Star Wars: The Clone Wars is back, ladies and gents. As awesome as the news is, don't shift your midichlorians into high gear just yet — this surprising San Diego Comic-Con 2018 announcement is a bit more loaded than it initially lets on. Let's analyze the news to figure out if this new season truly is a new hope, or if it'll end up as just another phantom menace.
Here's what we know: The Clone Wars is currently set to return with 12 new episodes that finish the series, all of which are coming exclusively to Disney's upcoming streaming service. These are the only hard facts.
We can glean boatloads of info and guess quite a bit from the trailer. Firstly, it's easy to assume the episodes will pick up right where the Netflix-exclusive final Clone Wars season left off, given the trailer's resolution-teasing "a war left unfinished… until now" text. Furthermore, the scene that follows that text is extremely similar to the animatic makeup of the unfinished Clone Wars season 7 episode "The Bad Batch."
The fact that the trailer riffs so heavily from the unaired episode and even features Hunter, a new character integral to that particular episode's plot line (he's the commanding officer of the titular Bad Batch), strongly implies that at least some material from the finished season 7 and 8 scripts will make it into these 12 new episodes.
This is where the questions (read: the fun) begin. Will the season 7 and 8 scripts be produced verbatim, or will those scripts' contents only be sprinkled in amongst entirely new stories? If the latter, I have a lot of questions to ask. How will The Clone Wars work without George Lucas' oversight? After all, he was integral to every episode of the TV show, hence why it worked so well until its abrupt demise at the hands of Disney. And, speaking of Disney, its Star Wars track record hasn't been so hot. Even if one looks past the company's increasingly dodgy cinematic efforts with the Star Wars brand, its most recent cartoon, Star Wars Rebels, is a bad indicator of where they might take The Clone Wars.
Beyond Rebels' shoddy storylines and two-dimensional characters, the overwhelmingly child-friendly, toothless nature of the show was a huge departure from TCW. Just look at the age rating difference: Rebels was TV-Y7, whereas TCW was TV-PG-V. Had TCW been saddled with Rebels' age rating from the get-go, half the show's episodes wouldn't have been written, let alone produced and aired.
These two shows are made for entirely different audiences, mind you, but it's not a stretch to fear that Disney might not feel the same way. Given its effort to homogenize and soften the brand's overall image, we'll just have to wait and see if Disney's willing to let Dave Filoni and The Clone Wars team do their thing without any pulled punches.
However, even if we operate under the assumption that Disney gives Filoni and co. free reign, Rebels has already done quite a bit to preemptively hamper some of the cooler aspects of The Clone Wars' return. We now know the fates of Rex and Ahsoka, which lessens TCW's stakes given that they were the show's only true A-list wild cards. This is especially true for Ahsoka, as Rebels already revealed to us what her dynamic with Anakin ultimately leads to, which undercuts whatever padawan-master drama might be lurking in TCW's seventh season.
As with everything in Star Wars, though, fans will mentally canonize the bits they like and forget the things they don't, so as long as this season serves as a strong ending to The Clone Wars, fans can imagine its characters' stories ended here. Hopefully these 12 final episodes do the series, and the brand as a whole, justice.