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What did you think the Clone Wars were before you saw Episode II?

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One of the biggest problems with the prequels in my opinion was how Lucas handled the Clone Wars. Now, I've never read a Star Wars book so this could've been explained decades ago, but I always thought of the Clone Wars as just some event from the distant past that was shrouded in mystery, and nobody was really too familiar with it except for people who were involved, and they were all in their 70's by the time ANH started. I liked how mysterious it was and it kind of added mythology within the movie or whatever. In the prequels they made all the stormtroopers clones and it killed all the tension because it was just clones vs robots. In Star Wars battles were intense because you knew when someone like Porkins got killed that a Rebel pilot died trying to fight for freedom. In the prequels it's just like, oh another clone died... Plus all the politics behind it were just boring and completely confusing. What did you all imagine the clone wars being when you first saw Star Wars? 

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Basically, as a kid I thought the Clone Wars was a conflict between the Republic/Jedi and an army of evil/mindless clones who looked a lot like snowtroopers with open-face helmets. Also, I had read a book at the time which mentioned that the Jedi had wiped the Mandalorians out during the Clone Wars, so I figured they played a part in the wars, too.

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Exciting

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Ryan McAvoy said:

Exciting

This.

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I figured that it was an unimportant conflict besides the fact that Obi-Wan fought in it, the important conflict being the rise of the Empire.

If Plagueis shows up in the ST, not only will I refuse to watch the movies, but I won't so much as watch the trailers, either. - DuracellEnergizer

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DuracellEnergizer said:

Basically, as a kid I thought the Clone Wars was a conflict between the Republic/Jedi and an army of evil/mindless clones who looked a lot like snowtroopers with open-face helmets. Also, I had read a book at the time which mentioned that the Jedi had wiped the Mandalorians out during the Clone Wars, so I figured they played a part in the wars, too.

 Yep, I don't know where I got something like that from also,...the Jedi fighting with normal good guys against an unstoppable endless army of genetically enhanced clones

A lot of blood,....barbaric.....instead we got.........you know what we got

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The real story of the Clone Wars is what Timothy Zahn laid out as the backstory for the Thrawn trilogy: that the Old Republic fleet fought against an army of insane clones who were trying to take over the galaxy about 35 years before the events of the first movie.  Mysterious, unnamed 'clonemasters' were responsible for growing the endless hordes of insane duplicates, and Palpatine was also involved to some extent, using it to his advantage to consolidate his political power.

However, the Clone Wars ended 15 years before he declared himself Emperor, so they were not directly tied to the fall of the Old Republic: the chaos they left in their wake set the stage for him to take over in the following years.

It probably won't happen, but I would dearly love for this story to be told in written form someday.  The way I see it, this is what happened prior to the original films in their unaltered form; while the Lucas version of events is what happened prior to the SE's.  These are two distinctly different universes and have nothing to do with each other in any way.  In this original universe, neither Boba Fett nor the stormtroopers are clones of anyone else.

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I had guessed correctly that the clones had something to do with stormtroopers. The twist was that the Jedi were commanding the clones. As for the Timothy Zahn novels, I didn't ever see them as any more valid than Splinter of a Mind's Eye or the Marvel Star Wars comics, so I just skimmed them in a book store and didn't give them any thought.

Original, Special Edition, and Prequel trilogy gusher. Not a fan of any Disney era Star Wars.

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I never actually pictured them involving genetic-clones. I probably watched SW a hundred times before I even learned what a 'clone' was in school. To me clones were those things that were named after that ancient war that got mentioned in SW ;-)

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Ryan McAvoy said:

I never actually pictured them involving genetic-clones. I probably watched SW a hundred times before I even learned what a 'clone' was in school. To me clones were those things that were named after that ancient war that got mentioned in SW ;-)

Same here.  To me it was just a name that added texture and the feeling of history to the movie.  Although what it finally ended up being, in concept, made sense.  

But in practice it just wasn't

Ryan McAvoy said:

Exciting.

:: The Phantom Attack of the Sith :: 

One man's attempt to re-cut the Star Wars prequels into something watchable.

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When I was young the line about the Clone Wars never really stuck with me. It was just something someone said. It wasn't until after I saw AOTC and then re-watched ANH that I actually noticed the reference. 

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 I must have sat in the theater at least twenty five times in 1977. Add to that the  repeated viewings of my laser disc in the 1980s and I've heard the line where  Leia mentioned the clone wars more times than I can count.  I never once gave it a moment of thought.

 It was something from the past that only she understood. It wasn't integral to the adventure I was on in the theater, nor was it of any importance to the people in the story.

It was there to establish that Ben was someone from her father's past.  It didn't need to be explained.  Fortunately for me, thirty seven years later it remains an unimportant mystery.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Listen, it don’t really matter to me, baby.
You believe what you want to believe.

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I didn't thought much about it from the movie. Some large conlfict decades ago, which involved clones and Obi-Wan being a general in it. Interesting backstory piece, nothing more.

After reading Timothy Zahn's trilogy (which is fantastic and one of the EU pieces I love most dearly) I thought that it was a galaxy-spanning conflict between the Republic's army of regular soldiers led by the Jedi against another army, likely (Separatist) aliens. This also explaining why the Empire was staffed only by humans.

I even though they were two intertwined conflicts, hence the plural "wars". The first, when the Jedi and the Republic defeated the enemy, and then when the semi-crazed Dark Jedi - clones hastily created by the Jedi in desperation due to their dwindling numbers during the war - rebelled, also leading a large host of growth accelerated cloned soldiers. During the second conflict the entire clone army went crazy (to the Dark Side) and aimlessly rampaged accross the Galaxy.

Palpatine used the chaos and usurped power, creating the Empire and smashing the clones/Dark Jedi. Behind the scenes, though, he had been influencing the Dark Jedi or teaching the Force to mentally unstable clones.

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In 1986, Kenner was going to do a continuation of their line where the new villian was Atha Prime, Leader of the Dark Worlds, Genetics Master, and Architect of the Clone Wars.  He would have been freed from exile after the Emperor's death and use his army of Clones to attack the Alliance.  So even the higher ups thought the Clone Wars were Clones attacking the Republic.  

It seems like people are really embracing the new characters. In fact, the big question people ask me now about Star Wars is, “Are Finn and Poe gay lovers?” And really how the f*ck would I know? My second husband left me for a man, so my gaydar isn’t exactly what you’d call Death Star level quality. ----Carrie Fisher

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I recall a theory that the Clone Wars were wars fought over the right to clone like the Civil War was fought over slavery.

One thing that the prequels did right is that they didn't have evil clones of good people.

If Plagueis shows up in the ST, not only will I refuse to watch the movies, but I won't so much as watch the trailers, either. - DuracellEnergizer

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I wonder how my opinion of the Clone Wars would have been shaped if I hadn't already been exposed to the Clone Saga from the Spider-Man comics beforehand. There's a good possibility I wouldn't have even known what a clone was and just assumed it was some exotic made-up word.

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I thought Obi Wan served Bail Organa in the wars but according to the prequels he never did.

“Always loved Vader’s wordless self sacrifice. Another shitty, clueless, revision like Greedo and young Anakin’s ghost. What a fucking shame.” -Simon Pegg.

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I'll confess that as I child my brain wandered around the Clone Wars references and thought of wars where bad guys cloned Jedi. This was especially deceptive because you could be walking alongside Obi Wan and not know if it was him or an evil clone of him until he attacked. As an adult, that seems rather lame now, but it was what I originally thought it could have meant.

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BlueCardinal said:

...you could be walking alongside Obi Wan and not know if it was him or an evil clone of him until he attacked. As an adult, that seems rather lame now, ...

 Sounds better than the PT/CGI cartoons we got.

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As a kid I did not even know it was called the clone wars because I'm french and the french version talk about a "black war", they did not use the word "clone" at all... Later I heard about the clone wars and when I finaly saw the original audio version I just thought, "oh, ok. So the black war is in fact the clone wars. Sounds cool". But I never really thought about more than this.

Side note: the first death star in french is also called the black star (the death star in Jedi is called the deah star too in french)

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TMBTM said:

As a kid I did not even know it was called the clone wars because I'm french and the french version talk about a "black war", they did not use the word "clone" at all... Later I heard about the clone wars and when I finaly saw the original audio version I just thought, "oh, ok. So the black war is in fact the clone wars. Sounds cool". But I never really thought about more than this.

Side note: the first death star in french is also called the black star (the death star in Jedi is called the deah star too in french)

 LOL the "Black War" sounds much better or "Guerre Noire" isn't it? and...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=na5qrW032H4

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For me personally, I had never envisioned the the early Storm troopers being clones. I'd always thought the Stormtroopers were exclusive to the Empire. I'd always imagined the Clone Wars was a battle that was exclusive to the Jedi. A war that involved the few Jedi I'd imagined and clones of powerful extinct races of beings under the control of the Sith. 

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hairy_hen said:

However, the Clone Wars ended 15 years before he declared himself Emperor...

What book said that? I remember reading from Dark Force Rising the Clone Wars did take place 35 BBY, but not necessarily end there.

Screw lightsabers, I’ll stick with regular swords. At least they won’t blow up in my face like this franchise has.

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It doesn't explicitly say anywhere that they ended that exact year.  However, Mr. Zahn did state that he asked Lucasfilm about it when he was first outlining the Thrawn books, and was told that the Clone Wars had taken place 35 years before the first movie.  Given that the Empire did not form until around the time of Luke's birth (about 15 years after this), the conclusion that the wars did not directly lead into the Emperor's takeover is obvious.  He must therefore have used the chaos and destruction they left in their wake to gradually create a politically advantageous situation for himself.

Since the 'official' version of what happened in the Clone Wars is so outright terrible, it is frustrating that Mr. Zahn was not able to go into too much detail about the scenario he'd come up with.  The tantalizing hints he was able to include are most intriguing, and point to a far more interesting story than what we actually ended up getting.