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George Lucas & Dave Filoni Talk Star Wars Clone Wars Season 2
Jay Cochran - September 03, 2009

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is back – bigger, bolder and better than ever! The first season of the cutting edge animated series welcomed an entirely new generation of fans into the Star Wars family, with premiere episodes on Cartoon Network ranking #1 on all TV with boys 6-11. And now, bigger battles, all new threats, thrilling storylines and unrivalled animation promise to raise the stakes higher than ever in the sweeping galactic conflict. Expanding on the foundations established in the groundbreaking first season, Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Rise of the Bounty Hunters continues the classic Star Wars tradition, testing the very limits of our heroes’ noble efforts as they battle for the fate of the galaxy.

Set between Episodes II and III of the live-action saga, the battle for peace rages on – but the valiant Jedi Knights teeter upon the brink of exhaustion as they are beset by the seemingly limitless resources of their enemies. With no end in sight, the war is taking its toll.

“The Jedi Order has traditionally been cast as peacekeepers, not soldiers,” says Dave Filoni, supervising director of The Clone Wars. “They’re not accustomed to wielding their power in this capacity, and it’s wearing them down. In addition to the war effort, we’re going to see secrets revealed – secrets which will further challenge their core beliefs. The dark side is now showing its hand, and the Republic is weakening.”

As the war takes unexpected turns, the time is ripe for opportunists to take advantage of the galactic turmoil. Enter the galaxy’s most fearsome bounty hunters, hired by the Separatists to tip the scales of the tenuous balance of power. As ruthless as they are deadly, these lawless rogues enter the fray with one objective – to destabilize and destroy the Jedi Order.

Foremost among these new villains is Cad Bane – a heartless blaster-for-hire, mercenary and scoundrel. Like many in his particular trade, he is quintessentially cold, cruel and calculating – but even among his peers, Bane demonstrates a special aptitude for evil. When the price is right, he can’t be stopped – and he’s bringing his unique skill set and impressive arsenal to bear against the very heart of the Republic. Even faced with the power of the Jedi Order, Bane brazenly brings the fight to the heroes’ doorstep, with a formidable rogues gallery of galactic scum as his allies.

Fans of the live-action films will recognize some familiar faces among Bane’s motley crew of merciless mercenaries, including the bloodthirsty Bossk (first seen in The Empire Strikes Back) and sinister Aurra Sing (glimpsed briefly in The Phantom Menace, and again in The Clone Wars season one finale). But that’s not all. Dangers will arise from all corners. New foes will join old enemies in a common effort to chip away at the very foundations of the Republic. And the beleaguered heroes will find that no one can be trusted.

Creator George Lucas and supervising director Dave Filoni discuss what’s to come in the battle for galactic freedom, and why audiences should expect the unexpected from the series’ second season.

ENI: What surprises can viewers expect from the second season of The Clone Wars?

GEORGE LUCAS: The first season was similar to Episode IV, in that it was fairly light and the conflict was straightforward. With the second season, we’re going deeper into the stories and the character dynamics. The progression is a lot like the difference between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.

DAVE FILONI: Our heroes are in the middle of a war, and things are not necessarily going well for them. Things are getting more complex. The Jedi aren’t soldiers, but they’ve been forced into that role and it’s definitely having an effect on them. It’s taking its toll on everyone, and the enemy has some new tricks to make things difficult for the Jedi and the clones. So far, we’ve seen a pretty standard war, with the two sides pitted against each other. But we’re going to see a different kind of adversary, posing a different kind of threat. We’re going to make things really tough on the heroes. The war’s breeding a new kind of villain. They’re bounty hunters and mercenaries who are taking advantage of the turmoil to make a big score. They’re bad, bad guys, and they don’t play by the rules. We got a taste at the end of the first season with Cad Bane, but we’re going to see a lot more of that. They’re a resource for taking out Jedi - and they’re good at their jobs. Things are going to get ugly.

ENI: So will we see more of Cad Bane?

DAVE FILONI: Yes, definitely. You haven’t seen the last of him. He’s going to be a big problem for the Republic. Cad Bane is really a throwback to the original Star Wars movies. I’ve seen them described as space westerns, and Cad fits right into that mold. He’s dark and mysterious, and he’s pretty unscrupulous. We actually modeled him after Lee Van Cleef from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

GEORGE LUCAS: The concept actually dates back all the way to the first film, which drew inspirations from all sorts of genres, including westerns. When it came time to introduce the idea of a ruthless bounty hunter type for the series, it was a natural fit. He’s a classic gunslinger – mysterious and also merciless. It’s been a thematic part of Star Wars since the beginning.
DAVE FILONI: And if you look close, Cad’s species actually appears in the cantina scene from Episode IV. The galaxy is pretty vast, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see species and characters pop up again. And you shouldn’t judge an entire species based on one or two examples.

ENI: What can you do this season that you couldn’t do in the first season?

GEORGE LUCAS: In the first season, we were forging new ground. We were a new animation studio doing something that hadn’t really been done before, and we were just figuring out how to get our series made. It was ambitious, but we were up to the challenge. Still, there was room to grow. In the second season, you can really see the growth.

DAVE FILONI: Everything’s better in the second season. We’ve improved our pipeline, so we can do more. More characters. More action. It’s a much bigger canvas, in general. When I look back at some of our first season work, it’s hard for me to believe that it’s even from the same series and the same production team. We’re really in another galaxy now, from a production standpoint. And it shows. Our second season is like nothing you’ve seen in The Clone Wars so far, and it’s like nothing you’ve seen on TV.

GEORGE LUCAS: Even though we’re a weekly series, I don’t treat this like TV. I treat it like my movies. My process doesn’t change because we’re in a different medium. We’re drawing a lot of inspiration from the original films, like Ralph McQuarrie’s concept art – but we’re also looking at the things that influenced those films in the first place. We’re integrating different genres, from westerns to war movies to Japanese cinema, and we’re incorporating all of those various aesthetics into The Clone Wars.

ENI: What can audiences expect in terms of larger story arcs? Are we building toward the events of Episode III?

DAVE FILONI: In the first season, we had a lot of one-off episodes, largely dictated by our own internal pipeline. As we moved into season two, though, we gained a lot more confidence from the production perspective. Also, the natural trajectory of our characters and the conflict has sort of necessitated a closer look. We’re going deeper, laying groundwork for some really interesting stuff. On the other hand, it is difficult to plan our endgame without knowing exactly how long the series will last. We joke that M*A*S*H ran longer than the Korean War, and if we continue to do well, that could be the case with The Clone Wars. And that’s a good problem to have, but it’s also a delicate balance. As we move forward, we will continue to peel away layers of the conflict and the characters. We all know how the war ends, so we are exploring aspects that may not have been revealed thus far.

ENI: Star Wars has touched so many generations of fans, but The Clone Wars seems to be forging new ground with new fans…independent of the feature films. Why do you think that is?

GEORGE LUCAS: Star Wars has always been based on classic archetypes. With the original movies, those archetypes were packaged in such a way that appealed to audiences at the time, and I have been lucky that it’s continued to resonate for so many years. With The Clone Wars, the messages and the archetypes are similar, but we’re appealing to a new generation.

DAVE FILONI: Well, it’s a common phrase used around here: Star Wars is Forever.

Season 2 of Clone Wars kicks off on Cartoon Network with a special one-hour season premiere on October 2nd, 2009.



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