Every time an episode of The Clone Wars landed, Fantha Tracks gave their responses, and here are our initial gut feelings, deep dives and thoughts on the twelfth and final episode of season seven and of The Clone Wars – Victory and Death. Beware of spoilerific elements in here.
Now THAT was an ending. Wow. Simply wow.
Having enjoyed a fantastic nine-and-a-half hours at a virtual Star Wars convention (thank you Dave Tree at Farthest From) on May 3rd, the midnight hour crept ever near. Would Disney have made the final episode of The Clone Wars available so early on Star Wars Day?
Bless them. They did it.
The music at the beginning was very much from the funeral of Padme at the end of ROTS. So, I think we could be right in assuming that this final instalment takes place after the events of Episode III. As the disintegrating star destroyer plummets towards the atmosphere of a small moon, Ahsoka and Rex attempt to escape without killing the clones – even though the clones are trying to kill them.
Headed up by Jesse, the troopers attempt to enact the Order 66 protocol, but are thwarted by our heroes who just about escape the crash landing of the ship by commandeering a Y-Wing.
And that ending? Ahsoka stands before a graveyard of clones. Stakes mark the graves, with the appropriate helmet atop each. Jesse’s comes into view. Ahsoka, the former padawan learner of Anakin Skywalker drops her lightsaber hilt to the ground and looks to the stars.
And what of Anakin Skywalker? As Ahsoka fades into memory an Imperial Shuttle Tydirium comes into view, landing on the same planet. We see stormtroopers and snowtroopers as they appeared in the original trilogy. The crashed ship has clearly been there a while, so we can assume some considerable amount of time has passed. The music is eerie, almost That of Blade Runner. Much like from the scene in ROTS when Anakin fights his inner demons to race to the side of Mace Windu.
And then that familiar, electronically assisted breathing is tantalisingly audible. And then we see him. No words are uttered. Instead, we see Vader locate Ahsoka’s lightsaber, ignite it and slowly walk from the crash sight, eventually as a reflection in the lens of a clone helmet. A masterful ending, written, directed and crafted by folk who understand and love Star Wars.
The Clone Wars has a special place in my heart. It was the first Star Wars film my son saw at the cinema. I took him on opening night in 2008. He was only 5 and a bit of a fidget, but it began his journey. He collected Galactic Heroes, of which many were from The Clone Wars – Anakin on a STAP, Cad Bane, tattooed Maul and of course Ahsoka.
I confess my love of The Clone Wars has been more watching Matthew’s experience of the series rather than for my own enjoyment. His love of that era, runs parallel to me enjoying my first screening of Star Wars as a 7-year-old. As dear George would enthuse: “It’s like poetry. It rhymes.”
The final episode of The Clone Wars blew me away. Victory and Death, an aptly titled episode (and a nice reference to the Mandalorian chant ‘Victory or death’) closed off the series with an appropriately sorrowful tone. I’ve found it hard to condense all the things I wanted to talk about into words, so for this review I’m going to split it into sections.
The Music: Hot damn did Kevin Kiner blow it out of the park for this one. Don’t get me wrong, the music of The Clone Wars has always been exceptional, but there was something about the Blade Runner-esque synth tones that took this episode to another level, heightening the already extremely high emotional stakes and creating a haunting atmosphere that accompanies and enhances the urgency of the cataclysmic situation perfectly. I very much hope he continues to work on future Star Wars projects.
The Visual Effects: Wow. Just, wow. From Maul ripping apart the Venator’s hyperdrive (a fantastic reference to Sam Witwer’s involvement in The Force Unleashed) to the action sequences with the Clones and the eventual crashing of the ship, it took my breath away.
Now would be a good time to mention that for the entirety of this season I have been watching the episodes together online with friends, and while we are usually quite vocal throughout our watch parties, this final episode left us all silenced by awe. The episode started with me being on the edge of my seat and I remained there throughout. I can’t imagine how tense I would have felt if I didn’t already know the eventual fates of Ahsoka and Rex, and even with that knowledge I found myself genuinely worrying for their safety, something that has always been very hard for me to do when watching a prequel.
A favourite moment of mine was when Ahsoka attempted to halt Maul’s escape, grasping his shuttle with the Force. It was a nice reference to The Rise of Skywalker and a powerful moment to witness. To see Ahsoka trying so hard to hold the shuttle in place that she was being pulled along with it was an incredible moment to witness, and I truly felt the desperation she was experiencing.
The Story: Never before has an episode of The Clone Wars, or any piece of Star Wars media for that matter, made me cry so much. The connection I feel with these characters goes back to my childhood and is like nothing else I’ve experienced in media. Dave Filoni and the team over at Lucasfilm really pulled out all the stops for this one and if it wasn’t already clear to me before, it is now; Filoni IS Star Wars. I have found that while I have liked almost all the Star Wars media that has released since the Disney era began, nothing has come close to this. I truly hope that Dave Filoni continues to grace us with many more stories in the years to come, and that I never again have to see Rex cry.
The Conclusion: Ending a show of this length and magnitude, something that has run for so many years and has tackled so many characters and stories, was never going to be an easy task- but they did it, and did it very well. Those final scenes with Ahsoka and Rex were filled with so much emotional weight, and it really felt like the end of an era. They didn’t have to show Vader at the end, but the fact that they did was such a welcome touch. To see his character animated alongside Stormtroopers in The Clone Wars art style was fantastic. The frigid, hauntingly beautiful environment of the final scene reflected the coldness of Vader perfectly. His picking up and keeping of Ahsoka’s lightsaber showed a rare sentimental side to Vader that we have so rarely seen and it was a sorrowful reminder that beneath that cold, hard exterior, beneath the armour and the cybernetics, there’s a man who I’ve grown to adore for many seasons of this show. To paraphrase Luke, I could feel the good in him, the conflict.
I will miss this show and be forever grateful for the years of joy and entertainment it has brought me, and would like to say a massive thank you to everyone that has been involved in its creation throughout the years. I find I am now left with a large Clone Wars sized hole in my heart, and I can’t wait to see what Lucasfilm Animation do next.
Darth Vader’s reflection in the clone visor—a helmet painted to resemble the markings of Ahsoka Tano’s natural features—was an unexpected, but appropriate, ending to The Clone Wars series. The Sith Lord’s sinister black wardrobe sharply contrasts with the snow that has fallen on the Star Destroyer wreckage, symbolic of what’s to come for the galaxy—and the recent paths of Ahsoka and Maul through the final arc of the beloved animated series created by George Lucas.
Maul has not become more evil as a character, but his power has grown in the Dark Side of the Force. His ability to slaughter clones when he is unarmed and crush and topple the hyperdrive generators on the Star Destroyer flaunt his enhanced abilities, but he is defined by his selfish actions. Those actions that provide his escape from the burning wreckage he has caused as he knowingly steals the starfighter Ahsoka had planned to escape aboard as she fights for her life.
“You wanted this chaos,” taunts the horned Dathomirian to the desperate Togruta in the hangar. He manages to escape Ahsoka’s Force powers and will now engage his massive crime syndicate—taking advantage of the chaos caused by his former Sith Master.
Ahsoka—as she is so adept at—goes to plan B in order to save herself and Rex. It is shortly before the exchange with Maul that Ahsoka cements her legacy as a leader and loyal friend to the clones—who are now ordered to execute her.
She shares a heartfelt moment with Rex, who only wants to protect her. “You’re a good soldier, Rex. So is every one of those men down there. They may be willing to die but I am not the one who is going to kill them,” Ahsoka says—displaying her loyalty and her level of respect, referring to the soldiers as men rather than clones.
They manage a thrill-packed escape, though they lose three selfless droids in the process, complete with a gorgeous sequence of the former Jedi in full-aerial acrobatics. She dodges debris of the crumbling Star Destroyer, gliding through the air and running across metal carnage, to reach Rex in the BTL-B Y-wing starfighter they found at the last moment.
And then her arc ends, within The Clone Wars series, by recognizing the men she once served with—who followed her orders before Order 66—after burying each and every one of them she and Rex could find. Ahsoka’s moral compass and loyalty are the foundation of any true hero—Jedi Order or not—and knowing she still has a role to play should give fans the most important sense and word Star Wars has to offer. Hope.
(Now go out and read E.K. Johnston’s young adult novel Ahsoka if you haven’t yet. It is the next act in this space opera).
The Clone Wars have ended and the goosebumps are taking forever to leave my body. What an incredible end to a real work of love from Filoni and everyone involved in this show, the passion could be felt through the screen. Some of the shots in this episode were breathtaking and belong in an art museum; I can’t wait to get some framed on my wall.
I was supposed to have celebrated May the 4th at Galaxy’s Edge at Disney World but for obvious reasons I couldn’t. Could that have enhanced my viewing of “Victory & Death”? Perhaps. I doubt it though.
Once again I was left speechless. I knew I had just witnessed something but could quite figure out how to describe it. The adjective “numinous” came to mind. It’s not quite the most commonly used term because it doesn’t often describe typical everyday experiences. “Numinous” can be simply described as “awe inspiring” but with more weight behind it. It appropriately describes this episode. It was pure art.
Thank You George Lucas, Dave Filoni, and everyone else involved in creating all things Star Wars.
What can I say about the final episode of The Clone Wars, Victory and Death? I’m struggling to put my thoughts into words right now.
This is a deeply emotional episode that culminates in an unexpected climax that rounds out the Clone Wars. The journey to those final moments on some far-flung moon in the galaxy is a tense one. Even though we already know the outcomes of all our major characters, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.
The episode is a series of action scenes flowing one into the next as Rex and Ahsoka attempt to flee the Republic cruiser. But, it’s not just about the action, it’s also about character.
Ahsoka is on the run for her life. Even though she is surrounded by hundreds of soldiers who will kill her without a second thought, she fights to protect their lives, refusing to take kill shots.
Rex, torn between his loyalty to his brothers, literally the only world he’s ever known, fights against his very nature and stands by Ahsoka protecting her. Their actions speaking louder than any words.
Maul is there, alone, tearing the ship apart piece by piece. Much like how he’s torn the galaxy apart. He is an agent of chaos put into motion and nothing can stand in his way. He is rage and pain and fear.
It’s an emotional and satisfying finale, tying into what has come before, wrapping the story up, leaving us wanting more but knowing there is no more to tell
Let me start with the bad: I think, this episode was the worst in the Siege of Mandalore arc. It wasn’t balanced well. We already knew Ahsoka and Rex would escape from the bunch of clone troopers, so I don’t understand why we spent so much time watching something irrelevant. I think it would have been better to see what Ahsoka and Rex did after landing on that moon.
I also had bad feelings about this arc when I thought about the events in the Ahsoka novel written by E.K. Johnston, but I can accept some minor changes were necessary to have a better-developed story for Ahsoka and Rex.
Despite my bad feelings, I was overwhelmed when I saw the end of Victory and Death. Seeing Vader and the stormtroopers in the style of The Clone Wars gave me goosebumps. It was so gorgeous visually, and it was also great that the music, the visuals and the breathing could perfectly show us Vader’s feelings. Unbelievable storytelling.
I can’t point it out enough times that Kevin Kiner’s music perfectly fitted to this season. I must repeat it: I am really proud it was recorded in my hometown, Budapest, the capital of Hungary. I think we heard some of the best Star Wars music ever in this episode when Maul escapes from the ship. As in the Duel of Fates and Battle of Heroes, we also hear a choir – it seems, this is a guarantee for an epic Star Wars tune. I listened to is multiple times while thinking about Hungarian musician’s achievement, you should do the same.
All in all, we received an epic four-episodes finale from Dave Filoni and his crew. Filoni demonstrated again that he is one of the best storytellers of our age, not just in Star Wars, but in the entertainment industry altogether. His crew proved again that they are reliable, they could relearn how to tell events, feelings, the development of characters in a show which they didn’t work on for years. The Clone Wars matured visually, musically and in its story as well. This season was one of the best Star Wars productions ever. We can’t be thankful enough for this. Thank you, Dave Filoni and co.
With a storyline running parallel to the star-spanning tragedy of Revenge of the Sith and the main players of Anakin, Palpatine, Kenobi and Yoda altering the course of galactic events, how could Victory and Death hope to compete? Answer – it doesn’t, and it doesn’t even try. Instead, it hones in on the two characters we’ve come to cheer for the most across seven seasons and over ten years, Ahsoka and Rex as they battle their way off the destroyer as the chimes of Order 66 ring across the galaxy.
On the face of it, this 12th and final episode of The Clone Wars – a war mere hours away from ending as Sidious orders all battle droids be deactivated – is a straight-forward fight for survival as Ahsoka and Rex make good their escape from the doomed destroyer, but the small moments are what makes this a very special and fitting episode of the show. Not only is Ahsoka now more than capable enough to survive and figure a way out of their predicament, she extolls every virtue a Jedi Knight could hope to exhibit. Wisdom in their escape, mercy in her refusal to kill the clone army now turned upon her and Rex, calculating in releasing Maul to cause havoc (and how) and respectful enough to bury the dead when it’s all over.
That we see Rex and Ahsoka survive the crash in a Y-Wing is fitting, given the earliest episodes gave us a glimpse of the early iterations of that classic ship, but that burial scene, as Ahsoka and Rex make sure their fallen comrades are given a fitting and very clear resting place, is filled with sorrow. Ahsoka may only be 17, but she has seen so much, learned so much. Had the galaxy taken a different turn, her destiny as a Jedi would seem clear. Born in another time, her statue would have lined the halls of the Jedi temple, but that was not to be. We know the dark times that she walks in to, and as we end the series with a silent Darth Vader picking up her discarded lightsaber we can only wonder what he is thinking. Their meeting in Rebels over a decade later gives us a significant span of time to tell more stories. We can but hope.
Kevin Kiner, the entire cast and guest stars and Lucasfilm, take a bow. This series has been groundbreaking and magnificent, one that stretches right back to 2005 when Revenge of the Sith was freshly released and the earliest work began on the show, when George Lucas and Dave Filoni (master and apprentice) first met and began laying down the bones of this show. If this is Lucas’ final hurrah in the GFFA, what a way to go out. As for Filoni, with more live action ahead, the sky’s the limit.
So many mixed emotions and raw feelings right now.
The Clone Wars are some of best storytelling in Star Wars (hands down) that it blows my mind. It hasn’t just enriched the prequels, it deepened the whole damn saga and Ahsoka’s Journey is a blessing that we don’t deserve. Truly.
Ahsoka IS the “fulcrum” of The Clone Wars in the literal sense of the word. She is the central or most essential role of the war. Not just the Clone Wars itself, but in Anakin’s life as well. Essentially, she’s his axis and in turn, the galaxy’s as well. Powerful!
By the end of the episode Ahsoka is garbed all in gray; beginning her transition or self transformation into something new. And Vader, the former “Hero with no fear” is encased in black; the dark side of the Force. One has completely transformed and the other must find their own path. The parallel image above tells it’s own silent story, well, at least to me. Seeing Darth Vader stand where his apprentice once stood is some of the best storytelling ever. It shows a master tormented by his own irrational feelings and inability to let go of everything and everyone he ever loved, and yet, the apprentice he mentored and guided has mastered her master’s fear…
Thanks to Ben Turfrey, Ross Hollebon, Ben Földi and Paul DePaola for their reviews of the final season, greatly appreciated.