It may have begun its life as a fill-in animated series, but Star Wars: The Clone Wars came to be a legitimate hit for many fans; and not just because it offered a detailed, canonical look at the years-long battle. Before long, the characters created just for the series had gained impressive fan followings - which made the show's cancellation even more of a shock. Luckily, the minds behind the series have revealed that some of their best stories will be reaching fans in a different form - and may be even better because of it.
In a Comic-Con panel for the upcoming Star Wars Rebels series, Disney's plan for expanding on the canon fiction of the upcoming Star Wars universe became clearer. Beginning with "Star Wars: A New Dawn" - a prequel to Rebels - an entirely new universe of extended fiction will be born. A standalone novel "Tarkin" will chronicle the eponymous Grand Moff's rise to power, followed by "Lords of the Sith," recounting the forged alliance between Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine.
But one novel in particular caught the attention of those present: a story starring Clone Wars antagonist Asajj Ventress and Jedi Master Quinlan Vos. And while the announcement was limited to a single piece of artwork, Clone Wars director Dave Filoni confirmed that the novel's story was originally going to be shown on TV - along with her new haircut:
"She grew hair! That was something that we had planned to animate in the series. We had several episodes left with Ventress' arc, and when we sat down for the later seasons of The Clone Wars, [George Lucas] wrote this dynamic tale that involved both Quinlan Vos and Ventress. It was something that we were really excited about on the production team because we thought of all the characters developed for The Clone Wars, Ventress had become one of the most interesting.
"I thought since Ventress had moved away from being a Sith, and her shaved head really represented some kind of following and loyalty to that way that she would let it grow out... They did this beautiful piece of artwork... rendered beautifully and realistically for how she was going to appear in, I guess, Season 7 it would have been, of Clone Wars. This story is based on the scripts that we had written with George Lucas. Something happens between her and Quinlan Vos. So I'm super excited about this book.
"We had these great ideas for Asajj Ventress, and now they're going to come to life in a book. To me, the whole thing is just getting the story told."
Written by Christie Golden, the details of the story is still being kept quiet. But Filoni assured fans that while a step from the screen to an expanded universe novel might be a turn off for some fans, the end result is an even better opportunity for the writers to complete the character's story:
Pablo Hidalgo (a member of the story group for Rebels) reiterated the point, revealing that a novel could be far more "adult" than Clone Wars' target audience would have allowed:
"One of the things that we're excited about is: in addition to time to expand the space, you'll notice that the stories which involve Asajj, or the Night Sisters, or some of the darker elements of Clone Wars, they really push the boundaries of where you can go on an animated show... And we think that a format like a book can really get inside that psychology and space that might be a little too intense for an animated show."
Finishing one character's story is a nice dose of fan service, but Filoni went on to explain that potential novels wrapping up the arcs of even more cast members could be even more faithfully executed than one might think:
"We had so many stories planned with George [Lucas] on Clone Wars... and I don't think this is too much of a giveaway: if we do decide to make a book based on those characters, oftentimes the kernel of the idea will come from scripts that George and I wrote with the writing team. We have production art, environments, backgrounds, spaceships, character details.
"In some cases... this is a bit of a giveaway... but, in some cases we shot a bunch of stuff that never got animated. But it was all shot proxy, so I can sit someone down and they can actually watch it on some rudimentary level."
It's worth pointing out that Filoni was speaking in hypothetical terms, but with the company already investing in a single novel based on a Clone Wars character, it's not strange to think that more could follow. So although fans will still be rightly disappointed that subplots were left unresolved in the series itself, the adoration of fans isn't lost on those capable of righting that wrong.
When one romantic subplot in particular - that of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Satine Kryz - was brought up, Filoni gave fans reason to hope:
"Oh I've given that topic considerable thought. In fact I have a massive email chain with Pablo here about everything that goes down, and some of it is completely scandalous. I think it's an interesting story, I would be all for it. I would support that fully."
Take these comments with a grain of salt, but it's clear that the 'replacement' of Clone Wars with Rebels hasn't stripped the series (or its beloved cast) from the minds of its creators. One step at a time though: who will be interested in picking up a printed conclusion to Asajj Ventress' saga?
Star Wars Rebels premieres on Disney XD in Fall 2014.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce for updates on Star Wars Rebels as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.