At 67 seconds, it’s a short tour de Force. But the Nov. 2 premiere of the first trailer for George Lucas’ ”Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” was enough to stir up ”Star”-struck fans. (Another trailer will screen before ”Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”) The clip provides hyperdrive-quick glimpses of the characters from ”The Phantom Menace,” now 10 years older and on the brink of an intergalactic war: There’s a shaggy Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), a stern-faced Yoda, and smooching lovebirds Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman).
While Lucasfilm was typically mum about explaining the trailer, the Internet quickly buzzed about the ”A.I.”-looking tykes (possibly clones) working computer consoles and the soggy nighttime battle between Obi-Wan and new baddie Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison). ”Lucas knows what he’s doing by making this a lot more dark and ominous,” says Joshua Griffin, an editor of the fansite TheForce.net.
One virtual no-show is Jar Jar Binks, though Lucasfilm says the CGI-created alien appears in the film. The teaser even satisfied the Phantom Editor, who released a reedited Binks-lite ”Menace” earlier this year. ”There wasn’t much to edit out [of the trailer],” says the Phantom (a.k.a. L.A. filmmaker Mike J. Nichols). ”And with Jar Jar missing, what could I do to rebel? Add him in?” No-sa thanks-a.