Clone Wars Weekly Dispatch: Continuing the Story

Clone Wars Weekly Dispatch - Continuing

If old school Star Wars fans become washed in a wave of nostalgia with the rest of the “Malevolence” arc, please forgive them.

As viewers who watched the three-part arc’s first episode last week know, Grievous (Matthew Wood) and Dooku (Corey Burton) are terrorizing the galaxy in a new ship, the Malevolence, with a new weapon, an Ion Cannon. They also are killing any survivors of their attacks.

Jedi General Plo Koon (James Arnold Taylor) is sent to investigate, and is ambushed. When he doesn’t respond to inquiries, Anakin (Matt Latner) and his padawan Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein) “defy” Council orders and investigate. Good thing, too. Our heroes save Plo Koon and three of his clones from a very cold death in space.

Two things are now evident. First, Ahsoka and Plo Koon have a history. The other is Dooku is not happy, not happy at all, that the Republic now knows the Separatists have an Ion Cannon. As for Grievous, he looks like he’s about to rip some heads off.

“There's a Star Wars tradition,” says series story man Henry Gilroy, “beginning with the Death Star in A New Hope, of a super weapon that can dominate the enemy. A new weapon with advanced technology can go a long way to creating a lot of fear and terror, especially if it is mysterious. This is kind of the way the Sith work. In this case, the basics of the story were inspired by the true WWII battles of the German battleship, Bismarck. Here was this very powerful battleship that created a lot of fear in the allies because of how many cannons it had and how thick the armor was. Hitler called it unsinkable. We thought there could be some interesting parallels with Grievous having his own seemingly invulnerable super ship he used to terrorize the galaxy.”

“The Malevolence is a separatist weapon and four or five times as big as the largest Republic vessel. It needs to be this big to house its main weapon, a mammoth ion cannon. The Ion cannon fires a huge EMP-like blast that disables all the electrical systems of any ship, or entire groups of ships, that it strikes, essentially knocking them dead in the water. Then the Malevolence can pull up alongside and just blast the ships to pieces, because they have no shields or weapons to defend themselves with. It's a terrifying ship!”

So how can the Republic match this kind of firepower? Well, let’s say something very, very old is now very new. Anakin and Ahsoka will have something new to jet around in. The Y-Wing.

“We originally first saw the Y-Wing back in A New Hope on the Death Star attack,” says Gilroy. “We always got the feeling that the rebels were using old ships left over from the Clone Wars, because they kind of looked beat up, so we wanted to show the Y-Wings when they were new and cutting edge. Basically, they're specialized long range bombers, complete with tail gunner bubbles. One of our designers, Russell Chong, was inspired by an original Ralph McQuarrie painting to make them feel like Y-wings we'll see in the future.”

“We like to find ways to draw connections between The Clone Wars and the original trilogy,” episode scriptwriter Steve Melching adds. “In the original Star Wars, the X-wings and the Y-wings have truly been through the wars, and they’ve had the crap beaten out of them. We thought it would be fun to imagine that they were originally manufactured during the Clone Wars. So for us, they came off the assembly line and into battle.”

“Guys like Russell Chong and Killian Plunkett, along with Dave (Filoni) come from a classic Star Wars background, so they understand that Ralph McQuarrie feel of the 1970s, and they do it right,” episode director Brian Kalin O’Connell says. “We don’t want to change the lore, we want to add to it. By introducing the Y-wings, we get to add a new dimension, a little history. We know it’s a huge deal for the fans. We don’t let it distract from the story, but we still get to add the geek shot. When we do, we try to do it justice.”

Fans can say for themselves when the episode airs tonight at 9:00 p.m.


If you hear the chorus of Return of the Jedi’s Ewok celebration song coming simultaneously out of Atlanta and Marin County, it’s because the ratings for the Star Wars: The Clone Wars debut are in, and they shattered all previous records held by Cartoon Network.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars' persons 2+ figure is 3,958,000,” says one CN insider. “[It] now replaces the April 18, 2008 series premiere of Ben 10: Alien Force as Cartoon Network's most-watched series premiere. Ben 10: Alien Force logged a total of 2,889,000 persons 2+, so this is a substantial gain.”

“This is a great start for our new night of fantasy-action-adventure programming,” said Stuart Snyder, president and chief operating officer of Turner Broadcasting’s Animation, Young Adults and Kids Media group. “Kids and their parents made it a point to tune in to the amazing storytelling and brilliant animation of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars. We are looking forward to building on this foundation and are thrilled with this turnout and record numbers for Cartoon Network.”

All ratings based on Nielsen’s Total U.S. Television Universe of 114,500,000 homes.


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