I took a risk attending The Clone Wars panel (called Inside the Force in the program) for the sake of internet journalism. You see, I have not seen all of season two of the show yet. I knew there might be spoilers, but as it turns out, I remained spoiler free. The line for the panel was long even an hour before it started, and I was glad I hadn't waited too long to queue up. I filed in and got an awesome promo flyer for Celebration V from a Clone Trooper. Have I mentioned how bummed I am that I'm not going to Orlando?
Anyways. The panel featured Dave Filoni (supervising director), Joel Aron (CG Supervisor), and Kilian Plunkett (lead designer). They went over how a script is developed and that Lucas works really closely on The Clone Wars. Filoni, Lucas, and writers work on every story for the Clone Wars. He says there are some challenges between being excited about characters like young Boba Fett and the possible headaches of having to figure out continuity issues. They also discussed how characters are designed. They used young Boba Fett as an example, showing how they got to his look - right down to what his hair would look like. And apparently there were a few heated discussions was about the scale of Fett's ship Slave I. This is why nerds rock.
They talked about how the look of the series has changed greatly from season one to season three. Adding things like dust particles in the air and various assets (objects) like insects to the set really makes a CG set feel realistic. Filoni asked to make Hondo's lair look like his office - really messy. Filoni commented that Aurra Sing's ponytail (by the way, Filoni said, "There seems to be something about Star Wars with really pale skinned bald villains") was tricky because so much stimulation for hair is difficult. This is why they don't do a ton of it. He said, "Anakin's hair, he has the best galatic gel in the galaxy. In season 3, probably not a spoiler, but we actually get the hair moving a little." They said it won't be crazy Fabio type hair movements, but still - better than nothing.
The biggest challenge for season three was creating realistic CG water. Dave had always told George, no way, can't do water. But then they got Joel Aron working on the show. He worked on The Perfect Storm, and Dave said, "there was a lot of water in that I noticed." So they decided to take the show to Kamino. It's hard to make water not look like a fake computer simulation, but if you check out the link for the season three trailer, you'll see they did a pretty kick-butt job.
The panel wrapped up with a trailer for season three of the show, which you can now view here at StarWars.com. Cad Bane has a lightsaber there for a moment, Ahsoka has strong visions, and the action looks amazing Not to mention the shots of Kamino... wow.
The Q&A at the end was fun because Filoni was so great with the kids that asked questions. My favorite bit was when he was asked if he did the voice of Embo. Filoni said he did come up with the language using French and a children's book about the Smurfs, and he did a test recording. That recording ended up being used in the final edit. Filoni didn't figure it mattered since the character was slated to be axed, but nope - Embo ended up being pretty popular with fans and Lucas.
You also might have heard of the awesome surprise that happened at the panel - Guinness World Records editor Craig Glenday took the stage to present the series with a certificate proclaiming The Clone Wars as the highest rated sci-fi animation currently on television.
Here's a link to part 1 of video for the panel and the same user has the remaining parts uploaded.