Star Wars: what are the Clone Wars?

The Clone Wars was one of the biggest galactic events in Star Wars canon, but how did the Clone Wars start, who was involved, and how did it end

Star Wars: Clone Wars - Obi-Wan Kenobi

What are the Clone Wars in Star Wars, and what really caused the event? The Clone Wars is one of the most important events across the Star Wars galaxy, and is the subject of more than one Star Wars series as well as an entire Star Wars movie, Attack of the Clones.

It sees clone troopers pitted against Star Wars droids in a war that shakes up the hierarchy of power in the Star Wars galaxy, and has far reaching consequences.

But how did the Clone Wars go from being a throwaway line from Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope to a major event that led to the downfall of the Galactic Republic, and the rise of the Galactic Empire and Emperor Palpatine? Your search for answers is over, because we’re here with a guide to everything you need to know about the Clone Wars, including what started it, who was involve, and how it ended.

What started the Clone Wars?

The Clone Wars began with the climactic battle of Geonosis. Led by Mace Windu, a force of deadly Jedi dropped onto the planet to save Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Padme Amidala from the clutches of the villainous Sith lord Count Dooku. Supporting Mace Windu and his Jedi were the clone troopers: genetically engineered soldiers who were each cloned from the DNA of bounty hunter Jango Fett by the alien scientists on Kamino.

Star Wars: Clone Wars - Jango Fett

This marked the first all-out battle between the Galactic Republic (led by the soon-to-be-Emperor Palpatine) and the Confederacy of Independent Systems (also known as the Separatists). The war had been brewing for a long time, and was really a proxy war between the Jedi and the Sith, manufactured by Palpatine.

The reason why a conflict between Galactic Republic and the Separatists had been overdue was because the Separatists (led by Count Dooku) had been pulling planets away from the Republic increasingly aggressively, and this was escalating friction between the two factions. This was intentional, because the conflict was designed to give Emperor Palpatine more power through the Emergency Powers Act, and establish the foundation for the destruction of the Jedi with Order 66.

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Who was involved in the Clone Wars?

All of the most important names in the galaxy were involved in the Clone Wars. Yes, that’s right: whether it’s Yoda or Emperor Palpatine, Mace Windu or Count Dooku, every major player had their role in the Clone Wars.

Which Star Wars characters were involved in the Clone Wars?

  • Yoda
  • Emperor Palpatine
  • Mace Windu
  • Count Dooku
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • General Grievous
  • Anakin Skywalker
  • Ahsoka Tano
  • Clone trooper commanders (e.g. Rex and Cody)
  • Separatist leaders (e.g Nute Gunray and Wat Tambor)

The Jedi in particular were enlisted as commanders of the clone trooper army, with many Jedi Knights and masters leading their own battalions as generals. Their Sith counterparts; Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku, and General Grievous, on the other hand, worked more in the shadows. Aside from the occasional duel they mostly orchestrated events from the background, using their droid armies to do their bidding instead.

In the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series we get a much more indepth look into the Clone Wars and see a lot of the important battles that took place within it before The Revenge of Sith, with a focus on other Star Wars characters like the clone troopers themselves and their missions.

Star Wars Clone Wars: Commander Cody

How did the Clone Wars end?

Just as the clone wars began with death (when Mace Windu decapitated Star Wars bounty hunter Jango Fett) it ended with death too when Obi-Wan Kenobi killed General Grievous. 

After the Battle of Coruscant and the death of Count Dooku, General Grievous became the leader of the Separatist armies. He fled to Utapau to consolidate and take commands from his master Darth Sidious, and the Separatist forces were on the back foot. However, he was pursued by Obi-Wan Kenobi who duelled with the Cybernetic Star Wars alien, eventually managing to defeat him.

This left the Separatist armies leaderless, effectively bringing the Clone Wars to their end.

For more on Star Wars, check out our guide to the Andor season 2 release date as well as our Andor season 1 recap, and the The Mandalorian season 3 release date. Or check out our guide to the Ahsoka release date, and learn more about the adventures of Anakin Skywalker’s padawan.