George Lucas is a cinematic Jedi Master who created some of filmdom's most iconic characters, revolutionized special effects and the movie merchandizing biz ... and inspired generations. Now there's 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars,' an animated feature that kicks off an eponymous Cartoon Network series. Set between Episodes 'II' and 'III,' it's got jaw-dropping F/X, heart-pumping action and a female Jedi-in-training who's sure to spawn a much-coveted action figure. Moviefone talked with Lucas about 'Clone,' his reaction to 'Indy IV' and whether he'll make another 'Star Wars' movie. -- By Raven Snook
Shane Gritzinger, FilmMagic.com
1. How did you come up with the idea of doing 'Clone Wars'?
When I was doing 'Revenge of the Sith,' I thought, "Gee, it's too bad that I'm starting 'Episode III' by going right into the end of the Clone Wars." So we came up with the idea of doing a little animated series for Cartoon Network.
2. You did two of those in 2003. Why did you decide to do yet another series ?
I started in animation in college, and then I moved to live action, but I have produced a lot of animated films and I really always wanted to get back to it. I was so enamored with the idea of doing the animated 'Clone Wars' and doing something that really wasn't focused on Anakin's problems of going to the Dark Side. So I decided that when I finished the features, I would go back and make the best animated TV series that has ever been done.
3. Wow, the best? Isn't that a tall order?
Well, that's the fun part! We helped evolve CG animation and we've been involved with it for a long time. I love anime, I love graphic art, I love Japanese influences. This is my chance to really have some fun and, you know, do it the best. It's not quite Pixar quality, but definitely of a quality that nobody's ever seen before.
4. Why did you opt to launch the series in theaters instead of on TV?
When we first started to see the finished product, I said, "This is way beyond our expectations, this is so great, this [could be] a feature film." So I decided that we should do a movie that introduces one of our main characters: Ahsoka [Anakin's Padawan, aka Jedi apprentice]. I know a lot of the fans will love to see it on the big screen.
5. 'Clone Wars' seems much lighter than the live action movies.
'Episode V' and 'Episode VI' and 'II' and 'III,' are all about personal angst and redemption and that kind of stuff whereas 'I' and 'IV' are innocent and lighthearted. 'Clone Wars' is like that. It's a lot more fun. Anakin's a regular guy, just like the rest of us. And the problem with the movies is -- just by the nature of the length of time and how you tell a story -- you don't get a chance to get beyond his problems. 'Clone Wars' allows Anakin to be a normal person.
6. How does 'Clone Wars' fit into the entire 'Star Wars' story?
It's really just a footnote. It's not part of the large saga. You get between Episodes 'II' and 'III,' and there's an asterisk there that says please check end of book for more about the Clone Wars.
7. So are there any great 'Star Wars' revelations?
Well, there's nothing like being a parent, as Anakin is to Ahsoka, to sort of make you grow up and be an adult. There are issues in the TV series that will evolve and come out just because they have to, because Anakin still has these problems about letting go. Even in the feature, Obi-Wan says, "I think they'll be a great team," and Yoda says, "Yeah, but his problem won't be teaching her, his problem will be letting go of her." And, obviously, she doesn't appear in 'Episode III.'
8. At one time, you were rumored to be making three 'Star Wars' trilogies. Are there more movies on the horizon?
No, because the Anakin Skywalker story starts when he's 10 and ends when he dies. Once he died, there was no more story. 'Star Wars' is about him, it's not really about Luke. And you know, I never said that there would be nine, anyway.
9. Were you happy with the way 'Indy IV' turned out?
Oh yeah, I thought it was a lot of fun, we had a great time doing it, and you know, it turned out well, so we're all happy.