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'Star Wars' Still in the 'Clone' Zone

7 Nov, 2012 By: John Latchem

While Disney and Lucasfilm sort out the future of “Star Wars” in the wake of their blockbuster merger, fans can continue to get their fix with the CG-animated series “The Clone Wars.”

Warner Home Video recently released the fourth season as a four-DVD set at $44.98 and a three-disc Blu-ray set at $59.99. The fifth season is airing now on Cartoon Network.

“We’ve completed our 100th episode. That’s a huge milestone for an animated series,” said producer Cary Silver.

Storylines for the series, which began in 2008, are suggested by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas, who wanted a show that depicted the Clone Wars that were fought between Episode II and Episode III. The first three seasons presented many standalone adventures featuring the Jedi and the clone troopers who serve them, with some episodes serving as prequels to earlier episodes.

“We’ve heard the ‘Clone Wars’ helped make the prequel movies seem better,” Silver said. “We like to think we’re the glue between them. We hope to bring both sides of the equation together, adding a lot to the viewing experience of the movies.”

The fourth season took on a noticeably darker edge, with many stories playing out over the course of several episodes.

“We did adopt a four-episode story arc structure, giving the series a lot more focus and direction,” Silver said. “One thing to note is that in season four and moving forward each episode is more closely linked to the next one.”

In many cases, that means more-intense battles, and much more carnage that one would expect from a cartoon.

“It’s a cartoon but also a show about a war,” Silver said. “War drags on. We go where the story and situations are taking us. There are real consequences.”

The fourth season is perhaps most notable for reviving a fan-favorite character who was seemingly killed off in Episode I: the Sith lord Darth Maul.

“George thought Darth Maul returning would add an interesting dimension to the Clone Wars,” Silver said. “There were a lot of discussions about how to bring him back, and questions about how is he alive after being cut in half. And we acknowledged that in the dialogue. We get it that fans would have the same questions. We just wanted to go straight to how to make this an amazing story and what would make it believable.”

The fourth-season set includes 22 episodes, with video commentary on each disc. The Blu-ray also includes the “Jedi Temple Archives,” featuring a database of early test animation, concept art and 3D turnarounds.

Silver notes that while the show airs in a 16:9 format, it appears on disc in 2.35:1.

“The only way to see that is [on disc],” Silver said. “You get to see all of our work with the full 2.35 aspect ratio and 5.1 surround sound mix. This is really the best way to see it.”

Beyond the fifth season, the future of the show has yet to be determined, Silver said, though plans are under way for additional seasons.

“George has always said we’ll go on as long as people keep watching,” Silver said.

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