The Star Wars franchise returns this week as Star Wars: The Clone Wars is released on most parts of the planet. However, there will be 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).
Why is this?
MTV asked George Lucas that very question:
“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.”
He has a point. Although it would have been great to have everyone back to voice an animated version of their characters, it is not how the world works. In Hollywood anyway.