The Clone Wars episodes you should watch

The Mandalorian is bringing back important characters from The Clone Wars and Rebels. Disney also just announced several new shows/movies featuring key characters from the animated shows. The good news? Both are pretty enjoyable and introduce beloved characters and story arcs. The shows even manage to elevate the prequel movies and have a few moments that may change future viewings of the original trilogy. The bad news? There are plenty of filler episodes that aren’t particularly fun or important, especially early on in both shows. If you have all the time in the world, watch both shows in their entirety. If you want to understand who the new characters are while taking in the best story arcs in the shows without watching every episode, I’ve got your back. I’ll only cover The Clone Wars now but I’ll add a link to the Rebels episodes here when I’ve prepared them.

Four important things to note:

The Clone Wars Movie

Skippable
Meh

The movie is really just 2–3 ok episodes glued together and not particularly special ones at that. It does have exciting moments and introduces one of the primary protagonists of the show: Ahsoka. The Clone Wars is as much a story about Ahsoka and the Clones as it is about Anakin and Obi-Wan. Although the movie won’t blow your mind, it’s an ok introduction to the conflict you’ll be following and what Anakin and Obi-Wan are like in the show (Anakin in the show is much better than in the prequel films). If you’re skipping, just know that Ahsoka is a very young but extremely skilled Jedi who has been made Anakin’s padawan against his will. This has been set up by Yoda and others as much for Anakin as it is for Ahsoka. I liked her from day 1 but some people find her arrogant and irritating at first. Stick with her. I think it’s fair to say she’s the heart of the show along with the Clones.

Season 1

Episode 3.1 (yes that’s season 3)

Clone Cadets

Skippable
Good

This is the only time I’m going to give you episodes out of order. The first good episode in Season 1 features Clones and you may be surprised to learn that you’ll remember and root for some of them in later episodes. This season 3 episode is a prequel to that episode and you could leave it until later and view as a flashback but it does a good job introducing key Clone characters. I’d watch it first. Humanising the Clones was one of the goals of the show. One of my favourite clones, Fives, is introduced here.

Episode 1.5

Rookies

Essential
Good

Get to know some of your future favourite Clones or if you watched the prequel then see where they are now.

Episodes 1.19–1.21

Storm Over Ryloth, Innocents of Ryloth, Liberty on Ryloth

Skippable
Good

Some of these episodes are good, some are meh, but it’s worth watching something in season 1 that isn’t a Clone-centric episode. Watching these gives you an idea of how the Anakin/Ahsoka pairing is working out, what conflict in the Clone Wars looks like with clones and Jedi against droid armies, and it introduces characters you’ll see in later seasons and in the Rebels show.

Episode 1.22

Hostage Crisis

Skippable
Good

This heist episode isn’t the typical, epic season finale you might be expecting. That said, The Clone Wars has some of the most iconic bounty hunter characters in Star Wars (we’ve already skipped beloved pirate Hondo but he’ll be back) and this episode introduces Cad Bane. His story continues in the first episodes of season 2.

What did we skip?

I know we skipped loads of season 1 but all you need to know is that General Grievous and various other followers of Dooku and Palpatine are commanding the droid armies of the Separatists. Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka kick a lot of ass but will cocky Ahsoka be what Anakin needs to curb his recklessness? Will someone like Anakin make a good teacher for Ahsoka? A very cool assassin and former Jedi called Ventress was introduced but her series 3 appearances will serve just as well as an introduction. A fun pirate called Hondo was skipped but he’s non-essential and will be back.

Season 2

Episodes 2.1–2.3

Holocron Heist, Cargo of Doom, Children of the Force

Skippable
Good

These episodes will feel very familiar if you’ve recently played Jedi Knight: Fallen Order. They’re not essential for later arcs but they feature more Cad Bane and high stakes.

Episode 2.17

Bounty Hunters

Skippable
Good

Speaking of bounty hunters, this is a good Mandalorian-like episode featuring Hondo (who we skipped earlier). It’s a fun episode but totally ok to skip if you’re only here for the bigger picture.

Episodes 2.5–2.8

Point Rain, Weapons Factory, Legacy of Terror, Brain Invaders

Essential
Good

Essential and good? The gang are fighting somewhere that will be familiar to fans of the prequel movies. Good action, beginnings of character development, pew pew, whoosh, buzz, slice.

Episode 2.10

The Deserter

Skippable
Good

I love standalone episodes like this. Totally skippable but I recommend it. The episode introduces a one-off character but it’s really about Rex, who you surely know by now and will be following through more of the show. Some of the most important Clone arcs and the consequences of being a Clone and being in the military (and the interplay between the two) are explored through Rex’s experiences.

Episodes 2.12–2.14

The Mandalore Plot, Voyage of Temptation, Duchess of Mandalore

Essential
Good

Mandalore! You know a word very similar to that! The history of Mandalore can be very confusing so I’m going to take a moment to tell you know what you need to know. Mandalore is an Outer Rim planet and in the ancient past there were proud warrior Mandalorians who fought Jedi using awesome armour and equipment made with an incredible material found on their home worlds. During that time, despite the conflict, there was actually a Mandalorian Jedi and he crafted a very cool lightsaber called the Darksaber. The Jedi used to possess the Darksaber but it was recently stolen.

Now in the present, Mandalore is a pacifist planet where the government and most of the population have abandoned their traditional warrior culture. Mandalore isn’t with the republic or the separatists but is among thousands of independent systems and its leader acts as a the representative of those systems. That’s all you need to know going into this. How we get from a pacifist culture that has forgotten its warrior ways to The Mandalorian featuring one of several surviving warrior clans is something you will uncover throughout The Clone Wars and Rebels.

These episodes are pretty good and give Obi-Wan some more development and backstory.

What did we skip?

Season 2 had some ok adventures but some just don’t stand out, weren’t related to future arcs, or didn’t offer much character development. Episode 4 reveals a spy in the Senate called Clovis. We’ll run into him again much later in the show but he’s not particularly important. All you need to know later is that Padme and Clovis have history and Anakin hates Clovis. However, you would pick that up from the later episodes anyway. If you like kaiju films then episodes 2.18 and 2.19 might be cool but they’re just fine and totally skippable. We actually skipped the finale arc of the season because they’re just ok and the only thing you might be interested in is seeing where young Boba Fett is at this point (remember his father Jango was killed in the prequel films).

Season 3

Episode 3.2

ARC Troopers

Essential
Good

If you’ve been watching every single episode of The Clone Wars then this episode is good but skippable. However, if you’ve been following my guide then I’m calling it essential as this will be your introduction to a cool character named Ventress. Although many episodes are about the Clones, this episode is directly tied to the first episodes in this guide that introduced characters like Fives and 99.

Episode 3.10

Heroes on Both Sides

Skippable
Good

This episode introduces a character who will turn up in future episodes but I intend to label most of those as skippable the same goes here. That said, I strongly recommend this episode if not the others. As the show goes on, it begins to ask bigger questions about the war, the Clones, and the Jedi. If you find yourself sympathising with some of the “enemies” and wondering if the Jedi or the Republic really are the good guys then you’ll enjoy this episode.

Episodes 3.12–3.14

Nightsisters, Monster, Witches of the Mist

Essential
Good

More episodes that will be interesting for anyone who played Jedi Knight: Fallen Order! These are essential Ventress-centric episodes that introduce important characters and begin to set up big story arcs.

Episodes 3.15–3.17

Overlords, Altar of Mortis, Ghosts of Mortis

Skippable
Good

Definitely the weirdest episodes of any Star Wars show. These will be amazing for anyone interested in the more mystical side of the force, the prophecy, the chosen one etc. They have exciting and dramatic scenes so may be worth watching even if that isn’t your thing. Bizarre.

Episodes 3.18–3.20

The Citadel, Counterattack, Citadel Rescue

Essential
Good

An exciting mission but more importantly it introduces a familiar Star Wars character to the show and it’s more than just a fun cameo. This episode is essential for some parts that won’t seem important until much later and for watching Anakin’s take on events and this new person in his life.

Episodes 3.21–3.22

Padawan Lost, Wookie Hunt

Skippable
Good

I really struggled with whether these episodes are skippable or essential. They’re good so watch them anyway, especially if you’re like Ahsoka or believe in her potential as a character. Most of what happens in the episodes aren’t essential to know but may be important if you care about Anakin and Ahsoka’s relationship. A fun cameo too!

What did we skip?

We only skipped some adventures or cameos that don’t really matter or aren’t amazing. There’s nothing particularly important to know going into season 4 as long as you watched the episodes I’ve listed as essential. In my opinion the show gets good from here.

Season 4

Episodes 4.7–4.10

Darkness on Umbara, The General, Plan of Dissent, Carnage of Krell

Essential
Good

Big action, your favourite clones under more pressure than usual, and a dilemma that hasn’t been explored in the show yet. These are good Clone episodes, especially if you like Rex.

Episodes 4.11–4.13

Kidnapped, Slaves of the Republic, Escape from Kadavo

Skippable
Good

Skip these if you’re in a rush but I’d recommend watching if you’re interested in seeing another side of Anakin, seeing Obi-wan and Ahsoka out of their comfort zones in different ways, and getting an introduction to Ahsoka’s people. These episodes don’t really matter going forward but they’re worth watching if you like the characters. There’s a lot of slavery in these episodes.

Episode 4.14

A Friend in Need

Skippable
Meh

If you skipped episode 3.10, Heroes on Both Sides, then you can skip this too. If you watched that episode and want to see more of Lux Bonteri then go ahead. You’ll be rewarded with some cool action scenes but it’s just an ok episode and not essential. Lux will be back again. This episode does give you more Death Watch, and we all love everything Mandalorian, but they’ll be back very soon and their shenanigans here can be skipped.

Episodes 4.15–4.18

Deception, Friends and Enemies, The Box, Crisis on Naboo

Skippable
Good

Obi-Wan goes undercover among bounty hunters and things go very wrong. Totally skippable as they don’t affect any future arcs but a lot of people love these episodes. I think they’re good but don’t like them as much as others seem to. Watch if you’ve got the time.

Episode 4.19

Massacre

Essential
Good

The only other essential episodes so far in season 4 were for Clone character development. This is the first essential episode this season about other key characters and must be seen before the season finale, events throughout future seasons, and the Rebels show.

Episode 4.20

Bounty

Skippable
Good

This episode and the next two all follow on from the events of the previous episode but this one is skippable unless you want to see more Ventress and where Boba Fett is now. It’s good but unrelated to where the arc set up by the previous episode is going.

Episodes 4.21–4.22

Brothers, Revenge

Essential
Good

You must watch these season finale episodes. They will eventually lead to a place where several arcs from the show and movies come together and to the eventual creation of relationships, partnerships, and rivalries that will persist through much of the show. The first episode of season 5 is the next is this arc.

What did we skip?

We skipped fewer episodes this season, which means the quality is improving but also there are more episodes related to ongoing arcs. Most of the episodes skipped were average, standalone adventures with little character development. If you skipped episode 4.14, the 2nd episode with Lux Bonteri, you’ve missed seeing where Death Watch were at but that shouldn’t matter now.

Season 5

Episode 5.1

Revival

Essential
Good

If you’ve watched the essential final episodes of season 4 then you know why you have to watch this one. Building from the events in this episode will have big consequences later.

Episodes 5.2–5.5

A War on Two Fronts, Front Runners, The Soft War, Tipping Points

Skippable
Meh

I’d only recommend these episodes if you’ve been following all the Lux Bonteri episodes and want to see where it leads. They’re just ok and skippable and only remain on my list because you might want to see what happens with Lux. Also there’s a character introduced that you may know from the Rogue One movie or the Jedi Knight: Fallen Order video game but it’s not a big deal to skip.

Episodes 5.6–5.9

The Gathering, A Test of Strength, Bound for Rescue, A Necessary Bond

Skippable
Good

Not essential but good episodes if you like Ahsoka, Anakin, and younglings.

Episodes 5.14–5.16

Eminence, Shades of Reason, The Lawless

Essential
Good

Don’t skip. These episodes build from the finale of last season, the Mandalore characters, and more. I could see these forming a decent season finale if it weren’t for what comes next!

Episodes 5.17–5.20

Sabotage, The Jedi Who Knew Too Much, To Catch a Jedi, The Wrong Jedi

Essential
Good

You have to watch these. They’re really good and absolutely essential not just for the show but the characters you will see in Rebels, The Mandalorian etc. Some huge things happen and there are really exciting action sequences and dramatic encounters.

What did we skip?

This is another improved season where we didn’t skip much. As with most of Star Wars, things go very meh as soon as George Lucas is involved in the writing, directing etc. We skipped some R2-D2 episodes Lucas prepared so go back and check them out if you’re a big fan of everyone’s favourite beep boop buddy but if you know Star Wars then you know it’s best when George provides the ideas and others do the execution. If you’ve been watching the Ahsoka/Lux Bonteri episodes but skipped episodes 5.2–5.5 then you just need to know he no longer matters and you’re done with that arc.

Season 6

Episodes 6.1–6.4

The Unknown, Conspiracy, Fugitive, Orders

Essential
Good

These are among my favourite Clone episodes and are essential if you care about the overall story of the prequel films and the events that lead to the original trilogy. Even if the show has failed to interest you in the lives of the Clones or to make you care for some of key Clone characters, these episodes are essential viewing as part of the Star Wars saga. There’s a fun droid I like in here too.

Episodes 6.5–6.7

An Old Friend, The Rise of Clovis, Crisis at the Heart

Skippable
Good

Skippable but among the better mid-season 6 episodes. We skipped an episode in season 2 that revealed a spy in the Senate called Clovis. Padme and Clovis know each other well and Anakin hates Clovis. He turns up here sparking a three-episodic arc that’s worth watching if you like Republic/Separatist politics and seeing what Anakin is like getting closer to the end of the Clone Wars.

Episodes 6.8–6.9

The Disappeared: Part 1, Part 2

Skippable
Meh

I was going to omit these episodes but decided some of you might like them. They feature a team-up nobody wanted but actually works better than you might expect: Mace Windu and Jar Jar Binks. You may have noticed Jar Jar has featured very little in the episodes I’ve listed here but it wasn’t because I hate the character; he just isn’t used much in the best episodes. Here Mace Windu investigates some puzzling disappearances and there’s a perfectly believable reason why Jar Jar is involved in the adventure. If you don’t find Jar Jar as annoying as most people do, you might enjoy his interactions with another character here. That said if you hate him then you’ll still hate him. An important character from previous episodes shows up.

Episodes 6.10–6.13

The Lost One, Voices, Destiny, Sacrifice

Skippable
Good…? Maybe? Or Meh? Yikes

I’ve left these on the list because they end season 6, they were the end of The Clone Wars show for a long time until Season 7 popped up recently, and they explain why Yoda suddenly comes out with “hey, Obi-Wan, I’ve been chatting with force ghosts because it turns out they’re totally a thing and I’ll teach you how that works” at the end of Revenge of the Sith. The good news is that these are weird Yoda-centric episodes that focus on the Force (living force vs cosmic force) and reference various characters and events from other sources. The bad news is that George Lucas is clearly behind these and it’s not a particularly exciting way to end a season, especially given how the last two seasons ended. I knew it was a Lucas episode as soon as I realised the location Yoda goes to and that he takes R2-D2. Watching Lucas episodes often means leaves you scratching your head about moments in the movies that feel like contradictions. Watch if you’re a big Star Wars fan but know you’re getting into a slow, mystical, Yoda episode. Alternatively if you’ve wondered what would happen if Yoda took LSD then you’re in luck.

What did we skip?

This is the only season so far where I included every episode but there are certainly some you can skip, especially everything between and including 6.5–6.9 (Clovis and Jar Jar episodes). In fact, I’d say the only essential episodes were the four that made the conspiracy arc that starts the season and even then it’s essential viewing for Star Wars fans in general more than it’s essential viewing for understanding the new characters in The Mandalorian etc. If you did skip the two Jar Jar episodes (6.8–6.9) then you might want to know that Mother Talzin was defeated (I think) but it doesn’t really matter.

Season 7

Episodes 7.1–7.4

The Bad Batch, A Distant Echo, On the Wings of Keeradaks, Unfinished Business

Essential
Good

Like last season we’re starting with some Clone episodes. For The Clone Wars as a standalone show these are good and I recommend watching them but they’re skippable. However, one of the recent Disney announcements was a Bad Batch show or movie (I can’t remember which) so I‘m listing these as essential as you might want to be familiar with what makes the Bad Batch different. These are emotional Rex episodes and I’d watch them.

Episodes 7.5–7.12

Gone with a Trace, Deal No Deal, Dangerous Debt, Together Again, Old Friends Not Forgotten, The Phantom Apprentice, Shattered, Victory and Death

Essential
Good

Remember Ahsoka? Arguably the main protagonist of this show? Here’s where she’s at! The first of these episodes (7.5–7.8) are just decent but the final few are great. For that reason I’ve listed them all as Good but just know the quality improves throughout. The first episodes are essential because you really want to know what’s happening with Ahsoka going into the finale, into watching Rebels, and into watching current and upcoming Star Wars shows/movies including one literally called “Ahsoka”. The ok episodes are reintroducing Ahsoka and her situation after her huge decision in season 5. The final four episodes (7.9–7.12) are great and must be watched.

Congratulations! You made it through The Clone Wars and hopefully took the route that gave you memorable characters and interesting world-building without too many headaches! I’ll write another one of these for Rebels though that show has fewer standalone episodes and more character development so there will be less skipping. I’ll add a link right here and at the top of this page when the Rebels page is ready.

Let me know on Twitter (@GeneticJen) how you find the show and if you agree/disagree with any of my recommendations.

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