It wasn’t lightsaber-wielding superfans who got an exclusive look at Attack of the Clones March 5. Instead, producer Rick McCallum unveiled 10 dizzying minutes of the next Star Wars installment to cineplex owners at ShoWest in Las Vegas. The early peek suggests urbane art deco design and a darker, more romantic plot. The reel includes extended footage of previously glimpsed scenes such as a neon-lit nightclub, a rainy saber battle in a city on stilts, and rows of computer terminals manned by clone children with shoulder patches reading il. Could this be a cheeky homage to George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic? ”They don’t have an alphabet like we do,” explains a Lucasfilm spokeswoman, ”so the il would not be anything literal.” Thanks for clearing that up. What else is new in the preview? — Nicholas Fonseca
— Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and a character resembling Jabba the Hutt share a booth at a Mel’s-style diner with Flo-like robot waitresses and red-and-white vinyl seats. In another culinary scene set in a commissary, a multi-armed, flapjack-flipping robot serves R2-D2.
— Yoda, looking mighty peeved, wards off a floating ball of blue light with his bare hand.
— Natalie Portman’s Padme Amidala amps up the fashion factor with numerous regal costume changes (a backless gradated-rainbow frock a la Britney Spears, a strapless black evening gown, and a Lara Croftesque white pantsuit with a cape).
— In an intense chase along a factory assembly line that recalls Chicken Run’s climax in a pie-making machine, Amidala dodges a row of massive metal presses and Anakin (Hayden Christensen) draws his saber against robot workers and large winged creatures resembling Episode I’s Watto.
— A quick, eyebrow-raising shot of a shirtless Anakin, resting his head on a pillow and looking, uh, fulfilled. Do we see Luke and Leia in the twinkle of those bedroom eyes?