George Lucas Explains Why Familar Voices Won’t Return For ‘Clone Wars’

The animated “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” opens this week (check out our interview with George Lucas here), giving audiences another opportunity to pal around with old friends like Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and R2-D2. But while a lot of the action and characters will be familiar to fans of the series, a majority of the voices won’t. No Hayden Christensen or Ewan McGregor. No Natalie Portman or Frank Oz. In fact, the only actors returning to voice their characters are Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu), Christopher Lee (Count Dooku), and Anthony Daniels (C-3P0).

So why aren’t a lot of the actors who made the roles famous returning?

“When we decided to do the feature, we went back to the actors and said, ’Look, we’re doing a feature. Would you like to do the voice? Could you come in a month?’ Some of them were all over the world. It was hard to get all the actors that would be off on set,” Lucas told reporters at a press conference last week. “You need people available every week. [Also] you can’t really afford multi-million dollar actors to do a television series. Those guys make more during their coffee break.”

But the bottom line for why most of the actors aren’t returning to voice the characters they made famous? Because George Lucas doesn’t need them, Lucas himself said to reporters.

“It used to be in animation you just had [unknown] actors do the parts. The idea of hiring a really good actor – Tom Hanks [for instance] – was a really revolutionary idea,” Lucas said. “Partly they did it because they were great actors, partly they did it cause they wanted to use them for publicity. To be very honest with you, I don’t really think I need to hire a big movie star to publicize my movie. I don’t need Angelina Jolie here. That’s what it comes down to in the end. They have two days in the studio and then they have like two weeks doing press. They are mainly paid for the press stuff.”

So Lucas doesn’t think it makes a lick of difference either way. But what do you think? Disappointed the same actors aren’t voicing all the characters? Would you be more likely to see the movie if it starred Natalie Portman, for instance? Sound off on your thoughts below.