George Lucas gets a lot of guff for the prequel films in the Star Wars saga. A fair potion of the criticism 100% is spot on in terms of his choices as a director, especially in The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, but one thing that can't be criticized is Lucas's enormous vision. He imagined a rich galaxy that spans from worlds from the Outer Rim to the Inner Core. Up until 2008, most of the galaxy was gated behind novels and video games that weren't easily accessible to the casual fan, let alone children. And then, thanks to the talents of the fantastic Dave Filloni, The Clone Wars animated film hit theaters in a limited run with a companion television show by the same name.To many, the film didn't resonate with them through their original trilogy nostalgia glasses, and the show followed suit. Well, for the first two and a half seasons at least. Now, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is regarded by fans as one of the best installments in the ever-expanding Star Wars post-buyout canon. It's plain to see, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is the best Star Wars anything since The Empire Strikes Back.
We See The Full Extent Of Palpatine's Manipulation And Anakin's Slow Fall
While it was alluded to in the prequel films, it's difficult to fully comprehend the number of strings Palpatine controls over the course of the entire saga. Not only is he deeply involved in the active manipulation of both sides in the Republic/Separatist conflict, but we get to see numerous subtle nudges he makes to ensure Anakin's eventual fall from grace.
Further, once you realize that he is effectively weighing the options of "which massive army is the most effective to take the galaxy over" with the the Clone Wars, the entire situation becomes dizzying. The lengths some people traverse to gain power.
Ahsoka Tano, The Greatest Character You Never Heard Of
Arguably the biggest addition to the overarching Star Wars story, in The Clone Wars we learn that ill-fated Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker had a Padawan - a young Togruta girl named Ahsoka Tano. At the time of the series, audiences assumed that the Star Wars films were effectively done - Episode VII wasn't a remote possibility for fans. Therfore, this new character, seemingly designed to bring in younger fans exclusively for the show, would eventually have to die. Or disappear. Or something.A number of people actively rooted for this to happen, sooner rather than later. This all changed around Season 3 during the Mortis arc. Ahsoka Tano grew into not only one of the most badass characters in the series, but in the overall canon. She uses two lightsabers simultaneously in combat, led rebels against the Galactic Empire, and went toe-to-toe with Darth Vader, her former master. She changed preconceived notions of what a great character is in the Star Wars universe.
Obi-Wan And Anakin's Relationship Is Fully Fleshed Out
The lack of any real sort of relationship between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker was one of the worst things about the Star Wars prequels. In A New Hope, Obi-Wan tells Luke about his father. He says that he was "a cunning warrior and a good friend," but we never get to see the depth of this relationship in Attack of the Clones or Revenge of the Sith.
With the exception of Anakin and Obi-Wan's goodbye scene in Sith, every time the two are on screen together they argue or throw some shade at each other. They end the scene frustrated and go off for the rest of the films on their own solo adventures, before reuniting for a fight at the end.
The Clone Wars fixes this. At the core of (nearly) every episode is the Kenobi/Skywalker friendship. The chemistry between Matt Lanter's Anakin and James Arnold Taylor's Obi-Wan is, frankly, lightyears ahead of what Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor shared with each other. It isn't hyperbole to say that watching the animated series between Episodes II and III makes Lucas's story much, much better.
Obi-Wan's Relationship With Duchess Satine Is Legitimately Heart-Breaking
The Mandalore lost a massive and fascinating history to the Great Disney Purge. Thankfully, one of its shining gems was cemented in the new canon with The Clone Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi's relationship with Duchess Satine of Mandalore.
If you're unfamiliar with the series, this will likely shock you. Obi-Wan, for many people, represents the Platonic Jedi ideal. He always strictly adhered to the Jedi Code, a code which strictly forbade attachment and relationships. But in The Clone Wars, we see that Obi-Wan is, in fact, flawed. We see him own up to his poor judgment in Return of the Jedi when he has his swampside chat with Luke, but the prequel films painted him in an incredibly self-righteous light when it came to his mentorship of Anakin. Highlighting his human side, his flaws, and his ability to love make this multiple arc story worth it.