Lucasfilm has been kind enough to give us another look at the premiere of Clone Wars. Sorry to bombard you with all the Star Wars news, but it's a Star Wars kind of week. And really, if you didn't like it, you wouldn't click on it.
And I can vouch for the episode. It's great.
From their press release:
The war wears on, and the Republic is pushed to its breaking point. Support for the Jedi Knights and their noble cause comes in the form of valiant clone troopers – steadfast defenders of peace and justice, even as the Jedi falter and the mighty Republic begins to crumble. Joined by familiar faces and confronted with deadly new threats, these everyman heroes lead the charge into a transformative new season of Clone Wars adventures – where alliances will be tested, truths will be questioned and galaxy-changing secrets will be uncovered to shake the very foundations of the Star Wars universe. The next chapter of Star Wars: The Clone Wars begins with a must-see two-part premiere, airing at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT Friday, September 17 on Cartoon Network.
In “Clone Cadets,” five headstrong cadets – Hevy, Cutup, Droidbait, Fives and Echo – struggle to complete their training on the ocean planet of Kamino. Unable to work together as a team, they must learn to embrace their future as soldiers before they are drummed out of the academy.
“It’s a band-of-brothers story that takes you back before most of the episodes we’ve seen so far; it’s one of the earliest episodes – chronologically – in the series,” says Dee Bradley Baker, voice of the clones. “We’re going to see how the ‘shinies’ [new recruits featured in the first season episode, ‘Rookies’] learn to work together. Starting off, they’re not a team at all. They’re just everymen; they’re human. And now they’ve got to pull it together. There’s something really cool about how the show brings out the heroism from characters like that – not just the superpowered ones.”
A revealing look at clone development and training, the episode also introduces a unique new character. Clone Number 99 is a unique clone – and imperfect model relegated to menial, custodial duties at the Kamino production facility. Still, despite his physical flaws, he nonetheless identifies with his genetic brethren – and he aspires to make his own small contributions to their noble war efforts.
“He’s a great example of the show’s creative risks,” says Baker. “I was nervous going into this episode. Does he sound real? Is he believable? I agonized over it; he’s a very special character, and a very unique challenge. Kinda high stakes for me, because I wanted so badly to get it right. He’s a little bit slower…quieter…softer than your basic clone voice. I skewed his dialect toward cockney to give him a blue collar, salt-of-the-earth flavor. I’ve got a lot of favorites, but 99’s definitely one of them. His story is very affecting – really beautiful on a lot of different levels.”
On the heels of “Clone Cadets” comes “ARC Troopers,” which revisits the clones after the notable events of “Rookies” – with the surviving squad members tasked with defending Kamino from a large-scale Separatist attack. After the Republic repulses the Separatists’ first assault, the real threat begins. Asajj Ventress, General Grievous and an army of droids rise out of the planet’s oceans, determined to destroy the clone production facilities – and the clones themselves are the last line of desperate defense.
“This episode raises the stakes in a really spectacular way. This is big space opera; this is why you want to own an HD TV. It’s basically the scale of a Star Wars movie – on TV,” says Baker. “It’s awesome. I’m so very proud of this show; it’s exciting to make this kind of episode work. And it’s such a team effort. There’s an army of artists working to make this compelling and moving.
This is extraordinary storytelling.”
And it’s just the beginning. In a galaxy far, far away…much to learn there still is.