If the arc of the public's regard for Star Wars has taught us anything, it's that you can't keep a good intellectual property down. Despite initial fan resistance, the animated spinoff television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars has developed a steady following of its own. Already clocking in at five seasons and over 100 episodes, Clone Wars has been a relatively quiet but undeniable success in the aftermath of the prequel films' fall from grace.
In the wake of Lucasfilm's acquisition by Disney, the future of Star Wars: The Clone Wars is in flux. The series will finish out its fifth season on Cartoon Network, but after that its eventual home – and even the status of its overall production – is unknown. Even so, the series and its showrunners are determined to treat The Clone Wars as a thriving and still-viable property. As such, they have announced the recent addition of a well-known face from another cult science fiction series: David Tennant, former star of Doctor Who.
In an press release issued today, Lucasfilm announced that former Tenth Doctor David Tennant will lend his voice to upcoming episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Starting with this coming weekend's "A Test of Strength," Tennant will voice a new character named Huyang – a droid designed to help young Jedi build lightsabers.
David Tennant – a well-known uber-geek who gained his iconic Who role largely due to his encyclopedic knowledge of the series – was contacted by Clone Wars showrunners after they learned that he was an devoted Star Wars fan. That the former Doctor (an accomplished thespian in his own right) would lend serious geek cred to the proposed role was surely icing on the cake.
Befitting the episodic nature of The Clone Wars, "A Test of Strength" will break from previous story arcs to tell the story of a group of Jedi padawans as they prepare to construct their personal lightsabers. Guided by series regular Ahsoka Tano (voiced by Ashley Eckstein), the Jedi-in-training will encounter Huyang, the generations-old custodian droid played by Tennant. Huyang (and thus, Tennant) will apparently stay a regular character for the next two episodes of the series.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars has seen more than a few notable guest stars in its five seasons. John Favreau (Iron Man), Seth Green (Robot Chicken), Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead), Michael York (Austin Powers), and Ron Perlman (Drive) have all lent their voices to the show's colorful rogue's gallery.
If the above clip is any indication, it appears that Tennant is bringing all the energy and quirky verbal rhythm that made him such a delightful Doctor to his performance as Huyang. Although the series may soon end – or at the very least find itself going in new creative directions on a new network – The Clone Wars seems to at least be making solid creative decisions right down to the wire. Though Tennant's guest appearance may do nothing to save it, he will no doubt make the end all the more enjoyable.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars will air "A Test of Strength" on November 10, 2012.