Genndy Tartakovsky changed Star Wars forever with his Star Wars: Clone Wars animated shorts. Here are the best moments of the microseries.
2-D animation by Genndy Tartakovsky Star Wars: Clone Wars The shorts of the micro-series were an earthquake in the Star Wars universe. They came after the liberation of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, which ended just as the Clone Wars began. There was no practical way to cover the rest of the war in a series of films, however elaborate. The Clone wars The shorts were an attempt to address carelessness, and they proved so successful that they released the beloved 3-D Star Wars, Clone Wars animated series.
Tartakovsky’s minimalist designs felt good in keeping with the Star Wars universe, and the mix of kinetic action and short stories (sometimes without words) made them easily digestible. Not only did they involve long-awaited figures like Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, but they also introduced new characters that eventually became favorites of the series. With the shorts now available on Disney +, fans can directly compare their best moments with later developments in the 3-D series.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
Kit Fisto takes a bath
Kit Fisto made a brief appearance in Attack of the clones, but Clone wars gave him a suitable showcase: to face the Separatist forces under the oceans of Mon Cala. Like most of the series’ more impressive sequences, there was no dialogue, but the underwater setting provided a unique setting for Jedi powers and the kind of creative combat details the series thrived on. It also provided a surprisingly detailed look at Mon Cala, split in two during the galactic conflict. Fisto came to the aid of the Mon Calamari, in distress by the Quarren separatists; In just a few shots, Tartakovsky highlighted the aesthetic and technological differences between the two species, as well as the methods each used to carry out the war.
Anakin vs. Asajj Ventress
Asajj Ventress made her debut in Tartakovsky shorts, which recounts how Count Dooku discovered her in a gladiator pit and recruited her for the Sith. Ventress’s first appearance was a spectacle: she silently assassinated Dooku’s host before destroying an entire arena of assassins. But her climactic duel with Anakin in the jungles of Yavin 4 was the highlight, as she pushed Skywalker closer to the Dark Side and he took up a red lightsaber to defeat her. The sequence wore his visual influences on his manga, another tribute to Akira Kurosawa later reflected in films like The mandalorian – and Ventress herself proved to be an enduring adversary after her debut here.
Mace Windu destroys a Separatist army
Like many Jedi, Mace Windu had only appeared in one significant action scene prior to the micro-series: the end of Attack of the clones. Here, he received an exhibition segment in which he essentially stood alone against an entire army of droids. The Separatists employed a massive weapon to break through the landscape, costing him both his backup copies of the Clone Trooper and his lightsaber at one point. Naturally, he didn’t need it, destroying the droids with a dizzying array of Force-based telekinesis, but more than his ability, it was the sheer visual inventiveness on display that made the scene tick. It also conveyed in brutal terms how much damage a single Jedi could do.
Enter General Grievous.
Grievous was the featured villain in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, and Clone wars viewers got a good look at it before its big screen debut. The microseries concluded with the kidnapping of Chancellor Palatine in a direct run-up to Revenge of the Sith, but it was his first appearance that stood out. He attacked a shrinking team of Jedi with sudden fury, using all four limbs and a series of stolen lightsabers to kill all but three. He was demonstrably different from the other Sith, although details were not revealed until Revenge of the Sith, and the animation gave full expression to his fluid, insect-like fighting style. Not only did he help audiences believe that he could take on multiple Jedi and prevail, he added an instant threat to his appearances on movie screens soon after.
Vision of Anakin from Vader
The microseries went to great lengths to develop Anakin’s flirtations with the Dark Side, often depicting him as closer to Darth Vader than he was through most of the 3-D series. That came to a head in the final episodes of the micro-series, when Anakin underwent a vision quest on a distant planet to face his bleak future. In a series of poignant cave paintings, he witnessed what he believed to be the history of the planet, only to see it transform into Vader’s mask. The action washed away him before he had time to fully contemplate what he had seen, but it was as chilling as the sight of Luke in Dagobah’s cave, and an excellent setting for Revenge of the Sith.
As a test for the 3-D Clone wars Tartakovsky’s version proved prescient, setting not only character and mood, but ongoing issues such as the close relationship between the Jedi and the Clone Troopers below them. It also provided a buffer between the two movies, establishing the links between one and the other more firmly, allowing the next Clone wars to tell your own stories without worrying about how you fit into the timeline. His best moments were as unique and powerful as anything in Star Wars, and it helped the series that followed it to become a classic.
READ ON: Star Wars: A Jedi Ignored by the Movies Shines in Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars
Falcon and Winter Soldier Episode 4, ‘Everybody’s Watching’, recap and spoilers
About the Author