As an avowed Star Wars afficionado of over 30 years I was pleased to have the opportunity to review the latest Clone Wars series on DVD.

Clone Wars is a computer-animated spin-off of the Star Wars movie franchise and it explores the further adventures of the Star Wars characters from the Clone Wars period of the films, plus a variety of others. If you’ve been following them you may remember that the first Clone Wars TV shows were conventional animation but this has been superseded in the more recent series with a slick computer animation look which they seem to push to a new level with each series.

To go back in time a little the original Star Wars films were in part inspired by the old black and white Saturday morning favourite Flash Gordon, and while it would be easy to consider the Clone Wars as only being a Saturday-morning kids cartoon series that would to be at the risk of seriously underestimating it. To be fair this isn’t just a tip of the hat to the Star Wars universe as each storyline is overseen by George Lucas himself and research material includes not only the original films but also extends out into some of the comic book story lines to give us characters such as Savage Opress, a journeyman Jedi with an unconventional Jedi personality.

The episodes themselves have their own distinct characteristics and feature certain personalities with “Evil Plans” being a C-3PO and R2-D2 special including Anthony Daniels providing the voice for C-3PO, “Nightsisters” featuring Count Dooku’s Sith apprentice Asajj Ventress and there’s even an episode featuring Chewbacca, who returned at the specific request of George Lucas himself.

If you know the Star Wars universe and movies well there are plenty of cameo appearances from droids and other characters from the original films to spot. Added to that they’ve ramped up the scale of the space battles to match those of the movies with scores of small fighters bobbing and weaving between fleets of massive starships and torrents of laser fire. Lightsabre battles are well presented with some fabulous set pieces between the warring Jedi and Sith, particularly showcased in the journey of Asajj Ventress from Jedi trainee to Sith apprentice.

So, the episodes themselves are excellent but the special features are a real treasure with contributions from Dave Filoni, the Supervising Director, and many of the technical and creative staff talking about how they brought the different planets to life, how to make a team of clones have distinctive personalities, demonstrating the creative process for the sounds effects and computer graphics leading to my personal favourite, the visit of Peter Mayhew to the creative team so they could find out what it takes to make the legend that is Chewbacca.

I don’t know if we’ll ever see episodes 7, 8 or 9 of the Star Wars saga in movie form but in the meantime this is solid evidence that the Lucas creative process is still firmly focused on the Star Wars universe. It has to be said that some parts of the series is a bit dark so I wouldn’t use it as a way to ween the little kids away from “Tellytubbies” but for older kids who’ve seen and like Star Wars, and my wife would probably include me in that category, then this a great way to expand on the saga, plus it includes some unexpected news about Darth Maul, though you’ll have to watch it to find out what that means.

Star Wars – Clone Wars series 3 is released on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday, 17th October

Disc 1
Clone Cadets
Arc Troopers
Supply Line
Sphere Of Influence
The Academy
Disc 2
Evil Plans
Hunt For Ziro
Heroes On Both Sides
Pursuit Of Peace
Disc 3
Witches Of The Mist
Altar Of Mortis
Ghosts Of Mortis
Disc 4
The Citadel
Citadel Rescue
Padawan Lost
Wookiee Hunt
Special Features disc
Creating Kamino
Hutts And The Underworld
Witches And Monsters
Chewbacca Returns
Secrets Of Mortis