Thursday’s lineup at Comic-Con in San Diego included panels for The Clone Wars Season 4, The Old Republic MMO.
The Clone Wars panel started off with a general trailer for season four, which will be subtitled ‘Battle Lines’ – the preview showed off many cool things, primarily focusing on an underwater battle between Republic forces and Mon Calamari fighting against Separatist forces, Quarren, and more. Also shown were clone soldiers getting their type two armor & helmets (moving closer to the Revenge of the Sith look). Moderator Pablo Hidalgo tossed questions to director Dave Filoni and producer Cary Silver and showed several more video clips and art slide shows, which hinted at:
- “Battle Lines” will focus a lot on “Things going boom!” – more action and battles.
- Initial story arc focusing on the underwater battles between the Mon Calamari (and a young Captain Ackbar) and the Quarren, with Kit Fisto and scuba clones assisting the Mon Calamari, while the Quarren have separatist droids and a new shark-man villain who can slash through a pack of Calamari, like…well, a shark through calamari.
- Another arc will take us to the always-dark world of Umbara for a clone-centric story as the Republic forces take on the native Umbarans (a first instead of simply attacking battle droids), who have a very different look to their technology. Look for massive ground and space battles (and the introduction of Z-95 Headhunters!
- A new Jedi general, with a different look on things, of the species of the four-armed Dexter Jettster.
- Comic episodes with C-3PO and R2-D2 experiencing the war in their own way (and hijacking a Y-Wing) as Grievous duels Adi Gallia. Threepio also ends up with some clonetroopers on a planet mission and hilarity ensues.
- The Mortis arc from season three is just the beginning into an exploration of the mysticism of the Force, and those Force-wielders.
- Asajj Ventress and the Nightsisters fighting against a droid army. Dave previewed this rough uncolored clip after he brought up a group of Nightsister costumers from Team Unicorn on stage.
- As released on Wednesday online, Death Watch is back, and Katee Sackoff voices Pre Vizsla’s lieutenant, who rounds up Lux Bonteri and Ahsoka Tano on a snowy world with her squad of Death Watch Mandalorians.
- The return of characters such as Bossk, Boba Fett, Cad Bane, Pre Vizsla and Savage Oppress – and the introduction of Dengar!
During the Q&A, Filoni mentioned that he has put a lot of though into Ahsoka’s eventual fate in the show – and that he keeps changing it (at least 8 times) & discussing it with George Lucas as the show and her character continue to develop. Also from the Q&A:
- No Han! Dave Filoni isn’t interested in introducing a young Han Solo, despite Chewbacca’s appearance at the end of the third season.
- During the planning of the Holocron Heist story arc, they thought about bringing Durge in as the main villain before George Lucas came up with Cad Bane.
- Clone commandos may yet return, though it won’t be Delta Squad.
- Clone commander Wolffe has changing armor designs because Dave Filoni accidentally realized that white on gray for his wolf logo was more visible than the other way around, and apologized to costumers who then had to change paint jobs — then only to change the shape of Wolffe’s helmet entirely. Filoni does now expect clone scuba troopers costumes, possibly functional, at Celebration VI.
Seth Green was invited up in the Q&A, and he helped field a few audience questions, but nothing specific to his upcoming comedy animated Star Wars series.
Overall, I am very excited about season four – it looks like they are going to where the show is the strongest: good Star Wars stories: lots of action and battles, and bringing in new heroes and villains, and some more fun with the droids. And no, Captain Ackbar won’t learn from Anakin Skywalker about the possibility of getting snared by enemy forces, so that he can later recognize his situation at Endor.
As for The Old Republic MMO: Pre-orders have officially begun, with a release date of “Holidays 2011″ but with major beta test weekends in September. All panel attendees were given tickets to redeem for guaranteed pre-order reservations. I’m not an MMO player, but given what I saw and heard about TOR, and Bioware’s track record with KOTOR and other single-player role-playing games (Mass Effect, Dragon Age), I’m a bit excited for The Old Republic.