Send in the Clones: Gilroy talks "Clone Wars" Comics

This August, the Star Wars franchise returns to theaters for the first time since 2005's "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" with the animated feature film, "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." Set between "Episode II: Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith," "The Clone Wars" follows Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Anakin's new apprentice Ahsoka Tano on a quest to liberate Jabba the Hutt's kidnapped son, Rotta, from a group of renegades with dubious intentions. "Clone Wars" co-scripter Henry Gilroy is also helming Dark Horse's new line of "Clone Wars" comics set in the same era, and CBR News caught up with the writer to get the details on the latest adventure in this familiar faraway galaxy.

The "Clone Wars" film sets the stage for a "Clone Wars" animated television series. The first story arc for the new Dark Horse series was a tale Gilroy was originally developing for the small screen. "I really wanted to explore Anakin's past with slavery and how it affects him continually," Gilroy told CBR. In "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace," when an adolescent Anakin Skywalker leaves Tattooine in search of his destiny, he vows to one day return to the desert planet and free the rest of the slaves. "We know he's a guy who hangs on to his past, so that's an issue that hits him close to home. At the same time, Ahsoka has been a youngling in the temple and not really exposed to a lot of the bad things that happen in the galaxy, so she's kind of exposed to slavery from a direct experiential way -- and it has a profound effect on her, as it would anyone."

But when the cast of thousands and the bevy of new ships and planets that Gilroy envisioned proved to be prohibitively expensive even for an animated series, the writer approached Dark Horse editor Randy Stradley about realizing this story on the comic book page. "I had always wanted to work with Randy -- he's a fantastic editor in that he knows the Star Wars Universe upside down and at the same time, he likes to do new thing and gives me a lot of leeway," Gilroy said. "Of course, right now he's probably wondering why I'm giving this interview when I should be scripting for him."

In addition to Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka, the "Clone Wars" comic also features Yoda and a clone trooper named Captain Rex. "I wanted to stay clear of certain things that Dave was doing in the series, so I couldn't put in Padme like I wanted to, but otherwise Lucasfilm gave me a lot of freedom with it," Gilroy said. "There's also a brand new race of aliens and their homeworld we will be introduced to, the galaxy's perennial slavers called the Zygerrians."

Gilroy is working with a number of talented artists on the "Clone Wars" series including Scott Hepburn, with "Clone Wars" feature film director Dave Filoni providing the cover artwork for Issue #1.

The first arc of the "Clone Wars" ongoing series is going to be six issues, with the first installment due to hit stands this September. In addition to the monthly series, Dark Horse will be publishing quarterly 88-page "Clone Wars" digests. Gilroy is penning the first digest, also due out in late September.

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