Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Timeline of the Clone Wars TV Series

It’s November and I have not posted in a while. But I’ve got something good for my Star Wars loving readers this week! There has been some general confusion about the tumultuous timeline of the recent Clone Wars episodes. This is mostly due to the season 3 premiere episodes that bookended a season 1 episode and a recent episode that swapped the order of the previous 2 season’s finale episodes. The proliferation of out of sequence episodes in season 3 has caused the fan community to clamor for an official Lucasfilm approved timeline. However I believe the writers have left enough clues for us fans to sort the timeline out ourselves, and this blog post is my attempt to do so.

At the time that I’m writing this, Lucasfilm has confirmed the names and descriptions of 55 Clone Wars episodes. Of those episodes, I believe only 6 are out of order chronologically. One of the main criticisms of the series is that the non-linear progression of the episodes takes away from the gradual character development of one of its central characters, Ahsoka Tano. However she does not take part in any of the 6 episodes that I believe are out of place. I will now analyze these 6 episodes and deduce their location in the timeline amongst the other 49 episodes and the Clone Wars movie.

Season 1, episode 16, “The Hidden Enemy”
This episode was the first episode of the TV series that appears to be out of place in the timeline. It tells the story of a clone trooper traitor who sells out the Republic for “freedom” offered to him by the Separatists. The information he sends to Assajj Ventress and the sabotage he commits allow the CIS to gain the upper hand in the Battle of Christophsis. The episode ends with his apprehension and both armies preparing to clash in a major fight amongst the towers of the crystalline city. It can be deduced from this information that “The Hidden Enemy” takes place before the Clone Wars movie, and such has been confirmed by Lucasfilm.

Season 1, episode 22, “Hostage Crisis”
The confusing thing about this episode is that it originally was not believed to be out of sequence. It was not until a recent season 3 episode that this was suspected. “Hostage Crisis” depicts the bounty hunter Cad Bane using a group of senators in his possession as leverage to free Ziro the Hutt from incarceration. Ziro’s time behind bars links this episode to several other episodes that aired in season 3. In the episode “Evil Plans” Ziro is still incarcerated and Bane is shown gaining the information that would allow him to hold the senators hostage in “Hostage Crisis”, and in the following season 3 episode “Hunt for Ziro”, Ziro has been freed from prison and is in the possession of the Hutts. This effectively places “Hostage Crisis” between these 2 season 3 episodes.

Season 2, episode 15, “Senate Murders”
Once again like “Hostage Crisis” this episode was believed to be in the correct place when it aired. However that has been shown to be untrue. The Rodian senator Onaconda Farr is assassinated by one of his aides in “Senate Murders”. This fact has become a vital key to determining this episode’s place in the timeline, since all episodes containing Farr can obviously be assumed as occurring prior to this event. One of the episodes that does contain Farr is “Hostage Crisis”. In addition to this it has been revealed that an upcoming episode “Pursuit of Peace” will take place before “Senate Murders”. Since Pursuit of Peace is the 55th episode of the TV series, “Senate Murders” can be considered the 55th episode chronologically as long as there is no reason to suspect that Pursuit of Peace is out of sequence.

Season 2, episode 16, “Cat and Mouse”
This episode chronicles an epic space battle above the planet Christophsis. The presence of key players in the Battle of Christophsis which takes place in “The Hidden Enemy” and the Clone Wars movie, suggests that this episode is closely related to that battle. Lucasfilm has stated that “Cat and Mouse” is indeed a prequel to “The Hidden Enemy”. Therefore this episode is believed to be the first of the 55 episodes chronologically and is only one of 2 episodes that occurs before the Clone Wars movie.

Season 3, episode 1, “Clone Cadets”
A prequel to the season 1 episode “Rookies”, this episode is 1 of 2 season 3 episodes that bookend “Rookies”.  Since “Rookies” is only the 5th episode of season 1, it is plausible to assume that “Clone Cadets” takes place before the start of season 1. It is also plausible that the sequel to “Rookies”, Arc Troopers, does not have to immediately follow “Rookies” chronologically but occurs in its allotted place after the season 2 finale.

Season 3, episode 3, “Supply Lines”
This episode involves the nuetral Toydarians contemplating whether or not they should help the Republic by allowing them to use their planet as a staging ground to provide relief supplies to the nearby besieged planet of Ryloth. At the end of “Supply Lines” the king of Toydaria is seen requesting to meet with Jedi Master Yoda to discuss joining the Republic. Since this meeting is chronicled is the first episode of season 1 ,“Ambush”, it can be assumed that “Supply Lines” takes place before the start of season 1.

So this is my conclusion about the true chronological order of the 55 Clone Wars episodes and the Clone Wars movie. There are 2 episodes that take place before the Clone Wars movie, there are 2 episodes that occur after the movie but before the onset of season 1, and finally there are 2 episodes that fall towards the end of the 55 known episodes. Before I list these out for you I want to shoot down a common misconception about the order of several episodes. It has been believed that “Hostage Crisis” takes place before the first episode of season 2 “Holocron Heist” for some time. This belief is supported by the fact that Cad Bane’s droid, Todo 360 is functional in the episode that occurs after “Hostage Crisis”, “Hunt for Ziro”, but is destroyed in “Holocron Heist”. However it has been revealed by Lucasfilm that Todo 360 was destroyed first in “Holocron Heist” and then subsequently rebuilt before the episodes surrounding “Hostage Crisis”. Therefore “Holocron Heist” and its 2 sequel episodes do not take place after “Hostage Crisis” like previously assumed, but before “Hostage Crisis” in their allotted place in the timeline after the Ryloth trilogy and before the Second Battle of Geonosis. Thus I believe the Clone Wars episodes are ordered as follows:

1. Cat and Mouse
2. The Hidden Enemy
The Clone Wars movie
3. Clone Cadets
4. Supply Lines
5-24. Season 1
25-44. Season 2
45-50. Season 3 through Evil Plans
51. Hostage Crisis
52. Hunt for Ziro
53. Heroes on Both Sides
54. Pursuit of Peace
55. Senate Murders

56+ Nightsisters through end of season 3


  1. excellent explanation and love the clear list you provide. I catch up with the show when the seasons come out on Blu Ray, so there is a year in between my viewing. I just finished season three (loved it) and surmised that some episodes had to be set during or before events in the previous two seasons. I will rewatch the series thus far following this ordering you have provided.

    Much appreciated.

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