Star Wars Top 8: Ways Clone Wars Makes Revenge of the Sith Better
I am a defender of the prequels. While I understand that they are objectively bad, they have the words “Star” and “Wars” in the title, so I really have no choice but to love them unconditionally. Fortunately for me, at least one of them is a legitimately good movie (hint: it’s in the title of this article). Actually, for a while, Revenge of the Sith was my favorite Star Wars movie
Look, I know that’s embarrassing, and I probably shouldn’t be admitting that, but hey, I was nine when it came out. I’ve since realized the error of my ways, and like all good Star Wars fans, Empire Strikes Back is my favorite of the eight films. That said, I will accept arguments for A New Hope, The Force Awakens (depending on my mood), and Return of the Jedi (depending on how much tolerance I have for the Ewoks).
Anyways, none of those movies have anything to do with the article I’m about to write. I mean, sure, they’re tangentially related, but this article mostly concerns Revenge of the Sith and the phenomenal 2008 Clone Wars TV show. Because while I do think that Revenge of the Sith is fine in a vacuum, Clone Wars actually makes it a better movie, in retrospect.
No parameters this time around, since I don’t think there’s much that isn’t clear, and if there is, tell me. I’ll add parameters and for my next post I’ll treat the readers like absolute idiots and explain, in excruciating detail, the plot of The Courtship of Princess Leia. Maybe I’ll even paste the entire novel into a post, though that’s probably illegal. After that, none of you will ever dare question me again.
Or you’ll just stop reading my work and I’ll be really sad, so let’s avoid that. Please.
Anyways, onto something a bit more topical.
8. It Explains How Yoda Got in Touch with Qui-Gon
This is a really minor thing, I know – it’s just a random couple lines of dialogue at the end of Revemge of the Sith. This is a cool moment, and hinted at some great possibilities for EU stories (it still does, actually), but it seems to come out of the blue. It doesn’t really do anything for the plot (though it does set up A New Hope), and it just seems like a random inclusion. However, the final arc of The Lost Missions actually offers build up to this moment. Yoda’s quest begins with him hearing Qui-Gon, and a lot of it has to do with transcending physical life. Of course, I don’t need every little nuance of how the Force works explained to me, but this exploration of it is super engrossing. Plus, knowing what Yoda went through to learn that skill makes this moment far better. There’s more to it as well, since this particular arc lays out the full ramifications and potential of life after death in the Star Wars universe.
7. Dooku’s Death Has Real Impact
Look, I think that Christopher Lee is awesome as Count Dooku (or Darth Tyranus, if you’re a purist). He’s certainly one of the few good things about Attack of the Clones, and the one scene he gets in Revenge of the Sith is great – until, you know, they kill him off as if anyone cares enough to make that shocking. his rivalry with Anakin throughout Clone Wars makes this final enocunter between the two actually mean something for both characters. There’s a sense of finality about it. For Anakin, it’s the ultimate triumph over a rival who has dogged him since the inception of the Clone Wars. For Dooku, it’s a moment of crippling defeat. Not only does it occur in front of his master, but he falls at the hands of a character that he has encountered, and bested, multiple times in the past. The moment where Anakin removes his head is made a lot more profound after watching Clone Wars.
6. The Jedi Order is Flawed
This is something that we really don’t see in the movies. Sure, Mace Windu elects to leave Anakin behind in Revenge of the Sith, but that’s a poor judgement call more than anything else. It also never made a ton of sense to me that the Republic was so quick to turn on the Jedi when, in the films, they’re portrayed as the ultimate source of good until Revenge of the Sith, where they make a weird shift. Of course, this was explored in the old EU, so Clone Wars isn’t the only piece of media that justifies this. But arcs like Darkness on Umbara and The Wrong Jedi go a long to communicate that the Jedi Order isn’t quite as lawful good as they may seem. So when the Senate and GAR do turn against the Jedi, it’s far more believable. It’s also far more tragic, because even though the Order is never portrayed as perfect, characters like Obi-Wan actually embody what the Jedi should stand for.
5. Everything With Grievous is Just Better
I’m going to level with you a bit: based solely on Revenge of the Sith, there is no reason to like General Grievous. Sure, he’s cool looking and there’s a great action scene involving him, but he’s actually kind of boring and his brief verbal sparring with Obi-Wan kind of seems out of place. Clone Wars fixes that. We actually get to see General Grievous as more than just some cool cyborg with four arms and a ton of lightsabers. Sure, the show doesn’t delve into his backstory (which has no canon explanation anymore, by the way), but we not only see why he is feared, but also exactly why he is important. So when Grievous goes out, there’s actually some impact to the moment. I mean, the moment is impactful anyways, but after watching Clone Wars, I can’t watch that scene without going “Yeah, they just finished off the last important public face of the CIS.”
4. Watching Clones Get Massacred is Kind of Depressing
Literally none of the Clone Troopers have personalities in the films. Cody is the closest Revenge of the Sith gets to turning one of them into a real character, but even that is kind of half hearted. More on Cody later, though. Clone Wars emphasizes that the Clone Troopers are actual people – the difference between them and the battle droids employed by the CIS is made clear. Like a few of the other entries on this list, this has been explored in other pieces of EU fiction, but none of it is canon anymore, and Clone Wars arguably does it better (I will cede that the Republic Commando novels do it best). Anyways, watching them get gunned down has no impact without Clone Wars because they may as well be droids. But post-Clone Wars it’s entirely possible that all of them had personalities, and friends, and were real people underneath the white armor. Watching so many of them get slaughtered becomes brutal.
3. The Final Confrontation Between Anakin and Obi-Wan is More Emotional
The movies never quite sell the relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin. I mean, yes, they shove it down your throat, but it’s never particularly well done, barring a couple of scenes. So when we reach that final battle on Mustafar, there just isn’t an emotional tether. After Clone Wars though, there is. The two really do feel like brothers – they rely on each other, and their relationship is one of the sticking points of the show. So when they go at each other on Mustafar, it’s brutal. That final scene, right before Obi-Wan leaves him to die, gains impact as well. I still don’t think the delivery is quite there, but the overall melodrama feels a lot more justified after watching Clone Wars. It also adds a ton to the scene where Obi-Wan watches Anakin massacring his fellow Jedi during Order 66 – it’s like watching his brother slaughter his friends. I’ve never experienced this personally, but I’m sure it’s a horrible feeling.
2. Cody’s Betrayal is Actually Super Heartbreaking
Obi-Wan Kenobi is Commander Cody’s best friend. Post Clone Wars, there’s really no doubting that. The two have such a great dynamic throughout the series, even if Cody gets relegated to the backseat for the majority of the show. So when he shoots Obi-Wan, and is under the impression that he kills him, that has to be brutal for him. This is especially true since Clone Wars illustrated that the Clones really had no choice in the matter – they had to kill their Jedi generals. So, let’s recap: Commander Cody was forced to kill his best friend by someone he had never actually met. That’s horrible. Sure, Obi-Wan survives, but Cody doesn’t know that. The emotion that scene tries to evoke obviously feel undeserved without knowing the events of Clone Wars, but as someone who has watched all of Clone Wars, I have a hard time believing that Cody didn’t spend the next five years of his life drinking himself to death.
1. Anakin’s Turn Makes So Much More Sense
To be clear, I don’t think that Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader is unjustified. It makes perfect sense to me, and I think it would had I only seen the films. That being said, there’t a lot that happens in Clone Wars that further informs this decision. He sees the Jedi Order decaying first hand, and feels the consequences when he loses Ahsoka. He also goes through a lot over the course of the series. This is obviously true of a lot of the characters but he sustains some of the greatest losses – at one point he thinks he loses Obi-Wan, and by being left in the dark here the Council only furthers his distrust of them. All of it kind of comes together with the events of Revenge of the Sith to create the perfect storm for Anakin, and it’s clear that after the three years of fighting, he would be more than susceptible to the warm embrace of the Dark Side.