Star Wars Celebration took place this past weekend, showcasing all the exciting upcoming projects from the Galaxy Far, Far Away and reminding us how much of our lives we’re going to be dedicating to this franchise in the near future. We got a tantalizing teaser for the newly titled The Rise of Skywalker, a look at Disneyland’s upcoming Galaxy’s Edge attraction, and a peek at the single player Jedi game we’ve been anticipating for years.
But for many fans, the real highlight was The Clone Wars‘ final season panel and the trailer that came with it. From which we began to get a sense of what the forthcoming batch of episodes will feature, including connections to Star Wars Rebels and previously unfinished episodes, along with other unused concepts.
The chance to see a genuine conclusion to Clone Wars is something many fans had long given up hope for after the show was unceremoniously canceled following the Disney acquisition. The sixth season, dubbed “The Lost Missions,” did attempt to offer some closure, but was more a collection of what was already finished than a final season proper. So when it was announced at last year’s Comic-Con that the show would return for one more season on Disney+, fans were understandably ecstatic. And now, almost a year on, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the seventh and final season. So buckle up and prepare to go to lightspeed, as we break down everything we learned from the Star Wars Celebration Clone Wars panel.
The trailer opens with a flashback of Ahsoka Tano leaving the Jedi Order from Season 5’s “The Wrong Jedi,” while her final conversation with Anakin Skywalker plays in voiceover. We then see her taking a ride on a speeder, approaching the entrance to the lower levels of Coruscant where she’ll meet new characters Trace and Rafa. Trace, as creator Dave Filoni mentioned in the panel, is from level 1313, which got a cheer from the crowd due to the connection to the canceled game of the same name.
This arc was described in the panel as Ahsoka getting a taste of what life is like for the “everyday” people of Coruscant, that’ll see her having to rediscover herself after her ordeal with the Jedi and gaining a different perspective on the way of life she’d grown accustomed to. These episodes are said to bridge the gap between the younger, less self-assured Ahsoka from Clone Wars and the wise mentor version we see years later in Rebels.
Filoni also stated that these episodes are based on previously unused scripts from before the show was originally canceled, tweaked (for the better, he says) to reflect the character’s development in Rebels. Earlier in the panel, the crew also showed off a clip of Ahsoka’s journey down into Coruscant’s underbelly, as her speeder begins to give out on her and she’s forced to improvise to keep from plunging down to the ground.
Ahsoka is, of course, no stranger to the lower levels, having taken refuge down there while on the run in the Hitchcock-inspired final arc of season 5, but this will be her first time experiencing them not as an outsider. And from the looks of things, she’ll start to understand the hypocrisy that leads to the Jedi’s downfall, as Trace and Rafa harbor the kind of resentment towards the Order that the show’s only hinted at in the past. This arc will see Ahsoka having to “act her age” for the first time in a long time, which is also tied to her costume change, as she reckons with her old life and what lies before her.
Next, we see Captain Rex lamenting the losses he’s faced during wartime, as we get flashbacks to the deaths of his closest friends. We hear Yoda discussing the enlightenment he achieved at the end of season 6—”No longer certain that one ever does win a war, I am,” he says as destruction rains down on the Republic forces. Ahsoka and her new friends are chased through the bustling Coruscant streets when a mysterious figure, likely the returning Bo-Katan, takes notice.
Katan, voiced by Katee Sackhoff, emerged as the breakout Mandalorian character during their numerous storylines on the show and even came back to play a pivotal role in the fight against the Empire in Rebels. Her return was also teased in the panel, with an image shared of her standing side by side with Ahsoka and slight design adjustments highlighted to show how far the animation has come.
The next big detail in the trailer is the appearance of Clone Force 99, otherwise known as the Bad Batch. This is a group of experimental soldiers, whose imperfections were allowed to flourish in the cloning process, making them uniquely suited to certain combat situations. We see them kicking plenty of droid ass, fighting alongside Rex and what looks to be Anakin. A clip was also shared during the panel of them surprising Rex with their daring battle tactics and using experimental weapons to fight off a horde of droids.
Like the Ahsoka arc, this story was in the works long before Clone Wars‘ initial cancelation, with the unfinished animation even being released online when it seemed as though the show was gone for good. And while hardcore fans may know their way around this story, Filoni again said that the scripts had been reworked to fit with newer additions to the canon, so we can still expect a few surprises as we tune in to these episodes. He also stated that this story, in particular, would be the “most authentic” to the Clone Wars of old, having been almost completed during the original run.
And if that wasn’t enough for longtime fans, we get a glimpse of one of the most hotly anticipated of the unfinished Clone Wars stories—The Seige of Mandalore. For context, when Ahsoka comes face to face with Darth Maul in Rebels, the two appear very familiar with each other, referencing a past encounter that fans were not aware of. And, as it turns out, neither was the cast. Sam Witwer (Maul) joked that the ever-secretive Filoni refused even to tell him what their history was, but at Celebration London in 2016, that all changed.
At a panel (which I was at), Filoni revealed pages of storyboards and unused concept art, going through story ideas that he’d worked on with George Lucas himself. Hearing about these episodes that were never to be was an emotional experience for the cast, as Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka) recalled at this year’s panel. And seeing these storyboards directly translated to animation is pretty remarkable, especially when we’d all accepted long ago that we’d never get to see it.
This particular arc will see Ahsoka reunited with Anakin and the Clones, as she heads to Mandalore to take the planet back from Maul’s clutches. The trailer, along with a longer unfinished clip, shows her emotional reunion with Rex, whose entire Clone outfit has her distinctive facial patterns painted onto their helmets. Filoni described the story as one of the most important of the show’s run and even gave details of a surprise return.
That’s right, the original Darth Maul himself, Ray Park, will be back to provide motion capture for Maul’s showdown with Ahsoka. Park has been a huge part of the fandom for years, attending multiple Celebrations and always showing a level of gratitude and enthusiasm for the fans. So to have him return in any form is great, especially when it’s to inform what Filoni described as one of the biggest duels the show has ever done. He also revealed that the character of Maul has also undergone a slight design change to align with the version we saw in Solo, also played by Park.
But before the trailer gets to that showdown, we see Ahsoka acquire the lightsabers that she went on to wield in Rebels. How they go from blue to white is unknown at this time, but if dark side users can turn theirs red to show their changed allegiances, it makes sense that someone who no longer associates with the Jedi could do the same to reflect a more middle ground approach.
We see what looks to be Ahsoka’s homeworld of Shili, along with Bo-Katan, and the nightmare-inducing Admiral Trench—last seen in season 6. But it’s the end of the trailer that’s most exciting, as Ahsoka fights off numerous Mandalorians in a single sweeping take, before coming face to face with Maul. “I was hoping for Kenobi,” he spits out, as the two face off in the throne room.
And that about covers all the important info we learned from this weekend’s Celebration panel, the full version of which (including the trailer) can be watched above. Even though Clone Wars is only returning for 12 more episodes, it’s exciting to know we’ll finally get a sense of closure that the last season just couldn’t offer. And while there’s still plenty of stories that Filoni and co. will likely never get to tell, the chance to see the show return for some of it’s most important installments is certainly worth celebrating.