The Clone Wars theme blares over loudspeakers as the cast all pile onto the stage. Waving and bowing in front of a beaming audience, they take their seats. There's some giggling amongst them, mostly as Anakin plops himself down in Obi-Wan's chair. Although the microphones don't pick up their exchange, it's clear from Obi-Wan's gestures and Anakin's smirk that this is something that has happened before. It's not until Padmé whispers something in Anakin's ear does he actually get up. Obi-Wan only turns around to the rest of the audience and lifts his arm in mock exasperation, causing the audience to laugh harder.
Meanwhile, Ahsoka lounges in her own chair set between Anakin and Rex. She and Rex are passing his helmet to one another, though at one point, the helmet nearly flies to Obi-Wan, who ducks out of the way in time for it to hit the poor interviewer. Ahsoka and Rex give embarrassed smiles to the audience, but of course, no one minds.
"What a way to start the conference, huh?" Ahsoka only says as she scrambles to retrieve the helmet from the host. There's some exchanged "sorry!" and "totally fine" before Ahsoka hops back up to her chair.
"Welcome, everyone!" the host says, turning to the audience. "I'm your host, [NAME REDACTED], and here before us, we have our lovely heroes of The Clone Wars."
A cheer goes up amongst the audience, which triggers a series of waving from the cast.
"Alright, alright!" the host says, sitting down in her own chair. "That sounds enthusiastic to me." She looks at the cast. "How about you guys? How're you guys feeling?"
"Heavily caffeinated," Ahsoka says, causing laughter amongst the cast and the audience.
"But that makes things more fun," Anakin chimes in.
"Of course," the host says. "So then, speaking of fun," she flips open a notecard. "Our first question right now is how was the experience filming this after…" She gestures. "Years of being a part of this show?"
There's some shifting and murmuring amongst the cast, and then Anakin and Obi-Wan both pointedly look at Ahsoka, who smiles. The audience whoops as she picks up the microphone. Ahsoka smiles again, and then she says, "Chaotic."
There's laughter, and Ahsoka adds, "I'm being serious! After years of being together, filming this didn't feel really real. You have to understand that what we're filming is just…really heavy stuff for all of us, so I think that kind of…" She gestures towards the cast. "Set something off in all of us to make things as lighthearted as possible."
"Adding onto that," Anakin says, looking around the audience, "we definitley stayed overtime. We did a lot of takes, and not just because we kept tripping over our lines." He pauses. "Although there was plenty of that too." He grins sheepishly and, leaning back in his seat, adds, "But in all seriousness, we all knew that the last arc was going to tie up a lot of loose ends, and we wanted to make it just right for the fans."
"Which you guys did," the host says graciously, and the whooping from the audience is all the confirmation needed. Turning back towards the cast, the host asks, "So given tying up all those loose ends, I just want to ask all of you guys specifically how you felt after seeing your characters grow—for better or for worse—since your first appearances in The Clone Wars."
"Well, since you said for worse," Anakin murmurs, and there's a series of "aww" and other distressed noises as he turns towards the audience. "Yeah," he says. "I don't know what to say except it was hard to film those last few episodes. Like, that first day on set way back when…" He shakes his head. "You see me start off as this confident general, right? This cocky Jedi Knight, Hero with No Fear or whatever—and that's the hero everyone wants, right?" Anakin presses his lips into a sad smile. "And then you just see that crumble apart over the course of the show, and of course, that last scene…"
"So that was actually you in the Vader suit," the host says.
"Yeah," Anakin replies. "I know that technically, someone else could have been brought in to fill out the suit, but everyone was really intent on having me be the one in the suit—and even though I'm all suited up, everyone can tell it's the Anakin Skywalker they first saw in The Clone Wars movie, which…" He gestures. "Double the pain. But," he says, gesturing towards himself, "thankfully, everyone can see that I'm still in one piece—so I like to think that there's an Anakin Skywalker out there who's still doing okay."
"Of course," the host says. "We're seeing him right now."
Anakin grins, and then he says into the microphone, "Okay, that's the signal for someone else to speak, right?" He looks at Obi-Wan pointedly. "Your turn."
There's laughter, and then Obi-Wan says in mock weariness, "Of course." He turns to the audience and says, "Well…while I don't particularly have the same tragic fate as Anakin, I think we still see some of that shift in my character as well. He's certainly not the same as he was in the beginning of the Clone Wars." He shifts a little in his seat and adds, "By the time we reach the Mandalore arc, my character is at the end of his rope—mostly with the end of the war and all of the troubles that come with it. He's much more tired than he was in the beginning—and perhaps he was hoping for the end of the war to provide some relief, but clearly, that relief never comes. If anything, the exact opposite happens."
"Sorry about that," Anakin says.
"Yes, well," Obi-Wan replies, looking at Anakin, "I also like to believe there's at least a universe in which everyone gets the ending they deserved."
"Hear, hear," the host says, and the audience claps in approval.
"And I guess as for endings," Padmé starts to say, and there's a roar from the audience, and Padmé smiles. "Yes, avenge me," she says dryly before turning to the rest of the cast, who all beam at her. "Well," she says, "I know I only appeared in the earlier episodes, but I guess we see that I'm still the somewhat encouraging one. Which is a bit sad, seeing my character seem so full of hope when we know what's going to happen later. It's a sad situation, but at least for that moment, we see Padmé happy."
"So now we just need to freeze that shot," the host offers.
"Yes, exactly," Padmé agrees. "Just keep me alive."
There's some more laughter at that, and smiling, the host adds, "Exactly. But speaking of people who need to stay alive…" She tilts her head at Rex, who picks up the microphone.
"Right," he says. "Well." He looks at the audience again. "Here I am…?" His voice lilts into question towards the end, causing giggles amongst the audience. He looks at Ahsoka and Anakin questioningly, who both shoot him a thumbs-up. That creates more laughter, and this time, Rex allows a light laugh himself before turning back around to the audience. "Honestly, I know there's always been a question of whether my character would stay alive. Since most of us know what's supposed to happen at the end, we always knew my character's end was always in the air. I don't think any of us were aware that my character would…become as big as he became now either. Which is." He looks around at the audience. "A good feeling," he ends. "Not a lot of people take a second look at the clone troopers, so seeing that my character has some hope for him too—despite the circumstances—is a bittersweet feeling."
Clearing his throat, Rex adds, "And of course, I have to thank the fans for that. Because the fans really decided to give this particular clone trooper a deeper look than I think any of us anticipated."
There's applause at that, and then Rex's cheeks darken as he sets his microphone down. He glances over at Ahsoka and, nodding at her, mouths, your turn.
The applause only increases as Ahsoka picks up her microphone, and there's a few seconds before the applause dies down. "Wow," Ahsoka says after a moment. She looks around at the cast. "I mean, I came into this show as a kid, so this…" She looks at the audience, swallowing hard. "This is a lot."
There's some "aww"s as Anakin reaches over and squeezes Ahsoka on the shoulder, and she smiles.
"It's been a wild ride," she says. "But yeah—my character starts off as a child, and I know a lot of the fans were children when they started watching the show, so…the fans really watched my character grow up along with them." She looks around the room and adds, "Like Rex, I wasn't really sure where my character would end up. People have always kind of thought that I had to come to some tragic end because we don't really see Ahsoka show up later, right? But..." She smiles. "There has been just so much love poured into my character, and just so much love from the rest of the cast and crew…" She blinks a few times and, clearing her throat, says, "So by the end of the series, Ahsoka's a lot older, and she's seen so much, and she's heartbroken, but she still somehow manages to keep fighting. And she lives." She lifts her shoulders a little, smiles. "And she lives in every single one of the fans. So really, the story never ends."
There's more "aww"s (and some people can be heard blowing their noses), and even the host wipes at her face quickly.
But then, clearing her throat, the host only says, "Looking at you guys now, it's clear that you guys have grown close together both on and off set. Do you have any favorite memories you want to share?"
There's some thoughtful murmuring amongst the cast, and then Padmé says, "I think I can speak for all of us that we have so many good memories of each other. From day one of filming to the last day, we've all just had all of the best experiences."
"I didn't like pretending to bang my head on the pipe, though," Rex offers, which earns him laughter from everyone.
"I think the first day of shooting was the most interesting for all of us," Obi-Wan says, and there's some shared smiles and looks between the cast before Obi-Wan continues, "We were all very excited to get going, which adds onto lots of jangled nerves."
"I kept tripping down the shuttle," Ahsoka offers.
"And I kept forgetting my lines," Anakin says.
"And I might have broken a thing or two on set," Obi-Wan says, looking somewhat scandalized.
"More like five or six," Anakin counters.
"The point is," Padmé says quickly, causing more tittering amongst the audience, "we've all had fun, both on and off-set."
Rex suddenly perks up. "Are we allowed to show photos here?" he asks the host.
The host shrugs. "It's your press conference," she replies, and as if on cue, the whole room dims, and a screen lowers behind the cast. Everyone—including the cast members, who swivel around in their seats—look up at the screen, and a photo montage plays: Ahsoka holding Stinky in her arms, Anakin and Rex dangling from the cliff edge at Teth. Obi-Wan and Padmé drinking tea somewhere off-set.
The photos transition through the later seasons of The Clone Wars: Ahsoka flashing a thumbs-up as she and Anakin jump off a ship, Rex struggling under holding an astromech. Obi-Wan and Anakin peeking their heads out from the edge of a boulder. Ahsoka and Barriss holding up fake worms, pretending to gag. Obi-Wan hanging upside down in the mining shaft, while Satine only laughs in the background. Padmé shaking her head at something Jar-Jar must have said.
And then the photos speed up: Ahsoka doing a handstand next to Chewbacca, while Anakin gestures proudly at her. Padmé and Bail back-to-back, holding up their blasters. Rex rolling his eyes at Tarkin, whose lips are open in mid-speech. Obi-Wan meditating a stack of crates, the chest of his tunic covered in fake blood. Rex standing on top of a plant in Umbara, his hands resting on his hips at something that Fives said.
And then the photos are transitioning into purely off-set photos: Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka sitting on top of the Temple steps. Padmé and Satine beaming on the shore of some tropical planet. Rex in civilian clothes, balancing a soccer ball on his head.
And then there are the last few photos, photos that cause both the audience to coo and the cast to slowly inch closer together:
Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka asleep in a breakroom, their heads resting against each other. Padmé holding Anakin's hand in real life, not just in hologram. Rex and Ahsoka proudly holding up clone trooper helmets, their hands covered in orange paint. And then the last photograph—the entire cast and crew wrapped around each other in a group hug, their faces frozen in a smile.
And in that darkened room of the press conference, one can find the cast huddled together, and though their backs are turned to the audience, everyone can hear the quiet and teary laughter coming from them.
When the lights finally come back on, the cast turns around and take a look at the audience gathered before them.
There's a silence as everyone takes in the photos, take in the cast, take in this very moment.
"So what now?" the host asks at last.
Ahsoka is the one to speak.
"Now," she says, looking at the other cast members: at her family. "Now," she says, "we live on."
A/N: A lot of inspiration was drawn from watching the D23 Zoom panel that the TCW cast held a few weeks ago. (I think you can just lok up D23 TCW or something like that to find the recording!)
I honestly have just a lot of emotions about The Clone Wars ending. For those who have been following my stories for a long time, The Clone Wars was and is really the franchise that I always go back to because this show just has such a special place in my heart. Even though The Clone Wars may have ended the chapter, the story never ends, and I'm just so grateful that we got a second chance to see these characters when second chances are so rare to come by.
That being said, the actual cast of The Clone Wars-James Arnold Taylor, Matt Lanter, Dee Bradley Baker, Cat Taber, Sam Witwer, Ashley Eckstein, and so many other voices that contributed to the show-are an absolute gift, and I'm just so thankful for each of them for bringing all of these characters to life. And of course, I'm so grateful for Dave Filoni and the animators and the sound designers and the writers and the entire production team of The Clone Wars for truly giving us a show that all of us will look back to with nothing but happy memories.
Anyways, this whole note is a mess of emotions, but I love this series so much, and writing these bloopers have kind of been my own way of telling myself that all of these people are okay, haha.
Thank you guys so much for the support for this story! I hope that I provided all the laughs and the occasional "aww" from you guys too. I'm so amazed by how The Clone Wars fandom is well and alive after nearly twelve years, and I hope that we live on too.
Luv ya bunches!