Star Wars: When Does The Clone Wars Take Place?

Ready to jump into The Clone Wars but don't know where it fits into the Star Wars timeline? We have the answers right here!

It’s no secret that the Star Wars timeline can be a bit confusing for the uninitiated, especially when it comes to chapters of the saga that weren’t made for the big screen, such as The Clone Wars, which makes its return this year after a six-year hiatus. Whether you’re jumping into the series for the first time as it hits Disney+ or need a refresher on Star Wars history, you’ll want to know exactly when the show takes place and how it fits in with the rest of the Prequel era. 

The Clone Wars‘ first episode chronologically is season 2’s “Cat and Mouse,” which is set in 22 BBY (Before Battle of Yavin), the same year in which Attack of the Clones takes place. So the series kicks off right at the start of the war and chronicles the lives of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka Tano, Yoda, Mace Windu, Padme Amidala, and several of the villains through its entirety. 

While much of the series takes place at least a year from the events of Revenge of the Sith, which would see the state of the galaxy take a dark turn, as the Republic fell and the Jedi became all but extinct, season 5 episode “Eminence” finally brought the show to 19 BBY, the fateful year that would see both the Empire and Darth Vader rise from the ashes of the devastating Clone Wars. 

If you need a visual guide, Disney+ released an official narrative timeline that maps out the chronological order of the entire saga:

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With season 7, The Clone Wars inches even closer to the Prequel era’s inevitable, grim end. The clones and the Jedi are still fighting together against the Separatists but you’ll have to watch with the knowledge that this will ultimately prove to be a doomed alliance. In fact, the opening line of the synopsis of the season 7 premiere, “The Bad Batch,” teases the Republic’s villainous turn, “It’s the end of the historic Clone Wars, as the forces of darkness have amassed great power in their bid to transform the Republic into the Galactic Empire.” 

But before we get to Revenge of the Sith, there are still a few battles left to be fought in the Clone Wars. One of the battles coming to The Clone Wars season 7 is also one of the era’s most important: the Siege of Mandalore, an event that’s central to not only the Prequel era but Star Wars Rebels and will later influence the purge that sets up the status quo of The Mandalorian. It also sees the return of Maul, who has seized control of Mandalore behind the curtain of a puppet government. Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex lead the mission to capture Maul and free the planet from its ex-Sith ruler. 

And there are plenty of other Clone Wars stories left to tell. The premiere itself, “The Bad Batch,” was born out of the ashes of an arc of four episodes that never saw the light of day during the show’s original run. The Bad Batch arc was first shown in unfinished form at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim in 2015. Fans will finally see the finished product in The Clone Wars season 7 when the show premieres on Feb. 21.

John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9.