The Best of Clone Wars / Rebels (Star Wars)

With the recent release of “Ahsoka”, some Star Wars fans may be a little confused about a few details here and there if they hadn’t previously seen “The Clone Wars” or “Rebels” animated series. Both shows are generally geared towards a younger audience, so there’s a good amount of episodic episodes that might be worth skipping if you’re less inclined to watch them all, but there are still some genuinely great episodes that are worth checking out. So after having watched both shows back to back, I figured I’d make a little guide on the *Essential* episodes of both shows to watch before diving into the latest live-action Star Wars mini-series – starring Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano…

Before we get to the list though, I highly recommend starting with “Tales of the Jedi” (especially Episodes 1-4 which take place beforehand) – an anthology series that fills in the gaps and really expands on both Ahsoka’s character and the backstory of Count Dooku, and the original 2D animated “Clone Wars” micro-series (Chapters 1-21 are set before the 3D series) created by Genndy Tartakovsky (Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Laboratory) – both of which are also on Disney Plus!


“Clone Wars” takes place between “Star Wars – Episode II: Attack of the Clones” and “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” during… the Clone Wars (obviously) – a galactic-wide conflict between the Republic’s Clone Troopers and the Separatist factions with their Drone Armies, with the Jedi Knights caught in the middle, trying to maintain peace during a turbulent time of war. The show primarily follows Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Anakin’s new apprentice, Ahsoka.

S1E1: Ambush

A fun, light Yoda-centric episode that introduces both Asajj Ventress and General Grevious.

S1E5: Rookies

An episode that focuses in on the Clone Troopers: Rex and Commander Cody.

S1E9: Cloak of Darkness

Ahsoka teams up with Jedi Master Luminara to escort their prisoner, Viceroy Nute Gunray, when their convoy is attacked by the Sith assassin, Asajj Ventress!

S1E22: Hostage Crisis

A cadre of Bounty Hunters led by Cad Bane, IG-88, and Aurra Sing seize control of the Senate Building on Coruscant.

S2E7-8: Legacy of Terror / Brain Invaders

Space Zombies. ‘Nuff said.

S2E22: Lethal Trackdown

Ahsoka teams up with Jedi Master Plo Koon to track down a young Boba Fett. (Episode also features Mace Windu, Bossk, and Aurra Sing!)

S3E12-14: Nightsisters / Monster / Witches of the Mist

After surviving an assassination attempt from Count Dooku, Asajj Ventress calls on the Nightsisters of Dathomir for revenge. This epic three-parter also introduces Savage Opress, the brother of Darth Maul!

S3E15-17: Overlords/ Altair of Mortis / Ghosts of Mortis

One of the most important storylines of the show, that heavily builds on the lore of the Force and foreshadows future events…

S4E19-20: Massacre / Bounty

General Grevious launches an assault on the Nightsisters of Dathomir who make a valiant last stand, while Asajj Ventress escapes the slaughter and joins up with a group of Bounty Hunters led by a teenager named Boba Fett…

*Note: “Tales of the Empire” – Episode 1 builds directly off of this storyline. (Episodes 1-3 also sets up and fleshes out Morgan Elsbeth’s character for both “The Mandalorian” and “Ahsoka”)

S4E21-22: Brothers / Revenge

The long-awaited return of Darth Maul! After his defeat on Naboo at the hands of Qui-Gon Jinn, Maul (complete with robotic spider legs) has become a shattered remnant of his former self, driven to madness and barely surviving on a junk planet in the Outer Rim, when his brother Savage Opress finds him, and the two vow revenge against both the Jedi and the Sith! (This two-parter also features an epic team-up between Obi-Wan and Ventress against Maul and Savage!)

S5E14-16: Eminence / Shades of Reason / The Lawless

Darth Maul and Savage Opress form an alliance with “Death Watch” – a Mandalorian terrorist cell in order to conquer Mandalore! Obi-Wan Kenobi is lured into a trap, but is aided by Bo-Katan, a Mandalorian who is destined to wield the legendary Darksaber. Meanwhile, Darth Sidious makes his move against the brothers of Dathomir for challenging his own plans for power!

S5E17-20: Sabotage / The Jedi Who Knew Too Much / To Catch a Jedi / The Wrong Jedi

Quite possibly the best storyline on this whole list and marks a turning point in the series! Ahsoka Tano investigates a terrorist bombing of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Just as she’s getting close to uncovering the truth, she’s framed for murder and is forced to escape from a military prison on Coruscant! Fleeing both the Jedi and Republic Clone Troopers under the command of Admiral Tarkin, Ahsoka teams up with a disgruntled Ventress in the lower levels of the city in an attempt to clear her name.

This epic mystery / thriller ends with a shocking twist, a bit of a cliffhanger, and makes a very clear and powerful statement about the subtle and slow corruption that can lead to a full-blown fascist takeover, when citizens give up their freedom out of a fear for security…

S6E1-4: The Unknown / Conspiracy / Fugitive / Orders

Another Clone Trooper story arc where Rex ultimately learns about a hidden agenda that was programmed into the DNA of all clones on Kamino, foreshadowing the “Order 66” reveal…

S6E10: The Lost One

This excellent episode fills in a giant plot hole left by a convoluted mystery alluded to in “Attack of the Clones” regarding the connection between Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas, Count Dooku (aka Darth Tyrannous) and the Clone Army ordered on Kamino, that occurred shortly after the events of “The Phantom Menace”…

S6E11-13: Voices / Destiny / Sacrifice

Another great three-parter, this one is all about Yoda going on a spiritual quest that sets up his eventual escape to Dagoba, the training of Luke Skywalker, and the whole Force Ghost thing. This storyline is another great example of foreshadowing future events, it’s also the closest we’ve come to getting to know who Yoda is on a personal level *and* gives us what is easily the most meta and philosophical episode by far!

Not only that, it ends with what might be one of the most epic lightsaber battles in the franchise – between Darth Sidious and Yoda! (It also features the spirit of Qui-Gon Jinn and flashbacks to when Count Dooku was still a Jedi)
S7E9: Old Friends, Not Forgotten

Ahsoka and Bo-Katan enlist the help of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker to apprehend Darth Maul on Mandalore. Ahsoka and Anakin are forced to say goodbye for the last time as Anakin and Obi-Wan head off to rescue Chancellor Palpatine from General Grevious, leaving Rex and the 501st Clone Troopers under Ahsoka’s command…

Note: While most of the “Clone Wars” Micro-Series takes place before this series, the events of Chapters 22-25 occur right around here, and Episode 5 of “Tales of the Jedi” leads up to the next one…

S7E10: The Phantom Apprentice

An epic final battle between Ahsoka and Darth Maul, high above the streets of Mandalore! During their confrontation, Maul reveals that Sidious orchestrated the Clone Wars in an attempt to destroy the Jedi and conquer the galaxy, and offers to to join forces to stop the Dark Lord of the Sith once and for all…

Note: “Revenge of the Sith” takes place at the same time as these final episodes of this series…

S7E11-12: Shattered / Victory and Death

In the shocking two-part finale of the series, Ahsoka and Rex must survive Order 66 while aboard a Republic Star Destroyer… Much like “Revenge of the Sith”, the final episode of “Clone Wars” ends on a heavy down note with a small ray of hope…

It also gives us one of the most poignant moments in the show with a flash forward to Darth Vader coming across the remnants of the crashed Star Destroyer on an ice planet (Hoth?), seemingly mourning for his former Padawan, his former life, and the loyal troopers of the 501st Legion…

Note: “Tales of the Empire” Episode 4, and “Tales of the Jedi” Episode 6 both pick up after the end of this series…


“Rebels” is about a small rag-tag band of rebels: the young Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus (a former Jedi Padawan), Hera Syndulla, Sabine Wren (a former Mandalorian Foundling), a droid named “Chopper”, and Zeb. The series takes place prior to the formation of the Rebel Alliance against the Galactic Empire, taking place between “Revenge of the Sith” and “A New Hope”.

S1E1-2: Spark of Rebellion

This two-part pilot introduces our main characters, namely Ezra Bridger – a street orphan on Lothal, with Force sensitivity. The crew of “the Ghost” rescues a group of Wookies from the Empire and Kanan offers to make Ezra his apprentice.

S1E15: Fire Across the Galaxy

In this fantastic finale to Season 1, the Rebels make a daring attack on Grand Moff Tarkin’s Imperial Star Destroyer! Ezra and Kanan also face off against the Grand Inquisitor. The episode ends with the introduction of Ahsoka Tano (now working with Mon Mothma), and Darth Vader!

S2E1-2: The Siege of Lothal

An epic two-parter where Ezra and crew are on the run from Darth Vader, barely escaping with their lives! Vader learns of Ahsoka’s survival, reporting back to the Emperor, while Ahsoka realizes that Vader is her former master, Anakin…

S2E3-4: The Lost Commanders / Relics of the Old Republic

The Ghost crew joins up with an older Captain Rex and a cadre of elder Clone Troopers that managed to escape the brainwashing of Order 66!

S2E12: A Princess on Lothal

Features a young Princess Leia!

S2E18: Shroud of Darkness

A key episode where Ezra, Kanan, and Ahsoka each have visions from the Force when they uncover an ancient Jedi Temple on Lothal… (Features a cameo appearance from Yoda)

S2E21-22: Twilight of the Apprentice

Without a doubt, the most essential episodes of Rebels – “Twilight of the Apprentice” has some of the biggest moments in Star Wars cannon outside of the movies! Ezra and the gang arrive on Malachor – an ancient Sith planet where they encounter an older Darth Maul! Maul tricks Ezra into helping him unlock a Sith Holocron before betraying the group and blinding Kanan with his lightsaber! It all leads to an incredible confrontation between Ahsoka Tano and Darth Vader!

S3E3: Holocrons of Fate

An interesting episode that features Ezra, Kanan, Darth Maul, a massive Force-sensitive elder creature called “The Bendu”, a Jedi test, and a hint at a destiny involving a desert planet with twin suns…

S3E6: The Last Battle

Captain Rex and the Ghost crew face off against an old contingent of Battle Droids that aren’t aware that the Clone Wars have ended!

S3E11: Visions and Voices

Maul convinces Ezra to help him complete the Holocron vision on Dathomir – where they face the wrath of the vengeful spirits of the Nightsisters! The episode ends with Sabine claiming the Darksaber from Maul, and the reveal that Obi-Wan Kenobi is the key to both Ezra and Darth Maul’s missions…

S3E12-13: Ghosts of Geonosis

A fun episode on the desolate world of Geonosis (where the Clone Wars first began), featuring Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker’s character from “Rogue One”) – a Rebel with more extreme methods of fighting the Empire…

S3E15-16: Trials of the Darksaber / Legacy of Mandalore

A very Mandalorian-heavy episode featuring Sabine and the Darksaber, setting up future events in “The Mandalorian”…

S3E20: Twin Suns

Another one of the most important episodes of the entire show, this one wraps up the epic rivalry between Darth Maul and Obi-Wan Kenobi once and for all, on the dunes of Tatooine…

S3E21-22: Zero Hour

Grand Admiral Thrawn lays siege to the Rebel’s hideout on Atollon with an orbital bombardment!

S4E1-2: Heroes of Mandalore

The crew gets caught up in a fight between Mandalorian factions. Sabine relinquishes the Darksaber to Bo-Katan.

S4E3-4: In the Name of the Rebellion

The crew joins up with the Rebel Alliance on Yavin IV. (Episode features Saw Gerrera and the ancient Jedi planet Jedha – both later featured in “Rogue One”)

S4E10: Jedi Night

The tragic death of Kanan Jarrus…

S4E12-13: Wolves and a Door / A World Between Worlds

An extremely impactful two-parter that features Emperor Palpatine, explains the return of Ahsoka Tano, introduces the concept of time travel (?!) into the Star Wars universe in a very unique way, *and* sets up the absolute best episode of “Ahsoka”! (Episode 5: “Shadow Warrior”)

S4E14 / 15: A Fool’s Hope / Family Reunion – and Farewell

The final two episodes of “Rebels”.

In the finale, Ezra and Thrawn disappear into hyper space setting up where the “Ahsoka” series picks up after the events of “Return of the Jedi”, “The Book of Boba Fett”, and “The Mandalorian”!

If you’re a Star Wars fan, be sure to check out my other articles on The 25 Best Lightsaber Battles, 9 Reasons Why ‘The Skywalker Saga’ was *always* about Palpatine, and Every Star Destroyer Ever… So Far!

And you can help support me by reading my books: “2299” – a sci-fi / noir novella and “Tempus Machina” – a Short (Time Travel) Story!

Erik Slader

Erik Slader is the creator of “Epik Fails of History” a blog (and podcast) about the most epic fails… of history. With Ben Thompson, Erik is the co-author of the Epic Fails middle grade book series, including The Wright Brothers: Nose-Diving Into History and The Race to Space: Countdown to Liftoff. His latest book, “2299” is a sci-fi / noir novella. Erik is also an editor on Podcasters Assemble and a co-host on 2 Young 4 This Trek, as well as a contributor to Geek to Geek Media and! He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Media, once managed a comic book shop, has a weakness for fancy coffee as well as retro video games, and currently lives in Green Cove Springs, Florida with too many cats.

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