September 15, 2011

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Dee Bradley Baker, the Voice of the Clones (video & interview)

Did you know that all of the clones in Star Wars: The Clone Wars are voiced by one person? Dee Bradley Baker quite literally voices an army. He brings individuality to each clone with tone, inflection, and different speech patterns. Captain Rex sounds different from Commander Cody. And no one can forget the heroic 99. He was set apart just as much by his speech as his malformed body. It's got to be a challenge to play so many different versions of the same basic character, but Dee Bradley Baker rises to the occasion week after week. In this video, he talks about how he develops different sounds for the clones and which ones are his favorites to play.

I had the opportunity to speak with Bradley Baker at the season 4 premiere event last Saturday. We covered some of the same topics in this video. He does have the handful of favorites he listed in the video, but he likes all of them. The clones are only becoming more important. "A lot of them, they have their moment of truth and honesty and that's what's so wonderful about these guys. They're all individuals, and that individuality comes more and more into play these days." He said it's fascinating for him to see as he goes to events to see the emotional connection that fans have to the clones - even the ones who are only around for a short while. That's due in large part to the voices that give each of them life.

Clones are present in almost every episode, and it's key to differentiate them every time. Bradley Baker broke down the process for me: "In a script that's clone heavy (like the upcoming Umbarra arc), I've got to go from the written word and break it down in terms of who's who, where they stand in terms of status, in terms of how loose they play it and how by the book they play it, and age. Dave (Filoni) and I sort of work out a system of where to place them on a grid in terms of those characteristics. So I can just jump back and forth in between those as we read through the script."

This season has a lot in store for the clone army. It's progressing closer to the time of Revenge of the Sith (note the armor upgrade in the previews). For season 4, Bradley Baker is particularly looking forward to the Umbarra arc. He thinks it's "decimatingly good." He said, "It puts the clones in a really difficult war situation that's not going well, and what they have to deal with and how they come through it is really spectacular."


I asked Bradley Baker what it's been like to become such a large part of the Star Wars universe in the past five years. He let me know that he's actually been around the franchise most of his life. After Star Wars was released in 1977, his parents made him a kick-butt Jawa outfit. In the summer of '78 when it was rereleased a local cinema hired him to be the Jawa all summer long. He got paid in movie passes and got to watch Star Wars all summer long. He said, "It was one of the best gigs I've had - other than this."

Because of that past, it means a lot to him to be part of The Clone Wars. "To come back around to something that you love like that and to be in it and in an integral way - it's dreamlike. I'm very lucky to have a lot of a great shows I get to work on, but this one is very different because of what it meant to me as a kid. It's a marvelous dream."

Don't forget: Season 4 of The Clone Wars premieres tomorrow night, 9/16, at 8pm on Cartoon Network.

My Clone Wars coverage from this week:
STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS Premiere Brought Awe, Teases - My coverage from the red carpet premiere event at the Long Beach Aquarium. I talked to Dave Filoni, Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein, and more!

CLONE WARS Season 4 Premiere Episodes Wet, Wild War - My spoiler-free review of the two-part episode premiere of season four. You guys are going to be impressed (by the show that is, not my review).

13 comments:

  1. Nice article, love the nuances he does to differentiate the Clones. I wonder if he knows anything about how they're (or if they're) going to handle Order 66?

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  2. I get the feeling that the show is only going to the beginning of Revenge of the Sith. I could be wrong though.

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