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Star Wars - what are the Clone Wars?

The Clone Wars was one of the biggest galactic events in the Star Wars franchise, 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? Well, let’s find out!

The Clone Wars is one of the most important events in the entire Star Wars franchise. It is also the subject of more than one Star Wars series as well as an entire Star Wars movie, Attack of the Clones (shout out to the prequel trilogy). It sees clone troopers pitted against an army of the best Star Wars droids in a war that shakes up the hierarchy of power in the 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? You won’t need to watch the Star Wars movies in order to find the answers, because we’re here with a guide to everything you need to know about the Clone Wars, including what started it, who was involved, and how it ended.

What started the Clone Wars?

The Clone Wars began with the Battle of Geonosis in 22 BBY, where the Jedi were called into action for the first time in years, to take on the Separtist Army.

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 the best Star Wars bounty hunter Jango Fett, by the alien scientists on Kamino.

What ensued, was tantamount to chaos. This marked the first all-out battle between the Galactic Republic (led by 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.

This conflict between the Galactic Republic and the Separatists had been overdue, mainly 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 (as expected from one of the best Star Wars villains of all time) and establish the foundation for the destruction of the Jedi with Order 66.

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Who was involved in the Clone Wars?

A whole host of Jedi and Sith were involved in the Clone Wars. Emperor Palpatine was pulling the strings from the shadows for the Separatists, and employed the likes of Count Dooku and General Grievous to do his bidding and take on Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and the other Jedi.

Every Star Wars character 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 of the best Star Wars characters from the light side of the Force 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 – one of the best animated series of all time – we get a much more in-depth 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 characters like the clone troopers themselves and their missions.

Star Wars Clone Wars: Commander Cody

How did the Clone Wars end?

The Clone Wars ended when Obi-Wan Kenobi killed General Grievous. As the main leader of the Separatist army on the battlefield, the fall of Grievous marked a significant defeat for the bad guys.

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 dueled 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 the Clone Wars check out our Ahsoka episode 5 review. Or, for Star Wars in general, check out our guide on everyone in the Star Wars cast. We also have information on the Andor season 2 release date, The Acolyte release date, and all the new Star Wars movies heading our way. Or, if you are done with this particular franchise, here are our lists of the best science fiction movies and the best movies of all time. We also have an article breaking down all the new movies coming out this year, including The Marvels.