So while a lot of focus was on George Lucas at The Clone Wars panel this morning at Star Wars Celebration VI, and the Friday night premiere of the season five opener, fans got another peek at something upcoming in The Clone Wars with Young Jedi. In the Calling All Kids panel, (where all adults had to be accompanied by a child under 11), Dave Filoni introduced Young Jedi, an eighty-four minute screening that is likely to be a four-part story arc on Star Wars: The Clone Wars this season. (Or at least it appears that it could be easily separated into several episodes) With fans getting popcorn and George Lucas sitting in the crowd watching the reactions of the kids and adults in the audience, we were taken on a thrill ride aimed at the children who are the core audience
of the show.
So what’s it about? The Young Jedi are a group of six younglings who go on a set of adventures on their own – first as part of their training, Ahsoka takes them to Ilum so that they can gather crystals for their lightsabers, and they must overcome their own weaknesses to return with a crystal. Later, they have to overcome some unexpected obstacles and save the day in their own way. I’m going to be rather vague since I don’t want to spoil it too much.
Here are some very basic information (highlight to read):
- The six younglings include a human male, a female Rodian, a male Wookiee, a male Nautolan, and a female Tholothian, and a male Ithorian. They are adorable. The Wookiee has a little single upward snaggletooth.
- The first part of the story is their quest in the caves of Ilum to find their lightsaber crystals and overcome their own traits – selfishness, lack of confidence, impatience, etc. while Yoda and Ahsoka wait outside in a race against time
- The second part of the story takes place aboard a Jedi training ship (probably not the Chu’unthor) where their lessons in constructing their lightsabers get interrupted by an attack by someone eager to get their hands on some crystals.
- The third part of the story is a rescue mission as the younglings mount their own operation to save a character when the Jedi and Republic forces can’t do it.
- The rest – it’s a secret!
While this arc uses younglings as the main characters and some of the themes are more focused for children, I think there are some great things in this for the grown-ups as well. We see children who are not full Jedi yet – still struggling with their own insecurities and such. There are some fantastic action scenes (both using the younglings and using other regular characters) and some good comic bits, especially in act three. And did I say Wookiee Jedi, almost adorable to Katie Cook levels? Seeing this bit of The Clone Wars on the big screen was fantastic – there are some truly spectacular sequences that just screamed “movie” to me instead of “tv show”.
Now, in the season five panel, George Lucas mentioned a younger-skewing show:
“We were kind of taking a chance in making a dramatic animated series, which is kind of in a never never land of animation here. We’re also making a younger-skewing show that we’re developing, and of course Detours which is way out on its own.”
Taking that quote in conjunction with this – could Young Jedi be a spinoff of The Clone Wars that introduces these younglings and then put them off on their own adventures for the under-ten set? I could easily see Young Jedi fitting that niche, especially if The Clone Wars keeps going on a darker route that might be less kid-friendly than the show started out as. Having briefly chatted with one of the newer voice actors to the show this morning, it seems that season five is continuing down the dark path.