Star Wars: The Clone Wars courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures Star Wars: The Clone Wars courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

George Lucas gave theater owners a sneak peek of Clone Wars at their ShoWest convention in Las Vegas on Thursday. The animated film hits theaters on Aug. 15, just weeks before a similarly themed animated series debuts on TNT.

As you all know, as huge a fan as I am of Lucas, I really wish he would move away from his established franchises ( Star Wars, Indiana Jones) and try something new. Imagine what he could do with a contemporary thriller or a romantic comedy. Even if they don't succeed, at least he will have shown his willingness to experiment, to be an artist with a different palette.

But don't hold your breath. Here's what he told the Associated Press about creating a film and series at the same time, comparing the process to a factory. "You've got the whole assembly line built, and then you say, 'Hey, we can make up something,'" Make up something?!? Is this the same man who made the Mos Eisley swing, the Millennium Falcon soar, and the Ewoks Jar-Jar Darth Vader rock? Methinks someone needs his mojo back.

Nevertheless, I'm sure Clone Wars will be a successful movie and series, and that its audience will hail it as a creative triumph. As a consolation, I hear that his script for "American Graffiti 2: Electric Boogaloo" is genius.

What do you think? Are you salivating at the mere mention of "George Lucas" and "release date" in the same sentence? Or would you like to use a Jedi mind trick to make it all go away? - Mickey O'Connor

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Watch full episodes of the original Clone Wars animated series in our Online Video Guide.