STAR WARS RETURNS TO THE BIG SCREEN
All New, CG-Animated Feature Film Event, STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS, Debuts Aug. 15
In 2005, STAR WARS: EPISODE III Revenge of the Sith brought the live-action, cinematic STAR WARS Saga to a close. But creator George Lucas and the storytellers at Lucasfilm Animation had more stories to tell about the "galaxy far, far away."
On-screen, the expansive, galaxy-changing Clone Wars was only fleetingly glimpsed in Revenge of the Sith and at the end of Episode II Attack of the Clones. But its importance to the STAR WARS galaxy is enormous - causing the Republic to become an Empire, leading to the "period of civil war" famously mentioned at the opening of Episode IV A New Hope.
Since its first reference in a passing remark by Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi more than 30 years ago in the very first STAR WARS movie, the subject has ignited the imaginations of moviegoers:
You fought in the Clone Wars?
Yes. I was once a Jedi Knight, the same as your father.
I wish I'd known him.
He was the best star pilot in the galaxy, and a cunning warrior. I understand that you've become quite a good pilot yourself. And he was a good friend.
"For years and years, people have wondered what the Clone Wars were, based solely on this quick mention," says Clone Wars director Dave Filoni. "The live-action movies were really centered on the Skywalker family, and we've never gotten to see the full breadth of the conflict."
Now, with the new animated feature, STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS, audiences will at last experience the galaxy-changing conflict, which simultaneously expands the scope of STAR WARS beyond anything that had been seen in the previous films, and also introduces new characters, new dramas and new adventures.
The backdrop of the Clone Wars, Filoni says, offers a chance to tell the tale of a struggle that turned a Republic into an Empire and paved the way for a civil war that ultimately resulted in freedom for the galaxy. "We may be dealing with a small window of time, but the scope of war - particularly a galactic war - is pretty expansive," he says. "There's a lot going on - heroes, villains, intrigue, adventure. It's all part of the story we know, but it's always been in the background. Until now."
One of the first steps in bringing STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS to the screen was finding the right entry point. The previous films had been confined to the Skywalker saga, but THE CLONE WARS offered nearly limitless options.
"A war, by nature, is a patchwork of untold stories," says STAR WARS creator George Lucas. "What's fascinating to me is that there are people motivating these far-reaching events, and that those individuals are so often overshadowed by the big picture, by the events themselves. We know what happens to the galaxy, but we don't know exactly how it all came to pass. These are the stories behind the story."
Taking an entirely fresh approach to a film series that is forever imprinted on the minds of generations of fans, Lucas sought to create a distinct visual style that would evoke the spirit of the films, while at the same time bring a unique, distinctive look to the first animated STAR WARS movie.
"We didn't want it to look photo-realistic," Lucas explains. "We were working with animation, and we wanted to really utilize the format. That meant shifting our thinking a bit. It's a whole different way of telling stories, and it gives us the freedom to do things that just aren't possible in live-action."
While overseeing the project as executive producer, Lucas brought in Dave Filoni - a veteran of Avatar: The Last Airbender and numerous animation projects - to serve as director. With a deep-rooted fandom and a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the STAR WARS universe, Filoni proved the perfect choice to take the reins.
"I've been dreaming about STAR WARS since I was a kid, playing with the toys in the backyard with my brother," Filoni notes. "Actually working on a STAR WARS movie is beyond anything I could have imagined. It's great to work in this world that I love so much, and to do it with George Lucas. Coming from a fan perspective, I also realize how important it is to do it right."
With an entirely new story and a cast of characters that grows in significant ways, Filoni says STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS holds true to the films that came before it, while bringing a new sense of adventure and excitement to the STAR WARS galaxy. "There's one thing we knew we had to deliver above all else - a STAR WARS movie," Filoni says. "The characters are distinctly stylized, while their environments come to life in a much more realistic way, very much creating the kind of immersive worlds people expect to see in a STAR WARS movie."