The Clone Wars, which follows Star Wars‘ most famous conflict from the early days to the very last battle, has reached its end. “Shattered,” the penultimate episode of The Clone Wars, finally brings the horrors of Order 66 into view, showing us the Jedi Purge from Ahsoka Tano’s perspective. With the Siege of Mandalore complete, General Grievous dead on Utapau, the Jedi Order destroyed, and the last remaining Separatist leaders waiting for Darth Vader on Mustafar, the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Empire can finally begin.
We saw much of the end of the Clone Wars, including Emperor Palpatine’s total victory, in Revenge of the Sith, and the final arc of the animated series is a worthy companion piece to the grim third act of the Prequel Trilogy. Those who have followed The Clone Wars from the start know how much the heroes of the series have struggled to get to a point when the war could finally be over and peace could be restored to the galaxy, making it doubly heartbreaking when the series ends with the destruction of everything they fought to uphold.
But those viewers who haven’t been watching the show since 2008 might not have a sense of just how long the Clone Wars lasted and how much of a toll this conflict took on the galaxy. Let us explain.
The Clone Wars lasted three years, from the very first Battle of Geonosis in Attack of the Clones to the final battles on Utapau, Kashyyyk, Mandalore, Felucia, and others in Revenge of the Sith. The exact years were 22 to 19 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin).
During this three-year period, the Anakin Skywalker we left as a padawan learner in Attack of the Clones became a Jedi Knight and even took on Ahsoka as an apprentice. Obi-Wan Kenobi also became a Jedi Master and was awarded a seat on the Jedi Council.
Meanwhile, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine continued to consolidate his power, playing both the Republic and the Separatists for his own gain. Count Dooku also took on an apprentice, a Force-sensitive assassin named Asajj Ventress, who later switched sides (kind of) when the Sith tried to have her killed. Even Maul returned from the dead, this time as a crime lord and secret ruler of Mandalore’s puppet government until the planet was freed by Ahsoka and the Republic in The Clone Wars season 7.
The Clone Wars resulted in the deaths of billions across the galaxy, including Jedi, clones, Separatists, and civilians. Planets like Onderon, Mandalore, and Kashyyyk were completely transformed by the war, torn apart by a conflict greater than any one society. Coruscant, once the bright light of the Republic, became the center of oppression and the dark side.
Even the Geonosians, allies of the Separatists and Darth Sidious, were virtually eradicated as the Empire moved construction of the Death Star off of their home planet. Geonosis, the starting point of the Clone Wars, was left a wasteland, its people sterilized by Grand Moff Tarkin as a security measure meant to keep the Empire’s superweapon a secret.
What remained of the Jedi Order was left scattered, with many of the survivors going into hiding to avoid persecution. But Darth Vader and his order of dark side hunters, the Inquisitors, killed as many Jedi survivors as they could find in the aftermath of Order 66. No one was left to truly oppose the Galactic Empire until the Rebel Alliance began to organize in 5 BBY, almost 20 years into the Emperor’s rule.
In the end, the Clone Wars eventually led to more war. It was three years of battles that irrevocably changed the galaxy, and its dark legacy is even felt in the struggle between the First Order and the Resistance several decades later.