The Essential Clone Wars Episodes Every Star Wars Fan Should Watch

The Essential Clone Wars Episodes Every Star Wars Fan Should Watch
Image: Disney
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I’ve argued why you should watch The Clone Wars, but watching all 121 episodes, some out of order, is another thing entirely. So to get the best out of your Clone Wars experience, here’s the list of essential episodes (plus one movie!) to watch in chronological order.

This story has been updated since its original publication.

The Clone Wars theatrical release

The movie tells the story of Ahsoka becoming an unwilling Anakin’s padawan — while the plot itself is nothing groundbreaking, it’s a good start to the relationship between the two. It’s the only one that’s not on Netflix, so it’s worth hunting down first.

S3E01: Clone Cadets

The first episode of season 3, Clone Cadets introduces a handful of the clones that we follow through the series, all the way through to Season 6. Seeing as they all essentially look the same, it’s good to get a feel for them early.

S1E05: Rookies

Oh look, here are those clones again.

S1E09: Cloak of Darkness

As we’re skipping the underwhelming first episode, this is a good one to introduce Dooku and his apprentice, Asajj Ventress.

S1E10: Lair of Grievous

Another one that focuses on the baddies, you won’t find many of the recurring main characters here, but the dark side machinations are still interesting.

S1E19: Storm over Ryloth

S1E20: Innocents of Ryloth

S1E21: Liberty on Ryloth

This three-parter is both the start of some deeper character development for Ahsoka and a bit more adventure for the clones. One of the characters in this arc is also pretty important if you’re planning on watching Rebels later.

S2E01: Holocron Heist

S2E02: Cargo of Doom

S2E03: Children of the Force

Another three-parter that introduces bounty hunter Cad Bane and further builds on the relationship between Ahsoka and Anakin.

S2E18: The Zillo Beast

S2E19: The Zillo Beast Strikes Back

Some people love the Zillo Beast episodes, some people hate them. For me, they’re memorable enough to be worth an inclusion.

S2E05: Landing at Point Rain

S2E06: Weapons Factory

This two-parter introduces padawan Barriss Offee — who eventually becomes Ahsoka’s friend. It also provides a broader view of the Clone Wars themselves, and includes a little about the relationships between Jedi and their padawans.

S2E07: Legacy of Terror

S2E08: Brain Invaders

Another two-parter that leads on from Weapons Factory, this arc is about brain-invading zombie worms. Other than that, it’s mainly worth watching for the moments between Ahsoka and Barriss.

S2E12: The Mandalore Plot

S2E13: Voyage of Temptation

S2E14: Duchess of Mandalore

The Mandalore arc introduces Obi Wan’s ex-girlfriend, Satine, who happens to be the Duchess of Mandalore — yes, that place with the armour where Boba Fett comes from. Except for some reason they’re pacifists. A good start to the developing Mandalore storyline throughout the series.

S2E20: Death Trap

S2E21: R2 Come Home

S2E22: Lethal Trackdown

These episodes follow young Boba Fett as he sets out to get revenge on Mace Windu — the Jedi who killed his father. Featuring other bounty hunters from the Star Wars canon such as Bossk from Empire Strikes Back and Aurra Sing, the bald, pale bounty hunter with a short cameo in The Phantom Menace.

S3E02: ARC Troopers

This episode continues the story of the clones from Clone Cadets and Rookies — well, some of them, at least.

S1E22: Hostage Crisis

S3E09: Hunt for Ziro

While this Hutt subplot is a little odd (though more so when watched in its original order) it’s also more screentime for Cad Bane, and a look at Quinlan Vos, one of the more entertaining members of the Jedi order.

S3E10: Heroes on Both Side

S3E11: Pursuit of Peace

This two-parter is a heavily political one, where Padmé tries to broker peace between the Senate and the Separatists. While it might not appeal to everyone, it’s an interesting depiction of grey morality in a universe that loves its blacks and whites.

S3E12: Nightsisters

S3E13: Monster

S3E14: Witches of the Mist

A three-parter that expands on Asajj Ventress, Dooku being a dick and gives us a peek at Darth Maul’s people and home planet.

On Mortis:
Episodes 15-17 of Season 3 make up the Mortis arc, set on a mysterious planet that exists within the Force. This arc deals with Anakin’s role as the ‘chosen one’ in a less than subtle way, and while I think this arc weakens a lot of other Star Wars lore surrounding the Force and Anakin’s prophecy, many Star Wars fans would disagree. Ultimately it’s up to you to watch or skip!

S3E18: The Citadel

S3E19: Counter Attack

S3E20: Citadel Rescue

Anakin and Tarkin become bros in one of the series’ few nods to the original trilogy. Things also get pretty intense during this high-stakes prison break in/out arc.

S4E07: Darkness on Umbara

S4E08: The General

S4E09: Plan of Dissent

S4E10: Carnage of Krell

A series of clone-centric episodes that have some very illuminating things to say about the state of the Jedi Order. Again, an indicator of the darker direction the series takes.

S4E14: A Friend In Need

This episode re-introduces Ahsoka’s low-key love interest, Lux Bonteri, as well as being the first appearance of Satine’s sister and important Death Watch member Bo-Katan Kryze.

S4E15: Deception

S4E16: Friends and Enemies

S4E17: The Box

S4E18: Crisis on Naboo

Obi Wan goes undercover with a group of bounty hunters. A lot of it is just him showing off, but the culmination of the arc is a surprisingly intense moment born of Palpatine’s plotting.

S4E19: Massacre

E4E20: Bounty

Two episodes that continue Asajj Ventress’s increasingly interesting plotline, as she leaves the dark side behind to form her own morality.

S4E21: Brothers

S4E22: Revenge

A very surprising return from a film character who really deserved more screen time.

S5E02: A War on Two Fronts

S5E03: Front Runners

S5E04: The Soft War

S5E05: Tipping Points

Ahsoka is sent to train a group of insurgent rebels. Wait, is that really something that’s okay for the Jedi to do? Well, apparently yes…

S5E01: Revival

S5E14: Eminence

S5E15: Shades of Reason

S5E16: The Lawless

Darth Maul and his brother have some really crazy plans for the world of Mandalore, deciding to capitalise on all that Sith training he has to build a criminal empire. Things get really crazy as the Mandalore plotline winds up.

S5E17: Sabotage

S5E18: The Jedi Who Knew Too Much

S5E19: To Catch a Jedi

S5E20: The Wrong Jedi

These four episodes are the culmination of Ahsoka’s storyline in The Clone Wars, and a really powerful ending to the series (nevermind that there are episodes after it)
The sixth season was produced just for Netflix, and mainly consists of tying up previously unclear plot points:

S6E01: The Unknown

S6E02: Conspiracy

S6E03: Fugitive

S6E04: Orders

“Wait, so if the clones are so loyal to the Jedi, why did Order 66 happen?”

S6E10: The Lost One

“What happened to that Master Sifo-Dyas guy anyway?”

S6E11: Voices

S6E12: Destiny

S6E13: Sacrifice

“Why are there so many Force ghosts in the original trilogy but none in the prequels?”

Think I got some of these wrong? Let us know in the comments, I know you will anyway.


  • Yep, it’s on Netflix and worth watching. A lot of great episodes – some actually moving more than you would imagine. And yes, it is canon.

  • Loved the way Clone wars ended in season 5 with Ashoka and her trials. And loved they brought her back in Rebels for a season, looking forward to seeing where they go with her in season 3 of Rebels

  • I would add S4E14 “A Friend in Need” to the list. It develops the relationship between Ashoka and Lux Bonteri which is relevant to watch S5E02.

  • I am going to disagree with watching the show in chronologically. I say this, as there are some things that are explained in seasons 1&2, but when you get to prequel eps, they just expect you to know it already. And you get a good feel for the main clone cast before that S3 ep, S3 just takes it up a notch, given you there backstory.

  • No mention of the Mortis arc? Really? Those three episodes were awesome. Such an interesting exploration of Anakin’s struggles with light and dark.

  • Wait, I’m confused, this says this site was updated on January 1st, 2018, and that Star Wars: The Clone Wars (film) is “the only one that’s NOT on Netflix.” But not only is it on Netflix, but it’s been on Netflix for years, literally, more than one. In addition to Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008 TV series) of course.

  • I’m glad the article is back! I started watching Clone Wars December 2017 and used it as a guide and suddenly it was gone, I have to say that indeed the Mortis arc is a must! , the first and last episodes at least 🙂

    • Thanks! I hope it’s helped some new people get into Clone Wars over the last year or so 🙂

      I’m not a big fan of Mortis, it has some good moments but overall I think it’s very clunky with the way it handles the mysteries of the Force and the Anakin prophecy.

      That being said that’s just my preference, and I’m all about people adding/subtracting whatever episodes they value most!

  • What about the episode where Asoka is poisned, and it’s for a moment where Anikin falls a little bit to the Darkside

  • Lair of Grievous is S1:E10, not E12. E12 is about Anakin, Obi Wan and Dooku trying to escape being held hostage. it’s fun but not essential.

  • This is a really great list and hard to fault. The only arc I would remove is The Zillo Beast arc. I actually liked it quite a lot but at the end there’s a setup that they’ll clone it but they never do. So story wise it doesn’t add anything to the series. I would say if that arc is here than Mortis should be on the list too.

    The only arcs I wondered why they aren’t on any lists are the Hondo arc 1×11-12 as it introduces Hondo and he comes back into the show frequently and the Mondo Academy arc 3×05-06 as it shows the corruption on Mandalore which I think is quite important. Surprisingly I couldn’t find the Mondo Academy arc on any lists. Also I’d add The Gathering episode 5×06 as it shows how young Jedis learn and where they get their lightsaber crystal from.

    Nonetheless this is a pretty great list and I will combine it with the Disney+ essential list to watch it with my Dad.

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