Clone Wars Weekly: Matt Lanter on Voicing Anakin

Anakin Skywalker clings to a wall as he and Obi-Wan Kenobi strike an unexpected and uneasy alliance with their greatest enemy

With the first season of Star Wars: Clone Wars over and done, the general consensus is it’s been a tremendous success, both ratings and fan-wise. One person who truly appreciates this now is Matt Lanter, the voice of Anakin Skywalker.

“It feels fantastic!” he admits “I didn’t know that the show was going to be so popular and huge all around the world. It has really taken off! It’s incredible to be a part of something that so many people enjoy, young and old.”

Still, the man does have a dirty little secret. Unlike many he wasn’t a fan of the movies or franchise when growing up.

“Early on, I had no idea that the Clone Wars was going to be such a huge show and massive hit!

I actually didn’t know much about Star Wars growing up,” the young actor confesses. “I had randomly seen a few of the films on television, but never really saw enough of it to understand it. I knew it was a huge franchise with an enormous fan base, so was excited for the audition for the Clone Wars. Once I actually sat down and watched the films and understood the characters, I was hooked! Now that I am a part of it, I’m a huge fan and honestly becoming more of a Star Wars geek each day.”

In fact, he didn’t even know he was being considered for the role when the original casting call went out.

“I was told I was auditioning for the part of Deak Starkiller,” he recalled. “For all I knew, he was some minor character. When I got the call that I had booked the job, I was definitely excited…but then they told me the role was actually Anakin Skywalker and one of the leads of the series. It took a little while to sink in and now it just seems so surreal.”

Still, the reality of the situation has sunk in, sunk in enough that Lanter now has added his own spin to the still Jedi Knight.

“Anakin in the Clone Wars is more of a hero,” says Lanter. “We have always heard that he was this great warrior and amazing pilot, but we never really got the chance to see that in the films. Now we have a chance to expand on that lighter side of Anakin when he was a mentor to a padawan and a great friend to Obi-Wan. He is charismatic and witty but still young and brash, a hero in the making. Anakin has always been billed as The Chosen One and a savior to the Republic and now we actually get to experience that.”

On the plus side, Lanter gives credit to several key members of the SWCW team, both in front and behind the recording booth.

“Dave Filoni is an amazing director. He is very specific with his vision of the show and is really great with the actors. It really feels like a wonderful collaborative effort when we are recording in the booth. Another great thing about Dave is that he is a diehard Star Wars fan so the quality never suffers. We work hard to make sure that our show always ‘feels like Star Wars.’ We’re definitely in good hands with Dave.

“[Co-star] Ashley Eckstein is awesome! She brings such a great Ahsoka to the table,” he adds. “It’s a lot of fun to bounce that witty and sarcastic dialogue off of each other. I think we make a great team. Of course we get along great and heck yea we talk baseball a lot [Note: Her husband is San Diego Padre David Eckstein…more on that in a future column - editor]. Pretty much every time we see each other, something baseball comes up. I love chatting it up with her.”

As for favorite episodes so far? It’s a simple choice for Lanter.

“I really enjoyed the ‘Blue Shadow Virus/Mystery of a Thousand Moons’ two-parter. The mad doctor was great character and had this infectious laugh that I loved! 'Mystery of a Thousand Moons' was different type of an episode for Anakin. Padmé was in danger for most of the show and we could see that in the way Anakin was reacting the whole time. He was very edgy and quick to snap, which was fun to play.”

Which naturally leads to the second season.

“We are definitely well into season two,” says Lanter. “As you all probably know, it’s all very secret so I can’t say much, but I can tell you that it’s getting better and better. I think we are really getting into the groove of things and the animation is breathtaking! To be able to say that I have contributed to the Star Wars saga is pretty rare and I’m definitely enjoying every moment of it.”

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