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The one underrated Star Wars movie you need to watch before Obi-Wan Kenobi

If you’re already rewatched the prequels, here’s one unexpected film worth revisiting.

The prequels are back! This week marks the premiere of Obi-Wan Kenobi, a limited series set to reunite Ewan McGregor (Kenobi) and Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker) for the first time since 2005. But the iconic Star Wars duo have appeared together onscreen a little more recently, and if you want to truly prepare for Kenobi, you may have the watch the most divisive franchise entry of all time.

We’re talking, of course, about The Clone Wars. No, not the beloved Genndy Tartakovsky miniseries. Not even the popular CGI cartoon. We’re talking about the Clone Wars movie, arguably the most universally despised Star Wars story ever told (unless we’re counting the non-canon Holiday Special). And yet, there’s a very good reason to give it another shot.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Ahead of the Obi-Wan Kenobi premiere, Lucasfilm released a list of movies and TV episodes worth rewatching. Included in that list are all three prequel movies and a handful of Clone Wars episodes. And then, there’s the Clone Wars movie. According to the studio, it’s required viewing. But why?

Originally released in 2008 to kick off the animated series, Clone Wars introduced a new take on the franchise. Fully rendered with computer animation — and a new voice cast — the cartoon dropped Star Wars fans directly into the nitty-gritty details of the galactic conflict. The plot follows Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Anakin’s new padawan, Ahsoka Tano, as they take on an unlikely mission: rescuing Jabba the Hutt’s adorable infant, Rotta.

To be honest, it’s a bit weird. This is a movie where multiple people use the word “Huttlet.” Then again, it also features a badass lightsaber fight between Anakin and Count Dooku on the moon-lit dunes of Tatooine.

Clone Wars also offers new insight into the machinations of Emperor Palpatine’s evil plot. While Anakin and Ahsoka deal with a sick baby Hutt, Count Dooku leads the separatists through both direct conflict and deception. It’s not the worst plot in Star Wars history, but it doesn’t add much to the broader mythology that you can’t get elsewhere.

So why should you watch The Clone Wars? Well, I can think of a few intriguing reasons.

Clone Wars and Obi-Wan Kenobi

Ahsoka in The Clone Wars.Lucasfilm

The most obvious reason is also the best. Clone Wars introduced the world to Ahsoka, and while her character isn’t confirmed to appear in Obi-Wan Kenobi, there’s no reason she can’t show up in the new series. Snips (as Anakin called her) was introduced to live-action in The Mandalorian, and she could easily show up in Kenobi to face off against her old Jedi master.

Another, much less likely option is that Obi-Wan Kenobi is going to reintroduce Jabba’s son. Rotta (aka, Stinky) would be a little over 10 years old in the new series. Are we about to meet an angsty preteen Stinky the Hutt?

Finally, on a more emotional level, Clone Wars could give movie fans the context they need to truly understand Anakin and Obi-Wan’s dynamic in the new series. While the movies gloss over their deep bond, Clone Wars and its subsequent series dive deep into their relationship. It’s one thing to hear Ewan McGregor call Hayden Christensen his “brother.” It’s another to watch them fight side by side in endless battles.

Revisiting the controversial cartoon could make the most anticipated reunion in Star Wars history even more satisfying — assuming you can stomach the terrible CGI.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is streaming on Disney+.