying culmination for Tam’s character arc. It was also satisfying to see everyone on the Colossus rise up and stand united as they defeated Commander Pyre, Agent Tierny, and the rest of the First Order faction that had been chasing them for so long.
The end of Resistance doesn’t hold the same emotional weight as the ends to The Clone Wars or Rebels, though. Fans didn’t spend as much time with Kaz, Tam, and the other characters as they did with the characters from The Clone Wars and Rebels. As a result, Kaz, Tam, and the others didn’t get as much of a chance to develop, which made fans feel less invested in them.
The other issue with the Resistance finale is that outside of a brief appearance from Kylo Ren, it lacked connectivity to the Skywalker Saga and the larger Star Wars universe. The final battle was epic, but it felt contained instead of feeling like a major event in the conflict between the larger First Order and larger Resistance. It was also disappointing that fans never got to see the Colossus join up with the larger Resistance, even though it seemed like the series was constantly building toward this.
If it had been a season finale, the episode would’ve worked really well, but it didn’t get the job done as a series finale.
The Clone Wars vs. Rebels
Both of these shows had incredible series finales. They contained plenty of emotional weight and provided some truly moving moments.
Rebels showcased Ezra’s wonderful character development, which culminated in Ezra resisting the temptations of Emperor Palpatine and then sacrificing himself and his future to save his friends and the people of Lothal. It felt uplifting to see Ezra, the Ghost crew, and their various allies band together to defeat Thrawn and the Imperial presence on Lothal. It was also fitting that the finale take place on Lothal, the same planet where the series began, the same planet Ezra had always had a strong connection to and been determined to liberate.
Not only did the finale accomplish all of this, but it also concluded things in a way that managed not to conflict with the events of Rogue One or the original trilogy. Even better, it provided an epilogue that showed what happened to the surviving main characters–other than Ezra and Thrawn–after the liberation of Lothal and during the original trilogy.
Meanwhile, The Clone Wars finale focused on the unbreakable bond of friendship forged between Ahsoka and Rex. Ahsoka and Rex were introduced in The Clone Wars and over time they truly became the show’s main characters. The finale showed this as their bond was tested like never before and their character arcs were further complicated by Order 66.
The final wordless moments of the finale are the most memorable, though. It was truly heartbreaking to see Ahsoka and Rex mark the graves of Jesse and the other clones. The greatest triumph of the show was in how it humanized the clones and gave them distinct identities and personalities. Ahsoka and Rex honored that truth until the very end. They understood the clones were also victims of Order 66 and chose to remember them for the loyal men they truly were.
As if this wasn’t enough, fans also got to see Darth Vader find this mass grave. Vader holding Ahsoka’s lightsaber, Morai circling overhead, and the reflection of Vader in a clone helmet as he walked away are all powerful images that will stay with Star Wars fans forever.
At the end of the day, Rebels had the better series finale because fans didn’t know what was going to happen to the main characters. No one knew at the time whether any of the Ghost crew would make it out alive. The death of Kanan in the final season proved the show wasn’t afraid to kill off its main characters. It felt like anything could happen.
On the other hand, everyone knew from Rebels that Ahsoka, Rex, and Maul would survive The Clone Wars finale. It was still thrilling to see how they survived the chaos of Order 66, but the stakes didn’t feel quite as high knowing they’d all live to fight another day.
The Rebels finale may be the best, but all three animated shows are well worth watching, and fans are fortunate to have received definitive endings for all three series.
Which series finale was your favorite? Let us know in the comments!