This is old news to some people, but just in case you didn't know; On August 15th, 2008 the Clone Wars Animated Film will be released in North American theaters. This is the big release that heralds a regular television series on The Cartoon Network that will go on for at least one year.
The film and animated series are set between Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Here's the quick and dirty version of the history behind this television series.
George Lucas decided that there was a lot more story to tell aside from the six movies and also had a very serious interest in building a state of the art animation studio. He promised the fans at least 60 episodes of an animated series set in the Clone Wars era, and the same number of episodes of a live action television series as well. Then he sort of disappeared.
He built is animation studio in the Orient, taking advantage of some of the greatest animation talent there and built another production unit in the US. He finished the first 60 episodes of his animated series (3D rendered this time, unlike the original Clone Wars cartoon), and shopped it around. Warner Brothers picked up the movie and television distribution rights, working with Disney to show episodes in their theme park at the same time.
Fast forward a bit and we find ourselves looking at a theatrical release date of August 15th, 2008 (See trailer below), with the television series to follow in the fall. This series includes very dynamic battles, a lot of Jedi action, a focus on the relationship between Skywalker and Kenobi, and the addition of a plucky female Padiwan character. She'll be the first female Jedi created by Lucas to get a lot of attention in one of his features or television series. I have to say, after looking into it a little and watching a few of the video clips on www.starwars.com I'm impressed with the animated style and I'll be in line to see the animated feature.
As a side note I'm looking forward to the live action television series a little more. According to information gained form www.starwars.com George Lucas has been working on it since fall, 2007. There are a lot of rumors floating around about it, so I'll only put forward what I've verified from at least three sources including www.starwars.com. George is footing the entire bill, so networks will not dictate how it's done. He's promised to write/direct the first season at least, if not more. He is planning for 100 episodes and would like to produce 60 before finding a home for the show. The live action series will focus on peripheral characters in the Star Wars universe and involve more of the seedy underbelly areas, like where Han Solo would hang out before joining the rebellion. We won't see any main characters from the Skywalker saga (Episodes I-VI) in this series. George Lucas has wanted to tell stories in this setting for a long time, and now that he's finished telling the Skywalker story it looks like he'll get a chance. The events of this show will take place between Episode III and Episode IV, providing a ton breathing room for the series since there's about 18 years or more between the two films.
I predict that we'll get to see some real concrete info on the live action series in the late spring of 2009, but until then I'm sure I'll enjoy the animated series.
See you there!