Star Wars: The Clone Wars has always had a confusing timeline. It’s rarely aired in any sort of chronological order, and even the film — which supposedly kicked the whole franchise off — technically has two episodes of the show preceding it, the first partway through Season 2, and the second partway through the first season. As we dive into the final season of the show, especially the Siege of Mandalore, a lot has happened — and not all of it happened on the actual TV show.
Understanding where things fit can help when trying to enjoy The Clone Wars. Because, when you throw books and comics based on unproduced episodes into the mix as well as other adventures that coincide with this timeline, it can get a little overwhelming.
For the previous seasons of The Clone Wars, StarWars.com put together a chronological viewing list, but what do you do for Season 7? That’s where SYFY WIRE comes in. We’ve got the scoop on how this season fits in the greater puzzle of the galactic conflict.
In order to understand the full context of the timeline, we’re going to have to go back to Season 4, and from there fill in the gaps you might not have even noticed were missing with books and comics.
**There will be spoilers for some of those episodes here, though none for the Siege of Mandalore.**
THE BATTLE OF DATHOMIR – Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 4, Episode 19In this episode of The Clone Wars, General Grievous is tasked to destroy the coven of Nightsisters on Dathomir, leaving only Mother Talzin and Asajj Ventress alive. Destroying Mother Talzin became a key desire of Darth Sidious, as her power could rival his.
THE LOST MISSIONS – Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 6
These episodes of The Clone Wars were technically completed after the initial cancellation but were so far down the production pipeline that they were released anyway. Now they're just known as "Season 6."
The first might be one of the most important. When one of the clones discovers evidence of their potential programming, he goes on a quest to discover the truth. This takes him dangerously close to learning about the truth of Order 66 long before Sidous was ready to have his plan revealed.
The second brings Anakin and Padmé to Scipio, where they deal with the Banking Clan, a two-part adventure teams up Mace Windu with Jar Jar Binks (yes, really) in order to thwart the corporeal resurrection of Mother Talzin, and the final four episodes see Yoda delve deeper into the mysteries of the Force. This arc also sees Dooku tying up loose ends in relation to that creation and leads to a standoff on the Pyke homeworld between himself and Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker.
DARK DISCIPLE, PART 1
This novel by Christie Golden is adapted from eight unproduced episodes of The Clone Wars that were never made due to the show's initial cancellation.
The first part of this book sees the Jedi Council tasking Jedi Quinlan Vos with assassinating Count Dooku with the help of Asajj Ventress. Ventress trains Vos in the ways of the Dark Side to accomplish the task, and the two become lovers just before they attempt to kill the Count on the planet Raxus. That attempt fails and Vos is captured by Dooku.
THE BATTLE OF MANDALORE – Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 5, Episodes 1 & 14-16
These episodes see Maul create an alliance with Death Watch to capture Mandalore, then see Maul betray them just before Darth Sidious arrives to kill Maul’s brother. Sidious promises Maul that he has other uses for him ...
DARK DISCIPLE, PART 2
The novel continues. Ventress hires Boba Fett and his fellow bounty hunters to help rescue Quinlan Vos, but Vos rejects her.
AHSOKA LEAVES THE JEDI ORDER – Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 5, Episodes 17-20
Anakin Skywalker’s padawan, Ahsoka Tano, is framed for a murder she didn’t commit. The Jedi don’t believe her innocence, and she goes on the run to prove it. When Anakin is able to produce the real killer, the Jedi accept her again.
That gesture is too little, too late, though. Ahsoka rejects their offer to return to the fold, leaving the Jedi Order once and for all.
DARTH MAUL: SON OF DATHOMIR
A four-issue comic miniseries based on four unproduced episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Originally published by Dark Horse Comics, it’s been reprinted by Marvel and is available in Marvel Unlimited.
Not being familiar with this story might be the most detrimental to fans watching the new episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. In this story, Darth Sidious uses Maul as bait to get to Mother Talzin. There’s a major confrontation on Dathomir wherein Talzin is killed by Sidious, Dooku, and General Grievous. The Mandalorians loyal to Maul flee with him, setting him loose on the galaxy once more.
(After this, he'll need to bring the Pyke Syndicate back to heel, as it's involved in his Shadow Collective later in the timeline.)
DARK DISCIPLE, PART 3
In this final part of Dark Disciple, Ventress seeks the help of the Jedi in freeing Quinlan Vos and ends up working with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. Ventress turns Vos back to the Light, sacrificing herself to save him from Dooku.
Vos is able to rejoin the Jedi order and join the Outer Rim Sieges. (He's mentioned in Revenge of the Sith as moving troops to Boz Pity.)
This Timothy Zahn novel isn’t actually based on episodes of The Clone Wars, but it slots in right here between them in the timeline.
This novel splits its time between two different eras, and one of them is The Clone Wars. In this book, we learn that Count Dooku and the Separatists were operating on secret projects as far out as Batuu. Meanwhile, Anakin chases Padmé on a murder mystery. At the end of the adventure, Anakin and Padmé get a nice quiet starship ride back to the core systems alone, and it's likely where they had time to conceive the twins before the advent of the Outer Rim Sieges ...
THE MARTEZ SISTERS – Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, Episodes 5-8
This is the first time we really see Ahsoka out of her element as a Jedi, looking to see just how she fits into the world after her time with the order is complete.
Will she fall into a life of crime? Or devote herself to helping others?
By the end, Ahsoka has a better idea of who she is and takes off with Bo Katan of Mandalore, ready to aid them in their desperate fight against Maul.
THE OUTER RIM SIEGES BEGIN
There’s not a whole lot of storytelling done about the Outer Rim Sieges yet. They were mentioned vaguely in Revenge of the Sith a couple of different times.
Frankly, it's a huge chunk of time and worth noting here. Anakin first mentions them when he reunites with Padmé on the Coruscant landing pad and Obi-Wan offers an update on them later in the film, but that’s about it until we get to the next arc ...
THE BAD BATCH – Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, Episodes 1-4
These episodes of The Clone Wars are our first real look into the Outer Rim Sieges on the show. These episodes really focus on the struggles of the Clones and their loyalties as they face their unknown future: Order 66, something that will both test and break that loyalty.
THE SIEGE OF MANDALORE – Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, Episodes 9-12
This is it. The culmination of more than a decade of storytelling. The Siege of Mandalore runs concurrently with Revenge of the Sith. Moments of this arc were cataloged in E.K. Johnston's brilliant novel Ahsoka, but that's the only place to find clues so far.
STAR WARS: EPISODE III – REVENGE OF THE SITH
This is the end of the Clone Wars. The Clones turn on the Jedi and Anakin Skywalker turns on his master. Everything is torn asunder, and so begins the age of the first Galactic Empire.
... And that’s how it all fits together. It’s a pretty crowded section of the timeline, but once you can see how it unfolds chronologically, it can add a lot of meaning to your viewing pleasure.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars is currently playing on Disney+, with new episodes airing on Fridays, but the series finale will air on Monday, May 4.