Star Wars: The Clone Wars is one of my all-time favorite television shows. I’m a weirdo like that.
I didn’t catch a single episode the first season, but the show’s San Diego Comic Con panel between seasons one and two was televised on G4 and the footage they showed off gripped my attention and held it for the next four years. I was hooked. I scoured forums and fan sites and sifted through Google news for any scraps of information the show-runner Dave Filoni let out regarding future episodes.
Then, last year, just in time for my birthday, Disney announced the show’s cancellation after five seasons.
To hear some people talk about my reaction to the cancellation is like listening to a mental health professional explain the trauma behind the man in a strait jacket. It probably wasn’t that bad. Probably. But it was a stone cold bummer made all the more chilling by the fact that the final eight episodes of The Clone Wars were arguably the series’ best.
Thanks Disney. Way to “Let it Go.”
Bummed as I was you can imagine my delight upon hearing that this year 13 unaired episodes of the series would be put up on Netflix as a make-shift season six dubbed “The Lost Missions.” And in time for my birthday too!
The episodes went up several weeks ago. I sat down on my couch and watched all 13 in one sitting and when I was done I couldn’t shake the unmistakable feeling that something was missing.
At face value that emptiness is resolution. Those final eight episodes of The Clone Wars also left two massive, climbing-rope-thick narrative threads dangling in the wind and The Lost Missions didn’t so much as bat them around like a curious kitten. I would wager that of The Clone Wars sprawling, intergalactic cast a majority of the show’s fan favorite characters aren’t around for this 13 episode appendix.
But Filoni and crew can’t really be faulted for that. The Lost Missions is a bundle of the episodes that were closest to completion when Disney pulled the plug. When these episodes were being made they weren’t designed to be the end of the series, rather just business as usual. Which unfortunately means there are things the series was never allowed to get around to.
Filoni has since release several design concepts and sketches for the episodes of season six that never went into production. If you haven’t checked them out yet I’d almost be inclined to advise you not to, as all they did for me was cause my blood-feud with Disney to violently flare up and leave me with aches of what could have been.
But The Lost Missions’ straying away from my personal favorite story threads and characters isn’t what colored my viewing of the episodes the most. It was a lack of The Clone Wars.
That Clone Wars was canceled when it was and therefore ended on the episode it did made the final moments of season five all the more poignant and emotional in retrospect, knowing now that they are a goodbye to the series. Since that ending I haven’t visited those Star Wars forums and fan sites, or hunted down cast and crew interviews or speculated about the fates of my favorite characters. The fire of speculation that powered that engine burnt out last year. All of those activities were part of the Clone Wars experience for me, and when Disney pulled the rug out from under the show they pulled it out from under all of that too.
Unfortunately, through no real fault of its own, these last 13 episodes couldn’t rekindle that old fire.
There’s some great new stuff in The Lost Missions, particularly in the first story arc, but for better or worse The Clone Wars ended for me a year ago when Disney, knowingly and with malice and forethought, ruined my birthday.
How I hate you Disney. How I hate.
1. Has a show you enjoyed that was canceled ever released material after the fact? Did that material live up to your expectations?
2. Has Disney ever ruined your birthday?
3. Where do they get off?
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