CCI: Star Wars

The force was strong in hall H at Comic-Con International in San Diego. Director of Content Management and Head of Fan Relations for Lucasfilm, Steve Sansweet, brought a sneak peak of the upcoming Star Wars video game "The Force Unleashed" for the many fans in attendance. The game takes place between episodes three and four of the film series and will allow fans to actually be Darth Vader for the first level. "Nobody outside of the company has scene this yet," said Sansweet before rolling the clip.

This scene is what players will see at the end of the first level. In it, Darth Vader is hunting for a Jedi who has survived the Empire's war on Jedis. When Vader feels someone near by who has the force strong in him, he is ready to act. Vader hesitates when he realizes that this Jedi is a small child, and takes the child on as his apprentice.

Fans were treated to a second clip from the game. In it, the child is now an adult and Vader's apprentice. The two are plotting how they will kill the Emperor and rule the Empire themselves. When Palpatine arrives unexpectedly, the apprentice urges Vader to kill him but as soon as he turns his back, Vader puts a lightsaber through him at close range. Vader calls him a spy and the Emperor orders Vader to deliver the final blow to his student in order to prove his loyalty to the Empire. Vader is reluctant to follow his Masters orders but the clip ends before it is concluded. The game will be released on September 16.

Sansweet moved on to talk about the company's upcoming film and TV properties by introducing the trailer for "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." The movie will be released in theatres through Warner Bros. on August 15 and features "state-of-the-art" animation. The film takes place in the time between episodes two and three of the film series, during the Clone Wars. It will feature Anakin before his move to the dark side, when he is still thought to be the republic's only hope and also show him taking on his own apprentice. The film will be followed this fall by a weekly series on the Cartoon Network and TNT, which is set for an initial twenty-two episode run.

After the trailer, Sansweet introduced the creative team behind the film and the series. Joining him on stage was Supervising Director Dave Filioni, Producer Catherine Winder, Writer Henry Gilroy and Editor Jason Tucker.

Winder discussed how she approached the daunting project. "There's a lot of things to juggle with a project like this and I felt a lot of responsibility," said the director. "I had to get into George's head and find out exactly what he wanted us to produce. It wasn't that easy in the beginning because I didn't have a lot of access to him. He was busy finishing 'Revenge of the Sith.' But I got bits and pieces of information and the bottom line was that he wanted us to produce something that nobody had ever seen before on the television screen and ultimately animation for the movie screen that is really unique."

Filioni, a life long Star Wars fan now working for the company, talked about the "sense of immense responsibility" that he feels working on "Clone Wars." "I thought that it was really important that the crew working on the movie feel the same way I do about this stuff. I grew up with Star Wars and really believe in it. It's something that inspired me creatively and inspired many generations," said the director.

Filioni said that one of the best parts of his job is that he gets to talk about Star Wars all the time. He went onto say that he gets into some heated discussions with co-workers about different aspects within the Star Wars universe. The hot debate in the last few weeks is can a lightsaber cut Superman in half? "I think we decided that it can, but only if it had a Kryptonite crystal in it or if the fight took place on a planet with out a yellow sun," Filioni said.

Gilroy had a background in Star Wars even before he met George Lucas. He wrote the comic book movie adaptations of "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack Of The Clones" as well as several "Star Wars Tales" one-shots featuring Obi-Wan. "I think living in the Star Wars world or at least writing in it, really gives you a sense of it," Gilroy said. "If you're in that world all the time it's starts to feel like home and it's really easy to write about home when you're familiar with the world and the universe."

It's well known that Lucas's favorite aspect of filmmaking is editing. Tucker spoke about working with the director. "George told me that he has a lot of respect for editors and editorial as a craft and an art form. So that put me at ease," said the editor. "He's really open to new ideas. At the end of the day what I think I learned most from him is clarity. How to make it clear as possible."

Lucas is also famous for giving direction to actors such as "faster and more intense." Tucker explained that Lucas does the same thing with him but instead will say, "That's good but speed it up like twenty percent." The editor said that whenever he follows Lucas's notes, it always makes it better. However, he has pre-set his [Avid digital editing system] so that every time Lucas wants to speed it up all he needs to do is push a button.

Winder said that initially nobody was sure how involved Lucas would be with the project. "As we started to develop the project and he started to see the material he became more and more excited." She went on to say that the turning point was when the animated a simple scene of Yoda walking across Palpatine's office. "George looked at it and he went crazy," added Winder. "I'll never forget what he said. We're not making television here, we're making cinema."

Finally, the audience was given a look at a scene from the film that featured Anakin and Obi-Wan stuck on the outer rim with clones fighting the droids. The audience was thrilled as the animation and action looked incredible on the big screen. They also got a look at a scene from the first episode of the upcoming television series. The episode is entitled "Cloak of Darkness" and features a new heroic character named General Lumanara.

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