At last week's ShoWest convention in Las Vegas, George Lucas took the stage to introduce the movie industry to his latest Star Wars creation, the animated summer flick Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The feature film (which opens Aug. 15) builds upon the Clone Wars shows that have aired on the Cartoon Network; the footage Lucas presented included glimpses of familiar characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, C-3PO, and R2-D2, as well as more talk of Jabba the Hutt. All the while, naturally, Lucas was flanked by a platoon of stormtroopers ''I never go anywhere without my army,'' he quipped.
But does the Jedi master expect to ever retire his Star Wars soldiers? What's going on with that live-action TV series he announced, anyway? How excited is he for the debut of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? What's the status of his longtime promise to direct artier films? And which movie prompted him to say, ''I wish I had made it I don't think I'm talented enough to do that''? In an extended conversation, EW.com found out the answers to those questions and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You explained a little bit in your ShoWest presentation about why you decided to come back and make this film. Do you feel like there's even more to tell in the Star Wars universe?
GEORGE LUCAS: Yeah, you know, I sat down and said, ''Okay, the Luke Skywalker story'' or the Anakin Skywalker story, actually ''is done.'' But whenever you create a universe, there's just vast areas you've never touched, and part of that was this. Which is to say, ''Well, gee, I did the movies about everything but the Clone Wars, so wouldn't it be fun to do a TV series that is nothing but the Clone Wars, and we could just have all the adventures?'' And that, with: ''Gee, it would be fun to go back to animation.'' And: ''Gee, it would be fun to do a sort of 3-D animé film, which people haven't done it would be an interesting experiment, and we should have a good time.''
Is Star Wars: The Clone Wars going to be shown in 3-D?
No, no, it's not 3-D, it's basically CG I've gotta stop using ''3-D''...
Right, they're not interchangeable.
It used to be that 3-D was considered CG, and then 3-D actually came to be, so now we have to change [what we say]. [Laughs]
You've talked a lot about 3-D, so why didn't you do this project in 3-D?
Well, you know, it's expensive. And we felt that everybody kind of looks at the downside: It would cost twice as much to do it in 3-D as it did to do the movie in the first place. So you say, ''Well, gosh, do you think we're going to get that much more out of it? And is it going to be worth it? And we can always do it later if we really want to.'' So that was really the logic behind it. You know, [the Clone Wars movie] was almost an afterthought we were doing the TV series and looked at some of the episodes on the big screen and said, ''This is so beautiful, why don't we just go and use the crew and make a feature?'' So we did.
NEXT PAGE: Lucas on his planned live-action TV series, and how it fits in the Star Wars universe