A long time ago in a movie theater far, far away, Obi-Wan Kenobi first shared with audiences that he fought in the Clone Wars and was once a Jedi Knight, like Luke’s father, Anakin Skywalker. And while Star Wars: The Clone Wars brought so much richness to the Star Wars story, it also gave us an expanded picture of Anakin’s legacy. The Clone Wars provides many examples of Anakin’s loyalty and compassion, as well as the danger brewing beneath the surface.
Anakin and Ahsoka Tano’s dynamic as master and Padawan evolved and grew over time and provided so much context for our understanding of the legendary Jedi. Yoda’s purpose for giving Anakin a Padawan was so that Anakin could learn to let go of his student as she grew, much like a parent for his or her child, to discourage attachment. While Yoda’s intent did not go as planned, the compassion, empathy, and responsibility Anakin discovers within make his fall from grace even more tragic.
Through many adventures, the two mature and evolve in their philosophy, and more famously, both become disillusioned with the Jedi path, which for Anakin, takes on a significantly darker tone. His relationship with Ahsoka makes the second season of Star Wars Rebels even more lamentable, particularly “Twilight of the Apprentice.”
For examples of Anakin and Ahsoka’s bond, be sure to watch these Clone Wars episodes:
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars theatrical release (available to stream on Disney+) — Anakin and Ahsoka meet and we see their early interactions, as well as Anakin’s reluctance to have a Padawan.
- “Padawan Lost” (available to stream on Disney+) and “Wookiee Hunt” (available to stream on Disney+) — Ahsoka is kidnapped by Trandoshan hunters, and the two grow in esteem towards one another.
- “The Wrong Jedi” (available to stream on Disney+) — Ahsoka leaves the Jedi Order after being framed and then abandoned by the Jedi; her goodbye to Anakin further cements his difficulty with losing those he loves.
Brothers in the Force
The stories of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi are legendary, with the duo continually rising to the challenge at hand with style, flair, and unconventional methods. Their battles with Count Dooku and loyalty to one another offer some of the finest moments in the Star Wars mythology. While the two disagree or debate frequently in their early adventures, over time, the mutual respect and admiration they share with one another make their duel on Mustafar much more heart-wrenching.
While it could be argued that Anakin did not have to take the quick and easy path, the following episodes illustrate that is the way of things when it comes to Obi-Wan’s long-time apprentice.
- “Deception” (available to stream on Disney+) — To uncover a plot to kidnap Chancellor Palpatine, Obi-Wan fakes his death so that he can go undercover as bounty hunter, Rako Hardeen. However, Yoda and the Jedi do not let Anakin in on the deception. His grief is real and his anger shows the intense emotion he feels for the man who is like his brother.
- “Dooku Captured” (available to stream on Disney+) — Anakin and Obi-Wan work together to capture Dooku; it is a showcase for their challenges, but also a snapshot into how they use their different styles for a mutual goal.
- “The Lost One” (available to stream on Disney+) — Toward the end of the Clone Wars, Anakin and Obi-Wan uncover Sifo-Dyas’ lightsaber and discover the extent of Count Dooku’s involvement with the clone army. It also demonstrates how far they have come as partners and teammates since the beginning of the war.
The loss of Anakin Skywalker to the dark side is a classic example of the Shakespearean archetype of the tragic hero. Through the medium of television, The Clone Wars presented a number of moments full of dramatic irony that allude to what is to come from the future Sith Lord. Anakin is a Jedi through and through, but these moments of anger, pride, and weakness temporarily pull back the curtain on what we know will be a dark time for the galaxy and the Jedi Order. Knowing the end result makes these moments all the more ominous, but also make for poignant storytelling.
- “Ghosts of Mortis” (available to stream on Disney+) — The third episode in the “Mortis” arc gives a vision of what Anakin will become, but also a moment of pathos where the audience realizes that the downfall of Anakin is felt the most profoundly by him. The Jedi are almost extinguished through Palpatine’s manipulation of Anakin, but the person who will eventually be inside the black armor is the one who might suffer the most.
- “Slaves of the Republic” (available to stream on Disney+) — Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka go undercover on Zygerria to investigate the slavers and bring them to justice. Anakin’s feelings on slavery are no surprise given his childhood, which makes his internal conflict in this arc even more intense. His anger boils dangerously to the surface.
- “The Rise of Clovis” (available to stream on Disney+) — Nothing brings out more intense anger and emotion than Anakin’s feelings for Padmé, which turns into a jealous rage between the Jedi and Rush Clovis, the senator from Scipio. The two fight, but Clovis is overmatched, even when Anakin puts away his lightsaber and does not use the Force. This story reminds us of the damage that will be caused because of Anakin’s jealousy…
The Clone Wars explored all the good and bad inside and surrounding Anakin Skywalker. As fans, our understanding of Anakin and Darth Vader is all the richer for it.
Watch the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Disney+.
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Dan Zehr is the host and brand director of Coffee With Kenobi, a podcast that examines the mythology of Star Wars from a place of intelligence and humor. He is also a high school English teacher with an MS in Teaching and Learning.
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