Attention: all hands on deck, we have reached peak Star Wars.
For fans of Star Wars, this is a bittersweet time to be alive. We are in the end game now; the final 4 episodes of the final season (7th) of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and also one of the most important story arcs to tie into the wider Star Wars Universe – The Siege of Mandalore.
The Siege of Mandalore will see the Jedi, Clones and Mandalorians pit against Darth Maul and his Shadow Collective crime syndicate. Fan favourite Ahsoka Tano also returns to the frontlines, as recruited by Bo Katan at the end of episode 8 (out of 12) on April 10th.
For those who have not watched the previous seasons of The Clone Wars, there are going to be a few question marks in your head, so here is what you need to know.
What is Mandalore?
Mandalore is the home planet of the Mandalorians, a once war-like society divided into various warring tribes. The current Mandalore takes a pacifist stand in the Clone Wars and was ruled by Duchess Satine Kryze. Mandalorians are famous for their ferocity in battle and their armor, which are able to deflect blaster shots. Some essential rewatching would include Season 2, Episodes 12 to 14, where you will be able to get some understanding about the current state of the system.
Why is Mandalore under siege?
The big bad of this arc is Darth Maul, and he has taken control of the planet through his Shadow Collective; an alliance of criminal syndicates that he has power over. Notable members include: Death Watch, a radical faction of Mandalorians determined to revert Mandalore to a warring planet, the Hutt Clan and the Pyke Syndicate, which we have just seen in the previous 4 episodes of this season. The Shadow Collective will further evolve into the Crimson Dawn, which we will see in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
The Republic senate has decided that Maul now poses a threat to the peace and stability of the system and has deployed a garrison of clone troopers to regain control of the planet.
For a refresher on the events that led to Maul’s control of Mandalore, you could go back to rewatch the Maul on Mandalore arc, which takes place over Season 5, Episodes 1, 14, 15 and 16.
When does this take place?
Executive producer Dave Filoni has confirmed that this arc will overlap with the events from Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and it is known that Order 66 takes place right in the middle of the Siege of Mandalore.
Ahsoka Tano reaches out to Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi seeking assistance to secure the capture of longtime adversary and former Sith Lord Maul, but the news of Grievous’ attack on Coruscant and Palpatine’s capture forces a difficult decision for the Jedi in “Old Friends Not Forgotten,” an all-new episode of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” this FRIDAY, April 17th on Disney+.
Based on the official synopsis of the first of the 4-episode arc, it is suggested that this episode leads directly into the beginning of Revenge of the Sith, where Obi-Wan and Anakin are sent to rescue Chancellor Palpatine from General Grevious and Count Dooku during the Battle of Coruscant.
This also explains how Ahsoka got separated from her master, Anakin, and was unable to be involved during Order 66 and his turn to the dark side.
Why is Ahsoka important in this arc?
At the end of season 5, we cried over Ahsoka Tano leaving her beloved master and the Jedi Order for good, after her wrongful accusation of bombing the Jedi Temple. Preceding the Siege of Mandalore, Ahsoka is invited back to the frontlines by Bo Katan Kryze, a former member of Death Watch and now the leader of the Mandalorian resistance.
In the trailer above, we see Ahsoka meeting Anakin, Obi-Wan and Captain Rex again. She is then introduced to her own company of the clone troopers, the 332nd Company, which have painted her markings on their helmets as a sign of loyalty. Ahsoka and Captain Rex will lead the 332nd through the Siege of Mandalore while Anakin and Obi-Wan are deployed on Coruscant. This will also be the last time Ahsoka interacts with Anakin Skywalker.
It will be good to rewatch Season 5, Episodes 17 to 20, to get a better sense of Ahsoka’s grievances with the Jedi, and why her return to the battlefront with the clones is a more than welcomed one. It also highlights how important Ahsoka was to Anakin as his padawan, which will deliver even more emotional ramifications in the upcoming arc, Revenge of the Sith, and Star Wars: Rebels.
What is there to be excited about?
Darth Maul, Ahsoka and Captain Rex are the major characters in this story arc, and hopefully the show will tie up the loose ends as to how the 3 of them end up as they were in Rebels.
Maul and Ahsoka are going to face off on Mandalore which will most probably end with the latter winning. This duel will definitely be one to watch as Ahsoka comes into her own to be the strong warrior we want her to be.
We know that Ahsoka and Rex both survive Order 66 as we see them in Rebels, but we only have a rough idea of how they did. Captain Rex was roughly aware of the inhibitor chips implanted in the clones, which will later be used to execute Order 66. Somewhere in the middle of this arc we could see him remove the chip or overcome the order by his sheer will, loyalty and friendship for Ahsoka to not kill her. We could also be seeing how they escape the planet and the grasp of Palpatine, who at this point has declared himself emperor of the the new Galactic Empire.
For fans of the series, Matt Michnovetz, the writer of the amazing Battle of Umbara arc is also the writer of the Siege of Mandalore arc, so there is high hopes going into this season finale. The Siege of Mandalore is fabled in Star Wars lore and there are a lot of emotions at play here with multiple characters that we have grown to love through the past 6 seasons.
The season finale launches early on Star Wars Day
And as an added cherry on top, the season finale of The Clone Wars will be moved ahead from its original premiere date of 8 May to be aired on Disney+ on May the 4th, Star Wars Day. And that’s not all, The Mandalorian is also having an 8-part documentary series releasing on the same day.
Star Wars fans in countries where Disney+ is currently unavailable can catch the series through a VPN service.