By Christian Blauvelt
Updated January 13, 2011 at 05:51 PM EST
Credit: Lucasfilm ltd

Image Credit: Lucasfilm ltdWe sense a great disturbance in the Force. This Friday, Star Wars: The Clone Wars unleashes its latest villain, Savage Opress. He’s a similarly-horned kinsman of Episode I’s fearsome Sith lord, Darth Maul. But despite his sinister-sounding name — not to mention the episode title, “Monster” — Savage (pronounced Suh-vahj) is one of the most complex baddies Star Wars has ever given us.

That’s due in no small part to actor and vocal performer Clancy Brown’s sensitive take on the character as a tragic pawn of Asajj Ventress and the Nightsisters (surely the name of the next hit indie band) in their vendetta against Count Dooku. To animation buffs, Brown (Highlander, Lost’s Kelvin Inman) is best-loved as the voice of Lex Luthor on Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League, but to voice Savage he drew from one of his earliest live-action roles, that of Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, Viktor, in 1985’s The Bride. “I figured Savage was a lot like that voice,” Brown says. “Like Viktor, Savage is an innocent being pulled apart by all these forces outside his control. He gets turned into this horrible monster being used for other people’s ends, without any room for self-examination.” Brown’s intent was “not to make Savage unsympathetic right off the bat, or automatically sympathetic, either,” to show that evil isn’t born, it’s taught.

In this exclusive clip of Friday’s episode, Savage begins the training that can only lead to one place: the Dark Side. And be sure to check out our weekly Clone Wars‘ recaps here.

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