Netflix strikes a great deal for all of ‘Star Wars: Clone Wars’ including new sixth season

When I pick my kids up from school today, we are going to celebrate. After all, we are big fans of the “Clone Wars” animated series that has been airing for the last five years. Beautifully produced, the show managed to introduce a fairly large new cast of supporting characters who seemed like welcome additions to the world of “Star Wars,” and it pulled off the near-impossible job of making decent use of Jar Jar, and it set up a central tension that was for me and for my sons, more suspenseful than anything in the prequels because we do not know the answer to one very big question:

Where is Ahsoka Tano?

From the very first episode of the show, Ahsoka was assigned to Anakin as his apprentice, and the two of of them genuinely grew as characters and as Jedi over the course of the series. I thought they gave Anakin a more genuine and upsetting arc towards the Dark Side over the course of this show than they did in the feature films. I think these stories really are necessary text if you’re going to fully embrace the story they’re telling. There is more real “Star Wars” in the five seasons of the show that has already aired than people seem to realize.

One of the great dramatic tensions of the show is that Ahsoka does not appear in “Revenge Of The Sith,” which suggests something happened that separated her from the characters she is so closely bound to during the run of the series. Now, at the time “Revenge Of The Sith” was made, there was no “Clone Wars” series, and I doubt anyone had thought too deeply about the time between that movie and the one before it. But over the course of the show’s run, it became clear that her relationship with Anakin, and with the Jedi as a whole, was not an easy one, and it always felt like something could happen to blow that entire relationship to pieces.

Which is exactly what happened at the end of season five, leaving fans excited to see the sixth season, which they all knew had been recording voices already. And then it got cancelled, and for anyone who was invested in that story, it felt like a real punch to the gut. They ended in the exact wrong place, without resolving how Ahsoka’s choices might help drive Anakin away from the Jedi.

Well, folks… fret no more:

The Galactic Republic, Disney/ABC Television Group, Lucasfilm, and Netflix Inc. today announced the highly anticipated debut of the sixth and final season of the Emmy(r) Award-winning series Star Wars: The Clone Wars exclusively to Netflix members in the US and Canada on Friday, March 7. Accompanying the 13-episode new season dubbed “The Lost Missions” will be the entire Star Wars: The Clone Wars saga, which includes several director’s cut episodes never seen on TV as well as the feature film. This multi-year agreement also makes Netflix the exclusive subscription service for the entire Star Wars: The Clone Wars series.

In these eagerly anticipated episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, some of the deepest mysteries of the conflict between the light and the dark sides of the Force are revealed. An intrepid clone trooper discovers a shocking secret, Anakin Skywalker’s closest relationship is tested to its limits, and what Master Yoda discovers while investigating the disappearance of a Jedi could forever change the balance of power in the galaxy. Fans will not only be able to watch the thrilling finale, they’ll be able to see more of Star Wars: The Clone Wars than ever before as Netflix will also stream the director’s cut of seasons one to five.

“Stars Wars is one of the most iconic franchises of all time and this series joins a long line of Disney content that Netflix members are and will continue to enjoy for years to come,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer. “The Clone Wars marks an important moment as Netflix welcomes more and more first-run content from The Walt Disney Company and its subsidiaries.”

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is the first time any Star Wars content has been available for Netflix streaming members. The deal follows a recent announcement from Netflix and The Walt Disney Company to bring multiple original series based on Marvel characters to the service in 2015. Netflix will be the exclusive US subscription television service for first-run, live-action, and animated movies from the Walt Disney Studios including titles from Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Disneynature, and Lucasfilm beginning in 2016. Netflix members can currently enjoy a wide range of Disney, ABC Entertainment Group and Disney Channel films and TV shows across the 41 countries where Netflix operates.

If NetFlix starts earning a reputation as the place where beloved shows go when they are killed too early, that’s a very valuable perception for the viewing public. That could be a huge benefit to the subscription service, and I know that my own two little Jedi are going to be thrilled to hear that there are 13 new episodes coming and that they should finally get some of the answers they’ve been waiting to hear.

And who knows what this means in terms of future content? After all, if Marvel has a great experience with NetFlix, maybe this will be where we finally see that 100-episode live-action “Star Wars” series that has all those scripts stacked up and ready to shoot.

This is a big deal, even if you’re not a “Clone Wars” fan, because it seems to push us ever closer to the end of the way TV works now, and a very different landscape of how it will work in the near-future.