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Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Phantom Apprentice Review

Star Wars: The Clone Wars has returned for its seventh and final season on the Disney+ streaming service. In this review, we’re taking a look at the tenth episode of the season, titled “The Phantom Apprentice.”

Ahsoka leads Republic clones to confront Maul’s forces on Mandalore, while Maul senses the impending chaos and makes a calculated play to ensure his own survival.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is rated TV-PG.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Phantom Apprentice Review

What Worked

With only a few episodes left, The Clone Wars is going out with the epic bang we had hoped for. One of the most noteworthy things about these episodes is how they dovetail the cartoon completely with Revenge of the Sith.

The last episode showed Obi-Wan and Anakin headed off for the battle at Coruscant. This episode features Obi-Wan heading off on his mission to find General Grevious, thus taking us one step closer to the inevitable “Order 66.” But the connections don’t end there.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Phantom Apprentice Review

Maul reveals his secret knowledge of Darth Sidious’ plan and its inevitable execution. It drives him mad as it nears and that madness makes him all the more menacing. He also reveals his visions of Anakin Skywalker and his impending turn to the Dark Side. So it rather neatly threads The Phantom Menace, The Clone Wars, and Revenge of the Sith together.

If that wasn’t enough, there are cameos of Prince Xizor from Shadows of the Empire and Dryden Vos from Solo: A Star Wars Story, thus establishing how Maul is behind most of the Star Wars underworld. It’s quite impressive to see how Dave Filoni ties it all together by the end. I wouldn’t be surprised to see hints of The Mandalorian before it’s all done.

This episode is also noteworthy for the tremendous battles. We are treated to more jetpack action, a battle between Mandalorians and Clone Troopers, and more. But most memorable is an epic lightsaber battle between Maul and Ahsoka – the two fallen apprentices. Their interaction is the centerpiece of the episode and their fight has a few tricks that are quite memorable. 

And if you watch through the credits, you’ll note that Maul’s performance was motion-captured by Ray Park himself. It’s a cool treat and a nice acknowledgment to the actor.

The music also continues to stand out as it features callbacks to the theatrical scores while also providing new menacing themes to build the impending dread of the finale. The music over the end credits alone gives a sense of dread as the Jedi are about to fall and the Sith rise.

What Didn’t Work

After watching this episode, my son said, “I wish this episode had come before ‘Rebels’ because we already know that Maul and Ahsoka are alive.” And he’s right. A lot of the suspense and fear for the characters is taken away because we know exactly what happens to them years down the road.

That couldn’t really be helped by Filoni and the Clone Wars writers, but it does take away from the impact of this episode. Between Rebels and Revenge of the Sith, we know how this story ends.

The Bottom Line

One of the highlights of the series, The Phantom Apprentice continues to build up to what promises to be a big finale that you won’t want to miss.

The Phantom Apprentice Review Score: 9/10

Directed by Nathaniel Villanueva, the episode features the voices of Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano, Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan, Dee Bradley Baker as Clone Troopers / Commander Rex, Sam Witwer as Maul / Mandalorian Guard, Tom Kane as Narrator, Vanessa Marshall as Rook Kast / Gauntlet Pilot, Ray Stevenson as Gar Saxon, Matthew Wood as Mandalorians, Matt Lanter as Anakin Skywalker, Julian Holloway as Almec, David Acord as Mandalorians, Bonnie Wild as Mandalorians, and James Arnold Taylor as Obi-Wan Kenobi.