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Behind the Scenes of 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars'

Cue the dramatic theme music. Star Wars returns to the big screen but this time around Obi Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, and the rest of the Jedi Knights are in animated form. Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a brand new animated adventure which is set during, of course, the Clone Wars and introduces a couple of new characters as well as brings back some familiar faces from the Star Wars world.
At a press conference held at George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch, producer Lucas joined director Dave Filoni and producer Catherine Winder to discuss the story behind this latest chapter in the Star Wars saga.
What do people do for fun in the Star Wars universe?
George Lucas: "Well, they like pod races, they like gambling, they like card games. They go out and shoot at womp rats in the canyons with their local tractors."
Dave Filoni: "They play that chess style game that Chewbacca and R2 played."
Does the mythology have an entertainment industry?
George Lucas: "There is an entertainment industry but you won't find that out until you get to the live action show in a few years. I mean, there is an entertainment - they go to the opera."
What mythological territory will the Clone Wars series travel into?
George Lucas: "Well, the mythological arc of the saga doesn't really continue in these other things because that is a story. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It's the story of one man's struggle against evil and redemption by his son and that sort of thing. This is more like, I don't know, it's more episodic. It's more like Indiana Jones, actually. You have themes and things that still go through it, and there are issues like that, but it's not what it's based on. This is bigger and we get to go more places."
"The fun part about animation, especially in the Clone Wars in particular, is that we're allowed to go and do stories about clones. We get to know them and find out what they do for recreation and what Jabba the Hut's family is all about, do all kinds of things that don't have anything to do with the main character. The film itself, the series itself, the epic itself is basically about one man, so it's very, very narrow. You pass through a lot of things and you look - 'What's that over there?' - but you never get to look at it. So this allows us to go and look at all that stuff, which means we're not encumbered by this mythological uberstory of the psychological underpinnings of why somebody turns to be a bad person."
Why an animated movie now and why the stylized approach?
George Lucas: "I will say photorealistic is what live action movies are. Animation is an art. It's like, and this is an art philosophical discussion, you either like photorealistic art that looks exactly like a photograph and you like to hang that in the museum of modern art. Or you like something that actually tries to find the truth behind the realism. To me, animation is an art. It's all about design; it's all about style. It's not about making it look photoreal. I've been making photoreal movies all my life and they have a lot of animation in them but they're still photoreal. And that's not what animation is. Animation is something else entirely. It's a completely different medium. So that's why we didn't do it photoreal."
"…But basically, the other part, why now? Basically, and I started out in animation, I studied animation when I was at college and produced some work that was a lot of fun, had a lot of animated films and stuff in my career and I've always been interested in it. When we did Revenge of the Sith I lamented the fact that I couldn't, I had to jump over the Clone Wars. I jumped over the Clone Wars because it had nothing to do with Anakin Skywalker. He's just another player. It's not about him, as I say, we had a very narrow focus on talking about him personally. So I couldn't do that. I said, 'Gee, it's too bad because there's a great, it's like World War II. It's a huge canvas there to be mined.' So we decided we would do a little five minute animation series for Cartoon Network using anime and manga and those kind of ideas that I've always wanted to work in. We hired a really great director, Genndy [Tartakovsky], to do it for us. But that sort of got me going and saying, 'You know, we could do a regular TV show, a big one, a half an hour show and it could really be great. We could use all the new techniques we developed in CGI animation and that sort of thing.' And I said, 'When I finish Star Wars, I'm going to go and start this and I'm going to do it.' So that's basically what happened."
"I got to fill in a blank and go around in a universe that is not restricted and therefore not quite as dark, and we can have a lot more fun with it. We can enjoy it. It's a little bit more lighthearted. We ended up doing the TV series. The first few shots came back and I looked at them on the big screen. I said, 'This is fantastic. This is better than we ever imagined it would be and this is so good it could be a feature.' So I said, 'Why don't we make a feature?' We have Ahsoka, one of our main new characters, I said, 'Why don't we just make a picture that introduces her, that actually introduces one of the main characters?' So we did that, but it's purely something I wanted to do in terms of exploring animation and doing something that I enjoy doing."
"I sort of moved from features to television. Again, I'm in this position where if we're doing something, even as television, and it turns out to be good enough to be a feature, then we just switch it over. We don't sort of have a business plan while we're doing it. Things are pegged to do one thing or another. So a lot of the techniques and things that we used, because we wanted to make the best television series that had ever been created, and it ended up being good enough to be a movie. He can tell you about how we got to the marionette painted reality."



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