Clone Wars
Photograph: Allstar Picture Library Ltd./Alamy

Why ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ is getting me through lockdown

Time Out’s culture editor Andrzej Łukowski on his small-screen happy place

Andrzej Lukowski

A big lockdown revelation for me was my children’s utter uninterest in Disney: something I naturally only discovered after I proudly presented them with a shiny new Disney+ subscription in April.

Still, I had the subscription, I like ‘Star Wars’, and I really wanted to watch ‘The Mandalorian’. Then, for the sake of completeness I put myself through ‘Solo’ and ‘The Rise of Skywalker’. Unfortunately, lockdown rolled on and I’d run out of ‘Star Wars’ stuff to watch. Or had I? I’d heard that cartoon series spin-off ‘Clone Wars’ was rather good, but I’d avoided it because it sounded like it was for those ‘Star Wars’ fans who could name all the different lightsabers, plus I was still scarred by the objectively terrible ’80s cartoons ‘Ewoks’ and ‘Droids’.

I was very wrong. ‘The Clone Wars’ turns out to be utterly brilliant: a madly sprawling but deeply intelligent and often fantastically well-written exploration of the world of the ‘Star Wars’ prequels. Yes, the prequels: their flawed nature is almost the point. We didn’t need any more adventures from Luke, Han and Leia. The three they’d had (at the time) were perfect. But the space-operatic mess of ‘The Phantom Menace’, ‘Attack of the Clones’ and ‘Revenge of the Sith’ is ripe for untangling, and showrunner Dave Filoni delivers seven seasons that breathed life, humanity, humour and tragedy into the escapades of Obi Wan, Anakin and their clone armies.

The flawed nature of the ‘Star Wars’ prequels is almost the point here

‘The Clone Wars’ takes a little while to get into its stride, with the early series marked by simpler storytelling and animation. And, of course, it’s a shade nerdy. But it’s parsecs ahead of the last few ‘Star Wars’ films, and just the escape I’ve needed to get through lockdown. The kids? They’ve got puzzles to do. 

Available on Disney+ globally.

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