HOW DO I GET THIS?
Please send me a PM for access to the TRACKER SPREADSHEET, which details episode progress and provides the download links. The tracker spreadsheet also has links to the summaries and details for each edited episode, to give you extra context for the decisions made.
WHAT’S THE CURRENT STATUS?
(expanded detail lower in this post)
- EPISODE ZERO, bringing the first half of the Tartakovsky 2003 microseries closer to TCW characterisation so it can act as a prelude to this show.
- SEASON ONE (10 episodes), covering Christophsis, Malevolence, Death Watch on Mandalore, Cloak of Darkness, Domino Squad, Ryloth, Death Watch on Coruscant, Nightsisters, and the Holocron arc.
- SEASON TWO (10 episodes; 2 still v1), covering Bounty Hunters, Massacre, Corruption on Mandalore, Boba Fett, a ‘Lost Clones’ anthology, Jedi Crash, Return of Maul, and Geonosis.
- SEASON THREE (10 episodes; 9 still v1), covering Heroes on Both Sides trilogy, Rako Hardeen, Umbara, A Friend in Need, Revival, Trandoshans, Zygerria, Eminence, and Onderon.
- SEASON FOUR (3/10 episodes), covering Shades of Reason, Mortis, and The Lawless.
- BONUS EPISODES (optional, not part of main cut)
– s03e00 - Tales From the Clone Wars - aggregating supplementary Tartakovsky content plus Forces of Destiny
– Lightsaber Lost
- POLISHING the remainder of seasons two and three, to bring them up to v2.0 standard. Read more here.
- SEASON FOUR (7/10 episodes unreleased)
- SEASON FIVE to conclude the show, with two options based on how the viewer wants to conclude the Revenge of the Sith / Siege of Mandalore content
- More bonus episodes
- (Potentially) SEASON ZERO comprising Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones turned into episodes
WHAT IS THIS?
THE CLONE WARS: REFOCUSED presents the entire Clone Wars as a complete series of five seasons of about ten TV-length episodes each. Now structured and presented with the conventions of a more mature modern TV drama, it tells the complete narrative of the Clone Wars, retaining all the most important and enjoyable elements of the show, whilst trimming a vast amount of the weaker content, saving you over 17 hours total while still telling the same core narratives. Episodes have been refined, refocused, reordered and recontextualised to maximise story quality and viewer enjoyment, both for the show’s own complete end-to-end story, and for those seeking a supplement or introduction to new canon like the Mandalorian, Bad Batch, and wider Filoniverse.
It’s my intention that, when this project is complete, you should be able to replace the original official release of The Clone Wars with Refocused, losing nothing of importance for your enjoyment of the wider franchise, whilst getting the maximum possible enjoyment out of the story of the clone wars.
WHAT ARE THE PROJECT’S PRIORITIES?
Importantly, I want quality of experience to be the most important metric. Taking its cue from the current streaming Star Wars TV series, episodes are as long- or as short- as they need to be (ranging from about 20-60 minutes), in order to pace each story in the best possible way to enjoy the most emotionally resonant and exciting moments in a coherent, digestible, engaging narrative, without filler or cringe.
Similarly, the show as a whole presents the episodes in a new, more compelling order - which doesn’t break canon - but which gives the best pacing, variety, and character balance, while allowing some of the more important and satisfying elements of the show to begin earlier and remain in focus, building in anticipation and excitement over time. Ahsoka’s growth is a core focus, Maul and Mandalore are ever-present growing threats, and each group of episodes presents itself as a coherent flowing season with a focused theme while developing the overall narrative of the show. Seasons are about ten episodes long, totalling about five to six hours each - about the same length as modern Disney Star Wars or Marvel seasons, to keep them accessible and digestible without watching this show feeling like a daunting task.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?
- MANDALORIAN (and Filoniverse) fans will enjoy a strong focus on Mandalorian culture throughout, the journey of the Darksaber, Ahsoka Tano’s character growth, some important development for Boba Fett and Cad Bane, and an exploration of Sidious’ interest in force sensitive younglings - I’m making a special ‘Mandalorian cut’ for people who want to focus on just those elements.
- EXISTING FANS of The Clone Wars will enjoy a tighter cut, with bad episodes and bad scenes minimised, the fat trimmed, the structure of the whole made more compelling, the pacing improved, and polish throughout - but all of the important and good stuff preserved.
- PREQUEL and OBI-WAN KENOBI SERIES fans will enjoy a deeper exploration of Order 66 and Anakin’s fall, new layers to Obi-Wan, Sidious’ scheming, and the shades of grey and introduction of third parties which make this predictable two-faction conflict anything but.
- WIDER CANON fans will enjoy the constant threat of Darth Maul, and closer looks at Saw Gerrera, Moff Tarkin, all your favourite bounty hunters, Jedi, and the force itself, and a deep exploration of Clone identity and culture, including Captain Rex, Delta Squad, and the Bad Batch.
- Fans of having all the meat with no filler will be well served by my main cut, as I’ll be cutting a lot of unnecessary episodes. But fans who enjoy more of the ‘fringe’ episodes will be pleased to know I also intend to release these as “bonus episodes”, to an improved standard as part of my ‘Complete Cut’ (see below.)
- Fans of goofy humour, villains losing their menace, childish moments, and the bland CG of the early seasons will regretfully find themselves poorly served by this edit, since there will be some limited removal of episodes and scenes which are both not important and hard to enjoy.
- IMPATIENT fans who want an improved and accessible Clone Wars as soon as possible but don’t mind a little lack of polish and a few weaker episodes later on should know that you can kind of watch the whole thing NOW. Click here for more details (skip to the ‘WHERE WE’RE GOING’ section).
WHAT’S YOUR APPROACH?
Most importantly, I maintain an active dialogue with the community in this thread throughout the project, to gain insight, feedback and ideas, and to challenge and validate my own assumptions and decisions. Your comments are always welcome, and there’ve already been a lot of examples where the community have made the outputs materially better than anything I could have done in isolation.
I first completed a holistic review of all episodes in chronological order, identifying episodes’ importance and quality, and where episodes could be grouped into thematic arcs or where existing arcs could be split. (The early pages of this thread contain those reviews, and I urge you to check them if you’re interested.) I’ve conducted additional full reviews as I’ve been working on the project, and continue to do so. After the first review pass I produced a reordering for the whole, which has seen some revisions as the show broke into a few natural groupings. The first priority in the reordering was to emphasise the show’s core and most rewarding plotlines (Maul, Mandalore, and Ahsoka’s development) and to give the full series more of an ongoing serialised feel than the current anthology feel, and allowing the show to build slow-burn anticipation towards the excellent conclusion. The second priority around that central spine was to pace and vary the rest of the quality content, ensuring no continuity is broken.
I then sorted and presented the reordered whole in an easy-to-understand way for four audiences: Those wanting context for the Mandalorian (and wider Filoniverse), those wanting the most high-quality Clone Wars TV show they can get, those wanting the most content that ties to existing continuity, and finally those simply wanting as much bearable Star Wars as possible. You can see this below.
I then established a set of standards for presenting episodes themselves, with new titles, introductory text (here’s why I’m doing this), and end credits evocative of polish and high quality, to package each episode in the most attractive way. Forum member McFibb has produced stunning new musical arrangements, and I’m using concept art over the credits (like the Mandalorian does), in order to help set the new show’s tone. See an example here. (Be aware this is the slightly out of date 1.0 version, and that the credits timing is refined in 2.0.)
I’m now producing the edits in priority order, based on my ‘Quality Cut’ (see below). This means the very best and most important episodes (about ~50) for a complete end-to-end viewing of The Clone Wars: Refocused, after which I’ll move on to the bonus episodes from the less important Cuts (about ~16).
For each individual episode of TCW:R, I conduct a further review of its component TCW episodes, identifying the core emotional backbone of the arc, content to highlight, downplay, or restructure, and in the case of more complex episodes I look for opportunities to recontextualise scenes or themes, or add scenes from other episodes, in order to produce more value. I share these thoughts with the community here and then set to work executing the cut. I generally produce either a RELEASE CUT (complete or very nearly complete) or a REVIEW CUT / WORKPRINT (requires a little polish or extra thought) of each episode, after which I incorporate community feedback to refine each episode further. All of this is easily tracked in the TRACKER SPREADSHEET, which you can PM me directly for..
HOW ARE YOU PRESENTING THE CONTENT FOR EACH AUDIENCE?
I’m producing four ‘cuts’, really four curated lists, to direct viewers to episodes which give them the experience they’re looking for. The tracker spreadsheet uses this colour coding to help you identify the episodes you might want to watch.
Initially I’ll produce the Quality cut episodes (which include the Mandalorian cut), but I’ll follow that up with the remaining ones for those who want the extra material.
WHAT SOURCES WILL YOU USE?
1080p Blu-ray rips of the majority of the Clone Wars CG series, the ‘Crystal Crisis’ unfinished episode, the Tartakovsky Clone Wars 2D microseries (NumeralJoker’s 4k upscale), Forces of Destiny shorts, and the Son of Dathomir Audio Comic from Audio Comics / The Lore Master on Youtube (which is necessary to a core plotline, but presented well).
ARE YOU ANY GOOD AT THE TECHNICAL SKILLS REQUIRED FOR EDITING THOUGH?:
- An example of a COMPLEX EDIT TO A SCENE is here, showing how I removed the goofy conveyor belt scene from the first Mandalore episode.
- An example of the NEW PRESENTATION of the episodes (intros and outros) is here. (Note that this is v1 but I’ve recently upgraded the presentation to v2, which is slicker and better times the credits to the music.)
- An example of a NEAT TRIM WITH CHANGED DIALOGUE is here, where I cut out much of the Nightbrother trials to allow them to focus solely on Savage and Feral.
- An example of a FULL EPISODE BEING TIGHTENED is here, where I cut the middle episode of the Boba Fett trilogy down from 22 minutes to 8, focusing only on the key beats which move the plot forward or have some emotional resonance.
- An example of an EPISODE WITH A CHANGED NARRATIVE is here, (26 mins), where content from the episodes Corruption and The Academy is combined into an all new narrative.
- OVERALL STRUCTURE:
- So naturally each episode itself is traditionally edited, but this is a full series edit so a lot of thought has gone into reordering and recontextualising some of the episodes themselves. As I started work, I found that the ongoing story naturally broke into five seasons of about ten episodes each - nice, digestible chunks, each about the length of a season of a Disney live-action show. Within each season, I pay attention to the overall narrative, the balance of characters between episodes, the development of the characters and most importantly the development of Ahsoka.
- The most significant reordering comes from the Maul and Mandalore plotlines, which are very strong and well paid-off in the finale, so I wanted to get them running far sooner, making them almost the ‘spine’ of the show. I therefore took any episode which featured Maul or Mandalore and strung those out throughout the show - generally splitting these arcs into individual episodes rather than presenting them aggregated (as fanedits have tended to do in the past). This way, Maul and Mandalore get to act as ever-present wildcard threats (kind of like Moff Gideon in the Mandalorian). This required minor trims in a few places so as to not break canon.
- I also wanted to allow Rex and his relationship with obedience and loyalty to be a plotline that developed across the show, but without drawing focus from what I want to keep as our main characters and storylines. I achieved this by having a single ‘Rex explores loyalty’ episode each season, which balances nicely. In the second season, that episode is a special anthology episode combining the Rex/Clone parts of the episodes Hidden Enemy, Gregor (from Droids in the Void), and Deserter.
- I am also preserving the secret of Sidious’ identity until Revenge of the Sith, for those who want to watch this in chronological order as or with a first-time viewer.
- Since the original show (especially earlier on) was very much an anthology show, episodes often had little bearing on one another, main characters often didn’t appear for a few episodes at a time, and the show had quite arbitrarily allocated premieres or finales. I’ve tried to remedy this a little. I’ve cut the seasons into more thematic chunks, worked on narrative flow and character balance between episodes, and I’ve chosen premieres and finales which more punctuate the theme of the season, or particularly test our main characters. Therefore, our flow is now as follows (clickable links take you to further detail for each episode):
- SEASON ONE: “Conflicts erupt in the early days of the Clone Wars.” (5h37m, cutting ~7h) begins the relationship between Anakin and Ahsoka, shows the initial separatist strikes, establishes our key villains, starts to explore Clone culture and Republic overreach, and has the triggering events behind our rolling plotlines:
- s01e00 - DARK FORCE RISING (51:05) is a prequel to this series which covers the Anakin and Dooku/Ventress/Grievous plots from the start of the Tartakovsky microseries up to the point where Anakin gets knighted, reordering it into a single narrative. It brings the characterisation far closer to TCW, so the episode can act as a bridge between Attack of the Clones and The Clone Wars.
- s01e01 - THE NEW PADAWAN (21:02) covers the Christophsis arc from the original Clone Wars movie plus the Ventress plot from Hidden Enemy. It’s now one tight episode that gets us through the key parts quickly, cleanly, and far less painfully, serving as an alternative (and more enjoyable) introduction to The Clone Wars.
- s01e02 - MALEVOLENCE (29:10) heavily interleaves the Plo Koon rescue from Rising Malevolence and the bomber strike from Shadow of Malevolence into one more compelling narrative focusing on Ahsoka’s character and Anakin’s training, and only a couple of scenes from Destroy Malevolence are maintained as a conclusion.
- s01e03 - THE DUCHESS OF MANDALORE (36:42) covers The Mandalore Plot and Voyage of Temptation, removing Obi-Wan on the Bond-villain conveyor belt (clip here), adding a scene to explain Ahsoka’s occasional future absences, and cutting the below-decks mystery on the Coronet and the mini-spiders (whilst maintaining the horror element and an assassin spider droid).
- s01e04 - ASSASSIN (21:59) is Cloak of Darkness with slightly tighter focus and character work.
- s01e05 - THE 501st LEGION (46:06) gives us a little mid-season peak, concluding a few threads with the focus that I’ve now set up in my first five episodes. It aggregates the whole Domino Squad arc together, tightening Rookies, and cutting quite a lot from Clone Cadets to make this full story have a natural three-act structure, having the combat test end in failiure and their punishment being the Rishi outpost, allowing their victory there and on Kamino in the content from ARC Troopers to be what makes them members of the 501st.
- s01e06 - RESISTANCE ON RYLOTH (38:04) cuts Storm Over Ryloth and Liberty on Ryloth into a single narrative where Anakin and Ahsoka (in her first command) try to break the blockade above Ryloth while Mace Windu on the ground tries to enlist Cham Syndulla and deals with Ryloth’s politics.
- s01e07 - THE DEATH WATCH (24:34) is the original Duchess of Mandalore episode with only a couple of light trims and one scene moved, with the addition of a scene originally from the Holocron arc disciplining Ahsoka for her disobedience at Ryloth and effectively explaining her absence until the finale.
- s01e08 - CHILDREN OF NIGHT (52:13) cuts the whole Nightsisters arc into one, removing the invisible Dooku fight (which is good but returns us to the status quo), reduces the recruitment trial to focus just on Savage and Feral, and removes Anakin and Obi-Wan visiting the Nightbrothers (a redundant scene). (A future extended version will reinstate the invisible Dooku fight for those who miss it.)
- s01e09 - A STRIKE AT THE HEART (Part 1) (35:12) borrows Smudger9’s idea to turn Hostage Crisis into a distraction to enable the Holocron Heist.
- s01e10 - THE FUTURE OF THE FORCE (Part 2) (37:10) covers Cargo of Doom and Children of the Force, removing Ropal and the concept of the ‘Kyber Crystal’, and adds a scene from Lightsaber Lost to bring Ahsoka’s season one arc to a solid conclusion and emphasise a major aspect of her character that’s developed in future media.
- SEASON TWO: “The Clone Wars spread chaos and instability across the galaxy.” (5h3m, cutting ~4h) showcases Ahsoka’s growth and maturity, explores more of the galaxy’s scum and villainy, shows the cost of the war to the ‘little guy’, and continues our ongoing plotlines:
- s02e01 - SEVEN WARRIORS (24:00) is Bounty Hunters pretty much untouched.
- s02e02 - MASSACRE (34:17) recontextualises a tightened Lair of Grievous as being triggered by Ventress leaking its’ location to the Jedi, leading into Massacre which is now more personal for Grievous and more of a source of guilt for Ventress. Old Dahka no longer appears, making Talzin the resurrector.
- s02e03 - CORRUPTION ON MANDALORE (26:30) intercuts Corruption and The Academy into an all new, far tighter single narrative, bringing Ahsoka and Padmé to Mandalore at the same time, cutting out the poisoned drinks subplot, making everyone’s decisions sensible, and minimising the annoying kids.
- s02e04 - LIKE FATHER, LIKE CLONE (47:34) tightens the Boba Fett trilogy of episodes heavily for pacing and focus, removing the skeet scene, lots of R2’s antics, and the traitor Castas subplot.
- s02e05 - TALES OF THE LOST CLONES (45:16) is an anthology episode focusing on clone individuality, and highlighting Captain Rex. It aggregates the traitor clone plot from Hidden Enemy, the Gregor plot (with a lot less cringe) from Missing in Action, and the Cut Lawquane plot from The Deserter.
- s02e06 - ATTACHMENTS (25:35) is Jedi Crash tightened up. (It’s a less important episode but is placed here to balance out the season.)
- s02e07 - MONSTERS (34:36) aggregates Brothers and Revenge, getting us to and through Lotho Minor quicker, with a light trim to Ventress to allow this to be placed here in the chronology.
- s02e08 - SHADOW OF GEONOSIS (Part 1) (23:27) is Senate Spy, reducing Clovis’ creepiness and a little of Anakin’s more overt behaviour.
- s02e09 - RETURN TO GEONOSIS (Part 2) (37:24) aggregates Landing on Point Rain and Weapons Factory, trimming the battle for the sake of pacing and letting Ahsoka and Barriss’ fates linger a little longer. (A future extended version will reinstate some of Anakin’s and Ki-Adi-Mundi’s action scenes for those who miss them.)
- s02e10 - TERROR OF GEONOSIS (Part 3) (39:54) interleaves Legacy of Terror and Brain Invaders into a single narrative emphasising the mystery and horror of both stories (borrowing some of Smudger9’s ideas), and makes some trims for focus.
- SEASON THREE: “Shades of grey emerge as the Clone Wars grow more complex.” (in progress) focuses on a more competent Ahsoka now learning more of the complexities of war, shows all our main characters facing more complex situations and being forced into compromises, and has our running plotlines escalate and finally draw together:
- s03e01 - THE POLITICS OF WAR (31:57) is an all-new narrative, aggregating and restructuring the peace discussions with Mina Bonteri and the clone loan from Heroes on Both Sides and Pursuit of Peace, using some scenes from Senate Murders (but not the plot about Onaconda’s murder).
- s03e02 - THE DEATH OF OBI-WAN KENOBI (55:45) streamlines the Rako Hardeen arc, removing the first time (of two) where Obi-Wan is kicked off the ship, the final coda where Anakin defends Palpatine against Dooku, and The Box storyline, keeping the focus on Obi-Wan working with the criminals and Anakin’s emotional reaction to the events. (A future extended version will reinstate the content from The Box for those who miss it.)
- s03e03 - DISSENT ON UMBARA (52:07) streamlines the Umbara arc, making Krell more of a hardliner and less of a cackling villain (though preserving his core motivations), and trimming a lot from the first episode in the arc to keep the focus on the Clones’ reaction to Krell’s orders. (A future extended version will reinstate some of the earlier combat scenes for those who miss them.)
- s03e04 - TEMPTATIONS (24:48) is A Friend in Need pretty much untouched.
- s03e05 - PIRATES OF THE OUTER RIM (24:06) is Revival pretty much untouched.
- s03e06 - HUNTED (45:22) is the Trandoshan arc pretty much untouched.
- s03e07 - SLAVES OF ZYGERRIA (44:34) is the second two episodes of the Zygerria slavery arc pretty much untouched.
- s03e08 - THE SHADOW COLLECTIVE (24:42) is Eminence pretty much untouched.
- s03e09 - REBELS OF ONDERON (Part 1) (32:50) transitions the training in A War on Two Fronts directly into their first insurgent actions in the city in Front Runners, removing a couple of unnecessary combat scenes, focusing on the emotional stories of the rebels.
- s03e10 - KINGS OF ONDERON (Part 2) (36:28) has the rebels flee the city immediately after freeing Dendup in The Soft War, pursued aggressively by Rash, and skipping Hondo’s inclusion in the battle from Tipping Points, keeping the focus on our rebels and keeping the jeopardy high and the action more tense.
- SEASON FOUR: “Conspiracies abound as the Clone Wars spin out of control.” (TBD) focuses on unexpected events, like the Mauldalore plotline and the core mysteries of the war, and will be a journey into darkness for many of our main characters:
- s04e01 - THE OLD WAYS OF MANDALORE (24:54) is Shades of Reason pretty much untouched.
- s04e02 - THE LIVING FORCE (31:07) is the Mortis arc heavily restructured and cut, turned into essentially an extended, shared, Dagobah cave dream sequence, where everything is a much less explicit and much more metaphorical Force vision, and Qui-Gon’s presence is enhanced.
- s04e03 - DELIVERANCE (24:34) is The Lawless with only the explicit reference to Sidious’ identity removed.
- The rest will take us through Ahsoka’s Fall, Scipio (incorporating dialogue from the unfinished Utapau arc to reframe Anakin’s anger more as a response to the loss of Ahsoka), Order 66, Yoda’s investigation of Sifo-Dyas, the Liberation of Maul (via the Son of Dathomir audio comic on Youtube), and Yoda’s quest (also made more of a vision than explicit).
- SEASON FIVE: “Darkness falls on the galaxy as the Clone Wars approach their climax.” (TBD) will focus on the very final days of the war, and wrap up all of the remaining dangling threads:
- Martez Sisters, the Bad Batch, Revenge of the Sith, and The Siege of Mandalore.
- I’ll give the viewer two options for how they conclude the show: Either Revenge of the Sith movie then the Siege of Mandalore cut into two episodes, OR as six/seven episodes intercutting the movie (turned into episodes) with Siege of Mandalore, roughly chronologically.
- BONUS EPISODES: (check the tracker spreadsheet to find which cut these belong in - none are vital):
- s03e00 - Tales from the Clone Wars (33:18) aggregates the remaining content from the start of the Tartakovsky microseries, and some Forces of Destiny shorts, into one anthology episode.
- s02e01b - Lightsaber Lost (24:28) has some minor polish and excludes a scene I’ve used elsewhere, but is otherwise intact and watchable.
- s02e05b - Visions (21:10) is the episode originally called Assassin, excluding a scene I’ve used elsewhere, but otherwise intact and watchable.
- More planned - most of which will be completed after I finish all my main episodes. You can check the tracker spreadsheet for more info on what I will or won’t include.
CAN I CONTRIBUTE?
Please contribute however you like - up to and including editing! In this thread, I try to braindump as much as possible, in order to involve others in the process and for the interest of potential faneditors. If you’re interested in the history of this project I urge you to read through to see the thought processes involved - please feel free to dig any up to challenge any of them, even if a lot of time has passed! In the tracker spreadsheet you can find easy links back to each episode’s main discussion, if you’d like to continue the conversation.
I’m especially interested in help from anyone who can take a piece of concept art and animate it subtly like those in the end credits for the Mandalorian!
The original first post, including the idea which a few of the posters below are responding to, can be found here.
The Clone Wars: Refocused