ⓘ Star Wars: The Clone Wars (film)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (film)

ⓘ Star Wars: The Clone Wars (film)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a 2008 American 3D animated epic military science fiction film directed by Dave Filoni, produced by Lucasfilm Animation, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film is set in the Star Wars universe during the three-year time period between the films Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Set during the Clone Wars between the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems, Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker is assigned an apprentice, Ahsoka Tano. Jabba the Hutt enlists them to rescue his kidnapped son Rotta in exchange for an alliance. Anakin and Ahsoka track the kidnapper to a planet where they are ambushed by Count Dookus apprentice Asajj Ventress and discover that Dooku hopes to frame the Jedi for Rottas kidnapping.

The film premiered on August 10, 2008, at Graumans Egyptian Theatre, followed by a wide release in Australia on August 14 and in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom the next day. The Clone Wars was the first Star Wars film to not be distributed by 20th Century Fox, and served as the pilot to the television series of the same name, which debuted on October 3, 2008, on Cartoon Network. The film received largely negative reviews, becoming the worst reviewed theatrically released Star Wars film. Critics panned the writing, animation, tone, dialogue and the decision to release the pilot episodes as a feature-length film, however, Kevin Kiners score, the character of Captain Rex, and Christopher Lees performance were more favourably received by some. Despite negative reviews, the film was a commercial success. However, it is the lowest grossing Star Wars film, having grossed $68.3 million worldwide against an $8.5 million budget.


1. Plot

During the first year of the Clone Wars, Jedi Knights Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi lead a small battalion of Republic Clone troopers against the Separatist droid army on the planet Christophsis. Awaiting reinforcements, the two Jedi greet a shuttle carrying the young Jedi Ahsoka Tano, who insists that she has been assigned by Jedi Master Yoda to serve as Anakins Padawan. Anakin begrudgingly accepts Ahsokas apprenticeship, and the two succeed in deactivating the Separatists energy field while Obi-Wan stalls the droid army commander, allowing a Republic victory. Ahsoka earns Anakins respect.

Following the battle, Yoda arrives and informs the Jedi that crime lord Jabba the Hutts son Rotta has been kidnapped. Anakin and Ahsoka are tasked with retrieving the Huttlet, while Obi-Wan is sent to Tatooine to negotiate with Jabba over a potential treaty between the Hutts and the Republic. Anakin and Ahsoka track the kidnapper and Rotta to the planet Teth, where they are ambushed by Separatist forces led by Count Dookus apprentice Asajj Ventress, discovering that Dooku hopes to frame the Jedi for Rottas kidnapping in order to get Jabba to ally with the Separatist army. The Jedi manage to escape the trap along with R2-D2 and hijack a derelict transport with which they travel to Tatooine. Obi-Wan, alerted by Anakin, arrives on Teth and defeats Ventress in a lightsaber duel, though she manages to escape.

Meanwhile, Senator Padme Amidala, secretly married to Anakin, learns of her husbands mission and fears for his safety. She decides to contact Jabbas uncle Ziro on Coruscant. The Hutt refuses to cooperate, apparently believing that it is the Jedi who are responsible for the situation. However, Padme soon discovers that Ziro has actually conspired with Dooku to have Rotta killed for Jabba to have Anakin and Ahsoka executed in return, which will force the Jedi Council to take Jabba into custody and allow Ziro to seize power over the Hutt clans. Padme is discovered and detained, but a chance call by C-3PO enables her to summon a squadron of clone troopers, and Ziro is arrested.

Upon their arrival on Tatooine, Anakin and Ahsoka are shot down by MagnaGuards. Anakin devises a ruse to confront Dooku while carrying a decoy Rotta, leaving Ahsoka to take the real Rotta to Jabbas palace. While Anakin fights off Dooku, Ahsoka is ambushed by the MagnaGuards, whom she defeats. The two deliver Rotta safely to Jabba, who nonetheless orders the Jedi to be executed for their supposed kidnapping attempt. However, Padme contacts Jabba in time and reveals Ziro and the Separatists responsibility for the kidnapping. Acknowledging the Jedis heroism and allowing the Republic to have Ziro punished for his betrayal, Jabba agrees to the treaty while Anakin and Ahsoka are retrieved by Obi-Wan and Yoda. In the meantime, during his escape, Dooku reports to his master Darth Sidious about the failure of their plot, but the Sith Lord assures him that the tide of war is still in their favor.


2. Cast

  • Ian Abercrombie as Palpatine / Darth Sidious
  • Kevin Michael Richardson as Jabba the Hutt
  • Tom Kane as Yoda, narrator, Admiral Yularen
  • James Arnold Taylor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, 4A-7
  • Matt Lanter as Anakin Skywalker
  • David Acord as Rotta the Huttlet
  • Catherine Taber as Padme Amidala
  • Nika Futterman as Asajj Ventress, TC-70
  • Dee Bradley Baker as Captain Rex, Commander Cody, Clone troopers
  • Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano
  • Matthew Wood as Battle droids
  • Christopher Lee as Count Dooku / Darth Tyranus
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu
  • Corey Burton as Whorm Loathsom, Ziro the Hutt
  • Anthony Daniels as C-3PO

3.1. Production Development

Star Wars: The Clone Wars was made to serve as both a stand-alone story and a lead-in to the weekly animated TV series of the same name. George Lucas had the idea for a film after viewing some of the completed footage of the early episodes on the big screen. Those first few episodes, originally planned for release on television, were then woven together to form the theatrical release. Warner Bros. had tracked the series development from the beginning, and Lucas decided on a theatrical launch after viewing early footage declaring "This is so beautiful, why dont we just go and use the crew and make a feature?" This decision helped convince WB parent company Time Warner to distribute the movie, and to encourage its subsidiary Cartoon Network to air the series. Lucas described the film as "almost an afterthought." Howard Roffman, president of Lucas Licensing, said of the decision, "Sometimes George works in strange ways." Producer Catherine Winder said the sudden decision added to an already large challenge of establishing a show "of this sophistication and complexity," but she felt it was a good way to start the series, and thought budgetary constraints forced the production team to think outside the box in a positive way.

The story of the kidnapped Hutt was inspired by the Sonny Chiba samurai film titled Shoguns Shadow.


3.2. Production Animation

Lucasfilm and Lucasfilm Animation used Autodesk software to animate both the film and the series using the Maya 3D modeling program to create highly detailed worlds, characters and creatures. The films animation style was designed to pay homage to the stylized looks of both Japanese anime and manga, and the supermarionation of the British 1960s series Thunderbirds. At a Cartoon Network-hosted discussion, Lucas said he did not want the Clones Wars film or television series to look like such movies as Beowulf, because he wanted a stylized look rather than a realistic one. He also felt it should not look like the popular Pixar movies such as The Incredibles, because he wanted the film and characters to have its own unique style. Lucas also decided to create the animated film and series from a live-action perspective, which Winder said set it apart from other CGI films. Essentially, it "meant using long camera shots, aggressive lighting techniques, and relying on editing instead of storyboards." Animators also reviewed designs from the original 2003 Clone Wars series when creating the animation style for the film and the new series. In charge was Steward Lee, working as the storyboard artist during filming. Some actors from the live-action films, including Anthony Daniels, Matthew Wood, Christopher Lee and Samuel L. Jackson, returned to vocally reprise their roles of their respective characters, although Lee and Jackson did not reprise their roles in the subsequent television series.


3.3. Production Music

The musical score for Star Wars: The Clone Wars was composed by Kevin Kiner. The original motion picture soundtrack was released by Sony Classical on August 12, 2008. The disc begins with the main theme by John Williams, followed by more than 30 separate music cues composed by Kiner. Kiner is known for his work on such television series as Stargate SG-1, Star Trek: Enterprise, Superboy and CSI: Miami. The soundtrack uses some instruments never heard before in a Star Wars score, including erhus, duduks and ouds.


4.1. Marketing Toys

Star Wars: The Clone Wars merchandise was first released on July 26, 2008. Hasbro released several 3​ 3 ⁄ 4 -inch Clone Wars action figures, an electronic clone trooper helmet, a customizable lightsaber, and an electronic All Terrain Tactical Enforcer AT-TE. Target and KB Toys also devoted shelf space for Clone Wars toys, but did not hold midnight releases or pursue the branding opportunities Toys "R" Us did. Toys "R" Us mounted digital clocks in all 585 of its stores that counted down to the release of the Clone Wars toys, and more than 225 of the stores opened at midnight for the debut of the Star Wars products. Two of the Toys "R" Us flagship outlets in Mission Bay, San Diego and Times Square in Manhattan, New York City held costume and trivia contests on July 26, and gave away limited-edition Star Wars toys with every purchase. A section of the Toys "R" Us website was also dedicated to The Clone Wars. The toy line continues with The Clone Wars figures being well received by collectors for their detail to the characters and vehicles.


4.2. Marketing Food

Due to Lucas sudden decision to produce the film, Lucas Licensing did not have time to enter into agreements with previous Star Wars marketing partners like Pepsi, Burger King and Kelloggs, with which the Lucasfilm licensing company had a ten-year marketing plan for the other films. When questioned by The New York Times about Star Wars merchandising in July 2008, a Pepsi spokesperson was unaware a new Star Wars film was being released. On August 15, McDonalds held its first ever Happy Meal promotion for a Star Wars film and for four weeks, 18 exclusive toys came in specially designed Happy Meal boxes.


4.3. Marketing Comics and books

Dark Horse Comics published a six-issue digest-sized comic book miniseries. Randy Stradley, vice president of publishing for Dark Horse, said the sudden decision to release the Clone Wars film required the company to temporarily delay plans for two other Star Wars comic book series, Dark Times and Rebellion. The Clone Wars comics did not receive the promotional campaign it otherwise would have due to the abruptness of the theatrical and comic book releases. Topps, the trading cards company, released a series of 90 Clone Wars cards on July 26, which also included foil cards, motion cards, animation cel cards and rare sketch cards by top Star Wars artists and Lucasfilm animators. DK Publishing and the Penguin Group released books, activities and other merchandise that tied in with the film. Also released was the Clone Wars: The Visual Guide, published by DK, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars in the UK, published by Puffin and in the U.S. by Grosset & Dunlap. The publishers also released a storybook, picture books and an activity book. At the American International Toy Fair, Lego announced a product line for the film and the TV series, to be released in July 2008 in the United States and on August 2008 in the United Kingdom.


4.4. Marketing Video games

The LucasArts video game developer adapted the film into Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Jedi Alliance for the Nintendo DS and Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Lightsaber Duels for Wii. A reviewer from said his expectations for Jedi Alliance were low due to poor Clone Wars movie reviews, but he found the game "a varied and well-paced experience."


4.5. Marketing Portable media players

A Star Wars: The Clone Wars MP3 player was released in August 2008. The player includes one gigabyte of memory, which holds 200 songs or 20 hours of music and comes with three interchangeable faceplates: a green one with Yoda and a lightsaber on it, a silver one with Captain Rex and a Galactic Empire logo on it, and one with two Clone troopers on Coruscant. One review claimed it improved upon a Darth Vader MP3 player released in July 2008, which featured only 512 megabytes of memory and a dated visual display. A Star Wars iPod iSpeaker a speaker/dock for iPods, iPhones and MP3 players was also released. The speaker includes an image of Captain Rex and three other Clone Troopers.


4.6. Marketing Racing sponsorship

A Star Wars: The Clone Wars open wheel car for the IndyCar Series was unveiled at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con International. The No. 26 car, which also included Blockbuster Inc. decals and was driven by Andretti Green Racing driver Marco Andretti, ran August 24 on the Infineon Raceway in the Sonoma Mountains in California. Andretti said, "Im hoping that my upcoming battle at Infineon will be as exciting as anything in a Star Wars movie so I can win it for both Blockbuster and Lucasfilm." The car finished 14th at Infineon, which Andretti attributed to a slow pit stop early in the race; he added, "I just dont think it was a very good performance for us today." The Clone Wars car was the second collaboration between Lucasfilm, Blockbuster and Andretti Green Racing. It premiered as an Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull car at the Indianapolis 500 in May 2008.


4.7. Marketing Novelization

A novelization of the film by Karen Traviss was released by Del Rey Books on July 26, 2008. In addition to narrating the films plot from various points of view, it includes some of Anakins memories of his early childhood as a Hutt slave, as well as some of Dookus recollections of battling the Mandalorians previously explored in the 2002 comic book Jango Fett: Open Seasons.


4.8. Marketing Home media

The films two-disc DVD and Blu-ray Disc was released on November 11, 2008 in the United States and on December 8, 2008 in the United Kingdom. The film was released as a single-disc DVD, two-disc Special Edition DVD, and Blu-ray Disc. The standard-definition versions include the film in widescreen format with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX sound, and with feature-length audio commentary.

The film is also available on the Disney+ streaming service, which launched on November 12, 2019.


5.1. Reception Critical response

The film was panned by critics; on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Star Wars: The Clone Wars received an approval rating of 18% based on 169 reviews, with an average rating of 4.2/10. The sites critical consensus reads: "Mechanical animation and a less-than stellar script make The Clone Wars a pale shadow of George Lucas once great franchise." This constituted the lowest Rotten Tomatoes rating of any Star Wars film; the previous six theatrical films ranged from 52% to 95% and the made-for-television Ewok films and the Star Wars Holiday Special garnered higher ratings, although their averages encompassed far fewer reviews. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 35 out of 100 based on 30 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B-" on an A+ to F scale.

Entertainment Weekly listed Star Wars: The Clone Wars as one of the five worst films of 2008 with critic Owen Gleiberman saying,

Its hard to tell the droids from the Jedi drones in this robotic animated dud, in which the George Lucas Empire Strikes Back - at the audience. What wears you out is Lucas immersion in a Star Wars cosmology that has grown so obsessive-compulsively cluttered yet trivial that its no longer escapism; Because this movie has bad lightsaber duels and the lack of the original cast, its something you want to escape from.

Aint It Cool News posted two reviews of the film during the week before its release, but pulled them down due to an embargo placed on those attending the screening its writers attended. The same reviews were re-posted on the site, on the day of the films release. The retraction prompted some readers to allege a conspiracy by Lucasfilm to keep negative press out of circulation until the release of the film, but although the review by site creator Harry Knowles was negative, Drew McWeeny said that his review was positive and that no such conspiracy existed.

Several critics compared The Clone Wars to a Saturday morning cartoon and described it as little more than a plug for the upcoming animated series. Linda Barnard, of the Toronto Star, said the movie "pretty much drives a stake into the heart of every loyal fan of the movies. And now out to stick it to those too young to know about Jar Binks." Variety magazine reviewer Todd McCarthy said, "This isnt the Star Wars weve always known and at least sometimes loved." Joe Neumiar, of the New York Daily News, wrote, "If this were a true Star Wars film, right about now somebody would say.Ive got a bad feeling about this." In his review for Entertainment Weekly, critic Owen Gleiberman gave the film an F grade and wrote, "George Lucas is turning into the enemy of fun." Carrie Rickey, of The Philadelphia Inquirer, said, "The best that can be said about the movie is that its harmless and mostly charmless. The Clone Wars is to Star Wars what karaoke is to pop music."

The main criticism toward the film was the animation. Many criticized it as cheap, wooden, non-engaging and out-of-date; some reviewers drew negative comparisons to 1960s marionette-based shows Thunderbirds and Fireball XL5, although George Lucas previously said the animation style was a deliberate homage to such shows. Tom Long of The Detroit News said the animation "is downright weak compared to whats generally seen on screens these days" and said the characters are so stiff they look like they were "carved by Pinocchios father." Roger Ebert gave the film 1.5 stars out of 4 and said "the characters have hair that looks molded from Play-Doh, bodies that seem arthritic, and moving lips on half-frozen faces - all signs that shortcuts were taken in the animation work." McCarthy said "the movements, both of the characters and the compositions, look mechanical, and the mostly familiar characters have all the facial expressiveness of Easter Island statues." But some of the same reviewers who criticized the animation acknowledged some positive elements about it; McCarthy said it allowed for "somewhat more dramatic compositions and color schemes," and Carrie Rickey, of The Philadelphia Inquirer, said the scenery and backgrounds were "vivid and alive", although she said the characters "move as you would imagine the statues at a waxworks might."

Reviewers also criticized the dialogue, which Ebert said was limited to "simplistic declamations" and Claudia Puig of USA Today described as "stilted and overblown, a problem also in some of the live-action incarnations." Many critics also said that the battle scenes were repetitive and lacked tension; McCarthy described the action sequences as "a little exposition, an invasion; some more exposition, a lightsaber fight; a bit more blah-blah, a spaceship dogfight, and on and on." Linda Stasi, of the New York Post, also described the lack of character development in the film, writing that whereas the original Star Wars films dedicated time to allowing viewers to get to know the characters, "Director Dave Filoni is so concentrated on the action that were never given the chance to care who lives and who is blown into spare parts." Jason Anderson, of the Globe and Mail, wrote that although The Clone Wars is intended for younger audiences, "parents may be perturbed by the films relentless violence." Ebert also found protagonist Ahsoka Tano "annoying," and Michael Rechtshaffen, of The Hollywood Reporter, said the attempts of humor amid the bickering between Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker are "strained". Puig said she enjoyed the character, and that "her repartee with Anakin enlivens things."


5.2. Reception Box office

The Clone Wars earned $68.282.845 worldwide, including $35.161.554 in North American domestic box office grosses and $33.121.290 in international grosses. The film earned $14.611.273 on 3.452 screens in its opening weekend, including $6.228.973 on its opening day, August 15. It was the third-highest earning film of the weekend in spite of negative critical reception, behind Tropic Thunder and The Dark Knight, which earned $25.8 million and $16.3 million, respectively. Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., said that the box office performance met expectations because two-thirds of the audience were families and the budget for the film was $8.5 million, frugal considering it was a CGI film and because the film was meant to introduce the animated series. Fellman said, "It was targeted to a specific audience for specific reasons. We accomplished that mission, and it will continue in another medium." When The Clone Wars dropped to $5.6 million in its second week of release, described it as "the first bona fide Star Wars flop." The film also earned $23.428.376 from DVD sales in the US.


5.3. Reception Accolades

The film was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award in the category "Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel".


6. Video game

The LucasArts video game developer adapted the film into Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Jedi Alliance for the Nintendo DS and Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Lightsaber Duels for Wii. A reviewer from said his expectations for Jedi Alliance were low due to poor Clone Wars movie reviews, but he found the game "a varied and well-paced experience."