TCA: ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ series first look


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The formidable Gen. Grievous issued a warning to reporters assembled Friday morning for a screening of an episode of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” beheading and blasting away several battle droids before the show. Leaks or spoilers would not be tolerated.

Here’s what we can say. It just might be better than all the live-action prequels put together. (I consulted with the critics around me -- it’s not an overstatement.) The CG-animated series also bests the traditionally animated mini-episodes (of the same title) that preceded it in terms of visuals alone.


The episode looked great -- not Pixar-amazing, but certainly in line with movies like “Kung Fu Panda” -- but it’s the writing that puts it heads above the franchise’s more recent additions. Sure, the series is ultimately aimed at kids, but this audience was laughing. And the comedy here is expected -- in a good way. It doesn’t come from Anakin saying things like, “I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft and smooth” -- as amusing as that was in “Attack of the Clones.”

Reporters did get a load of gothic villain Ventress (above) in action. She’s an apprentice of Count Dooku, whom the series’ supervising director David Filoni describes as “a bit sensuous” and “serpent-like.” She’s genuinely frightening.

Elsewhere, Yoda’s as feisty as ever and we can report that some of the star-trooper clones seem to be Australian. [Update: Commenter Brian Hibbs notes that actor Tom Morrison is from New Zealand.] Nothing, however, to report on Anakin, Obi-Wan or main baddie Darth Sidious, none of whom were part of the episode.

Asked whether this series could stand alone, perhaps for children not yet exposed to the feature movies. “Every time I go to Toys R Us, I see kids picking up light sabers and imagining they’re in a galaxy far, far away,” Filoni said. “I hope those fans will watch and enjoy this. And maybe listen to Yoda.”

“Clone Wars,” both the series and the upcoming theatrical movie, take place between “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith” at a point when storm troopers are still aligned with the Jedi and Anakin Skywalker has not yet morphed into the villainous Darth Vader.

The movie will premiere Aug. 10, and be in general release Aug. 15, with the tv series to follow sometime in the fall. No specific premiere date was announced for the 22-episode series.

(A previous post incorrectly stated the film’s release date was Aug. 10.)

-- Denise Martin

Photos: Top, Anakin Skywalker confronts villainous Asajj Ventress; Center, Obi-Wan Kenobi leading his troops into battle. Courtesy, Warner Bros.