Over the scope of 22 episodes plus a feature film, The Clone Wars series has visually expanded the scope of the Star Wars galaxy immensely. We’ve gone to about 20 planets in the whirlwind that was the first season, and met a variety of alien cultures and creatures. Season two promises to be even richer, and Comic-Con International hosted some of the key members of the artistic team that help put that together at a panel early on Star Wars Day. On hand were Dave Filoni, Supervising Director; Joel Aron, CG Supervisor; Kilian Plunkett, Lead Designer; Danny Keller, Story Artist and Animation Consultant; and moderating the panel was StarWars.com’s own Pablo Hidalgo
“The goal was to create 22 minutes of the best movie to you each and every week,” said Filoni, describing how creator George Lucas kept pushing the envelope on the scope of the story. “If there are 10 clones on the screen, he wants 20. We put 20, he wants 100. Once we get around 100, he wants a thousand. It’s a goal that you simply don’t see every week on an animated series.”
Filoni contrasted the leaps and bounds made by the production team. When the feature film and season one began, Lucasfilm Animation was still being constructed from the ground up. “One simple way to illustrate it very easily, we had Plo Koon — a new character we had built for that. We had three clones that we redressed with different formats. That was largely all we had to build for that episode. No, for the season finale, we had new models of Cad Bane, Aurra Sing, Robonino, a modified pirate for a bounty hunter, a whole bunch of new Senators and background characters. So, just as far as character models, we’ve multiplied what we’re capable of.”
Pablo chimed in – “With that said, is there any temptation to revisit any of the designs done for season one?”
“It’s unavoidable,” said Filoni. “Just because we built Anakin Skywalker, he’s was the first model we built, so he’s needed some of the heaviest redesign that we’ve had to do. The Anakin you see now in Clone Wars, even though he looks relatively the same, is not the same model we used in the movie. In fact, he’s substantially better than the one. We redid the rigs, we redid some of the surface textures.”
To show an example of how confidence in execution has changed the approach of designing the characters, Kilian showed an image of the original concept maquette of Anakin Skywalker next to the concept maquette for Bail Organa. Whereas the original explorations of Anakin were hard and geometric, Organa was a much more subtle yet still stylized design.