“Essential” Star Wars Animated Episodes

Way back in 2020, immediately prior to the release of The Mandalorian season 2, I put together a list of essential episodes from the animated series The Clone Wars and Rebels, focusing mainly on Ahsoka Tano and on the history of Mandalore and the Darksaber. I shoved that into a Google Doc that I shared around to prep people who had never watched the animated series The Clone Wars and Rebels with a quickstart guide for characters making their live-action debut in The Mandalorian.

With the release of The Book of Boba Fett and the Disney+ slate of upcoming series, apparently one each for just about every character in the Star Wars universe, I’ve updated the list with a few more characters.

A few notes

  • This list contains episodes which I personally think are important or interesting. Other people who have also sat through a bajillion hours of these shows and movies are entitled to make their own lists.
  • For table entries with multiple episodes, the episodes comprise a story arc.
  • I use the season.episode number convention. (Example: episode 3 of season 1 would be 1.3. An arc of episodes 12-14 from season 2 would be 2.12-14)
  • Main characters/entities for an arc are in bold.
  • Currently supported characters/entities
    • Ahsoka Tano
    • Mandalore
      • Bo-Katan Kryze
      • Darksaber
    • Boba Fett
    • Asajj Ventress (Clone Wars series villain)
    • Maul (oops, spoiler)
  • Disney+ lists The Clone Wars in their original release order, which does not correspond at all with the actual story chronology until the final seasons. The list below conforms to the proper order.
  • Bad Batch season 1 features many supporting characters we’ve seen in other series. I haven’t added any of them here, although that may change.
  • Rebels has a more linear, self-contained storyline. You can watch the whole thing or not. Warning: Ezra Bridger is just so ducking annoying.

The Clone Wars

Season . Episodes(s)Featured CharactersImportanceNotes
MovieAhsoka, AsajjHighIntroduces Ahsoka as Anakin Skywalker’s new padawan

Introduces villain Asajj Ventress
1.2-4AhsokaMediumFills in Ahsoka’s background and explains her character

Ahsoka is only a major character in 1.2 and 1.3
1.9-10Ahsoka, AsajjMediumAhsoka and Asajj are only major characters in episode 1.9
1.13-14AhsokaLow
1.17-18AhsokaLow
1.19AhsokaMediumAhsoka learns important lesson
2.1-3AhsokaHighMajor ties to future SW plots
2.17AhsokaLowIntroduces Hondo Ohnaka, who makes frequent appearances in future plot lines
2.6-8AhsokaHighIntroduces a pivotal character for Ahsoka’s future
2.11AhsokaMedium
2.12-14Mandalore, DarksaberHighProvides important background for Mandalore and also Bo-Katan Kryze, although she does not appear
2.20-22Boba FettMediumCatches up with Boba Fett after the death of his “father” in Episode II
3.5-6Ahsoka, MandaloreMedium
3.7AhsokaLow
3.10-11AhsokaMediumIntroduces an important character for Ahsoka’s future
3.12-14AsajjMediumAsajj’s backstory and her relationship with another major villain
3.15-17AhsokaHighest
3.21-22AhsokaMedium
4.11-13AhsokaMedium
4.14Ahsoka, Bo-Katan Kryze, DarksaberHighFirst appearance of Bo-Katan
4.19-20Asajj, Boba FettHighBoba Fett only appears in 4.20
4.21-22MaulHighMaul really hates Obi-Wan Kenobi

This arc’s storyline is picked up later in 5.1
5.2-5AhsokaMediumImportant character development for Ahsoka, also introduces Saw Gerrera from Rogue One
5.6-9AhsokaLow
5.1MaulMediumMaul really, really hates Kenobi
5.14-16Maul, Bo-Katan Kryze, Mandalore, DarksaberHighMaul really, really, really hates Kenobi
5.17-20Ahsoka, AsajjHighestThe most critical turning point in Ahsoka’s life

Asajj appears in 5.19-20
6.1-4HighImportant background for the clone troopers and Order 66
6.10-13YodaLowNot vital, but shows origins of an important piece of Jedi mythology
7.5-8Ahsoka, Bo-Katan, MaulHighBo-Katan and Maul briefly appear in episodes 7-8
7.9-12Ahsoka, Maul, Bo-Katan, MandaloreHighestThe final gut-punch episodes

Also, Maul still really hates Kenobi
Must-see The Clone Wars story arcs for selected characters (Ahsoka, it’s all Ahsoka)

Rebels

Season . Episode(s)Featured CharactersImportanceNotes
2.1-2AhsokaHighCatches up with Ahsoka after the fall of the Republic
2.3-4AhsokaLowAhsoka appears only briefly in both episodes but it focuses on an important character from her past
2.10AhsokaHighTies with Clone Wars episodes 2.1-3
2.13MandaloreMediumIntroduction to Mandalore under the Empire
2.18AhsokaHigh
2.21-22Ahsoka, MaulHighestMaul also really hates the Emperor
3.7MandaloreLow
3.11DarksaberLow
3.15-16Mandalore, DarksaberHigh
3.20MaulHighAnd Maul just still really hates Kenobi
4.1-2Mandalore, Bo-Katan, DarksaberHigh
4.15-16AhsokaHigh
Must-see Rebels story arcs for selected characters (as much Ahsoka as possible)

Viewing chronology

  1. Theatrical Episodes I & II
  2. A few stray episodes from The Clone Wars
    1. 2.16
    2. 1.16
  3. The Clone Wars animated movie
  4. Lots of Clone Wars episodes totally out of order
  5. Final 4 episodes (Season 7, episodes 9-12) of The Clone Wars. This arc overlaps with the film Episode III. (Arguments can be made for a different viewing order, but this is the one I like.)
    1. CW episode 7.9
    2. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
    3. Remaining CW episodes: 7.10-12
  6. Star Wars Bad Batch
  7. Star Wars Rebels
  8. Films: Rogue One, Episodes IV-VI
  9. The Mandalorian
  10. The Book of Boba Fett jumps around in time but seems to take place immediately after season 2 of Mando
  11. Star Wars Resistance: animated series leading up to Episode VII (I couldn’t watch past the first season)
  12. Episodes VII-IX

References

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