Review: Star Wars - The Clone Wars - Season 5 / Cert: PG / Director: Dave Filoni, Steward Lee, Kyle Dunlevy / Screenplay: George Lucas, Chris Collins, Brent V. Friedman / Starring: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter, James Arnold Taylor, Ashley Eckstein / Release Date: October 14th
After the announcement that it was now in the Star Wars business, Disney wasted no time in putting an Order 66 on Cartoon Network’s Clone Wars series after Season 5. It would be a shame if this is the last because, despite some great moments, this season is sadly a slightly dull affair.
The 20 episodes that make up this season are broken up into 5 standalone story arcs. The first sees Ahsoka guiding some rebels as they attempt to regain control of their planet. It’s a rather dull storyline to open with and has been done better before in earlier seasons.
The second arc sees Ahsoka (again) taking charge of some younglings as they create their lightsabers and have a run in with Hondo and his band of pirates. It’s a little heavy handed with the morals, but is quite entertaining – even when it turns into Pixar’s A Bug’s Life in its 3rd part – and features David Tennant, which is always good.
The third arc follows a group of Droids (including R2-D2) known as D-Squad and their mission to steal an encryption module from the Separatists. This is very much the part of the series aimed at younger viewers (the part that would usually feature Jar-Jar) and works quite well as a story arc, although it could’ve done with being an episode or two shorter.
What you’ve really been waiting for since Season 4 though is to see the return of Darth Maul and the fourth arc delivers. It’s this season’s strongest arc and probably the one it should’ve opened with (picking up nicely where Season 4 left off), shifting the tone back to the older kids with a darker – and brutal in places - story that sees Maul seeking revenge on Obi Wan Kenobi.
Ahsoka has been the overriding focus of this season and the last arc of this season finally gives her something more to do than stand by and dispense advice or get captured. Ahsoka has largely been underserved by the series in the past, but in this story her character actually comes into her own and takes her in an interesting direction that opens her up for some great future use within the Star Wars Universe.
The overall problem with Season 5 is that it feels like a bit of a backward step after Season’s 3 & 4, feeling more like a season of filler stories rather than moving the series forward. There’s good stuff here, it’s just that it feels like they were holding the best stuff back for Season 6 (which judging by the promo videos released online; was probably the case). Fingers crossed we get to see it one day!