Sunday, 29 January 2012


Back from the dead? The evil Darth Maul returns in STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS. Images: LUCASFILM/CARTOON NETWORK.

The curtain of darkness begins to pull itself ever tighter around our freedom fighting Jedi and Clone Trooper heroes as the fourth series of the hit George Lucas produced, US CARTOON NETWORK showing THE CLONE WARS series approaches the home straight for its final collection of episodes. And a stunning batch they surely look, too. We've already had incredible strides in animation and storytelling this year with some superbly ambitious and thoroughly entertaining multi-part storylines, made in the best STAR WARS tradition by Animation Director Dave Filoni and his team, including the Kadavo Slaves arc, which saw Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano suffer badly against the whips of the Zyggerian Trade Slavers and their Queen in their bold mission to free captured slaves from Kiros, and the Battle for Umbara, which saw the Clint Eastwood-esque Captain Rex and his men going down a dark path as they take on a corrupted Jedi Master on a planet swathed in darkness. In this final eventful batch, getting ever closer to the final evil witnessed in the movie EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH, the stakes are raised to the Nth Degree, with STAR WARS meeting PRISON BREAK for four daring adventurous episodes, as Obi-Wan goes undercover, and becomes bald in the process!, to infiltrate a massive prisoner escape of bounty hunters orchestrated behind the scenes by the evil Sith Lord Count Dooku. There's also a new plot to kidnap galactic leader Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (voiced by the late British actor Ian Abercrombie, who sadly passed away this week) on his home plane of Naboo-the lush fairy-tale like world of palaces and hills seen in EPISODE ONE: THE PHANTOM MENACE (now back in cinemas for the next generation of families to experience, and in 3D!), plus the return of the Prequel Trilogy's most popular and thoroughly aggressive baddie from Dathomir, the horned devil-like Darth Maul, who seemingly escaped prior decapitated death at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi's lightsaber in PHANTOM (we can't wait to see how that happened!) and has returned to wreak his own personal brand of havoc on the Jedi, alongside his newly re-united brother, the equally fierce and battle bloodthirsty Savage Opress (once more voiced by Clancy Brown).

Check out the ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY video preview of Maul's return:'Star Wars: The Clone Wars': Darth Maul | Inside TV |

A bald Obi-Wan, undercover against the evil Cad Bane, in Friends & Enemies.
Pariah Sith assassin Asajj Ventress takes on the fearsome General Grievous.
In enemy sights: Obi-Wan is the target of an assassin in Deception.
Jedi hero Anakin Skywalker mourns the death of a mentor in Deception.

Along the way, watch out for returning old favourites like the crafty bounty hunter Cad Bane, evil droid General Grievous, the pariah Sith apprentice Asajj Ventress, who continues her quest for lightsaber-wielding justice against Count Dooku for betraying her, and her all-female family: the witchcraft/mystical energy using Nightsisters, led by the mysterious, future predicting Mother Talzin. Oh, and there's gonna be a big army of the undead, too!

More dark side villainy comes in the form of the menacing Savage Opress.

Frustratingly, SKY MOVIES in the UK has abandoned THE CLONE WARS this year, and from now on (presumably to save money whilst they buy up pretty much every other major current American series known to mankind!), though it's hoped that, prior to an eventual DVD and Blu-ray release by WARNER BROTHERS later in the year, it may at least appear on the British CARTOON NETWORK by Easter-time.

Seasons One to Three of THE CLONE WARS are available on Blu-ray and DVD from WARNER BROTHERS.

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