The only way for The Clone Wars to end was for the events of the long-running Star Wars series to actually bump-up against Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. And now, in the second installment of the four-part Clone Wars series finale, that's actually happened. With Episode 10, "The Phantom Apprentice," Clone Wars Season 7 is now happening inside Revenge of the Sith. But because the series is dovetailing with one of the most pivotal moments in the Star Wars prequels, some events from that film are being seen in a new light.
In other words, Star Wars canon is changing.
The Clone Wars finale is suddenly making Revenge of the Sith a much more complicated and interesting piece of the Star Wars mythology. Here are three ways "The Phantom Apprentice" changes the canon of Revenge of the Sith, for the better.
Spoilers ahead for The Clone Wars Season 7 Episode 10.
3. Obi-Wan was mad at Anakin for killing Count Dooku
When Obi-Wan and Ahsoka speak via hologram, we suddenly realize that The Clone Wars is now taking place after the first 30-minutes of Revenge of the Sith. Obi-Wan mentions that he first heard of "Darth Sidious" from Count Dooku, which references the events of Attack of the Clones. But Anakin's slaying of Count Dooku happened at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith.
That decision has put the Jedi in a bind because the only person who could have told them anything about Sidious got his head cut-off by hot-head Skywalker. In fairness, this wasn't entirely Anakin's fault. Palpatine did say "DO IT" when Anakin hesitated about killing Dooku, which Obi-Wan apparently missed in all the commotion.
However, the idea that the Jedi Council really wanted to question Count Dooku does alter existing canon a tiny bit. In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin says that Dooku "must stand trial," which is not the same as being taken into the Jedi Council for questioning. Also, in the film, nobody mentions that the Jedi are annoyed about the death of Dooku, mostly because they are too busy making Anakin spy on Chancellor Palpatine.
2. Darth Maul wanted to kill Anakin before everyone else did
In the most pivotal moment in the episode, Maul asks Ahsoka to join him to stop the chaos that Darth Sidious is about to unleash. On some level, this makes sense: Darth Maul would have been aware that some kind of "revenge" against the Jedi would happen, after all, one of his only lines of spoken dialogue in a Star Wars film comes is when he says "At last, we shall have our revenge" in The Phantom Menace.
Ironically, now that the literal revenge of the Sith is about to engulf the galaxy, the guy who spoke that iconic threat actively wants to prevent said revenge from taking place. To add another layer of irony, Maul is, of course, 100 percent correct. If he and Ahsoka were to kill Anakin before Order 66 really got going, it's feasible things could have been better off. The most interesting thing about all of this is that Maul wanted Obi-Wan Kenobi to come to Mandalore, not Ahsoka. This strongly implies Maul would have petitioned Obi-Wan to team-up and kill Anakin, together.
When you consider that Obi-Wan decides to kill Anakin himself literally a day or two after this episode of The Clone Wars happens all of this gets very interesting. Had Maul made this request a teensy tiny bit later, Obi-Wan would have agreed with him, which leads to this question: Could Obi-Wan and Darth Maul, working together, have taken Anakin, and then, teaming-up with Yoda, taken out Palpatine, too?
Technically, Obi-Wan did defeat Anakin, but by the time that happened, it was kind of too late. If everyone had listened to Maul, you could argue the galaxy might have been saved.
1. Certain clones were easier to manipulate than others
We know from Star Wars Rebels and previous episodes of The Clone Wars, that each and every clone has a Control Chip (sometimes called an Inhibitor Chip) implanted in their brains. Back in the Season 6 episode, "Conspiracy," a trooper named Fives nearly exposed the fact that clones could be controlled by someone else, but obviously, Palps made sure that didn't happen.
We know that at some future point — probably in the next couple of episodes — Rex will remove or disable his Inhibitor Chip, which will prevent him from being part of Order 66. (Rex alludes to all of this in the Rebels episode "The Lost Commanders") But in "The Phantom Apprentice" there's a wrinkle to all of this. Apparently, "older" Clone Troopers like Fives and the now-captured ARC Trooper Jesse were slightly easier for Dark side baddies to manipulate.
A trooper named Sterling describes it like this to Ahsoka in the new episode:
"The ARC Trooper, Jesse. Maul realized he was older. Somehow, he looked into his mind, and he took him. He took Jesse alive."
In the "Conspiracy" arc in Clone Wars Season 6, Fives was also an ARC trooper, as is Captain Rex. This all seems to suggest that the inhibitor chips implanted in earlier clone batches are different, and perhaps less secure than the ones used in later batches. If Maul was able to "look into the mind" of an older ARC Trooper, it foreshadows the idea that some clones won't actually go rogue and can, in fact, have their minds changed about killing all the Jedi.
If Order 66 makes all the clones become mindless murder-machines, then maybe what Maul did to Jesse could be called Order 66-and-a-half. He was clearly in control of Jesse for a hot second but didn't want him to kill all the Jedi.
Either way, Order 66 is coming in the next two episodes of the Clone Wars, and it seems like the biggest canon change might be that not every single clone will react to the order the same way.
The Clone Wars airs its final two episodes over the next two weeks on Fridays on Disney+.