Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDave Filoni
Written by
Based onStar Wars
by George Lucas
Produced byCatherine Winder
Edited byJason W. A. Tucker
Music byKevin Kiner
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
Running time
98 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$8.5 million[2]
Box office$68.3 million[3]

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a 2008 American animated epic space opera film directed by Dave Filoni, produced by Lucasfilm Ltd. and Lucasfilm Animation, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures[a], becoming the first Star Wars film to not be distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is the first fully animated film in the Star Wars franchise and takes place shortly after Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002), at the start of the titular Clone Wars. In the film, Count Dooku and Jabba the Hutt's uncle Ziro orchestrate a plan to turn Jabba against the Galactic Republic by framing the Jedi for the kidnapping of his son. While Anakin Skywalker and his newly assigned apprentice Ahsoka Tano attempt to deliver the child back to his father, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Padmé Amidala lead separate investigations to uncover Dooku and Ziro's plot.

The Clone Wars premiered on August 10, 2008, at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre, followed by a wide release five days later. It received generally negative reviews from critics, who criticized the screenplay and animation. Despite grossing $68.3 million worldwide against a $8.5 million budget, it grossed considerably less than previous Star Wars films and is currently the lowest grossing to date, making it a box office failure. The film serves as a pilot episode to the television series of the same name, which premiered on Cartoon Network two months after the film's release.


Early in the Clone Wars,[b] Galactic Republic forces find themselves stranded across the Outer Rim as the Separatists gain control of more hyperspace lanes. Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker leads Republic forces against Count Dooku's Separatist army on Christophsis with his master Obi-Wan Kenobi and clone captain Rex.[c] However, the clone army is soon overwhelmed by the Separatists. As the Republic waits for reinforcements, a young Jedi named Ahsoka Tano, who was sent by Grand Master Yoda to become Anakin's padawan, arrives while the Separatist commander Loathsom activates an energy field. Anakin works together with Ahsoka and Obi-Wan to destroy the energy field.

Meanwhile, Dooku, looking to secure a partnership with the Hutts, has kidnapped Rotta, the son of Jabba the Hutt. Obi-Wan negotiates with Jabba, promising the safe return of his son, while Anakin leads a clone army to the planet of Teth to rescue Rotta, who is being held inside a monastery. He and Ahsoka rescue Rotta, who is falling ill, as they discover that Dooku has led the two Jedi into a trap; Dooku has staged the kidnapping himself in order for the Hutts to blacklist the Jedi and allowing the Separatists to gain the support of the Hutts.

While Anakin and Ahsoka escape the monastery with Rotta and R2-D2, the assassin Asajj Ventress, who had earlier neutralized a group of bounty hunters Jabba sent to retrieve his son, obtains footage of Anakin expressing his distaste with the Hutts, which is shown to Jabba. Obi-Wan arrives at the Teth monastery and duels briefly with Ventress. Meanwhile, Padmé Amidala goes to Coruscant to confront Jabba's uncle Ziro, who she finds out has conspired with Dooku to engineer the downfall of his nephew, Jabba, which would allow him to seize power over the Hutt clans. However, Padmé is soon discovered and detained, but with the help of C-3PO, is broken out, with Ziro soon arrested.

Anakin and Ahsoka, who had now gained the respect of one another, travel to Tatooine to return Rotta to his father. However, their ship comes under fire from Separatist forces and crash-lands far away from Jabba's palace. On his way to Jabba's palace, Anakin is intercepted by Dooku. They engage in a lightsaber duel; Dooku realizes that Anakin does not have Rotta on him. Anakin had been carrying a backpack filled with rocks to deceive Dooku as Ahsoka delivers Rotta, who is unharmed, to Jabba. However, Jabba orders their execution. Padmé tells Jabba of his uncle's duplicity, and he reassures her that the Hutt Clan will punish Ziro harshly. A treaty is signed that allows Republic forces to pass through Jabba's territory.

Voice cast

Main articles: List of Star Wars characters and List of Star Wars: The Clone Wars cast members



Director Dave Filoni

Star Wars: The Clone Wars was made to serve as both a stand-alone story and a lead-in to the weekly animated TV series of the same name.[4] George Lucas had the idea for a film after viewing some of the completed footage of the early episodes on the big screen.[5] Those first few episodes, originally planned for release on television, were then woven together to form the theatrical release.[6] Warner Bros. had tracked the series' development from the beginning, and Lucas decided on a theatrical launch after viewing early footage[7] declaring "This is so beautiful, why don't we just go and use the crew and make a feature?"[8] This decision helped convince WB parent company Time Warner to distribute the movie, and to encourage its subsidiary Cartoon Network to air the series.[9] Lucas described the film as "almost an afterthought."[8] Howard Roffman, president of Lucas Licensing, said of the decision, "Sometimes George works in strange ways."[10] Producer Catherine Winder said the sudden decision added to an already large challenge of establishing a show "of this sophistication and complexity,"[11] but she felt it was a good way to start the series, and thought budgetary constraints forced the production team to think outside the box in a positive way.[11]

The story of the kidnapped Hutt was inspired by the Sonny Chiba samurai film Shogun's Shadow.[12]

Actors Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels, and Matthew Wood vocally reprised their respective roles as Mace Windu, Count Dooku, C-3PO and the B1 Battle Droids.[13] However, Jackson and Lee did not reprise their roles in the television series.


Lucasfilm and Lucasfilm Animation used Autodesk software to animate both the film and the series using the Maya 3-D modeling program to create highly detailed worlds, characters and creatures.[14] The film's animation style was designed to pay homage to the stylized looks of both Japanese anime and manga, and the supermarionation of the British 1960s series Thunderbirds. At a Cartoon Network-hosted discussion, Lucas said he did not want the Clone Wars film or television series to look like such movies as Beowulf, because he wanted a stylized look rather than a realistic one. He also felt it should not look like the popular Pixar movies such as The Incredibles and Cars, because he wanted the film and characters to have its own unique style.[15] Lucas also decided to create the animated film and series from a live-action perspective, which Winder said set it apart from other CGI films. Essentially, it "meant using long camera shots, aggressive lighting techniques, and relying on editing instead of storyboards."[11] Animators also reviewed designs from the original 2003 Clone Wars series when creating the animation style for the film and the new series.[16] In charge was Steward Lee, working as the storyboard artist during filming.[7]


Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film score by
Kevin Kiner
(some original themes by John Williams)
ReleasedAugust 12, 2008
RecordedApril 17–18, 2008
LabelSony Classical
Star Wars soundtrack chronology
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
The Clone Wars
Episode VII: The Force Awakens

The musical score for Star Wars: The Clone Wars was composed by Kevin Kiner.[17] The original motion picture soundtrack was released by Sony Classical on August 12, 2008. The disc begins with the main theme by John Williams, followed by more than 30 separate music cues composed by Kiner.[17] Kiner is known for his work on such television series as Stargate SG-1, Star Trek: Enterprise, Superboy and CSI: Miami. The soundtrack uses some instruments never heard before in a Star Wars score, including erhus, duduks and ouds.[18]

Track listing
1."Star Wars Main Title & A Galaxy Divided"1:13
2."Admiral Yularen"0:57
3."Battle of Christophsis"3:20
4."Meet Ahsoka"2:45
5."Obi-Wan to the Rescue"1:24
6."Sneaking Under the Shield"4:25
7."Jabba's Palace"0:46
8."Anakin vs. Dooku"2:18
9."Landing on Teth"1:44
10."Destroying the Shield"3:09
11."B'omarr Monastery"3:11
12."General Loathsom/Battle Strategy"3:08
13."The Shield"1:37
14."Battle of Teth"2:45
15."Jedi Don't Run!"1:22
16."Obi-Wan's Negotiation"2:08
17."The Jedi Council"2:05
18."General Loathsom/Ahsoka"3:40
19."Jabba's Chamber Dance"0:42
20."Ziro Surrounded"2:21
21."Scaling the Cliff"0:45
22."Ziro's Nightclub Band"0:54
23."Seedy City Swing"0:35
24."Escape from the Monastery"3:13
25."Infiltrating Ziro's Lair"2:22
26."Courtyard Fight"2:42
27."Dunes of Tatooine"2:00
28."Rough Landing"3:04
29."Padmé Imprisoned"0:51
30."Dooku Speaks with Jabba"1:28
31."Fight to the End"3:59
32."End Credits"0:52
Total length:1:07:39



Star Wars: The Clone Wars merchandise was first released on July 26, 2008. Hasbro released several 334-inch Clone Wars action figures, an electronic clone trooper helmet, a customizable lightsaber, and an electronic All Terrain Tactical Enforcer (AT-TE).[19] Target and KB Toys also devoted shelf space for Clone Wars toys, but did not hold midnight releases or pursue the branding opportunities Toys "R" Us did. Toys "R" Us mounted digital clocks in all 585 of its stores that counted down to the release of the Clone Wars toys, and more than 225 of the stores opened at midnight for the debut of the Star Wars products. Two of the Toys "R" Us flagship outlets in Mission Bay, San Diego and Times Square in Manhattan, New York City held costume and trivia contests on July 26, and gave away limited-edition Star Wars toys with every purchase. A section of the Toys "R" Us website was also dedicated to The Clone Wars.[10] The toy line continues with The Clone Wars figures being well received by collectors for their detail to the characters and vehicles.

Food partnership

Due to Lucas' sudden decision to produce the film, Lucas Licensing did not have time to enter into agreements with previous Star Wars marketing partners like Pepsi, Burger King and Kellogg's, with which the Lucasfilm licensing company had a ten-year marketing plan for the other films. When questioned by The New York Times about Star Wars merchandising in July 2008, a Pepsi spokesperson was unaware a new Star Wars film was being released. On August 15, McDonald's held its first ever Happy Meal promotion for a Star Wars film and for four weeks, 18 exclusive toys came in specially designed Happy Meal boxes.[10]

Print media

Dark Horse Comics published a six-issue digest-sized comic book miniseries. Randy Stradley, vice president of publishing for Dark Horse, said the sudden decision to release the Clone Wars film required the company to temporarily delay plans for two other Star Wars comic book series, Dark Times and Rebellion. The Clone Wars comics did not receive the promotional campaign it otherwise would have due to the abruptness of the theatrical and comic book releases.[20] Topps, the trading cards company, released a series of 90 Clone Wars cards on July 26, which also included foil cards, motion cards, animation cel cards and rare sketch cards by top Star Wars artists and Lucasfilm animators.[21] DK Publishing and the Penguin Group released books, activities and other merchandise that tied in with the film. Also released was the Clone Wars: The Visual Guide, published by DK, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars in the UK, published by Puffin and in the U.S. by Grosset & Dunlap. The publishers also released a storybook, picture books and an activity book.[22] At the American International Toy Fair, Lego announced a product line for the film and the TV series, to be released in July 2008 in the United States and in August 2008 in the United Kingdom.[23]

Video games

The LucasArts video game developer adapted the film into Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Jedi Alliance for the Nintendo DS and Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Lightsaber Duels for Wii.[24] A reviewer from said his expectations for Jedi Alliance were low due to poor Clone Wars movie reviews, but he found the game "a varied and well-paced experience."[25] Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars adapted the film, along with episodes from seasons one and two of the 2008 TV series. The game released on all platforms in 2011.

Portable media players

A Star Wars: The Clone Wars MP3 player was released in August 2008. The player includes one gigabyte of memory, which holds 200 songs or 20 hours of music and comes with three interchangeable faceplates: a green one with Yoda and a lightsaber on it, a silver one with Captain Rex and a Galactic Empire logo on it, and one with two clone troopers on Coruscant. One review claimed it improved upon a Darth Vader MP3 player released in July 2008, which featured only 512 megabytes of memory and a dated visual display.[26] A Star Wars iPod iSpeaker (a speaker/dock for iPods, iPhones and MP3 players) was also released. The speaker includes an image of Captain Rex and three other Clone Troopers.[27]

Racing sponsorship

A Star Wars: The Clone Wars open wheel car for the IndyCar Series was unveiled at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con International. The No. 26 car, which also included Blockbuster Inc. decals was driven by Andretti Green Racing driver Marco Andretti in the 2008 Peak Antifreeze Indy Grand Prix, Andretti later said of the spnsorship, "I'm hoping that my upcoming battle at Infineon will be as exciting as anything in a Star Wars movie so I can win it for both Blockbuster and Lucasfilm."[28] The car finished 14th at Infineon on the lead lap, which Andretti attributed to a slow pit stop early in the race; he added, "I just don't think it was a very good performance for us today."[29] The Clone Wars car was the second collaboration between Lucasfilm, Blockbuster and Andretti Green Racing. The first collaboration was an Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull car which was also run by Andretti in the 2008 Indy 500 where it would finish in third place.[28]


Further information: The Clone Wars (novel)

A novelization of the film by Karen Traviss was released by Del Rey Books on July 26, 2008.[30] In addition to narrating the film's plot from various points of view, it includes some of Anakin's memories of his early childhood as a Hutt slave, as well as some of Dooku's recollections of battling the Mandalorians (previously explored in the 2002 comic book Jango Fett: Open Seasons).



The Clone Wars premiered on August 10, 2008, at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre, followed by a wide release five days later.[citation needed]

Home media

The film's two-disc DVD and Blu-ray Disc was released on November 11, 2008, in the United States and on December 8, 2008, in the United Kingdom.[31][32] The film was released as a single-disc DVD, two-disc Special Edition DVD, and Blu-ray Disc, all of which are THX certified. The standard-definition versions include the film in widescreen format with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX sound, and with feature-length audio commentary.[33]

The film is also available on the Disney+ streaming service, which launched on November 12, 2019.[34]


Critical response

Star Wars: The Clone Wars received generally negative reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 19% based on 172 reviews, with an average rating of 4.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Mechanical animation and a less-than stellar script make The Clone Wars a pale shadow of George Lucas' once great franchise."[35] This constituted the lowest Rotten Tomatoes rating of any Star Wars film; all nine theatrical films ranged from 51% to 95% and the made-for-television Ewok films and the Star Wars Holiday Special garnered higher ratings, although their averages encompassed far fewer reviews.[36] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 35 out of 100 based on 30 critic reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[37] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B−" on an A+ to F scale.[38]

Entertainment Weekly listed Star Wars: The Clone Wars as one of the five worst films of 2008[39] with critic Owen Gleiberman saying,

It's hard to tell the droids from the Jedi drones in this robotic animated dud, in which the George Lucas Empire Strikes Back—at the audience. What wears you out is Lucas' immersion in a Star Wars cosmology that has grown so obsessive-compulsively cluttered yet trivial that it's no longer escapism; Because this movie has bad lightsaber duels and the lack of the original cast, it's something you want to escape from.[39]

Ain't It Cool News posted two reviews of the film during the week before its release, but pulled them down due to an embargo placed on those attending the screening its writers attended. The same reviews were re-posted on the site, on the day of the film's release. The retraction prompted some readers to allege a conspiracy by Lucasfilm to keep negative press out of circulation until the release of the film, but although the review by site creator Harry Knowles was negative, Drew McWeeny said that his review was positive and that no such conspiracy existed.[40]

Several critics compared The Clone Wars to a Saturday morning cartoon[41][42][43] and described it as little more than a plug for the upcoming animated series.[44][45][46] Linda Barnard, of the Toronto Star, said the movie "pretty much drives a stake into the heart of every loyal fan of the movies. And now [George Lucas is] out to stick it to those too young to know about Jar Jar Binks." Variety magazine reviewer Todd McCarthy said, "This isn't the Star Wars we've always known and at least sometimes loved."[45] Joe Neumiar, of the New York Daily News, wrote, "If this were a true Star Wars film, right about now somebody would say, '...I've got a bad feeling about this.'"[47] In his review for Entertainment Weekly, critic Owen Gleiberman gave the film an F grade and wrote, "George Lucas is turning into the enemy of fun."[48] Carrie Rickey, of The Philadelphia Inquirer, said, "The best that can be said about the movie is that it's harmless and mostly charmless. The Clone Wars is to Star Wars what karaoke is to pop music."[46]

Remember how people talked about the Star Wars prequels like they were the worst movies ever made, when really, come on, they weren't THAT bad? The Clone Wars actually IS that bad.
 — Film critic, Eric D. Snider[49]

The main criticism toward the film was the animation. Many criticized it as cheap, wooden, non-engaging and out-of-date;[41][42][44][45][46][50][51] some reviewers drew negative comparisons to 1960s marionette-based shows Thunderbirds and Fireball XL5,[44][47][51][52] although George Lucas previously said the animation style was a deliberate homage to such shows.[15] Tom Long of MediaNews said the animation "is downright weak compared to what's generally seen onscreen these days"[53] and that the characters are so stiff they look like they were "carved by Pinocchio's father."[53] Roger Ebert gave the film 1.5 stars out of 4 and said "the characters have hair that looks molded from Play-Doh, bodies that seem arthritic, and moving lips on half-frozen faces—all signs that shortcuts were taken in the animation work."[42] McCarthy said "the movements, both of the characters and the compositions, look mechanical, and the mostly familiar characters have all the facial expressiveness of Easter Island statues." However, some of the same reviewers who criticized the animation acknowledged some positive elements about it; McCarthy said it allowed for "somewhat more dramatic compositions and color schemes,"[45] and Carrie Rickey, of The Philadelphia Inquirer, said the scenery and backgrounds were "vivid and alive",[46] although she said the characters "move as you would imagine the statues at a waxworks might."[45]

Reviewers also criticized the dialogue, which Ebert said was limited to "simplistic declamations"[42] and Claudia Puig of USA Today described as "stilted and overblown, a problem also in some of the live-action incarnations."[41] Many critics also said that the battle scenes were repetitive and lacked tension;[41][42][45][48][54] McCarthy described the action sequences as "a little exposition, an invasion; some more exposition, a lightsaber fight; a bit more blah-blah, a spaceship dogfight, and on and on."[45] Linda Stasi, of the New York Post, also described the lack of character development in the film, writing that whereas the original Star Wars films dedicated time to allowing viewers to get to know the characters, "Director Dave Filoni is so concentrated on the action that we're never given the chance to care who lives and who is blown into spare parts."[50] Jason Anderson, of the Globe and Mail, wrote that although The Clone Wars is intended for younger audiences, "parents may be perturbed by the film's relentless violence."[54] Ebert also found protagonist Ahsoka Tano "annoying,"[42] and Michael Rechtshaffen, of The Hollywood Reporter, said the attempts of humor amid the bickering between Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker are "strained".[51] Puig said she enjoyed the character, and that "her repartee with Anakin enlivens things."[41]

Box office

The Clone Wars earned $68,282,845 worldwide, including $35,161,554 in North American domestic box office grosses and $33,121,290 in international grosses.[3] The film earned $14,611,273 on 3,452 screens in its opening weekend,[55] including $6,228,973 on its opening day, August 15.[56] It was the third-highest earning film of the weekend in spite of negative critical reception, behind Tropic Thunder and The Dark Knight, which earned $25.8 million and $16.3 million, respectively.[55] Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., said that the box office performance met expectations because two-thirds of the audience were families and the budget for the film was $8.5 million, frugal considering it was a CGI film and because the film was meant to introduce the animated series. Fellman said, "It was targeted to a specific audience for specific reasons. We accomplished that mission, and it will continue in another medium."[2] When The Clone Wars dropped to $5.6 million in its second week of release, described it as "the first bona fide Star Wars flop."[57] The film also earned $23,428,376 from DVD sales in the US.[58]


The film was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award in the category "Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel", but lost to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,[59] which was also released by Lucasfilm.



  1. ^ As of 2019, the film's distribution rights were transferred from Warner Bros. Pictures to Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
  2. ^ Which began after the events of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002).
  3. ^ Also depicted in The Clone Wars (2008) episodes "Cat and Mouse" and "The Hidden Enemy".


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