Star Wars: Episode III: News on the ongoing production for the 3rd Star Wars film hit The Force.net' over the weekend. First up is the official statement released by Lucasfilm about the previously mentioned new bad guy character, which we ran a story on last week...

Marin County, Calif. - February 13, 2004 - Enter the covert world of the Star Wars infantry for the first time and become a member of an elite Republic Special Operations unit in LucasArts new squad based first-person shooter, Star Wars Republic Commando. Set during the Clone Wars, between Attack of the Clones and the upcoming Star Wars: Episode III, Star Wars Republic Commando will be released fall 2004 for the PC and Xbox® video game system from Microsoft.

Mission briefings set the tone in this dark first-person shooter, as players lead their squads on a variety of assignments such as hostage rescue, infiltration/data retrieval, elimination, assault, sabotage and reconnaissance operations. Your three-man team is controlled through an intuitive and accessible "smart squad" command system, based on squad markers and stances. The game features more than fifteen levels, with exercises covering both familiar and new Star Wars settings and characters, including the introduction of the mysterious General Grievous and his deadly bodyguards from the upcoming Star Wars: Episode III.

Next up is a transcription of an interview with stunt coordinator, Nick Gillard, in the latest issue of Dreamwatch Magazine, and what he has to say about the 'lightsaber' battles in the film...

"It's going to be the best prequel. I can't see how it won't be," says Gillard, the veteran stunt co-ordinator whose outstanding fight sequences have been one of the undisputed highlights of the new Star Wars trilogy.

"Episode III has got everything the other films had and more! The movie is 60 to 70 per cent fighting. Ewan [McGregor, Obi-Wan Kenobi] had 1,000 moves to learn, as opposed to the three pages he had to learn in The Phantom Menace. There's tons of fighting in this one."

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"Episode III also ties in beautifully with all the other movies. And when I read the script, I was really surprised by how emotional it is." "Everyone working on the film took so much care with it," he states. "Nobody wants to get it wrong."

Brian B.