Star Wars: The Clone WarsAs the Clone Wars continue, the Republic faces difficulties due to the control the criminal Hutt clans exert over the Outer Rim trade routes. But the kidnapping of crime lord Jabba the Hutt’s son Rotta opens the door for the Jedi and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine to make a deal with the gangster. Despite the misgivings of Jedi Master Mace Windu, they agree that in return for Jabba’s help with the trade routes, the Jedi will send two of their best to rescue the young Huttlet. But the Jedi Knights best suited to the task, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, are bogged down on the planet of Christophsis, with their differing approaches in clear view. Obi-Wan, in particular, is eager for a new Padawan now that Anakin has been elevated to full Knight status. But it is the reluctant Anakin who finds himself with an apprentice in the form of young Jedi-in-training Ahsoka Tano, sent to him by Yoda. While General Skywalker and Ahsoka embark on a mission to sabotage the Separatist’s defenses, Obi-Wan confronts their leader, General Loathsom. Both gambits prove successful and the Republic regains control of the planet.

But in wartime things seldom stay calm and the three are soon off on their missions in relation to Rotta’s kidnapping. Anakin and Ahsoka are sent to the planet of Teth to retrieve the child, while Obi-Wan negotiates with Jabba. The entire affair proves to be a plot by Count Dooku to frame the Jedi and put them in contention with the Hutts. Dooku sends his disciple, Asajj Ventress, to carry out the details of the plan. But following a massive battle, Anakin and Ahsoka (with R2-D2 in tow) rescue Rotta and escape the planet, heading to Tatooine in a battered old freighter so they can reunite Jabba and his son.

Arriving on the planet, they soon split up. Anakin squares off against Count Dooku, leaving Ahsoka to stave off Magna Guards alone. Meanwhile on Coruscant, Anakin’s secret wife, Senator Padme Amidala, attempts to contact Jabba’s uncle, Ziro the Hutt, to ask for his aid in the conflict. She learns that Ziro is in league with Count Dooku and is trying to take over the Hutt clans. Caught eavesdropping, she is imprisoned by Ziro. On Tatooine, Anakin is able to outmaneuver Dooku and the Huttlet is returned to his father, who nonetheless orders the deaths of Anakin and Ahsoka. Padme is rescued by the timely intervention of C-3PO and a squad of Clone Troopers, allowing her to transmit the evidence of Ziro’s treachery to Jabba, saving the two Jedi and foiling the Sith’s plans.

screenplay by Henry Gilroy, Steven Melching & Scott Murphy
directed by Dave Filoni
music by Kevin Kiner / original Star Wars themes by John Williams

Cast: Matt Lanter (Anakin Skywalker), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano), James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Dee Bradley Baker (Clone Troopers / Captain Rex, etc.), Tom Kane (Yoda / Admiral Yularen), Nika Futterman (Asajj Ventress), Ian Abercrombie (Chancellor Palpatine / Darth Sidious), Corey Burton (General Loathsom / Ziro the Hutt), Catherine Taber (Padmé Amidala), Matthew Wood (Battle Droids), Kevin Michael Richardson (Jabba the Hutt), Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Christopher Lee (Count Dooku)

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Notes: This film takes place between Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. It serves as the introduction to the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series.

The Clone Wars does not directly contradict anything in the main films. It does, however, stand at odds with many established aspects of the Star Wars Expanded Universe:

  • The most significant is the notion of Anakin having a Padawan, something never hinted at before.
  • Anakin was not previously mentioned as being a General during the Clone Wars and it was widely held that he achieved a rank no higher than Commander. It should be noted, however, that his rank is never actually mentioned in Revenge of the Sith. (I checked.)
  • Hutts are described as hermaphrodites in the Expanded Universe, but the clear references to the young Huttlet as Jabba’s son (with no qualifiers) indicate that normal sex roles are in place.
  • Although previous EU materials discussed the clones’ individuality, the degree to which that individuality manifested (died hair, tattoos, etc.) is first seen here.
  • Additionally, The Clone Wars shows clones in support and bureaucratic positions, where previously they’ve been seen almost exclusively in combat roles.

On the other hand, several aspects of the EU make their way into The Clone Wars:

  • Chiefly, the inclusion of the Sith-like Asajj Ventress, an EU character seen prominantly in the previous animated series and in the comics.
  • Ziro the Hutt utilizes the symbol of the Black Sun, a criminal organization that finds its origins in the “Shadows of the Empire” multimedia project.
  • The notion that Jabba the Hutt’s palace was a B’omarr monastery (indicated by its similarity to the clearly identified monastery on Teth) comes from EU sources.
  • There is a brief appearance by R2-KT, a fan-made astromech droid created as a tribute to a dying young girl. R2-KT later entered the EU thanks to a Hasbro action figure made as a fundraiser.

Admiral Yularen, here shown to be an important part of Anakin and Obi-Wan’s support team, can be seen as a background character in the original Star Wars. He’s the white-haired, mustachioed Imperial in the white uniform during the Death Star conference scene.

Other film characters who turn up briefly include Commander Cody, General Grievous, Nute Gunray, Wat Tambor, and Jedi Knights Luminara, Kit Fisto and Plo Koon.

Returning from the main films are Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Daniels, Christopher Lee and Matthew Wood. Also returning are James Arnold Taylor and Tom Kane, who played the same roles in the 2003-2005 Star Wars: Clone Wars series by Genndy Tartakovsky.

Samuel L. Jackson first played Mace Windu in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and reprised the role in Episodes II and III. He apparently personally requested the opportunity to return to the role for Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Anthony Daniels is probably the actor with the most Star Wars credits under his belt, portraying the golden droid C-3PO in all six live-action movies, The Star Wars Holiday Special, the radio dramas, one season of the Droids cartoon, Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars, countless guest appearances and documentaries, and now The Clone Wars film and series.

Christopher Lee portrayed Count Dooku (aka Darth Tyranus) in Episodes II and III and was asked to return to voice the character in The Clone Wars. He was brought in very late in the production and had to re-loop the dialogue that had been recorded by another actor, matching the already produced animation.

In addition to the earlier cartoon series, James Arnold Taylor has voiced Obi-Wan Kenobi in the video games Star Wars: Battlefront II and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.

Tom Kane is a Star Wars voiceover veteran, performing characters in many Star Wars video games, starting all the way back in 1996 with Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter. He has since worked on over twenty additional Star Wars titles as well as the Robot Chicken: Star Wars special.

Corey Burton has also worked on several Star Wars video games, including Star Wars: Galactic Backgrounds, Star Wars: Bounty Hunter and Star Wars: Empire at War. In these projects, he often provides the voice of Count Dooku.

Dee Bradley Baker previously voiced various characters in the Star Wars: Jedi Knight – Jedi Academy video game.

Though new to this era, Catherine Taber has previous Star Wars experience, voicing characters in the video games Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and (as Padmé’s daughter Princess Leia) in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

Matthew Wood is a sound editor with Lucasfilm and is known for providing several voices for the prequel trilogy and related materials. His most famous character, of course, is General Grievous, a role he first voiced in Episode III and revisits in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series.

Kevin Michael Richardson is another actor with many Star Wars video game credits to his name, beginning with various roles in the Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace title. He also provided minor voices for the 2004 season of Star Wars: Clone Wars.

Ashley Eckstein is new to Star Wars and is probably best known for her many appearaces on the Disney Channel series That’s So Raven and for her stint on sketch comedy show Blue Collar TV. Other work includes Phil of the Future, the film Sydney White and the role of Jan Brady in the 2002 TV Movie The Brady Bunch in the White House.

Nika Futterman is also a Star Wars newbie, but has done voice work for shows such as CatDog, What’s New, Scooby Doo?, Kim Possible and Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Ian Abercrombie’s career dates back to the mid-1960s and includes everything from Get Smart and Columbo to L.A. Law and Moonlighting to Seinfeld and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He has appeared on Twin Peaks, The Flash, Babylon 5, Star Trek: Voyager and played Alfred Pennyworth on the Batman-related series Birds of Prey. The Clone Wars marks his Star Wars debut.

Director Dave Filoni was brought into the Star Wars fold specifically to run The Clone Wars. His previous experience includes directing episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender, as well as storyboard work on Avatar, Mission Hill and Dave the Barbarian.

Writer Henry Gilroy’s career includes significant amounts of work for Disney (Timon and Pumbaa, House of Mouse, Lilo & Stitch) and Warner Bros. (Batman: TAS, Justice League). He has also worked on animated projects such as The Tick, Bionicle and Transformers: Animated.

Steven Melching’s Star Wars cred comes from helping hatch the story to one of the definitive Star Wars parodies, the Cops-inspired Troops. His writing has been primarily for genre animation, such as The Mask, Extreme Ghostbusters, Godzilla: The Series, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, The Batman and The Legion of Super-Heroes. He has also written for Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and Young Hercules.

Scott Murphy’s writing career has included stints on Angel and the 2007 Flash Gordon series.

Composer Kevin Kiner has worked primarily in television, with scores for series such as Superboy, The Love Boat: The Next Wave, Enterprise and CSI: Miami and TV movies such as Black Scorpion and Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD. His film credits include co-writing the score to the 1993 series-launching film Leprechaun, which starred Episode I & VI actor Warwick Davis (Wald/Wicket) as an evil leprechaun and Wing Commander, which featured Episode I actor Hugh Quarshie (Captain Panaka).