George Lucas: The Clone Wars Q&A

Why now? Why was now the right time to bring Star Wars to animation?
This is a project we've actually been working on since the end of Revenge of the Sith, I've worked in animation before with Steven [Spielberg] in A Land Before Time, John Korty on a film [Twice Upon a Time] and a few other things. I love animation. I started out in film school in animation, and I felt it was time to explore that medium, and then at the same time be able to explore a part of Star Wars that is so vast that you can't deal with the Luke Skywalker / Anakin Skywalker saga... you get to deal a little bit more with the minutiae of the Clone Wars.

Clearly this has a different look than anything that's come before. Can you share with us the method you went ahead to do this, and the thinking behind the design of The Clone Wars and also the design of the characters?

In order to create The Clone Wars, I had to develop a whole new studio from scratch. We've really been able to advance our animation ambitions. When it comes to the look and feel of The Clone Wars project, I wanted to do something that was in the realm of anime, design-wise, but still different. So I said, "How can we do this along with a strong storytelling sensibility?"

I have a tendency that --- just like with Star Wars, which is based in the 1930s Republic Saturday matinee serials, or Indiana Jones which is based on the same thing -- I wanted to give it a look and the feel of something that's from the past. So everybody was fairly amused in the animation community that we picked Gerry Anderson and Thunderbirds to be our inspiration. It has a very stylized look. I didn't want it to look like Beowulf, which we could've done, or The Incredibles, and when you're doing animation about live action actors and everyone knows what they look like, you really do have to come up with a sophisticated and dynamic caricature of these people.

A lot of people are excited about the new characters that you've incorporated into the storyline, great new good guys and great new villains.

We added a new character. We needed to change the dynamic between Obi-Wan the mentor and Anakin the Padawan, which is where we left them. That's how they entered the Clone Wars. We wanted to make that relationship become more dynamic... sort of like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. They're now equal. They're now partners. They're now working together.

But we really wanted to have that Padawan-mentor relationship, so we gave the most unlikely person a Padawan, which is Anakin, and we made the Padawan a girl. She's very feisty. She's very outgoing and independent-minded, which gives Anakin a real challenge, because he's sort of like that too. He's trying to clean up his act by teaching her to settle down and think and not be so aggressive.

She gets in her share of action.

She's a great character. She's turned out really fantastic.

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