'Clone' Arranger


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'Clone' Arranger
New ''Star Wars'' secrets revealed -- Lucasfilm lets previously undisclosed details slip in ''Episode II'''s production notes by Brian Hiatt


WORK IN PROGRESS ''Clones''' slapdash C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) is more finished than in ''Phantom,'' but still a little rough around the edges
Yoda always counseled patience, but for hardcore ''Star Wars'' fans, the waiting is the hardest part. Take heart, however: With ''Episode II: Attack of the Clones'' just weeks from its May 16 opening (some fanatics are already camping outside theaters), more and more details on the prequel are leaking out. We dug through the film's just-released production notes for the latest info, from a new computer-animated character to previously undisclosed details on the shadowy Count Dooku. SPOILER ALERT: As always, don't read on unless you want to learn new details.

Meet Dexter Jettster -- if you dare
Never mind Jar Jar Binks. There's a new all-CGI character in ''Episode II,'' and from Lucasfilm's description, those who hated the cartoon-like Gungan may want to start sharpening their knives for Dexter Jettster. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) plays detective in ''Episode II,'' searching for the forces behind an assassination attempt on queen-turned-senator Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman). Along the way, he gets some key info from Jettster, whom Lucasfilm describes as ''an enormous character straight out of a '40s detective film.'' Dexter has four massive arms, and wears ''a grubby shirt, greasy apron and pants that tend to slide.'' Uh-oh.

Count Dooku -- it's all in the family
Another new character, disgruntled Jedi Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), turns out to be intimately tied to a more familiar Jedi. Dooku, who roils the Galactic Republic with a separatist movement in ''Episode II,'' is revealed to be the man who trained ''Phantom Menace'''s Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) in the ways of the Jedi. Qui-Gon taught Obi-Wan, who passes on his training to Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen). The family link suggests that the mysterious Dooku may turn out to be a key character in the saga -- or maybe George just really liked the name ''Dooku.''

About that title...
If the name ''Attack of the Clones'' feels like a campy throwback to an earlier era of filmmaking, that was the idea, according to George Lucas. '''Attack of the Clones' is a big, wide-eyed adventure film in the tradition... of the Saturday matinee serials of Hollywood's golden age,'' he says in the production notes. ''They were unpretentious and designed to thrill with lots of energy, suspense and excitement. You went to those movies to escape and enjoy yourself, and that's what I wanted to capture.'' Didn't he say the same thing about ''Phantom Menace''?

The droids are back in town
Lucas has always touted C-3PO and R2-D2 as the only characters to appear in each episode of ''Star Wars,'' so it's hardly a surprise that the bickering droids are back in ''Episode II.'' But the C-3PO we see won't be the same as in the other movies. Rather than the unfinished skeleton of ''Phantom Menace,'' or the polished-to-a-shine golden robot of the original trilogy, C-3PO will look like ''a bunch of found pieces put together like patchwork.'' Think of him as not a prototype, but not yet a droid.


RAIN MAKER Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison) sloshes around Kamino

''With great vengeance and furious anger...''
Don't expect Samuel L. Jackson to recite Bible passages in ''Episode II,'' but his character, Jedi master Mace Windu, will nonetheless deliver some ''Pulp Fiction''-worthy butt-whippings. ''Mace knows that war is coming and he's in full attack mode,'' Jackson says in the production notes. ''I've watched and enjoyed Errol Flynn movies all my life, and now I finally get to fight in these incredible scenes.'' It's revealed that Windu is eclipsed only by Yoda in his mastery of the Force, or as Jackson puts it, he's ''the second-baddest person in the universe.'' Since when is Yoda a person?

Strange new worlds
A new ''Star Wars'' movie always means at least one novel planet -- whether it's the cloud-city of Bespin, the Muppet-ridden Endor, or the tranquil-but-Gungan-infested Naboo. ''Attack of the Clones'' won't disappoint on that front, serving up two distinct new worlds: Kamino and Geonosis.

Kamino -- the rain-swept setting of the fight between Obi-Wan and Jango Fett (as seen in the film's trailers) -- is also where a clone army is born. The planet's native Kaminoans are ''tall, thin-necked, elegant beings harkening back to classic science fiction''; they live in houses built on stilts over an endless ocean.

Geonosis, meanwhile, is a Mars-like world, where insect-like natives spend their days building an army of droids. The planet also includes three creatures that will battle the Jedi: ''the bull-like reek, the lion-esque nexu and the acklay, a crustacean-like creature.'' No word on which members of 'N Sync will fill those roles.