Star Wars: The Clone Wars Series Finale Will Complete the Rise of the Empire

The Clone Wars series finale will introduce the darkest era of Star Wars. The Empire will rise and the Emperor will be at the height of his power, but there will also be hope in the conclusion of Ahsoka Tano's Prequel era story.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Series Finale
Photo: Lucasfilm

This Star Wars: The Clone Wars article contains spoilers.

With Order 66 now in effect, Anakin’s betrayal and transformation into Darth Vader complete, and Ahsoka’s life irrevocably changed, the Clone Wars are at their end. After three years of battles that engulfed much of the Republic, only one major battle for the fate of the galaxy remains, as the Jedi make one last effort to defeat the Sith.

While Anakin and Obi-Wan duel on Mustafar and Yoda tries to dethrone Emperor Palpatine on Coruscant, Ahsoka and Rex must try to survive Order 66 in The Clone Wars series finale, “Victory and Death.” Season 7 episode 12 is set to air on May 4 — Star Wars Day — at 12:01 am PT/3:01 am ET on Disney+.

Last week’s episode, “Shattered,” showed what happened to Ahsoka and Maul at the onset of Order 66. After feeling a huge disturbance in the Force as Anakin turned to the dark side, Ahsoka and Maul faced an onslaught of clone troopers trying to complete their new mission: destroy the Jedi and all other Force users, now the biggest threat to the Republic. The episode was heartbreaking but not completely devoid of hope. By the end, Ahsoka had figured out how to remove the control chip that had manipulated Rex to turn against her.

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But Ahsoka and Rex are still trapped on a Republic ship full of mind-controlled soldiers trying to kill them. According to the synopsis for “Victory and Death,” their escape from Order 66 will be the major focus of the episode: “Ahsoka and Rex must use their wit and skills to survive the turbulent end of the Clone Wars.”

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Thanks to the Rebels animated series, which bridges the gap between the Original and Prequel Trilogies and also serves as a pseudo-sequel to The Clone Wars, we know that Ahsoka and Rex will live to fight another day by the time credits roll in “Victory and Death.” But wherever they escape to, they will be returning to a completely different galaxy.

The four-part finale of The Clone Wars has crossed over with Revenge of the Sith in crucial ways. Besides showing us Order 66 from Ahsoka’s perspective, there have also been references to Jedi Council meetings from the movie, Obi-Wan’s mission to Utapau, and Anakin’s troubling new role as Palpatine’s eyes and ears but also as a spy for the Jedi Order. “Victory and Death” is primed to show us the final act of Revenge of the Sith from Ahsoka’s perspective. She’ll have to navigate the rise of the Empire, the grim result of the Clone Wars.

Some questions could remain, though. With Rebels set almost 20 years after the fall of the Republic and the Jedi Order, there will still be a gap left between the end of The Clone Wars and the start of the sequel series. What did Ahsoka and Rex get up to during this time? Where did Maul go and how was he able to continue his criminal empire after his defeat on Mandalore? Rebels teased some of these untold stories throughout its run, but much of these characters’ lives during the “golden age” of the Empire remains a mystery.

Will we get more stories set during the Dark Times (the name used to describe the era when the Empire ruled unopposed before the Rebel Alliance was organized) now that The Clone Wars is at its end?

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The Legends continuity explored this era thoroughly in comics and books, and movies like Solo and Rogue One have begun to do the same in the Disney canon. Marvel’s Star Wars comic also shows us what Obi-Wan got up to on Tatooine before A New Hope. A new Disney+ series will tell the further adventures of the Jedi Master during this era. Most recently, the video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order gave us a look at the Dark Times from the perspective of a new character, the former Jedi padawan Cal Kestis, who, after being caught in the middle of Order 66, is forced to hide his identity and try to live a normal life.

If you’re mourning the end of The Clone Wars after 12 years of stories, at least you can take solace in the fact that Disney has been mining what happens next for years.