Credit: Lucasfilm Animation

Today, Star Wars: The Clone Wars comes to an end with the final thirteen episodes on Netflix. The sixth season completes some storylines and brings the series closer in conncetion to Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the live-action chapter that follows it in the timeline. We'll have our impressions of each arc in the final season later, but first, we wanted to take a moment to simply say: Thank you.

Thank you, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Your stories have thrilled and amazed, they have made me laugh and made me cry. You made a universe seem more alive and made movies retroactively better through your enrichment of characters and relationships.

Thank you, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, for your portrayal of the Clones. Dee Bradley Baker gave hundreds of characters with the same voice their own personalities, their own hopes, their own fears. I felt for these characters, who were literally clones – basically cookie cutters – and wanted them to succeed, even though I knew they would eventually turn on these other characters I knew and loved. These are the bad guys of Star Wars, and I loved them. From “Rookies” which, only five episodes into the series still wound up on my top five all-time episodes, through training sequences on Kamino, being mistreated by a corrupt General and fighting alongside our favorite heroes. All the way down to the struggle of following orders – and the heartbreak that causes. You gave us not just an army, but a brotherhood. From thousands of identical faces came several unique people we grew to love and empathize with.

Thank you, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, for Ahsoka Tano. This young female Jedi defied everything we knew about storytelling in American cartoons. Here was a character who many saw as impulsive and, frankly, annoying at her introduction. She became the poster child for growth on the show, in both figurative and literal ways. As Ahsoka became a stronger Jedi, her growth exposed Anakin’s regression. Every step forward she took was mirrored by a step – if not back, then down, down into the Dark Side by Anakin. Ultimately, it was the loss of Ahsoka (though not through death), that showed us Anakin’s deepest dive into darkness. Moreso than Padme, more than Obi-Wan, Anakin’s “little sister” was his connection to hope, to innocence. All the way, Ahsoka represented independence and free thought in a world full of rules and order. She stumbled, but always recovered. She was the voice of reason – and the voice of doubt when others wouldn’t dare to speak up. In that way, she was the voice of the fans, of those going on this journey with her, and while Ahsoka is gone, #AhsokaLives, and will live on in the hearts of Star Wars fans everywhere.

Thank you, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, for making all those lovely “cameo” Jedi from Episodes II and III into real, fully fleshed-out characters that we could actually care about. Ask anyone who has watched Clone Wars, then watched Revenge of the Sith. The deaths of the Jedi, the way the Clones turn on them during Order 66 – it all means so much more. Yes, the Clone Wars is a wonderful, entertaining show all on its own, but it is also part of the larger Star Wars family, and thus makes everything around it better.

Thank you, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, for daring to tell three and four episode stories in the animated format, something many shows won’t do. The extended storylines are one of the many things that made this a show that families could sit down and watch together (or that adults could just watch all on their own). Stories like “Rako Hardeen’s” adventure, like “The Mortis Trilogy,” and finally, like Yoda’s big farewell, gave us not just something to look forward to even more each week, but also reached out into the greater mythos, exposing new truths about the very nature of Star Wars and its characters.

Thank you, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, for bringing Star Wars to a new generation. The epic struggle of the Jedi versus the Sith, the mythic fantasy deserves to be loved by all ages and all generations, and you helped make that happen.

Thank you, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, for your amazing assemblage of talent. From the voice actors who brought life to these characters in amazing new ways: Ashley Eckstein, James Arnold Taylor, Matt Lanter, Tom Kane, Matthew Wood, Catherine Taber, Nika Futterman, Anna Graves, Sam Witwer, and so very many more. I will forever love and recognize their contributions to the characters of your world, and when I read comics and novels with those characters involved, I will forever hear their voices. The writers and directors led by Dave Filoni, their incredible staff of sound and animation – every person involved in the series brought it to life and made this world more real, perhaps, than even the live-action films.

Finally, thank you, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, for making Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi actually feel like brothers. We were supposed to believe, in Revenge of the Sith, that they were, but it didn’t feel that way until Clone Wars came along. The agony of Obi-Wan seeing Anakin fall to the Dark Side means more with the weight of six seasons of journeys. It completely changes the landscape of all four movies that follow, and makes that final confrontation in A New Hope mean that much more.

Thank you, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, there will never be another like you. But thank you, Lucasfilm for getting started on the next chapter. Hope to get to know you soon, Star Wars Rebels.

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