It's hard to believe that it has been just over a year since The Clone Wars debuted on televisions everywhere. We had already been treated to the August release of The Clone Wars theatrical film, and were eager for what was to come. It was on that Friday on October 3, 2008, where families all over, sat down to watch the first two episodes of The Clone Wars on their TV's and collectively, I believe, everyone understood that Star Wars was back on television!
For fans of Star Wars and The Clone Wars this has been a long time coming. While an animated Star Wars show has been on television before (the 1980's-era Ewoks and Droids series) and an animated Clone Wars (2003-2005) show was made for CartoonNetwork, this version of The Clone Wars truly represents George Lucas committing himself behind weekly Star Wars stories again, or as Dave Filoni, Supervising Director of the show puts it, making mini-movies each week.
So with much excitement and hype, mainly due to fan expectation of Season Two, this week saw the release of The Clone Wars The Complete Season One, on DVD and Blu-Ray.
But why should you buy the first season of The Clone Wars? You watched them on TV; downloaded them on iTunes; watched the video commentaries at StarWars.com...what else is there?
What's In The Box?
Well, for starters, you get all 22 episodes from the first season of The Clone Wars. From Ambush to Hostage Crisis, they're all here. Seven of these episodes are Director's Cut episodes. They include Rising Malevolence, Shadow of Malevolence, Rookies, Lair of Grievous, Storm Over Ryloth, Innocents of Ryloth and Liberty on Ryloth. So, just what is a Director's Cut? Near as I can tell, comparing an original version of the episode to one in this set, it's an extended version that contains between 1 and 2 minutes of additional footage. For example, in Liberty on Ryloth, the Episode Guide at StarWars.com has a "memorable quote" from the battle droids. I didn't remember this from the episode, and it wasn't there originally. But it has been restored to this Director's cut, along with some additional footage of Lightning Squad on their AT-RT's and some enhanced battle footage.
Each and every episode also has a 5-7 minute Featurette associated with it. On the surface these appear to be the Episode Commentaries from the official site, but they are so much more! While the original commentaries that aired on StarWars.com featured Dave Filoni, speaking about different aspects of each episode, these featurettes contain multiple behind-the-scene interviews. Some of Filoni's commentary from the web is featured, but there's also additional commentary between Dave and series writer Henry Gilroy, as well as Kilian Plunkett, the design and concept artist on the show. On certain featurettes sound designer David Acord and supervising sound editor Matthew Wood give insight into the sound effects, voices, and other strange goings on behind-the-scenes.
The Blu-ray discs each have an enhanced mode for each episode called the Jedi Temple Archives which gives behind-the-scene and other extras for fans to watch.
Depending on which version of the set you get (DVD or Blu-ray), you'll have either three or four discs. Both sets contain Commander Cody on their covers, while each disc contains an image of a clone on it. The best thing about getting the episodes on this set is the expanded widescreen format they are presented in. While CartoonNetwork broadcasts these episodes in widescreen, they are actually made in a slightly wider format, giving viewers approximately 25% more video from each episode!
There's also 64-page (66 if you count the illustrations on the inside covers) booklet that comes with each set. The imagery included inside covers character designs, matte paintings of environments, ship designs, as well as a plethora of sketches and storyboards. Some of these images can be seen in the behind-the-scene pictures with each episodes guide on StarWars.com as well as the Art of Star Wars: The Clone Wars book from Titan Books.
Finally, come the Easter Eggs. I'm sure there are comparable Eggs on the Blu-ray discs, but each disc in the DVD set has a hidden video surprise! I'll leave the locations of these a surprise for fans to find, but here's what you can expect to find.
At about $30 for the DVD set and between $35-$40 for the Blu-ray set, this is a great way to relive the excitement of Season One, even as you're watching Season Two.
DVD Set Specifications
Blu-ray Disc Set Specifications