In 2003 George Lucas decided to hire Genndy Tarkovsky to create a series of animated shorts of the Clone Wars. Originally it aired in the commercial break, during cartoons on the Cartoon Network channel. Eventually these shorts were put together into DVDs. The first set of animation featured various battles throughout the galaxy.
Genndy had already shown himself a fan by having an Easter egg scene in his cartoon, Samurai Jack, reminiscent of the original cantina scene in Star Wars. Bizarre aliens greeted the Samarai that was flung into the future by a demon. His shows had a lot of action with minimal dialogue.
Included in the first disc set of the Clone Wars micro series. This is technically season 1 and 2, at no longer than 7 minutes for each short.
- Ventress met Dooku, Ventress had first appeared in Republic comics with Durge. Now how she met Dooku was revealed.
- Anakin and Obi-Wan are still padawan and master. Their is still friction from the impatient student, and interference from the doting Chancellor feeding his ego.
- Kenobi would wind up leading the battle of Muunlinst against Durge. Anakin would command the space forces which would lead him to another clash with Ventress on the Yavin 4 jungle moon.
- Kit Fisto does battle on Mon Cal
- Mace Windu takes on a whole army of battle droids, after his troops are destroyed.
- Also they lead into the meeting with an ominous new Confederacy General, who would soon be a major player.
These events are interspersed within Clone Wars multimedia project. Events in the Clone Wars micro series may seem to flow in a row, but they don’t really happen one after the other.
In the second set of the Clone Wars micro series, things lead straight into Revenge of the Sith at George Lucas’s direct instruction. This gave room for somewhat longer stories of up to 15 minutes. Some examples include:
- Anakin is knighted, and we see his and Obi-Wan’s adventures as brother knights and heroes
- Anakin faces a trial involving a vision of the future on Nelvaan
- The attack on Coruscant begins, and General Grievious kidnaps Palpatine
This is an amazing bit of storytelling in the Clone Wars micro series. Given the length of each animated short, the character building is most impressive. We get to see the breadth of the war as Mace Windu battles upon Dantooine, Kit Fisto on Dac (AKA Mon Calamari) or rather, in it, showcasing his underwater skills as both Jedi and Nautolan.
But the real shine is the triumvirate of the Chancellor, Anakin and Obi-Wan. Palpatine continues feeding Anakin’s pride, Obi-Wan feels he’s not mature enough and is very disturbed at the Sith’s minions (in the form of Asajj Ventress the assassin) pursuing him. Anakin is the cocky confident young man and we see he hasn’t lost an ounce of flying ability, and his ‘cunning warrior’ status mentioned by Obi-Wan is already in full play in these brief segments.
Anakin’s relationship with Padmé doesn’t get a word in the first section, but it also doesn’t need it. It’s all expressed in visuals as they are forced to part, with him going off to war.
In addition, Grievous is introduced in the first disc. A full scale killing machine that has the Jedi on the run and has devastated their army, the few survivors are seriously injured.
Set two goes even deeper. We get to see Anakin’s growing frustration with having to hide his marriage when he meets Padmé again. He finally gets knighted and we see how his relationship with Obi-Wan has grown, even as he still lashes out a bit. Anakin really is a full scale hero in this, looked up to by many other Jedi. His teamwork and wonderful quips with Obi-Wan make what will come between them all the harder. Then comes the Nelvaan arc.
Nelvaan is where Anakin, though already knighted, faces the final trial, facing the mirror. His quest to find Grievous and uncover the reason the world is frozen while seeking the male nelvaan’s who went to investigate leads to a vision of the future that he can’t quite understand (but the audience does, if they’ve seen the original trilogy). His actions here make him a hero to the Nelvaans, but cause him great doubt.
Finally we get to see the start of Coruscant’s invasion as well as the Jedi’s reaction to it, with Chancellor Palpatine’s kidnapping.
There is humor in both sets (Threepio in particular) and sweet moments (Anakin and Padmé) as well as some serious Jedi action all throughout. They have some particularly cool action in it both on the ground and in space.
Clone Wars Micro series Continuity
Both groups of Clone Wars Micro series take place between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. The first one the snippets are between various stories and may be years apart. Anakin’s knighting was initially set three years in (not counting the other Clone Wars cartoon which messed things up). Barriss Offee’s training was apparently complete here, but she wasn’t knighted for at least another year. This may well be because the war interfered with the Trials, as this was at least part of the Council’s reason for hesitating over Anakin’s according to Jedi Trial. Tradition was very important to some and they were very reluctant to cut corners.
There was also a free comic book day set somewhere in the midst too, (Anakin and Obi-Wan in Clone Wars Action) in 2005 that specifically mentions Obi-Wan and Anakin’s hunting Dooku on Grievous on another world.
According to the ‘old’ Wookieepedia on the web archive and the Essential Reader’s Companion, the story is based on an early draft of Labyrinth of Evil. This makes sense, as you can see the same kind of issues in the movie novelizations: cut scenes and alterations to the timing and order of events, or exact language used in the final version. Clearly the Clone Wars microseries was meant to tie in with Labyrinth of Evil as the novel mentions events of the first and second seasons.
There is a slight discrepancy between certain details in the Clone Wars micro series animation from Labyrinth of Evil. Nelvaan happened between events. There is some debate where Mace Windu and Yoda were as the battle broke out. The same Jedi were involved with protecting Palpatine but Roronn Cobb and Foul Moudama were added to the mix. And Stass Allie, mentioned in the book, is not shown.
There are a series of Clone Wars Adventure graphic novels that were released with the same art style as the series.
A complete set of action figures in the same style as the Clone Wars micro series was available, including singles and a special DVD commemorative edition.
The Clone Wars Micro series Extras:
The extra features on the discs are especially interesting as we get a rare interview with George Lucas expressing his interest in the anime style and his purpose in commissioning the series.
There are numerous commentaries and features on bridging the gap between the films.
There are also trailers for movie and games, as well as an XBox playable game level on each disc, one for Republic Commando and one for Battlefront 2.