Ventress, Dooku, Rex, Grievous, Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Clone Trooper, Ahsoka and Cody (copyright Lucasfilm Ltd)

As promised, here is Part 1 of my walkthrough of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars Chronology (9th Edition), which explains the connections between the episode and addresses why I placed them in this order [click the Star Wars link above the find the Chronology itself if you haven’t read it already]. In advance, I’ll say that not every argument is 100% airtight. Some of it is subjective, based on my observations and what I feel works best. It’s certainly up for debate and I encourage other theories. It’s been said that Leland Chee will address the proper order of the series when the series is finished, so when that happens, I may be proven wrong, but based on current viewings of the aired episodes to this point (little past halfway through Season 4), here’s my take. I hope it proves useful.

I’ll actually begin before The Clone Wars proper, with the original micro-series title Clone Wars, the traditionally animated series which was launched between the films “Attack Of The Clones” and “Revenge Of The Sith.” I won’t breakdown each installment, but it’s important to address here since this series introduced us to many of the characters we’d see in the later CG series.

In Clone Wars, we pick up just after the war has begun. The battle lines are being drawn and the droid armies of the Separatists are combating the Grand Army of the Republic, which is mostly comprised of clone troopers led by the Jedi. Count Dooku (aka Darth Tyrannus) recruits a young Force adept named Assaj Ventress, whom he sends to assassinate Anakin Skywalker. They battle on Yavin IV, the moon which much later houses a secret Rebel base in “A New Hope.” Ventress is defeated and Anakin returns to his master’s side just as Obi-Wan Kenobi receives a distress call from fellow Jedi trapped and surrounded by droid armies. What makes this battle different is the introduction of a new droid general, Grievous, who slaughters nearly all of the Jedi before they are rescued by clone commandos. The survivors are Ki-adi Mundi, Aayla Secura and Shaak Ti. After the rescue, Anakin discovers that his wife, Senator Padme Amidala, has fitted C-3PO with gold plating. The Jedi officially Knight Anakin Skywalker and as a gift, he’s given Padme’s droid, R2-D2. He then leaves Curuscant to continue as a General in the Clone Wars.

This is where we pick up, seemingly not long after, in The Clone Wars.

ROOKIES TRILOGY
Shaak Ti, having recovered from her battle with General Grievous, is now leading the training of clone cadets on Kamino. Here we meet Domino Squad, a group of five misfit clones who are doomed to scrub freighters if they flunk out. Eventually, through perseverance and self-discovery, they learn to work together and graduate with Shaak Ti’s blessing, demonstrating a high degree of independent thinking and problem-solving.

In the Web Comic “Mouse Hunt,” we see clones Commander Cody and Captain Rex inspecting a facility where a mouse droid has been secretly spying for the Separatists. The droid is destroyed and Rex and Cody go off to their next inspection site: a Republic Listening Post which serves as an early warning beacon for Kamino.

Domino Squad is stationed there on their first assignment when it is attacked by droids. Three of the original five members (Echo, Fives and Hevy) meet up with Rex and Cody as they arrive to inspect the station and Hevy sacrifices himself to destroy the station, alerting the Republic that Kamino is about to be attacked by Grievous and Ventress. Echo and Fives join Rex and Cody’s 501st Legion and the Republic fleet travels to Kamino to mount a defence.

The Battle of Kamino commences, with Anakin and Ventress crossing blades again and Obi-Wan duels Grievous. The Separatists are eventually pushed back and flee, and Echo and Fives are promoted to ARC Trooper trainees.

At Kamino we see several then-experimental ARC fighters, as the Republic begins creating new weaponry with which to fight the war. Ventress and Grievous meet for the first time here as well. We meet Admiral Yularen for the first time, seemingly having recently joined Anakin as his fleet commander.

ZILLO BEAST 2 PARTER
On Malastare, Anakin and Mace Windu attempt to persuade the Duggs to sign a treaty with the Republic so the Republic can gain the planet’s fuel supply. We meet clones Hawkeye, Trapper and Ponds, but Hawkeye is killed when a giant Zillo Beast is unleashed by the test of an experimental droid-neutralizing bomb. The bomb is delivered by equally experimental Y-Wing and ARC fighters. The Zillo Beast is subdued and brought to Coruscant, where it escapes and wreaks havoc, before being put down by poisonous gas. Aayla Secura and Yoda combat the beast, and R2-D2 and C-3PO are briefly reunited.

At the end of the second part, Chancellor Palpatine orders the beast be cloned.

CHRISTOPHSIS + MOVIE
The planet Christophsis is under siege and Obi-Wan, Anakin and Yularen have to find a way through. They do so with the help of a stealth ship and Yularen’s experience against the Separatist commander. They are able to deliver aid to Senator Bail Organa on the planet before the Separatists remount an offensive there. The Web Comic “Shadowed” hints that there is something amiss in the ranks of the clones troopers on the planet and this is verified after an ambush overtakes the clones and Jedi, who barely escape. As Rex and Cody hunt for the spy, Obi-Wan and Anakin attempt to track the signals the spy sent, which leads them to Ventress. The duel is cut short and Ventress leaves the planet to execute the next part of Dooku’s plan as the clones and Jedi prepare for a major assault.

The Movie begins after Ventress kidnaps Jabba The Hutt’s son, part of the plan to get the Hutts on the Separatist’s side. On Christophsis, a break in the fighting allows Anakin’s new Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, to join her master (and to join the series). Christophsis is liberated and Anakin and Ahsoka hunt down Jabba’s son. Obi-Wan tries to negotiate with Jabba and Padme reveals that Jabba’s uncle Ziro The Hutt is working with Dooku in the kidnapping plot. Jabba’s son is saved and Ziro is arrested.

Ahsoka and Ventress battle for the first time and Anakin and Dooku meet again in a lightsaber battle. Originally, the movie was four regular episodes, but George Lucas decided to have the producers edit them together to release as a movie.

THE FALL OF RYLOTH TETRALOGY
This was the most interesting part of the series to fit together, because it was told over three seasons and several Web Comics. Each new segment required a re-examining of the sequence of events, until it could be clearly aligned. The order of release of the individual parts had to be virtually ignored in favour of the pure chronological order.

Furthermore, this arc begins a massive mega-arc, which interconnects numerous episodes after the events of the Fall Of Ryloth itself, but we’ll get to that.

Beginning with the Web Comic “The Fall Of Falleen,” we see the Separatists overtake the world of Falleen. This is mentioned by the characters at the beginning of “Downfall of a Droid,” where R2 is lost after an attack by General Grievous is repelled. R2 is picked up by a salvager who plans to sell him to Grievous. In the next Web Comic, “Discount,” Separatist Gha Nachkt is sold a droid by the same salvager, who still possesses R2, and it turns out the droid Nachkt buys is a spy for rival Separatist Watt Tambor. In the Web Comic “Covetous,” the spy droid sends its information to Tambor, that of the doings of Nachkt on Ryloth. Tambor launches his invasion of Ryloth, which is seen in the next Web Comic “Curfew,” where we also meet the now-orphaned Twilek girl, Numa, on Ryloth.

In “Supply Lines,” following the invasion of Ryloth, the Republic tries to send relief aid by way of the Toydaria. We meet King Katuunko, who makes a deal with Bail Organa and Jar Jar Binks to allow their ships through against the trade agreements the planet hold with the Trade Federation. The ships get through as the last Jedi and clones on Ryloth are killed defending the Twileks and a small group of Twilek resistance fighters. The King tells Organa he’ll meet with Yoda to discuss a treaty with the Republic. In the Web Comic “Prelude,” we see the King on his way to the meet Yoda. We also see some of Yoda’s clone troopers waiting to depart for their next assignment. As they wait, they see the Republic Star Destroyer Ares leave in search of a new Separatist threat: something that’s destroying whole Republic fleets without leaving survivors. We also see Dooku and Ventress on a Separatist Listening Post called Skytop station. Dooku orders Ventress to stop the meeting between Yoda and King Katuunko.

“Ambush” sees Yoda and his clones, well, ambushed by Ventress. She meets the King and attempts to negotiate a deal between Toydaria and the Separatists, but Yoda eventually pushes through the traps and terrain. Ventress is sent back to Dooku empty-handed and Toydaria agrees to let the Republic use its planet to launch a campaign to retake Ryloth.

In “Duel Of The Droids,” Anakin tracks down R2 at Skytop Station and destroys it, saving R2 in the process and crippling the Separatist’s ability to use their secret weapon to sneak up on Republic fleets as effectively.

With Toydaria aligned with the Republic, the Jedi and the Republic fleet are now in a position to effectively plan an assault to retake Ryloth. It appears that the complexity of the eventual multi-stage attack requires lengthy organization of strategy, personnel and resources,  which is why the battle itself does not take place until later in the first season (see Walkthrough – Part 2).

MALEVOLENCE TRILOGY
As noted above, the Ryloth, Malevolence and Nute Gunray arcs could really be considered one giant, continuous story, since there is no break in the action and the stories flow deliberately and directly from one to the other.

After the liberation of Ryloth, the Web Comic “Shakedown,” picks up with the maiden voyage of the Star Destroyer Ares. No sooner has it begun to hunt for the secret Separatist weapon than that weapon overtakes and destroys it. Shortly after, Jedi Master Plo Koon and his troops are beset upon by the same weapon, a Separatist ship called Malevolence, which destroyers ships with a massive ion cannon. Survivors are hunted down in the debris. Plo and clones Wolffe, Sinker and Boost launch an escape pod but the droids find them and nearly kill them. They are rescued by Anakin and Ahsoka and become the first surviving witnesses to Grievous’s new weapon.

Anakin and Ahsoka then commandeer the experimental Y-Wings in the Web Comic “Procedure” in order to mount an offensive against Malevolence. They do so, crippling the Separatist ship. Meanwhile, Chancellor Palpatine and Capt. Argyus inform Padme that some Separatists want to talk peace and have sent coordinates to meet her (Web Comic “Agenda”). We also meet Onacondo Farr of Rodia, a friend of Padme, who has just signed a treaty with Nute Gunray. Padme arrives in the middle of the firefighter between the Republic and Malevolence, and she and 3PO are taken prisoner. Anakin and Obi-Wan board Malevolence and rescue the two before the vessel is destroyed. Grievous flees in his fighter.

Here, R2 and 3PO meet again, as do Grievous and Obi-Wan. Anakin cannot meet Grievous during the Clone Wars, since he states explicitly that “Revenge Of The Sith” is their first meeting.

NUTE GUNARY TRILOGY
In the Web Comic “Departure,” Jar Jar prepares the Naboo ship to head to Rodia, but it is stolen by thieves. He and Padme are forced to take a different ship, which they do, arriving on Rodia only to find out Farr has aligned with the Separatists. He’s eventually convinced to change his mind and Nute Gunray is captured. In the Web Comic “Transfer,” Capt Argyus, Ahsoka and Luminara Undulii take Gunary aboard their ship.
The episode that follows shows Ventress and Argyus breaking Gunray out of custody and escaping, after Ventress duels both Ahsoka and Luminara.

In the Web Comic “The Dreams Of General Grievous,” we see Grievous in flight from the lost battle of the Malevolence and his thoughts about how he was made into a cyborg.

Kit Fisto and his clones make their way to a secret location, on the trail of Nute Gunray. They discover it is the Lair of General Grievous and Dooku has trapped them all, hoping Grievous can prove himself after all his recent failures (failing to take Kamino and losing Skytop Station and the Malevolence). Grievous kills everyone but Fisto, including Fisto’s hot-headed former Padawan. Fisto escapes and Grievous again has proven his worth to Dooku.

As the “Ryloth,” “Malevolence” and “Nute Gunray” arcs are all interwoven and ,as I said, continue seamlessly from one to the next without any story breaks, they really do serve to create a mega-arc early in the series, with all those episodes and Web Comics fully connected to each other.

To be explored in future Walkthroughs will be plot points and characters established both in these early episodes and episodes yet-discussed, which continue to weave through the series even now.

It’s important to see that The Clone Wars is not merely a “weekly adventures of…”-type of series, but a grand, interwoven story, where characters and plots interact and actions have consequences. What happens early on affects what happens later, and what happens later is a direct and/or indirect result of what came before. That is one of the real strengths of The Clone Wars, and one of the rewards of paying close attention.

Continued in Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

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