Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a 2008 American computer-animated epic military science fiction film directed by Dave Filoni, produced by Lucasfilm Animation, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
Set during the Clone Wars between the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems, Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker is assigned an apprentice, Ahsoka Tano. Jabba the Hutt enlists them to rescue his kidnapped son Rotta in exchange for an alliance. Anakin and Ahsoka track the kidnapper to a planet where they are ambushed by Count Dooku and his apprentice Asajj Ventress and discover that Dooku hopes to frame the Jedi for Rotta’s kidnapping.
During the first year of the Clone Wars, Jedi Knights Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi lead a small battalion of Republic Clone troopers against the Separatist droid army on the planet Christophsis. Awaiting reinforcements, the two Jedi greet a shuttle carrying the young Jedi Ahsoka Tano, who insists that she has been assigned by Jedi Master Yoda to serve as Anakin’s Padawan. Anakin reluctantly accepts Ahsoka’s apprenticeship, and the two succeed in deactivating the Separatists’ energy field while Obi-Wan stalls the droid army commander, allowing a Republic victory. Ahsoka earns Anakin’s respect.
Following the battle, Yoda arrives and informs the Jedi that crime lord Jabba the Hutt’s son Rotta has been kidnapped. Anakin and Ahsoka are tasked with retrieving the Huttlet, while Obi-Wan is sent to Tatooine to negotiate with Jabba over a potential treaty between the Hutts and the Republic. Anakin and Ahsoka track the kidnapper and Rotta to the planet Teth, where they are ambushed by Separatist forces led by Count Dooku’s apprentice Asajj Ventress, discovering that Dooku hopes to frame the Jedi for Rotta’s kidnapping in order to get Jabba to ally with the Separatist army. The Jedi manage to escape the trap along with R2-D2 and hijack a derelict transport with which they travel to Tatooine. Obi-Wan, alerted by Anakin, arrives on Teth and defeats Ventress in a lightsaber duel, though she manages to escape.
Meanwhile, Senator Padmé Amidala, secretly married to Anakin, learns of her husband’s mission and fears for his safety. She decides to contact Jabba’s uncle Ziro on Coruscant. The Hutt refuses to cooperate, apparently believing that it is the Jedi who are responsible for the situation. However, Padmé soon discovers that Ziro has actually conspired with Dooku to have Rotta killed for Jabba to have Anakin and Ahsoka executed in return, which will force the Jedi Council to take Jabba into custody and allow Ziro to seize power over the Hutt clans. Padmé is discovered and detained, but a chance call by C-3PO enables her to summon a squadron of clone troopers, and Ziro is arrested.
Upon their arrival on Tatooine, Anakin and Ahsoka are shot down by MagnaGuards. Anakin devises a ruse to confront Dooku while carrying a decoy Rotta, leaving Ahsoka to take the real Rotta to Jabba’s palace. While Anakin fights off Dooku, Ahsoka is ambushed by the MagnaGuards, whom she defeats. The two deliver Rotta safely to Jabba, who nonetheless orders the Jedi to be executed for their supposed kidnapping attempt. However, Padmé contacts Jabba in time and reveals Ziro and the Separatists’ responsibility for the kidnapping. Acknowledging the Jedi’s heroism and allowing the Republic to have Ziro punished for his betrayal, Jabba agrees to the treaty while Anakin and Ahsoka are retrieved by Obi-Wan and Yoda. In the meantime, during his escape, Dooku reports to his master Darth Sidious about the failure of their plot, but the Sith Lord assures him that the tide of war is still in their favour.
- Matt Lanter as Anakin Skywalker, former Padawan of Obi-Wan Kenobi who is now recently promoted to Jedi Knight.
- Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano, Anakin’s new Padawan apprentice.
- James Arnold Taylor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, a Jedi Master and general of the Republic.
- Taylor also voices 4A-7, a droid spy.
- Tom Kane as Yoda, a Jedi Grandmaster and leader of the Jedi Council.
- Tom Kane also voices the film’s Narrator, who explains the events driving the film’s plot, and as Admiral Yularen, admiral of the Republic Navy assigned to Anakin.
- Dee Bradley Baker as Captain Rex, a Clone captain of the 501st Legion and Anakin’s second in command.
- Baker also voices Commander Cody, Obi-Wan’s second in command and leader of the 212th Attack Battalion, as well as various Clone troopers.
- Christopher Lee as Count Dooku, a Sith apprentice of Darth Sidious’ and the leader of the Separatist Alliance.
- Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu, a Jedi Master and senior member of the Jedi Council.
- Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Anakin and Padme’s protocol droid.
- Nika Futterman as Asajj Ventress, Count Dooku’s disciple, and as TC-70, Jabba the Hutt’s protocol droid.
- Ian Abercrombie as Chancellor Palpatine, Darth Sidious, Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic who is secretly a Sith Lord.
- Catherine Taber as Padmé Amidala, a Senator of Naboo and Anakin’s secret wife.
- Corey Burton as Ziro the Hutt, a member of the Hutt Clan and Jabba’s uncle.
- Burton also voices Whorm Loathsom, commander of the Separatist Droid Army occupying Christophsis, and as KRONOS-327, an assassin droid working for Ziro.
- David Acord as Rotta the Huttlet, Jabba’s kidnapped son.
- Kevin Michael Richardson as Jabba the Hutt, leader of the Hutt Clan, crime lord, and Rotta’s father.
- Matthew Wood as Battle droids.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars was made to serve as both a stand-alone story and a lead-in to the weekly animated TV series of the same name. George Lucas had the idea for a film after viewing some of the completed footage of the early episodes on the big screen. Those first few episodes, originally planned for release on television, were then woven together to form the theatrical release. Warner Bros. had tracked the series’ development from the beginning, and Lucas decided on a theatrical launch after viewing early footage declaring “This is so beautiful, why don’t we just go and use the crew and make a feature?” This decision helped convince WB parent company Time Warner to distribute the movie, and to encourage its subsidiary Cartoon Network to air the series. Lucas described the film as “almost an afterthought.” Howard Roffman, president of Lucas Licensing, said of the decision, “Sometimes George works in strange ways.” Producer Catherine Winder said the sudden decision added to an already large challenge of establishing a show “of this sophistication and complexity,” but she felt it was a good way to start the series, and thought budgetary constraints forced the production team to think outside the box in a positive way.
The story of the kidnapped Hutt was inspired by the Sonny Chiba samurai film titled Shogun’s Shadow (1989).
Lucasfilm and Lucasfilm Animation used Autodesk software to animate both the film and the series using the Maya 3D modelling programme to create highly detailed worlds, characters and creatures. The film’s animation style was designed to pay homage to the stylised looks of both Japanese anime and manga, and the supermarionation of the British 1960’s series Thunderbirds. At a Cartoon Network-hosted discussion, Lucas said he did not want the Clone Wars film or television series to look like such movies as Beowulf, because he wanted a stylised look rather than a realistic one. He also felt it should not look like the popular Pixar movies such as The Incredibles, because he wanted the film and characters to have its own unique style. Lucas also decided to create the animated film and series from a live-action perspective, which Winder said set it apart from other CGI films. Essentially, it “meant using long camera shots, aggressive lighting techniques, and relying on editing instead of storyboards.” Animators also reviewed designs from the original 2003 Clone Wars series when creating the animation style for the film and the new series. In charge was Steward Lee, working as the storyboard artist during filming. Some actors from the live-action films returned to vocally reprise their roles of their respective characters: Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Matthew Wood as B1 Battle Droids, Christopher Lee as Count Dooku, and Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu. However, Lee and Jackson did not reprise their roles in the subsequent television series.
- The film premiered on 10 August 2008, at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, followed by a wide release in Australia on 14 August and in the US, Canada and the UK the next day.
- The Clone Wars was actually a Warner Bros. film and the first Star Wars film to not be distributed by 20th Century Fox.
- It served as the pilot to the television series of the same name, which debuted on 03 October 2008, on Cartoon Network.
- It was the first film in the Star Wars film series to be all CGI animated.
- The film received largely negative reviews, becoming the worst reviewed theatrically released Star Wars film with critics panning the writing, animation, tone, dialogue and the decision to release the pilot episodes as a feature-length film.
- The film was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award in the category “Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel”, but lost to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
- Despite the negative reviews given, it was still a commercial success.
- However, it is also the lowest grossing Star Wars film, having grossed $68.3 million worldwide against an $8.5 million budget.
Star Wars Series
- Overview of the Star Wars Franchise.
- Overview of Star Wars Films.
- Prequel Trilogy Overview (1999-2005).
- Original Trilogy Overview (1977-1983).
- Sequel Trilogy Overview (2015-2019).
- Overview of Star Wars Parodies.
- Overview of Star Wars TV Series.
- Overview of Star Wars Documentary Series.
Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Dave Filoni.
- Producer(s): Catherine Winder.
- Writer(s): Henry Gilroy, Steven Melching, and Scott Murphy.
- Music: Kevin Kiner.
- Editor(s): Jason Tucker.
- Production: Lucasfilm Ltd and Lucasfilm Animation.
- Distributor(s): Warner Bros. Pictures.
- Release Date: 15 August 2008 (US).
- Running time: 98 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.