Clone Wars (Star Wars)
|Commanders and leaders|
Supreme Chancellor Palpatine
Darth Sidious (alias of Chancellor Palpatine and Secret Leader)
|Grand Army of the Republic||Separatist Droid Army|
The Clone Wars are a galaxy-wide conflict that forms a major part of George Lucas's science fiction franchise Star Wars. The conflict is first mentioned in the film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), but no details are given (except for the implication of clones being involved), and the wars themselves are not featured until Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002), which shows the beginnings of the conflict, and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), which shows its conclusion.
The 2D animated microseries Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003–2005) and 3D CGI animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008–2014) expand on the war and chronicle some of its major campaigns. Additional events and stories are detailed in a multimedia campaign that ran from 2002 to 2005, consisting of Star Wars literature and video games. Many of the events featured have parallels in history, politics, and mythology from which Lucas and other writers drew inspiration.
Within the Star Wars narrative, the Clone Wars began when thousands of systems seceded from the Galactic Republic to form the Confederacy of Independent Systems (CIS). The first battle occurs on the CIS planet Geonosis where the Republic's new clone army, led by Jedi generals, combats the Separatists' battle droids. War quickly spreads across the galaxy and eventually reaches the Republic's capital planet, Coruscant. The Clone Wars end shortly after the Great Jedi Purge, with the massacre of the Separatist leaders at the hands of Darth Vader. The entire war was orchestrated by the Republic's chief executive, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who uses the Clone Wars to manipulate the Republic's Galactic Senate into granting him emergency powers which he then uses to turn the Republic into the Empire.
- 1 Pre-Clone Wars: Origins (Episode I: The Phantom Menace - Separatist Crisis)
- 2 End of Separatist Crisis, Initiation of the Clone Wars Campaign: Battle Of Geonosis
- 3 Story (Overview)
- 4 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (Beginning)-(Battle of Geonosis)
- 5 Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2014) (ongoing Clone Wars battles and campaigns)
- 6 Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (End)
- 7 Major Battles (Summary)
- 8 Aftermath and C.I.S. Insurrectionary Campaign
- 9 Allusions
- 10 Media/Entertainment Portrayals (Film, Books and Games)
- 11 Merchandise (Accessories and Toys)
- 12 See also
- 13 References
Pre-Clone Wars: Origins (Episode I: The Phantom Menace - Separatist Crisis)
The beginnings of the war are first portrayed in the 1999 film Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace as the Trade Federation invades the planet of Naboo, causing Senator Palpatine to win the sympathy vote to become Supreme Chancellor. However, the real tension begins with the Separatist Crisis, a series of debates in the Galactic Republic that are referred to in Attack of the Clones, and began about two years prior to the start of that film. By the beginning of Attack of the Clones, many star systems have seceded and left the Republic. The tension caused by this secession eventually leads to the outbreak of war. The war has different causes: the Republic's Chancellor Palpatine tells his people that the war began because of several different reasons such as the years of separation by the outer rim territories, as well as the separatists' capture of the Jedi and financing of rebellions by radical states within the Republic. While these are all true, Palpatine had covertly influenced and created these events with assistance from his secret apprentices.
End of Separatist Crisis, Initiation of the Clone Wars Campaign: Battle Of Geonosis
A clone army is created for the Republic on the planet of Kamino. Led by Master Yoda, these clones travel to the planet of Geonosis to rescue the captive Jedi and capture or kill the Separatist leaders. This leads to the battle of Geonosis, the first battle in the Clone Wars.
The conflicts leading up to the Clone Wars began 32 years before the events of A New Hope and ended 19 years before it. During the film The Phantom Menace, the Trade Federation, a major galactic trade organization under the control of the Neimoidians, blockades the small planet Naboo and demands its capitulation. Its queen, Padmé Amidala, refuses their demands and requests help from the Galactic Republic, the main governing body of the galaxy. The Republic sends two Jedi ambassadors, Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi, to oversee the situation and negotiate with the Trade Federation. The Federation, wary of the Jedi and secretly taking orders from Sith lord Darth Sidious, attempts to murder the Jedi, who escape to Naboo just as the Federation begins a full-scale invasion. Following a brief occupation, the Trade Federation is defeated by an alliance of the Naboo Royal Guard and the indigenous Gungan Tribes, with the help of the Jedi, and the Viceroy is forced to surrender and deactivate his droid armies.
Following these events, Jedi Master Dooku resigns from the Jedi Order and returns to his homeworld of Serenno, taking on his hereditary title of Count. However, the Jedi Council is unaware that Count Dooku has fallen under the control of Darth Sidious, and is secretly training as his new apprentice Darth Tyranus, organizing a separatist coalition of planets and civilizations with the intention of seceding from the Republic. During this time, the Separatists begin forming their own armies, which primarily consist of battle droids constructed by the Trade Federation and its allies.
Ten years later, following the attempted assassination of now-Senator Padmé Amidala, the investigation by Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi and his apprentice Anakin Skywalker puts them on the trail of Jango Fett, an interstellar bounty hunter. Tracking him to the unlisted world of Kamino, Kenobi discovers that the Kaminoans have used samples of Fett's DNA to clone a vast army of soldiers, referred to as Clone troopers. The order for the soldiers had been secretly submitted to the Kaminoans by Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas, who was killed after making the order. Meanwhile, the Republic faces internal opposition as several thousand worlds publicly secede from the Galactic Republic and form the Confederacy of Independent Systems (CIS). The Republic Senate deliberates passing the Military Creation Act, which calls for the formation of an army to serve the Republic to keep order across Republic Star Systems and prevent further secession. As deliberations stall, Shadow Senator for Naboo Jar Jar Binks proposes (after suggestion from Chancellor Palpatine) that the Chancellor be granted emergency powers in order to resolve the issue of the Clone Army that is awaiting approval on Kamino, and to take decisive action to put down the rebellion. This is greeted by applause from the majority of the Senate Chamber, and Chancellor Palpatine describes it as a "purely temporary measure".
The Clone Army of the Republic first sees battle engaging the Separatist forces on Geonosis, rescuing a small group of Jedi trapped by Dooku's forces. The Republic army in this engagement is commanded by Master Yoda, and the Battle of Geonosis marks the end of Attack of the Clones and the beginning of the Clone Wars.
During the in-universe time period between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, conflict between the Republic and the Separatists increases and expands, which is chronicled in an extensive multimedia campaign for Revenge of the Sith.
Three years after the Battle of Geonosis, CIS forces under the command of the cyborg General Grievous kidnap Chancellor Palpatine from the Republic capital world of Coruscant. The Chancellor is rescued and Confederacy leader Count Dooku killed by Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, who, ironically later takes his place as Darth Vader.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (Beginning)-(Battle of Geonosis)
In the film Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, the beginning of the Clone Wars occurs. The clone army of the Republic is formed on the planet Kamino, and in a state of emergency, Jar Jar Binks, the representative of Naboo granted emergency powers to Supreme Chancellor Palpatine to approve the use of a clone army. 200 Jedi were dispatched to Geonosis with Mace Windu leading them. They stormed an execution arena where Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Padme Amidala were about to be sentenced to death by three blood-thirsty monsters (an Acklay, a Reek, and a Nexu). A battle occurred in the arena, and a lot of Jedi were slain by Count Dooku's droid army. But a massive army of clone troopers led by Master Yoda entered the arena and evacuated the surviving Jedi, taking them to where a great battle was taking place. Mace Windu, Kit Fisto, and Ki-Adi-Mundi led the clone army against the droid army and were successful, while Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi went to duel Dooku. Anakin and Obi-Wan were defeated by the Sith Lord, but Yoda arrived and fought Dooku off, forcing him to retreat to his master's fortress. The Clone Wars had begun.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2014) (ongoing Clone Wars battles and campaigns)
Battle of Cristophsis and Skirmish on Teth
Six months after the onset of The Clone Wars in Episode II, Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi were sent to defend the world of Christophsis against Separatist invasion. Starved for reinforcements and supplies, the Jedi held off the droid armies while awaiting backup from Admiral Yularen. When the transport arrived, a Jedi youngling by the name of Ahsoka Tano stepped off the ship and revealed herself to be Skywalker's new Padawan learner. Reluctantly, Anakin partnered with Ahsoka to defeat the Separatist threat on Christophsis. Following the battle, Yoda assigned the new master and apprentice the task of finding Jabba the Hutt's son in order to improve relations with the Hutt clan.
After a skirmish on Teth, it became obvious that the Separatist Asajj Ventress was behind the kidnapping of the young Hutt and intended to frame the Jedi. After preventing the Separatist plot, Anakin and Ahsoka traveled to Tatooine to reunite Jabba with his son. Dooku attempted to stop them, but failed to do so. Jabba brokered a peace with the Republic for saving his son, which allowed them to use Hutt-controlled space.
Training on Kamino
Shortly after the treaty with the Hutts, a squad of clone cadets neared the end of their training on the rainy world of Kamino. Trained by bounty hunters Bric and El-Les and designated Domino Squad, Hevy, Cutup, Droidbait, Fives, and Echo ran through their final exercises in preparation for their final test, the Citadel. Despite their training and preparation, they failed their examination after making several fatal mistakes. As such, they were scheduled to be left behind when the new batch left for war. But El-Les petitioned for them to have a second chance, a petition that Jedi Shaak Ti granted. After learning to come together as a unit and look past themselves, Domino Squad was able to overcome the Citadel, joining their clone brethren on the battlefield.
Rishi Moon Assault
The rookies of Domino Squad were assigned to the Rishi moon outpost guarding Kamino. General Grievous sent a squad of commando droids to eliminate the clones and take the station without alerting the Republic. The droids did so, killing the commander, Sergeant O'Niner, Droidbait, and two other clones. Hevy, Fives, Echo, and Cutup escaped through a ventilation shaft, but Cutup was killed by a Rishi eel. Commander Cody and Captain Rex came to the moon soon afterwards on an inspection tour, and were alerted to the presence of the droids. The officers then engaged the droids in combat. The shuttle was destroyed and they were forced to retreat.
The clones teamed up and tricked the droids to let them in. They destroyed the droids and tried to contact the Republic. The comm link was jammed, and they realized the only way to get the Republic's attention was to blow the station up. Meanwhile, General Grievous sent a droid unit to check the outpost out. Cody, Hevy, and Fives engaged the droids while Echo and Captain Rex set up the bomb.
Cody and his men retreated to the command center to detonate the bomb. When the bomb didn't work, Hevy volunteered to stay behind to fix it. Hevy tried to fix it, but it was to no avail. The droids came, and Hevy made a last stand with his chaingun. He was wounded, and his only option was to detonate the bomb manually. He did so, sacrificing himself, to alert the Republic.
The Republic forces came, expelling the Separatist forces. A gunship evacuated the survivors, and brought them to the Jedi to be honored. Echo and Fives were given medals, and Captain Rex appointed them into the 501st Legion. The Separatists assaulted Kamino several months later and lost.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (End)
At this point in the timeline of the Clone Wars, the Outer Rim Sieges are in full swing and numerous other battles rage across the galaxy. The Jedi are considered generals, because of their lightsaber combat skills and powerful drive to do what is right far outranking clones in terms of battle prowess and leadership abilities, and are spread thin across the galaxy. One of the key battles of the Outer Rim Sieges is the Battle of Utapau, depicted in Revenge of the Sith. During the battle, General Obi-Wan Kenobi strikes a crippling blow to the Confederacy by killing General Grievous, after Count Dooku was killed by Anakin Skywalker during the Battle of Coruscant (the opening battle also depicted in Revenge of the Sith). However, the entire Battle of Utapau is a diversionary tactic, intended to remove Kenobi from Anakin Skywalker's immediate circle of influence in order for Chancellor Palpatine to draw Skywalker toward the dark side of the Force.
Left behind by Kenobi on Coruscant, Skywalker discovers that Palpatine is also Darth Sidious, secret Sith leader of the Confederacy. He informs Jedi Master Mace Windu, and Windu promptly confronts the corrupt Chancellor. A furious duel ensues in Palpatine's personal chambers, until only Windu and Palpatine are left standing. Skywalker arrives at the Chancellor's quarters to find Palpatine at the mercy of Windu's lightsaber. Skywalker, recoiling at the idea of executing Palpatine without trial and promised by Palpatine enough power to save his wife Padmé from death, cuts Windu's lightsaber hand off, allowing Palpatine to defenestrate Windu. Sidious takes Skywalker as his new Sith Apprentice and gives him his Sith name Darth Vader. Falsely believing that the Dark Side is the only key to save Padmé's life, he submits himself to Palpatine's teachings - as a newly anointed Sith Lord, Skywalker has now completely fallen under the sway of the Dark Side.
Utilizing the attack by Mace Windu as a pretext, Palpatine issues Order 66, a pre-arranged military command ordering all Clone Troopers to execute their Jedi commanders in the event that the Jedi "betray" the Republic. Darth Vader leads the raid on the Jedi Temple with the 501st Clone Trooper Legion and kills all the Jedi in the Temple, including Jedi younglings living in the Temple.
With the extermination of the vast majority of the Jedi complete, Palpatine marks an end to the Galactic Republic, naming himself ruler of the Galactic Empire. During this time, Emperor Palpatine dispatches Vader to Mustafar to kill the rest of the Separatist leaders. With the elimination of the Confederacy leadership accomplished and his plan for total domination complete, Palpatine (as Darth Sidious) orders all battle droids to be shut down immediately, effectively ending the war.
Major Battles (Summary)
Battle of Coruscant
After the CIS finds a secret hyperspace route through the Deep Core, the Confederacy's fleet, including General Grievous's flagship Invisible Hand, initiates a surprise attack on Coruscant. In an unprecedented move, Chancellor Palpatine is kidnapped and jailed in the Invisible Hand. Coruscant responds by sending a fleet of Venator-class Star Destroyers. Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, meanwhile, on a mission from the Jedi Order, infiltrate the flagship and rescue the Chancellor. Anakin kills Count Dooku, the leader of the Confederacy, at the Chancellor's urging. As the Invisible Hand falls out of orbit, General Grievous ejects all the escape pods, leaving the Jedi and the Chancellor trapped inside. Anakin manages to land half of the burning ship on Coruscant. Without their lead ship, the CIS fleet enters hyperspace and leaves.
Battle of Kashyyyk
Upon receiving news of the Separatist assault of Kashyyyk, the Jedi Master Yoda, having previous experience and good relations with the Wookies, is dispatched with a force of clone troops to aid them, as the Republic cannot afford to lose the system. The battle occurs on a beach, the Confederacy utilizing amphibious and aerial vehicles and droids, only revealing themselves in shallow water, using it as cover. Order 66 was issued during the battle, but Master Yoda was one of the few Jedi to survive it.
Battle of Utapau
The Battle of Utapau was a clone invasion on the planet. Clone Commander Cody and Obi-Wan Kenobi fought there. A high-ranking Separatist officer, General Grievous, was killed by Obi-Wan. Order 66 was given at the end of the battle, causing Clone Commander Cody to order an AT-TE to shoot Obi-Wan. The blast hit the rock ledge beneath him and his steed Boga, sending them into free fall and landing in a lake where Obi-Wan survives.
Aftermath and C.I.S. Insurrectionary Campaign
Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi survive the initial purge and are picked up by Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan aboard his diplomatic cruiser Tantive IV. Organa, after witnessing the young Jedi Zett Jukassa being killed by clone troopers, has secretly remained loyal to the Jedi. Returning to Coruscant, Masters Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi enter the Temple long enough to re-encode a secret retreat signal being broadcast by the in-house communications ordering all Jedi to return to the Jedi Temple, instead warning all surviving Jedi about the treachery and to take precautions. Kenobi and Yoda then attempt to kill the Sith Lords, with Yoda engaging Sidious in combat, and Obi-Wan fighting Vader. Yoda fights Sidious into a stalemate and is forced to flee at the last moment and escapes; whereas Kenobi defeats and mortally wounds his former apprentice, leaving him to die; however, Vader is rescued by the Emperor and fitted with the black life-support suit he wears for the remainder of his life. Realizing they are in no position to oppose the Empire for the time being, Kenobi and Yoda go into hiding. Additionally, they decide that Luke and Leia, the children of Anakin and Padmé (who had died giving birth to them), would need to be raised separately and in hiding to protect them from Sidious and Vader. Bail Organa volunteers to adopt Leia with his wife on Alderaan. By Yoda's decision, Luke would be raised by Anakin's stepbrother, Owen Lars, on Tatooine, while Kenobi watches over him from a distance. Yoda, for his part, chooses exile on an uninhabited planet in the Dagobah System, where strong dark side energies would mask his presence from the Emperor.
A Jedi Padawan named Caleb Dume also survives the Great Jedi Purge. He changes his name to Kanan Jarrus and takes odd jobs through the galaxy. Eventually, he joins a small rebel crew later, which is fighting against the Empire.
The war accomplished exactly what Palpatine had set out to achieve: the Jedi Order was destroyed, and the Republic was transformed into the first Galactic Empire, with Palpatine as its Emperor. The Empire expanded its reach across the galaxy, using the memory of the Clone Wars by promising order to a galaxy tired of war. After it became clear that the Empire was oppressive, however, the Rebel Alliance was created to oppose the Empire's rule. Palpatine's victory in the Clone Wars lasted just over two decades, as the Galactic Civil War led to the fall of Palpatine and his Empire.
Like all themes within Star Wars, the Clone Wars borrows from multiple mythical, literary, and historical influences and parallels. Writers and critics have debated over which parallels are most prominent or consistent.
Political, Governmental, and Militarily
The Clone Wars and its results are portrayed as the catalyst that shifted the Galactic Republic from a democracy to a dictatorship. In a 2002 Time magazine interview, Star Wars creator George Lucas explains:
- "All democracies turn into dictatorships—but not by coup. The people give their democracy to a dictator, whether it's Julius Caesar or Napoleon or Adolf Hitler. Ultimately, the general population goes along with the idea. What kinds of things push people and institutions in this direction? That's the issue I've been exploring: how did the Republic turn into the Empire? ... How does a good person go bad, and how does a democracy become a dictatorship?"
The prequel trilogy depicts Palpatine using a false flag to gain power: In Attack of the Clones, he orchestrates the Separatist movement (and the Clone Wars that followed) to worry the citizens of the Republic, thus forcing the Senate to grant him emergency powers. According to character Obi-Wan Kenobi, these powers increase as the Clone Wars extend into a search for General Grievous, who replaces Count Dooku as Separatist leader. During Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine declares himself Emperor by blaming the Jedi for the Republic's problems, resulting in a Jedi purge via Order 66.
Comparisons have been made between the political aspects of the Clone Wars and the events leading up to World War II. Radio host Clyde Lewis' article on historical similarities in Star Wars claims that Palpatine's tactics parallel those of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany; both leaders used wars and scapegoats to manipulate society's emotional state, thus providing the leadership with support and power. This viewpoint was also expressed in an editorial on the Clone Wars Unofficial Website. Another writer compares the Clone Wars with World War II in general, basing his argument on the fact that Lucas was born during the baby boomer generation, and the dark times featured in the original trilogy rival the dark, uncertain Cold War. Lucas, however, cited in multiple interviews that one of his primary influences for the political backdrop behind the Clone Wars (and all of Star Wars) was the Vietnam/Watergate era, when leaders embraced corruption for what they thought was the best course of action.
There is a variety of opinions on the historical parallels between the political aspects of the Clone Wars and the War in Iraq. In claiming that the Star Wars galaxy under the deceitful Palpatine parallels the modern issues of the United States, an editorial on Antiwar.com states that "[Star Wars] establishes first the generally agreeable premise that it's right to overthrow oppressive government, before bringing into focus something more discomforting – that the corrupt tyranny referred to is our own". Additionally, an article from Wiretap claims that, "like Palpatine, the Bush administration has been able to feed on people's fears to gain more power". However, in an interview with Seattle station KIRO 7 News, Star Wars producer Rick McCallum explained:
- "George is a product of Vietnam, not a product of Bush. [The political aspects of the Clone Wars] has been in the context of every script I've ever read—every draft—way before Bush became president..."
Lucas claims, however, that "The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what we're doing in Iraq now are unbelievable." Nevertheless, he states that "When I wrote [the backstory/Clone Wars], Iraq didn't exist".
Parallels between the Clone Wars and the American Civil War also seem to exist with the secession of territories, the name "Confederacy of Independent Systems" and the Republic's army being called the Grand Army of the Republic.
Media/Entertainment Portrayals (Film, Books and Games)
A portion of the vehicles developed by the Lucasfilm graphic designers, including the AT-TE and the AT-XT walkers, were created to enhance the technological continuity of the Clone Wars in relation to the Galactic Civil War, the central conflict in the original trilogy of Star Wars films. Other examples of technological continuity are displayed at the Battle of Coruscant, in which ARC-170 starfighters were designed with S-foils, much like X-wings of the original films. Other Vehicles include the AT-RT and the AT-OT.
In the original trilogy, the Clone Wars are only referenced in A New Hope. Lucas claims that he first designed a backstory which preceded the original film trilogy—the events surrounding the Clone Wars era.
Merchandise (Accessories and Toys)
The Clone Wars span the three years between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, and thus are, for the most part, off-screen. The Expanded Universe recounted events with an ambitious multimedia campaign.
The videogame Star Wars: The Clone Wars was released in 2002 for PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Xbox. It is set immediately after the final events of Attack of the Clones, and spans many new worlds and settings not mentioned in the films or novelizations. Additionally, Star Wars: Bounty Hunter ties in to the beginning of the war and the creation of the Clones. Also Star Wars: Battlefront, Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, Star Wars: Republic Commando, and Star Wars: Battlefront II expand the scenarios of the conflict and add new angles to previously covered battles but are not part of the multimedia campaign.
The cartoon microseries Star Wars: Clone Wars started airing in November 2003 on Cartoon Network. It was a series of 20 episodes, each three to five minutes long, showing several of the battles of the war not mentioned in any of the films.
The comic series Star Wars: Republic has also shed light on this era of the Star Wars universe, focusing in particular on the exploits of the Jedi characters Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Quinlan Vos, and Aayla Secura. Multiple series of novels based on all aspects of the Clone Wars have been published, as well.
An animated feature film based on the Clone Wars, titled Star Wars: The Clone Wars, was released on August 15, 2008. It introduced the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series, which began airing in the fall of 2008. It was planned to consist of at least one hundred episodes and is an expansion to the previous TV cartoon. A video game titled Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes was released on October 6, 2009.
- Galactic Civil War
- Clone Wars on Wookieepedia: a Star Wars wiki
- Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003 TV series) – The traditionally animated TV series.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars (film) – The 3D CGI animated feature film, that introduces the following 3D CGI animated TV series.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008 TV series) – The 3D CGI animated TV series.
- Star Wars: Clone Wars (comic book) – The 9 part comic book series.
- Clone Wars Adventures – The 10 part comic book series.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2002 video game) – The video game for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo Gamecube.
- Outer Rim Sieges Outerrimsieges.com, a.k.a. "ORS" – A Star Wars themed online community.
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