During the 10th Anniversary Clone Wars panel at San Diego Comic-Con, creator and producer Dave Filoni announced that the show would return on Disney’s streaming service, finishing off the story that was widely considered to be left hanging after the show’s abrupt cancellation in 2013.
From 2008 to 2013, The Clone Wars ran on Cartoon Network, revealing the massive war that took place between the theatrical, live-action movies Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. It featured existing characters such as Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi as well as a number of original fan-favorite characters, including Anakin’s apprentice Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex. In 2013, Lucasfilm announced that it was “winding down” the show, eventually sending its final, six-episode season to Netflix, while another unfinished story arc was written up as a novel, Christie Golden’s Dark Disciple. Lucasfilm and Disney then focused on creating a follow-up Star Wars animated show, Star Wars Rebels, set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope / Rogue One. After a four-season run, Rebels ended earlier this year. More recently, Lucasfilm announced a third animated show, Star Wars Resistance, set prior to The Force Awakens.
Filoni was joined by fellow producer Athena Portillo, Ahsoka voice actress Ashley Eckstein, Anakin Skywalker voice actor Matt Lanter, and series composer Kevin Keiner, who used the panel to look back over the production of the series. At the end of the panel, Filoni noted that barely a week went by when someone didn’t tag him on Twitter asking him to save The Clone Wars. He closed out the panel by screening a trailer, accompanied by the hashtag, #CloneWarsSaved. The room, packed with fans dressed as characters from the show, erupted into cheers.
The trailer opens with a long tracking shot featuring dialogue from Captain Rex before fading into text: “A war left unfinished… until now.” The rest of the trailer teases the lead-up to a massive battle mentioned in Star Wars lore, the siege of Mandalore. It shows the reunification of Ahsoka and Anakin, who parted by the end of the show’s fifth season. The battle is one of the final skirmishes of the Clone Wars, documented through flashbacks in E.K. Johnston’s YA novel Ahsoka, which featured the Republic’s forces going up against an army led by Phantom Menace villain Darth Maul.
According to StarWars.com, the show will return with a new season of 12 additional episodes via Disney’s direct-to-consumer streaming service, which is expected to launch sometime next year. When the service was first announced, Disney CEO Bob Iger noted that it would launch with new stories from the Star Wars universe, including a new, live-action Star Wars show, which will be written by Jon Favreau. Speaking with StarWars.com, Filoni cited the enthusiasm from the show’s fans, noting that “their love of these characters and stories hasn’t diminished” since the show went off the air five years ago. “Any opportunity to put the final pieces of the story in place is meaningful as a storyteller,” he said.