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Clone Ranger

18 Oct, 2009 By: John Latchem


Clone Baker


The CG-animated “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” the latest incarnation of George Lucas’ multimedia franchise, is in its second season airing Friday nights on Cartoon Network. Warner Home Video releases Star Wars: The Clone Wars — The  Complete Season One Nov. 3 as a four-DVD set at $44.98 and a three-disc Blu-ray set at $59.99. Home Media Magazine discussed the series with voice actor Dee Bradley Baker, who portrays all the Clone Troopers on the show.

HM: To what degree are you trying to imitate Temuera Morrison, who played the clones in the “Star Wars” prequel films?
DBB: The clones in the feature films say very little. We want to take it our own way while staying true to the original performances.

HM: The show takes great strides in portraying the individuality of the clones, with distinct personalities and designs. How hard is it to find that nuance when playing what are essentially different aspects of the same character?
DBB:
It’s a big priority for me to give the feeling that these guys aren’t the same. We try very hard to bring individuality to the clones. Genetically they are made for one purpose: to fight. But they are human. They aren’t robots. Maybe they trained with different Jedi, in different parts of the galaxy. We want to bring out those subtle differences. The series has done a splendid job exploring this.

HM: In some of the Clone-heavy episodes, you are essentially talking to yourself.
DBB:
That’s true. But what I want is for people to think it’s just a bunch of people in a room doing these different soldiers.

HM: What is it like working with the rest of the cast?
DBB:
One of the terrific things of this show is the top-drawer ensemble of voice actors. You’ve got to have good voice actors to pull off a show like this, and they do it beautifully. James Arnold Taylor does a dead-on Obi-Wan. Corey Burton does Count Dooku so well; I think I like him the most. We perform all the voices together. When we record them it’s essentially a radio drama.

HM: Why do you think the Clones are so popular among the fans?
DBB:
It’s gratifying to hear and see that. Read the Rex costume was the most popular last year. The thing about clones is they’re now humanized, not superheroes. They’re human, they’re heroic and doing the best they can. A 10-year-old can see that and think they can step up to the plate and be like that. Great weaponry. Specialized skills.

HM: Who’s your favorite clone?
DBB:
I can’t tell you who he is yet, but there’s one coming up in a season two episode, and I think fans will recognize what’s going on. It has a lot to do with Rex. I really love Rex. But in season one, I really love the “Rookies” episode, and the clone who sacrifices himself. That’s a terrific, heroic moment that gets to the heart of why people love these guys.

HM: The show portrays the clones as the good guys, but we know they become the evil Stormtroopers of the original trilogy. Will the show address how the clones will eventually bring themselves to betray the Jedi, as seen in Revenge of the Sith?
DBB:
It’s very much in the minds of fans as they watch this series. It’s not dealt with directly, but it’s in the minds of the creators. We’re still a good ways away from the horror and the tragedy seen in Episode III. But I don’t see how that’s not going to be addressed in some way. It’s a big issue in my mind as to how it’s going to play out, especially as the series gets more intense.

HM: Are you excited to see the first season coming to home video?
DBB:
I’m going to get it on Blu-ray because I gotta go with high-definition. I’ve seen these things on an HD screen with the proper aspect ratio, and it looks stunning. I also want to see all the extras — the extended cuts of the episodes and a featurette about the making of the show. There are a lot of things that I as a fan really want to see.

HM: Were you a “Star Wars” fan before doing the show?
DBB:
Before Episode IV came out [in 1977], I had read the book and purchased the Time Magazine with Star Wars on the cover. My mom made a fantastic Jawa costume for me. The theater in Greeley, Colo., where I grew up, paid me in movie passes to dress in my Jawa costume and scare the moviegoers. So I spent that summer using the free passes to watch Star Wars over and over again. Other than this that was probably the best job I had.

HM: Being a longtime fan, what’s it like to be part of the “Star Wars” mythology?
DBB:
This is a dream come true. It’s not just fun to do the show, which is really well-written and well-cast. But what’s great is that it’s “Star Wars” and something I’ve always loved, and that it can get more fantastic with each season. There are not a lot of moments in an actor’s (hopefully) long life that are personally as gratifying as this in so many ways. “Clone Wars” really has something for just about everyone. There’s stuff for the kids. Stuff for the fans. There’s action. Adventure. Humor. We’ll see more of that in season two.

 


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