Yoda always counseled patience, but for hardcore ”Star Wars” fans, the waiting is the hardest part. Take heart, however: With ”Episode II: Attack of the Clones” just weeks from its May 16 opening (some fanatics are already camping outside theaters), more and more details on the prequel are leaking out. We dug through the film’s just-released production notes for the latest info, from a new computer-animated character to previously undisclosed details on the shadowy Count Dooku. SPOILER ALERT: As always, don’t read on unless you want to learn new details.
Meet Dexter Jettster — if you dare
Never mind Jar Jar Binks. There’s a new all-CGI character in ”Episode II,” and from Lucasfilm’s description, those who hated the cartoon-like Gungan may want to start sharpening their knives for Dexter Jettster. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) plays detective in ”Episode II,” searching for the forces behind an assassination attempt on queen-turned-senator Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman). Along the way, he gets some key info from Jettster, whom Lucasfilm describes as ”an enormous character straight out of a ’40s detective film.” Dexter has four massive arms, and wears ”a grubby shirt, greasy apron and pants that tend to slide.” Uh-oh.
Count Dooku — it’s all in the family
Another new character, disgruntled Jedi Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), turns out to be intimately tied to a more familiar Jedi. Dooku, who roils the Galactic Republic with a separatist movement in ”Episode II,” is revealed to be the man who trained ”Phantom Menace”’s Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) in the ways of the Jedi. Qui-Gon taught Obi-Wan, who passes on his training to Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen). The family link suggests that the mysterious Dooku may turn out to be a key character in the saga — or maybe George just really liked the name ”Dooku.”
About that title…
If the name ”Attack of the Clones” feels like a campy throwback to an earlier era of filmmaking, that was the idea, according to George Lucas. ”’Attack of the Clones’ is a big, wide-eyed adventure film in the tradition… of the Saturday matinee serials of Hollywood’s golden age,” he says in the production notes. ”They were unpretentious and designed to thrill with lots of energy, suspense and excitement. You went to those movies to escape and enjoy yourself, and that’s what I wanted to capture.” Didn’t he say the same thing about ”Phantom Menace”?
The droids are back in town
Lucas has always touted C-3PO and R2-D2 as the only characters to appear in each episode of ”Star Wars,” so it’s hardly a surprise that the bickering droids are back in ”Episode II.” But the C-3PO we see won’t be the same as in the other movies. Rather than the unfinished skeleton of ”Phantom Menace,” or the polished-to-a-shine golden robot of the original trilogy, C-3PO will look like ”a bunch of found pieces put together like patchwork.” Think of him as not a prototype, but not yet a droid.