Star Wars: The Clone Wars reaches a milestone moment on Saturday with its 100th episode, which is titled “Missing In Action.” The big number is an impressive feat if you consider that even the most sacred of sci-fi shows fall short of the triple-digits. Consider the fact that the original Star Trek ran out of power at episode No. 79 and Battlestar Galactica (the 21st century edition) and The Six-Million Dollar Man were judged to be scrap metal after 73 and 99 weekly episodes, respectively (and no, we do not have to count either brand’s made-for-TV movies).

Sure, the achievement of keeping a show on the Cartoon Network for the past five years is a different challenge than holding on to a primetime slot during the network days of Capt. James T. Kirk and Col. Steve Austin. Still, Star Wars: The Clone Wars has been an impressive with its visual ambition, persistent storytelling interest in knotty ethical quandaries, and the amount of pivotal new canon it’s introduced (such as the existence of the Overlords). The show, by the way, is expected to move to Disney XD after this season as a logical result of the Disney purchase of Lucasfilm.

After five years, there are legion of young faithful fans who adore the show and can name a half dozen Clone Troopers (Rex and Cody, of course, but also Echo, Waxer, Hardcase, or maybe Boil and Keeli…). And they’ll meet a new one this Saturday with Gregor, a Republic clone commando suffering from amnesia who may be unaware of his true nature.

The clones have, paradoxically, become a force defined by singular deeds of valor and by individual personas that develop the same kind of variations in temperament and perspective that you would expect from any band of brothers. This band just happens to wear a “uniform” that goes down to the genetic level and their standard issue DNA.

The Clones have earned the loyalty of a new generation of Jedi fans and a not-insignificant percentage of those fans have never seen Mark Hamill in the role of Luke Skywalker — they only know the animated show and maybe the prequel trilogy. That sounds ludicrous to older fans who consider the Anakin Skywalker saga to be a lesser product and assume this show is a watered version of that — some clone created to occupy a LucasFilm marketshare. That view has its reasons behind it but so does the opinion that once a clone has watched life and death and made hard choices about both, they deserve a chance to make a name of their own.

Click below for the trailer…and fans of the show will want to make sure they watch all the way through.

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