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Victory and Death: Who Won The Clone Wars in Star Wars?

Who won the Clone Wars? Who lost? Let’s review the key players’ roles during the most harrowing intergalactic conflict in all of Star Wars.

Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader

Very few people lost quite as badly as Anakin Skywalker. After fighting for the Republic all his life, Anakin turned to the dark side. He slaughtered Mace Windu, inadvertently caused his wife Padmé Amidala’s demise, and basically imploded his entire life. But that brings us to his alter-ego, Darth Vader.

Because Darth Vader, we’d posit, won. He defeated the weakling Anakin Skywalker and crushed the Jedi under his powerful new robotic legs. He ruled over the galaxy and conquered death. Was he happy? No. But he was a victor.

Obi-Wan Kenobi and the Jedi

Just because the Jedi are the good guys doesn’t mean they’ll always win. However, quite a few Jedi and light side Force-users survived the war. Loosely, we’ll call that a win. They all made sure they could fight another day. It became a waiting game, and we all know Jedi have an abundance of patience. Take the nine-hundred year old Yoda, for example.

Another such Jedi who went into hiding was Obi-Wan Kenobi. Personally, he lost the war. Everyone he loved died or disappeared. He wouldn’t be able to feel victorious again until, decades later, he helped Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker discover their destinies as the future of the Force.

Ahsoka Tano and Darth Maul — The Phantom Apprentices

By the time the Clone Wars ended, Darth Maul and Ahsoka Tano weren’t on a specific side besides their own. Darth Maul’s motivations were entirely selfish. He escaped with his life and planned to regain power, so let’s say he won. Without any loyalty to a certain party, there’s no way to say he didn’t.

On the other hand, Ahsoka is more complicated. She wanted the Jedi to win despite her disillusioned feelings about the Order. When they didn’t, she went underground to help emerging Rebel cells. So, Ahsoka’s allies lost. Do we lump her in with them? Or place her in more of a … gray … area?

Clone Troopers

Clone troopers™ are the most important participants. Full stop. The war is named after their involvement, after all. Genetically engineered for battle using Jango Fett’s DNA, the clones were instrumental in every Republic victory. They also ensured the final Imperial win with Order 66 — a devastating executive order that led to the Jedi’s near-extinction.

Most clone troopers conscripted into the Empire’s new army. Some retired. Others, like the Bad Batch™, took up mercenary work before settling down far away. No matter what happened to each individual unit, the clones lost this war. They were used, abused, and discarded like defunct weapons. It’s a sad truth of Star Wars that is just starting to be explored across canon.

Captain Rex and Commander Cody

We’ve said it before, but The Clone Wars television series did an incredible job humanizing the clones. Captain Rex and Commander Cody ended up being outstanding recurring characters. As the two clones who worked closest alongside Anakin and Obi-Wan, they were the most dynamic and widely adored.

Although Rex attacked his Jedi, he was able to remove his inhibitor chip before he hurt anyone. Cody was not as lucky. He tried — and thankfully failed — to execute Obi-Wan Kenobi before joining Imperial ranks. Ultimately, Captain Rex and Commander Cody did at least survive. That’s more than many of their counterparts can claim.

ARC Trooper Jesse

The clone trooper Jesse was one of the unfortunate clones who unwillingly participated in Order 66. Compelled by his chip, Jesse attacked Captain Rex and Ahsoka Tano aboard a cruiser. This loyal soldier gathered all of the brainwashed clones for a vicious firefight. Sadly, Jesse perished when the cruiser crash landed. He was buried alongside his brothers on that unidentified moon, and their rudimentary graves are perhaps the only monuments to clones that exist in the entire galaxy.

Emperor Palpatine and the Sith

If you ask most fans, they’ll likely say that Emperor Palpatine won. By all accounts, this is pretty accurate. Darth Sidious manipulated everything, from politics to the Jedi Order, behind the scenes. He and his new Empire did indeed benefit the most directly following the war’s end.

Howefer, when this Sith Master’s trusted apprentice eventually turned on him, can we say Darth Sidious was truly victorious? When light must balance dark, can we really insist that evil prevailed? It’s certainly open to debate.

Who do you believe won the Clone Wars? Was there even a winner? Share your thoughts with other Star Wars fans at side.show/geekgroup or in the Sideshow Social Network, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!