America got its first extended look at the hotly anticipated new Star Wars movie last night — and the latest installment of George Lucas' sci-fi epic boasts huge, sweeping sets and spectacular effects.
The action-packed, 2½ minute trailer for Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones premiered on the Fox network — and will be shown in theaters preceding the animated feature Ice Age beginning on Friday.
While it gave away far less plot than most trailers, it's clear that Episode II — which, as has been widely reported, focuses on a rebellion — is darker than The Phantom Menace.
Jar Jar Binks, the much-criticized comic relief of the last film, was nowhere in sight.
The centerpiece of this fast-moving mini-movie was a huge battle with hundreds of Jedi, hundreds of light sabers and thousands of clones.
"I will not let this republic be split in two," declares Jedi leader Palpatine.
"If they do, there aren't enough Jedi to protect the republic," says Mace Windu. "We're keepers of the peace, not soldiers."
Besides the clone warriors, the trailer shows new characters played by Jimmy Smits and Christopher Lee — the latter as a Jedi separatist imploring an imprisoned Obi Wan Kenobe to join him.
Hayden Christensen, the new Anakin Skywalker, also appears in lighter moments with Obi Wan, who complains, "I hate it when he does that" after Anakin jumps out of a space cruiser.