July 2, 2008

Clone Wars Profiled in the New York Times

This article just came up on the New York Times movie section, with an interesting look at George Lucas and how he's marketing the Clone Wars.

Free to Follow His Heart Right Back to ‘Star Wars’

FUTURE generations will never need to establish a George Lucas museum, because George Lucas has already built one for himself. On either side of the Golden Gate Bridge he has constructed himself two temples where “Star Wars” is made and worshiped: at his Skywalker Ranch in Marin County and his newer office complex, the Letterman Digital Arts Center at the Presidio, he has gathered all manner of relics honoring his six-film saga, from the imposing (life-size replicas of the villains Darth Vader and Boba Fett) to the self-congratulatory (a Yoda fountain) to the self-deprecating (a carbonite block encasing the much loathed Jar Jar Binks).

Like religious shrines, these buildings both consecrate and confine the man for whom they were built.

Using the freedom and the fortune he has amassed largely on the astronomical success of “Star Wars,” Mr. Lucas has accumulated unparalleled creative resources; his next film could be anything from a sweeping epic to one of the intimate personal narratives he has often said he would like to make. Instead his next two ventures will be “Star Wars” projects, no less ambitious than his previous films yet potentially less commercial. And they come at a time when even the “Star Wars” faithful wonder if Mr. Lucas’s continued mining of this fantasy world has anything more to yield.

A few weeks ago Mr. Lucas, who is 64 with a full white beard, was visiting his Presidio offices somewhat reluctantly, on a layover between the European and Japanese premieres of his latest “Indiana Jones” movie. “I love making movies; I’m not the biggest fan of selling them,” he said, seated in the librarylike Lucasfilm boardroom, stocked with books about real-world military history and novels like “Quo Vadis.” “But since I’m in the selling mood, that’s what you’re here for. I’m doing all my selling for two more weeks. Then I’m sold out.”

He was pitching a computer-generated animated movie called “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” which Warner Brothers will release on Aug. 15 and which will introduce an animated television series with the same title that will have its debut on the Cartoon Network this fall.

Despite his vows to the contrary Mr. Lucas did not conclude his “Star Wars” epic with his 2005 film “Revenge of the Sith,” the third in a trilogy of prequel movies that grossed more than $1 billion in the United States alone. As far back as 2002 he was contemplating an animated series that would take place between Episodes II and III of his prequels, fleshing out the adventures of the Jedi knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker (who is doomed to become the evil Darth Vader), and explore heroes, villains and planets glossed over in the prequel films.

For Mr. Lucas this was an opportunity to revisit imaginary turf that gives him great personal satisfaction. “Star Wars,” he said, is “a sandbox I love to play in.”

“It’s not a matter of trying to prove anything to anybody,” he added. “I don’t have to.”

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