Why Clone Wars Characters Change Costumes So Little

Star Wars: The Clone Wars characters rarely change their outfits. Appearances are a key part of the Star Wars franchise, with Jedis wearing robes, Sith having the tendency to wear all black, and more. And while many characters, like Padme, tend to change their wardrobes several times throughout the movies, other characters stay relatively the same, which applies to the Clone Wars animated series as well. As the final season continues along, the question has to be asked; why do characters in The Clone Wars infrequently change their clothes?

The catalyst for this query stems from Clone Wars season 7, episode 5, “Gone With A Trace”. The episode reintroduced Ahsoka Tano to the Clone Wars narrative, and since it’s been some time since Ahsoka left the Jedi Order, her appearance changed. Aside from her physical aging, her choice of clothing is new. She has cast aside the browns and maroons she was once known for and, instead, she opts for blue and black garb to lay low in the Coruscant underworld. It seems that her new life influenced her outfit selection. It makes sense story-wise, but it opens up a slew of other questions. Chief among them, why don’t the other characters in the show follow suit?

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There are perhaps three reasons for that. The most plausible answer is a technical one; animating new outfits for every episode just isn’t feasible. The reuse of existing assets is far more fiscally responsible and constantly giving Jedi different robes would drain the production budget. Furthermore, there’s a story reason for most characters choosing to stay in the same clothes: they’re uniforms. Several of the main characters are Jedi and clone troopers, so they have no reason to change their outfits. Another reason has more to do with marketing. Characters like Yoda and Captain Rex have iconic appearances that have come from the show, and advertising them as such means they can’t suddenly change designs in the middle of the season; it could impact toy sales and other merchandise.

Over its seven seasons, The Clone Wars hasn’t shifted much in its presentation. Aside from an animation boost after Clone Wars season 3, the characters have seen few outfit changes. As the series has gone on, the Jedi have gradually dropped their clone armor. Also, the clones themselves have only gone from phase I to phase II sets. From a story perspective, this is done to tie the show to Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. This way when the series ends, everyone will appear as they are supposed to in the film. Even still, wardrobe changes are incredibly rare throughout the show all the same.

This is a debate that can be had from any number of angles. Be them economic or in-universe, there are a plethora of rationales. The Clone Wars is full of classic characters that very rarely venture outside their typical garb. Throughout the show, small tweaks have been made. Clones and Jedi had the chance to adopt new outfits on occasion. Still, the changes were highly irregular, so much so that it became impossible to ignore. This phenomenon is not exclusive to the Star Wars galaxy, however. Most cartoons tend to keep the appearance of their characters the same from episode to episode. It is for all of these reasons that the cast of The Clone Wars rarely makes changes to their outfits.

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