I watch a lot of media. It’s true. If I’m not on YouTube watching someone play a video game, I’m on Netflix. If I’m not watching something on Netflix, it’s Hulu. Not on Hulu? I’m searching for something new on Amazon Prime or popping in a movie I’ve seen hundreds of times before.
I’ve probably watched Simpsons episodes hundreds of thousands of times. I’ve put myself through two rewatches of 11 and then 12 seasons of Supernatural. Heck, I’ve rewatched cancelled shows like Agent Carter, Jericho, and The Last Tycoon if only to relive the stories that were cut way too short. I’m still especially salty about Agent Carter; we all need more Peggy in our lives.
There’s something about rewatching your favourite story that really cuts deep in a good way. It’s therapeutic, familiar, and it gives you the chance to truly explore the stories you love and consciously dissect the characters, their emotions and why they act the way they do.
At least, that’s how it is for me. I’m a writer; I practically absorb stories into my soul.
So when the infamous #CloneWarsSaved trailer dropped at San Diego Comic-Con this summer, I immediately started planning a Clone Wars rewatch, this time in chronological order.
But then I noticed something. Star Wars fans on Twitter were talking about rewatching it, too, only online and together. I wanted to be part of a rewatch group, mainly because the people closest to me in “the real world” aren’t as passionate about Star Wars as I am.
The rewatch group I’ve been welcomed into was started by three of my mutuals in the Star Wars community: @WTForceShow, @AmyWishman, and @BalancedPadawan. WTForceShow and Amy had the initial idea while BalancedPadawan helped implement the logistics by suggesting the platform Rabbit.TV and that the viewing schedule should follow the major thematic arcs of the series. Expecting each person in the group to be available to watch every single episode together was a bit of a tough ask. There’s also an understanding between the members that not everyone will make all the watch parties.
“I just wanted to rewatch it in a larger group to have a chance to hear others thoughts,” WTForceShow says. “It was us [Amy and BalancedPadawan] having an a-ha moment together. I really like how it [the group] transforms into jokes that carry past the day.”
Amy echoes that sentiment, along with others in the group, expressing that she missed the camaraderie of discussing and flailing about Star Wars, especially when Star Wars Rebels ended earlier this year. “When the return of Clone Wars was announced, a community rewatch seemed in order,” she explains. “It’s been so much fun to watch with friends!”
Every weekend or so the group members sign into Rabbit on a Friday or Saturday night at a specific time. There’s a host for each watch party that sets up the online watch room. Once the host hits play, the designated chat room lights up with conversation, jokes, and questions of all kinds.
“I’m a new Star Wars fan so it’s been amazing hosting the rewatch,” says BalancedPadawan, who’s hosted a few times so far. “It’s given me the chance to connect with older fans and gain further appreciation for the universe, all while getting excited for the next season of Clone Wars.”
There’s conversation between fans of how much Ahsoka grows as a Padawan, how Anakin’s darkness tends to show up more and more as the episodes go on, and how much the clones had to endure during the war. We’ve also discussed more in-depth topics like droid sentience, how Palpatine was able to coordinate all the ins and outs of the Clone Wars to ensure the rise of the Empire, and even the mythology of the Force.
And, of course, shipping. Is there a fandom that doesn’t discuss it? It’s sparked some fun and hilarious debates around Wantress (Obi-wan & Ventress), Obitine (Obi-Wan & Satine) and Luxsohka (Lux Bonteri and Ahsoka). I, for one, am Quintress (Quinlan Vos & Ventress) all the way… *whispers* but don’t tell my group that. 😉
Overall, it’s been an amazing experience so far and a wonderful way to interact with other fans, both those who’ve watched the series several times and first-time viewers. There’s such a wide variety of Star Wars fans in the group, too. All different backgrounds, genders, and ideas and opinions about the Star Wars Universe, and we’re from all over the United States and the world.
“I’ve never gotten the chance to sit down and watch Clone Wars in chronological order. When this rewatch group was announced, I jumped right in! It’s so different seeing things happen in order, and it makes me sit on the edge of my seat for these new episodes,” says @nedi_nerfherder. “Just the thought of being able to watch these episodes lead right up to Revenge of the Sith is astounding to me. I can’t wait until these new episodes are released, but in the meantime, this rewatch group has made the waiting so much fun!”
@JoystickChevron is a newer fan to the franchise and shares that it can be somewhat lonely, especially seeing so many other fans who’ve grown up with it share childhood memories like watching this series when it was first released. “The Star Wars canon can be daunting for a newcomer to dive into, as it is so vast and deep,” she remarks. “However, I was committed to watching The Clone Wars at some point. I knew that the series was an important piece of the lore that George Lucas constructed with themes resonating across the entire franchise.”
But being part of this group has made her experience so much more fulfilling and enjoyable, especially experiencing other members reactions to episodes during the watch parties.
“My favorite part is the sense of community,” says @JediGeekGirl, another member. “The experience of rewatching it with a group of people allows me to experience [Clone Wars] in a new and unique way.”
Even though I’m personally new to watching content with a group, specifically an online one that touches fans all across the world, it’s been such a validating experience. From the moment the first watch party began, I knew I’d found a stellar group of fans, people who had an intense love of Star Wars (and other stories) just like me. Too often we’re told that we’re too invested, too obsessed, but we’ve found a part of the fandom we connected with on an entirely new level.
“Without a doubt, it’s the community, it’s sharing the love of Clone Wars, and Star Wars in general, with everyone,” adds @CalJHarris, a member from the UK. “[We] have fun talking about things, shopping, politics, all the subjects of Clone Wars. Otherwise, I would not be up till 4am most nights. It’s one of the highlights of my week.”
@audreyfan4ever feels the same way. “It gave me the opportunity to watch [the episodes] with fellow fans and friends, how could I say no?”, she says. “I’m grateful for the rewatch because it has connected me to a group that’s fun, interesting, kind, and has been very welcoming to me. I love that we all laugh, cry, get angry, excited, what have you, as if we’re all together in the same theatre. It’s been a great show to watch but to do so alongside the new friends I’ve made, has made the whole experience that much better.”
And it’s not just The Clone Wars. We’ve watched other things too, such as Rogue One, The Last Jedi, Solo, and even Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
We’re about halfway through our Clone Wars rewatch, but there are already talks of possible doing a Rebels rewatch in the future. And you know what?
I’m ready and waiting.
About the Author:
Rachel, widely known as Rae on Twitter, has been a Star Wars fan ever since her older brother popped the Original Trilogy into a VHS player. She found her footing as a fan with the Prequels and spent every waking moment in the 2000s writing fan fiction or hanging out on Jedi Council Forums. After a few years away, she revived her love for all things Star Wars after bingeing both The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels series. Now, you’ll find her on Twitter (@reviewsbyrae), writing for her blog, Reviews by Rae, or exploring her creative side with short stories.