'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' blasts onto Netflix in March

10:47 AM, Feb 13, 2014   |    comments
Yoda (voiced by Tom Kane) stars in a story arc in the sixth and final season of the animated series "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," coming to Netflix in March. (Photo: Lucasfilm)
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USA TODAY - In March, Netflix will feel the return of the Jedi.

Star Wars fans can binge-watch the unaired sixth and final season of the award-winning Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series when it premieres on the streaming service March 7. Also as part of a deal announced Thursday by Disney, Lucasfilm and Netflix, all five seasons of Clone Wars that aired on Cartoon Network will be available as well, with director's cut episodes and the feature film.

Clone Wars follows the galactic conflict that occurred between two of the movie prequels, 2002's Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones and 2005's Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. The show centered on Jedi knights such as Obi-Wan Kenobi (voiced by James Arnold Taylor), young apprentice Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) and Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter), who would eventually join the Dark Side and become Darth Vader.

This is the first time Star Wars content has been available on Netflix, but queues will probably be filling up soon with more from George Lucas' galaxy: Starting in 2016, the service will be the exclusive streaming home for first-run, live-action and animated movies from Lucasfilm and other Disney properties such as Pixar and Marvel Studios.

"Star Wars is one of the most iconic franchises of all time and this series joins a long line of Disney content that Netflix members are and will continue to enjoy for years to come," said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos in a statement.

Clone Wars was canceled last year following Disney's fall 2012 purchase of Lucasfilm and the company's decision to move animation in a different direction.

However, Clone Wars supervising director Dave Filoni told USA TODAY last spring that plans were underway to finish unproduced episodes and answer questions that fans had always wanted to know during the show's run.

"They're just these concepts just hanging out there," Filoni said, "and finally we're going to deal with them."

Called "The Lost Missions," the 13-episode sixth season that's coming to Netflix will deal with Ahsoka's emotional exit from the Jedi order, which needs any and all Jedi and their lightsabers to deal with the growing threat of the evil Sith Lords and their apprentices.

One of the story arcs stars fan-favorite Jedi master Yoda (Tom Kane) and digs into what the Jedi believed about the nature of the Force during the time of the Clone Wars, how it worked and their relationship to its mysterious power.

Yoda will also be visited by the spirit of Qui-Gon Jinn, played by Liam Neeson in a reprisal of his Episode I - The Phantom Menace movie character.

"Without giving too much away, on one level you wonder why when Obi-Wan gets killed in (the original Star Wars film), he's the one who vanishes," Filoni said. "And then we see Yoda vanish when he dies (in Return of the Jedi). And yet in the prequels, none of the Jedi do that - why is that?"

Having Yoda be the star of the story is a departure from other tales in the overall Clone Wars saga, which featured new characters as well as those from the movies.

"We were always very careful about what we did with Yoda," said Filoni, an executive producer on the upcoming Star Wars Rebels animated series. "We never wanted to overuse him or put him in too many situations just because we had him, but we really felt that we finally had a story and a reason for him to be in it that was good enough to warrant bringing the little guy out."

(Copyright © 2014 USA TODAY)

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