Lucas offered a glimpse into the latest creation in his sci-fi universe at the theater-owners convention ShoWest on Thursday, showing a sequence from "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," a computer-animated movie due in theaters Aug. 15. It will be followed by a TV series of the same name, to air on the Cartoon Network and TNT this fall.
The movie came about as an afterthought while Lucas was developing an animated TV show of the same name. That show debuts this fall, but Lucas figured it was ripe for big-screen treatment, too.
"You've got the whole assembly line built, and then you say, 'Hey, we can make up something,'" Lucas said in an interview. "It was like old-time moviemaking. What I love about television, it's like Monogram Pictures or the old studio system, where a couple guys come to work and they sit and have some coffee and go, 'Why don't we make a movie about such and such? OK, fine.' And at the end of the day, it's pretty much on its way."
"It's like 'Band of Brothers' in space, with Jedi," Lucas, 63, said. "You can tell lots of stories. They come up all the time."
Lucas said he plans to produce at least 100 hours worth of TV episodes of "Clone Wars."
He also is moving forward with a live-action "Star Wars" TV show focusing largely on new characters removed from the Skywalker family. That show will be set in the decades between "Revenge of the Sith" and the period when the original film, 1977's "Star Wars," takes place.
So can fans ever get enough of "Star Wars"?
"I don't know," Lucas said. "I'm thankful every year that it keeps going."
Time Warner Inc. owns TNT, the Cartoon Network and the film's distributor, Warner Bros.
By David Germain