Star Wars: The Clone Wars is coming to an end. Season 7 – which starts streaming weekly on Disney Plus from Friday, February 21 – brings the animated series to a close, concluding the Darth Vader origin story the prequels never told.
If you've not watched the Star Wars: The Clone Wars, then now's the perfect time to start. Not only is the series available to stream in its entirety on Disney Plus, but the forthcoming season 7 promises to bridge the last gap between the Anakin Skywalker we see in Attack of the Clones and the one who turns vengeful in Revenge of the Sith.
Where the prequels focus on the major moments in that fabled galaxy far, far away, The Clone Wars series adds more depth to those ill-explored years. It shines a light on the arrogance of the Jedi, humanizes the clone troopers, and explores how Anakin's life truly fell apart – to the point where you almost feel like going to the Dark Side yourself.
Of course, you may not have time to catch up on all 121 episodes of The Clone Wars. That's why we've created this list of the essential episodes to binge before season 7 starts. Whether you're a newcomer to the series, or merely in need of a refresher, these are the 12 episodes you should stream right now.
Clone Cadets (Season 3, Episode 1)
One The Clone Wars' best aspects is how the series humanizes and characterizes the clone troopers, putting names to (the same) faces and giving their sacrifices tangible weight. Most of the series follows the same clone troopers throughout, and you'll want to get to know them early – especially because they're all voiced by the same actor. Learn more about the men behind the masks, but brace yourselves, as you'll get attached quickly.
Asajj Ventress and the Nightsisters (Season 3, Episodes 13 and 14)
There are few stories more tragic than that of Asajj Ventress, a Dathomirian who has been a slave, a Jedi Padawan, a Sith apprentice, a Nightsister (think Force Witch), and a bounty hunter throughout her short life.
Skip the first episode, where Ventress returns to Dathomir after being betrayed by Count Dooku (who was training her to become a Sith Lord). Instead, watch "Monster" and "Witches of the Mist", in which you learn about the Nightsisters and their powerful magic. Plus, you meet Darth Maul's brother, Savage Opress – who hails from the same planet as Ventress. It's here that Savage makes it his mission to find his long lost – and cut in half – sibling.
The Mortis Trilogy (Season 3, Episodes 15, 16, and 17)
The Mortis Trilogy is Star Wars at its most fantastical and philosophical. Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Anakin's Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, are trapped on a mysterious planet called Mortis. Mortis is occupied solely by Father, Son, and Daughter – three figures who are anthropomorphic representations of the Force: the Daughter is pure light, the Son is pure dark, and the Father acts as a balance between the two.
The trilogy poses some crucial questions about the nature of the Force and Anakin's purpose as The Chosen One: does bringing balance to the Force mean he must embrace only the light side, or does it mean understanding and welcoming both light and dark?
Obi-Wan, Satine, and Mandalore (Season 5, Episodes 14, 15, and16)
Anakin's love for Padme Amidala is part of his demise – but did you know that Obi-Wan was getting a little something on the side at one point? Enter Satine, the Duchess of Mandalore, and the heartbreaking story of her and Obi-Wan's lost love.
You can skip the earlier part of this arc (which takes place in Season 2) that introduces us to Mandalore and Duchess Satine. All you need to know is that, despite its legacy, Mandalore is a pacifist planet, save for a rogue organization known as Death Watch. The second half of the Mandalore plot tees up several storylines: Darth Maul and Savage Opress attempt to bring the Death Watch into their growing crime syndicate; Darth Sidious is determined to set them straight; Obi-Wan and Satine's story ends. Prepare yourself.
Ahsoka's Choice (Season 5, Episodes 18, 19, and 20)
Ahsoka Tano is the blue-and-white striped beating heart of the entire series, and is arguably the straw that broke the Blurrg's back – the final piece that pushed Anakin towards embracing the dark side. This is the saddest arc in the entire series, as we see the true failure of the Jedi Order as, in their pathetic bid to keep politicians happy, they fail Ahsoka.
Skip the first episode in this arc if time is tight – the Jedi Temple is bombed and both Anakin and Ahsoka are tasked with finding the terrorist, but someone sets Ahsoka up for the blame. The story plays out like a courtroom drama (and the titles reference Alfred Hitchcock films) with Anakin desperately trying to absolve his Padawan of any wrongdoing.
And there you have it – 12 episodes you need to watch before The Clone Wars season 7 begins on Disney Plus. Don't be alarmed, as each episode is only 22 minutes long, so that's just a little over four hours of your time!
Fancy rewatching the Star Wars movies? Here's how to watch the Star Wars movies in order and here's the Star Wars timeline to help you out. Check out the latest Disney Plus bundles if you want to start watching too!