The Clone Wars Essential Episodes

I love The Clone Wars series. The entire thing is worth watching, but what if you’re just trying to hit the highlights?

Maybe you’re trying to binge as much as possible before the next film comes out and can’t fit the whole series in. Or maybe you’re introducing someone new to Star Wars and want to give them a taste of the animated series. Whatever your reason, I’ve got you covered. Here’s my list of the essential episodes in The Clone Wars series.

The following list is in chronological order. I have the episodes color-coded so you can prioritize your watching experience:

  • Black – Essential to key character arcs. Watch all of these.
  • Green – Add for more about the clones.
  • Red – Add for fleshing out subplots and main characters.
  • Purple – Add for more side characters and subplots.

The Clone Wars film

First 25-30 minutes introduce Ahsoka. Watching the rest of the film is optional

S3E01: Clone Cadets

Introduces a handful of the clones that we follow through the series.

S1E05: Rookies

More about our favorite clones

S1E09: Cloak of Darkness
S1E10: Lair of Grievous

Watch this if you want more dark side plotting and info on Dooku’s relationship with Asajj Ventress and General Grievous.

S1E11: Dooku Captured
S1E12: The Gungan General

A fun two-episode arc that introduces a character who will be important in Rebels. 

S1E13: Jedi Crash
S1E14: Defenders of Peace

Optional story that highlights Aayla Secura and explores question such as why Jedi don’t form attachments and how to defend peace while fighting a war. Also good character development for Ahsoka.

S1E19: Storm over Ryloth
S1E20: Innocents of Ryloth
S1E21: Liberty on Ryloth

This 3-episode arc gives us deeper character development for Ahsoka. Also tells us more about the clones and is an important episode if you plan to watch Rebels.

S2E01: Holocron Heist
S2E02: Cargo of Doom
S2E03: Children of the Force

This arc introduces bounty hunter Cad Bane and further builds on the relationship between Ahsoka and Anakin.

S2E04: Senate Spy

If your main reason for watching Clone Was is to see why Anakin fell, do not skip this episode. It introduces the Padme and Clovis subplot that’s essential to setting up Anakin’s jealousy.

S2E05: Landing at Point Rain
S2E06: Weapons Factory

This episode introduces padawan Barriss Offee, an important character later in the series. It also provides a broader view of the Clone Wars themselves, and includes a little about the relationships between Jedi and their padawans.

S2E07: Legacy of Terror
S2E08: Brain Invaders

Optional continuation of Barriss/Ahsoka story that started in “Landing at Point Rain” and “Weapons Factory.”

S2E10: The Deserter

How much free will do clones have? What if they don’t want to fight?

S2E12: The Mandalore Plot
S2E13: Voyage of Temptation
S2E14: Duchess of Mandalore

The Mandalore arc introduces Obi-Wan’s ex-girlfriend, Satine.

S2E20: Death Trap
S2E21: R2 Come Home
S2E22: Lethal Trackdown

This arc follows young Boba Fett as he sets out to get revenge on Mace Windu. this is an especially good episode to watch if you like bounty hunters.

S3E02: ARC Troopers

This episode continues the story of the clones from “Clone Cadets” and “Rookies”

S3E5: Corruption
S3E6: The Academy

More about what’s going on with Duchess Satine and Mandalore.

S1E22: Hostage Crisis
S3E09: Hunt for Ziro

These two episodes don’t have to be watched together, but they are related. Watch “Hostage Crisis” for more Anakin and Padme. “Hunt For Ziro” provides more screentime for Cad Bane and a look at Quinlan Vos.

S3E10: Heroes on Both Side
S3E11: Pursuit of Peace

In these episodes, Padmé tries to broker peace between the Senate and the Separatists. 

S3E12: Nightsisters
S3E13: Monster
S3E14: Witches of the Mist

If you’re intrigued by Asajj Ventress this arc is an important one. It also gives you a peek at Darth Maul’s people and sets-up for his return later in the series.

S3E15: Overlords
S3E16: Altar of Mortis
S3E17: Ghosts of Mortis

One of the most important arcs in The Clone Wars for understanding the Force, and it confirms Anakin as the chosen one. It didn’t used to be absolutely necessary for the overall plot, but in the wake of The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker I’ve moved it to the essential episodes list.

S3E18: The Citadel
S3E19: Counter Attack
S3E20: Citadel Rescue

This episode is where Anakin and Tarkin meet, and it offers one of The Clone Wars’ few nods to the original trilogy.

S4E07: Darkness on Umbara
S4E08: The General
S4E09: Plan of Dissent
S4E10: Carnage of Krell

This is a darker, clone-centric episodes that highlights just how corrupt parts of the Jedi Order are becoming.

S4E11: Kidnapped
S4E12: Slaves of the Republic
S4E13: Escape from Kadavo

Examines slavery in the galaxy and forces Anakin to confront parts of his past.

S4E15: Deception
S4E16: Friends and Enemies
S4E17: The Box
S4E18: Crisis on Naboo

In this arc, Obi-Wan goes undercover with a group of bounty hunters. It also offers a glimpse into Palpatine’s plotting.

S4E19: Massacre
E4E20: Bounty

These episodes continue Asajj Ventress’s plotline as she leaves the dark side.

S4E21: Brothers
S4E22: Revenge

Darth Maul returns, which is an important thing to know before you watch Solo and Rebels.

S5E02: A War on Two Fronts
S5E03: Front Runners
S5E04: The Soft War
S5E05: Tipping Points

Ahsoka is sent to train a group of insurgent rebels.

S5E6: The Gathering
S5E7: A Test of Strength
S5E8: Bound for Rescue
S5E9: A Necessary Bond

This is how we make lightsabers. Plus there’s more Hondo Ohnaka.

S5E12: Missing In Action

Introduces a clone who will show up later in Rebels.

S5E01: Revival
S5E14: Eminence
S5E15: Shades of Reason
S5E16: The Lawless

Darth Maul and his brother wrap-up the Mandalore plot line that began earlier in the series.

S5E17: Sabotage
S5E18: The Jedi Who Knew Too Much
S5E19: To Catch a Jedi
S5E20: The Wrong Jedi

This used to be the culmination of Ahsoka’s storyline in The Clone Wars. We have more now with the final Season 7 arc, but this is still essential watching.

S6E01: The Unknown
S6E02: Conspiracy
S6E03: Fugitive
S6E04: Orders

These episodes explain Order 66.

S6E05: An Old Friend
S6E06: Rise of Clovis
S6E07: Crisis At The Heart

Stress continues to build in Anakin and Padme’s relationship.

S6E10: The Lost One

This answers the question of what happened to Master Sifo-Dyas.

S6E11: Voices
S6E12: Destiny
S6E13: Sacrifice

Here’s why there are so many Force ghosts in the original trilogy but you don’t see them in the prequels.

S7E01: The Bad Batch
S7E02: A Distant Echo
S7E03: On the Wings of Keeradaks
S7E04: Unfinished Business

This episode arc includes plenty of nods to past clone-centric episodes and picks up a thread from the citadel arc as well.

S7E09: Old Friends Not Forgotten
S7E10: The Phantom Apprentice
S7E11: Shattered
S7E12: Victory and Death

Not only are these four episodes the best of The Clone Wars, but they’re some of the best content in the Star Wars universe. Definitely a must-watch arc.


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