7 Best And 7 Worst Animated Star Wars Episodes

From the very first animated short featured in The Star Wars Holiday Special to the spinoff The Bad Batch on Disney+, the world of animated Star Wars includes hundreds of episodes and stretches back almost as far as Star Wars itself. The '80s were the wild west days of Droids and Ewoks, but today modern Star Wars shows like The Clone Wars and Rebels have become core parts of the canon. Live-action shows like The Mandalorian and the upcoming Ahsoka expand on characters, locations, and ideas introduced in these animated shows, making them the backbone of the future of Star Wars.

The quality of Star Wars animation varies wildly, and picking either the best or worst would be a challenge on its own, but we believe this list best represents the spectrum of quality on display over the decades. From Ewoks to Rebels, these are the seven best and worst animated episodes of Star Wars ever made. 

Spoilers for every animated Star Wars series are on the table going forward.

Best — Clone Wars: Volume One (2003)

This collection of shorts originally aired as micro-episodes that played on Cartoon Network. Following the release of Attack of the Clones in 2002, Samurai Jack creator Genndy Tartakovsky was given the reins to the first piece of animated Star Wars in decades. Today, you can watch the first 20 episodes, ranging from three to six minutes each, packaged in an hour-long volume entitled Star Wars Vintage: Clone Wars 2D Micro-Series Volume 1 on Disney+. It's not technically one episode, but to be fair, it's shorter than some prestige drama episodes or an installment of The Bachelor. Plus, it's one of the most entertaining hours of animated Star Wars ever made.

Clone Wars bridged the gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, with slick character-focused action that introduced us to the heroes and villains of the Clone Wars. The micro-series was where fans got their first look at the mechanical Jedi killer General Grievous as a badass warrior — quite the opposite of the bumbling, cowardly Grievous featured prominently in the early seasons of the later Clone Wars series. 

Tartakovsky's shorts also introduced Asajj Ventress, Count Dooku's fearsome apprentice. Ventress went on to have one of the most interesting character arcs on The Clone Wars, one that never got resolved within the show due to the dubious cancellation in the middle of production during season 6. This final Ventress arc eventually got turned into the novel Dark Disciple.

Worst — Iron Squadron (Rebels)

While it doesn't consistently reach the highs of The Clone Wars, Rebels — creator Dave Filoni's follow-up set during the time just predating A New Hope — rarely misses. That's especially true in the later seasons, which is a big reason why the season 3 episode "Iron Squadron" sticks out like a sore thumb. In an animated series, annoying one-off characters can be episode killers, and "Iron Squadron" falls prey to this classic trap.

In "Iron Squadron", Hera, Ezra, and the rest of Phoenix Squadron are sent by Commander Sato to a group of young Rebel pilots who are going to foolishly get themselves killed. Iron Squadron consists of Sato's nephew Mart Mattin, Theelin Gooti Terez, and Jonner Jin. The three make for a pretty cliché squad of rebellious youths that feel like lesser versions of the Ghost crew that Rebels fans know and love. The episode ultimately doesn't have much in terms of real stakes, and the ending winds up as unremarkable as the rest of the episode.

Best — Twilight of the Apprentice (Rebels)

On the flip side of "Iron Squadron", Rebels delivers one of the most epic face-offs in all the Star Wars canon. This two-part second season finale is where Rebels stops living in the shadows of its predecessor and really starts to shine.

"Twilight of the Apprentice" finds Phantom Squad touched down on Malachor, a planet that houses a Sith temple that Ahsoka, Ezra, and Kanan need to infiltrate to gain the knowledge they need to defeat Vader and the Inquisitors. When Ezra wanders off, he's tricked by Darth Maul into leading the villain directly to the Sith holocron resting at the altar of the temple. It all builds to two great battles that close out the season. Maul and Kanan's faceoff ends tragically, with the young Jedi blinded by the ex-Sith. The consequences of this skirmish are far-reaching, but the climactic battle between former master and apprentice duo Anakin and Ahsoka is the highlight of this incredible episode.

This adventure on Malachor features some of the most powerful Sith in the canon, and the face-off between Darth Vader and Ahsoka is an emotionally-fueled confrontation that ranks among the most stirring action sequences in the franchise.

Worst — Bombad Jedi (The Clone Wars)

While many fans consider it the pinnacle of Star Wars animation — and it's by far the longest-running — The Clone Wars got off to a rocky start. Compared to the heights the later seasons reach, the premiere season of the show took some time finding its footing. One of the earliest blunders is "Bombad Jedi," the first and worst of what we can only call "the Jar Jar episodes."

In "Bombad Jedi," everyone's favorite Gungan gets himself into all kinds of not-super-entertaining trouble. On a negotiation mission to Rodea, Padme is urged to take a bodyguard but instead lets her soft spot for Jar Jar influence her decision — not the best call she's made. Long story short, Jar Jar stumbles his way into impersonating a Jedi, somehow managing to convince the Separatist allies but getting himself captured. Padme and C-3PO save him, but to every prequel hater's chagrin, Jar Jar Binks gets his chance to shine in the end. Ahmed Best (who reprises his role here) deserved better than the Jar Jar backlash, but that doesn't save this episode from being a low point in Star Wars animation.

Best — Ghosts of Mortis (The Clone Wars)

One of the best arcs of The Clone Wars took things in a bit of a different direction. While much of the show focuses on the military or sci-fi side of the franchise, the Mortis arc in season 3 dives into the more fantastical and mystical elements of the Force. When Anakin, Obi-Wan, and padawan Ahsoka Tano land on a mysterious planet, they meet a family of mystical Force users: the Father, the Son, and the Daughter. The eventual explanations of who these mystics are and what the planet Mortis represents add a richness to the Star Wars universe and even set the stage for pivotal events that occur later in Rebels

"Ghosts of Mortis" in particular is a highlight of this interesting arc, as it's the episode that features Anakin's premonitory vision. Led into a fiery deep well by the Son, Anakin has a vision where he sees his future and what he will become: Darth Vader. The result is one of the most visually striking sequences of the whole series. Anakin was never meant to know his fate, and is later made to forget the vision by the Father, lest he be completely consumed by the Dark Side before his time.

Worst — Nomad Droids (The Clone Wars)

There are few formulas fans hate more than the dreaded droid episode. The Clone Wars is no stranger to its fair share of droid comedy episodes that don't really go anywhere — that's why there are two on this list. The first is from season 4, and it's a complete filler episode starring R2-D2 and C-3PO.

The second episode of a (thankfully only) two-part arc about R2 and 3PO's adventures, "Nomad Droids" is home to some especially disjointed storytelling. Over the course of the 22-minute romp, we follow the droids from planet to planet with micro space adventures serving as interludes. General Grievous even shows up at the end for a bit. There is so much that happens in this episode and none of it rises above mildly entertaining. "Nomad Droids" forgoes character development, plot, and theme in favor of the bare minimum a Star Wars story can deliver: droid hijinks.

Best — Darkness on Umbara (The Clone Wars)

The Umbara arc of The Clone Wars is the best story about Rex and Anakin's 501st battalion in the whole series, the pinnacle of Clone Wars as a war story. Anakin is forced to temporarily forfeit command of Rex and his soldiers to the questionably motivated Jedi General Krell. As the story unfolds, "Darkness on Umbara" introduces us to the rogue general and shows the grim cost of the war.

Visually, the episode is an absolute stunner (as are the three that follow). "Darkness" is no exaggeration, it turns out, as the neons of blaster bolts and lightsabers igniting stand out in the blue-grey darkness that surrounds the planet. The colors capture the oppressive, dour mood of the story arc, as we soon learn Krell is filled with contempt for clones and holds no regard for their lives, viewing them as merely droids to win a war with. As Rex and Five protest in an attempt to save their brothers, Krell gets more aggressive and sends the troopers into increasingly dangerous situations.

Worst — Bibo (Resistance)

While Clone Wars and Rebels are aimed at younger audiences, both shows develop nuance and darkness throughout that appeal to a wider audience. The pace and art style of Resistance, meanwhile, is much more directly aimed at young children. Fans might go in hoping to spend a little more time with Poe (Oscar Isaac lends his voice) or Hux, or learn more about the characters of the sequel trilogy. Most of this particular series, though, is spent with a cast of young high-energy kids dubbed Team Fireball working with the Resistance to stop the First Order. It has some highlights, but at its worst Resistance looks a lot like "Bibo."

This episode finds Neeku, the team's mechanic, infatuated with a strange octopus-looking creature he names Bibo. Unfortunately, the story ends up taking focus away from the show's plot and character development for 30 minutes of silly antics and a well-worn lesson. Yes, it does turn out that cute Bibo has a very large mommy who misses her little guy. One look at its ratings on IMDb will prove that viewers agree this distraction of an episode is the very worst of what Resistance has to offer.

Best — Jedi Night (Rebels)

For anyone who watched Rebels, the episode title alone is enough to start the waterworks. One of the saddest moments in the span of the animated Star Wars universe is the conclusion of "Jedi Night" with the death of a legendary Jedi.

In "Jedi Knight," Kanan and Ezra are on a mission to rescue Hera from imprisonment at the Imperial base in Lothal's Capital City. The break-in makes for a thrilling adventure, and Hera and Kanan's reunion is a defining moment for the series. The two finally openly proclaim their love for each other and kiss in what is, in retrospect, an incredibly bittersweet scene.

As the three make their escape, Governor Pryce orders her team of AT-AT pilots to fire at the central fuel pod, igniting an explosion that causes mass destruction and almost kills the escaping Rebels. In Kanan's final noble action, the Jedi sacrifices himself to hold back the explosion, giving Hera and Ezra a chance to escape.

Worst — A Sunny Day in the Void (The Clone Wars)

While they can be a common target of hate from fans, most droid arcs in The Clone Wars are perfectly innocuous. "A Sunny Day in the Void," however, is worthy of the ire. The episode is one of the most bland and pointless of the show, wedged in between other only marginally better episodes in an otherwise masterful fifth season.

3PO is absent in this astromech-focused arc, and his presence is truly missed. By "A Sunny Day in the Void" we have been introduced to D-Squad, a military squad of Astromechs including R2-D2 sent on a top secret infiltration mission by Colonel Meebur Gascon.

The focus of this blisteringly long four-episode arc is physical comedy and hijinks, which often involve the droids being placed in an interesting setting or funny situation. Therein lies the main issue with "A Sunny Day in the Void" — the episode takes place in the titular void, a bright empty space the droids traverse for a majority of the run time. It's pretty light on jokes, instead using this time to attempt to develop the characters, only for viewers to never see them again after two more episodes.

Best — Victory and Death (The Clone Wars)

With Ahsoka's return during Clone Wars' final season, the stakes were high as the show approached its climax. Fortunately, the series finale turned out to be one of the most satisfying endings to any chapter in the Star Wars story. The final episode, "Victory and Death," represents the best of the show and totally sticks the landing.

After a series of tribulations, reveals, and Order 66 being executed, Ahsoka, Rex, and Maul are trapped in a hangar, setting the stage for three of The Clone Wars' star characters to face resolution and reckoning. Without spoiling anything, they do all that and more. The episode itself is emotional and tense, full of both epic action and incredible character pay-offs. Which is to say nothing of the epilogue — a short, stunning sequence that ties the Filoni-verse together. You can't get here without watching the whole arc — truth be told, the whole show — but once you do, it's hard to disagree that is one of the most satisfying conclusions in TV history.

Worst — The Wish Plant (Ewoks)

It would be easy to fill a list of worst animated Star Wars episodes with exclusively Ewoks. The infamous '80s cartoon was developed alongside the equally misguided — but less well-remembered — Star Wars: Droids cartoon in 1985. Since it would be unfair to hold an early experiment against the franchise, we'll just pick one episode from each to represent their respective series.

Of all the animated Star Wars shows to see the light of day, Ewoks is the least identifiable as Star Wars. In fact, it really has nothing to do with the galaxy far, far away aside from its cuddly cast of teddy bears being loosely based on the denizens of Endor's forest moon. The show more or less falls into standard '80s fantasy cartoon tropes and has more in common with The Smurfs than Star Wars.

The second episode of the second season (which somehow got made) is one of the worst. "The Wish Plant" is all about a subject sure to thrill any child: gardening. The Ewok Kneesaa is having trouble keeping her garden alive when the Leaf Queen arrives and asks Kneesaa to take care of a special plant for her. This storyline is only 11 minutes, and yet it seems to drag out for an eternity.

Best — The Wrong Jedi (The Clone Wars)

The finale of not just one of the best seasons but one of the best story arcs in all of The Clone Wars, "The Wrong Jedi" is a monumental episode of Star Wars television. Padawan Ahsoka Tano is wrongly accused and about to go on trial for a murder she did not commit. As the Galactic senate and Jedi council bicker bureaucratically, Anakin searches for the real culprit, finding her at the last second just in time to rescue Ahsoka from a guilty verdict.

This thrilling arc gets a nail-biting conclusion, but it's also an episode that highlights Ahsoka's maturity as not just a Jedi, but a person. On trial, we see how far she has come from the plucky apprentice introduced in the 2008 Clone Wars movie. Throughout the arc, Ahsoka demonstrates her wariness of the way the Jedi are handling the ongoing war. In the moments after she is proven innocent, the council asks Ahsoka to rejoin the Order as a true Jedi Knight, but she refuses. In what may be her single greatest moment, Ahsoka defies the Jedi council and turns her back on them to walk her own path.

Worst — The Revenge of Kybo Ren (Droids)

That's right, folks — Kylo wasn't the first Ren to enter the Star Wars universe. Back in 1985, Star Wars: Droids introduced any viewers it still had left to the space pirate Kybo Ren. Developed alongside Ewoks, this cartoon started the trend of Star Wars spin-offs starring everyone's favorite droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO. Like Ewoks, it's not especially entertaining by today's standards, but it is decidedly more Star Wars-y. The show features appearances from characters like Boba Fett and IG-88, and even has an overarching plot by the end of its brief 13-episode run.

"The Revenge of Kybo Ren" features none of these things. It does feature Kybo Ren, who ends up being a racist Asian caricature, predating Nute Gunray and Jar-Jar Binks by nearly 15 years. Nothing about this episode would make it to the screen today, and for good reason.