'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' season 5 trailer: Maul, Mandalorians, and one angry, lightsaber-wielding Darth Sidious -- EXCLUSIVE

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Image Credit: Lucasfilm

The big question we were all left pondering after Star Wars: The Clone Wars did the impossible and resurrected Darth Maul: What’s next?

Well, fans this weekend at Star Wars Celebration VI in Orlando were treated to at least part of the answer in an epic new trailer for season 5 that shows what happens when Maul and his Mandalorian allies are unleashed on that Galaxy Far, Far Away.

“I’d say these are the most thought-provoking episodes we’ve done, for sure,” supervising director Dave Filoni says of the new season, set to debut on Cartoon Network on Saturday Sept. 29 in its new 9:30 a.m. timeslot. “Is there a benefit of having seen the previous four seasons? Yes. Season 5, more than any other we’ve produced, is geared to the loyal viewer.”

EW has the exclusive online debut of the three-and-a-half minute trailer, and it’s a cosmic corker featuring not just Maul, his brother Savage Opress, and director Jon Favreau’s Mandalorian Death Watch leader Pre Vizsla, but Asajj Ventress, Mark II tech, and a lightsaber-wielding Darth Sidious. Check it out after the page break (if you’re coming from the Inside TV blog main page):

It’s as if legions of Star Wars fans cried out in joy, then were suddenly silenced in awestruck amazement. The Clone Wars has developed into such a strong series for fans young and old—combining the political edge of the prequels with the action and humor of the original trilogy—but season 5 looks to take the show to a whole new level.

“The first season 5 trailer we released back in June was about the most limited version possible of what you could see,” Filoni says. “It didn’t have any of the good stuff in it, because there’s so little that we could show that wasn’t going to give our secrets away. So for this new trailer I said to our editor Kevin Yost, ‘I’m giving you all of the footage, and the only thing you can’t show or talk about is this one thing. But everything else, put it in, and I’ll tell you if you went too far.’ Except for one thing, everything was fair game.”

Could this “one thing” that’s completely off-limits be a galaxy-shattering revelation on par with Darth Maul’s resurrection that’ll have fans’ heads spinning? “Oh yeah,” Filoni says. “Oh yeah.”

But until we can talk about that at some future date, there’s more than enough in this new clip to keep us occupied. Here are 10 things we noticed in the new trailer:

1. It’s the “Clone Wars,” not “Clone War,” for a reason
After Maul’s resurrection in the season four finale, everyone wondered what would be the ex-Sith Lord’s new endgame. Would he try to take his rightful place by Darth Sidious’ side? Or would he resent that his Sith Master had abandoned him in favor of Count Dooku after he was cut in half? The latter now seems very much the case. Maul’s definitely not joining the Separatists in their fight against the Republic and the Jedi but intends to establish himself as a third party in the galactic conflict. And to do that, he’ll need some powerful allies: Pre Vizsla and the Mandalorian Death Watch, who were also betrayed and abandoned by the Sith in their fight to reclaim Mandalore.

Maul vows to help the Death Watch overthrow the pacifist Mandalorian leader, Obi-Wan’s old girlfriend Duchess Satine. It even looks like Maul may sport some red Mandalorian armor with additional helmet-space for his horns. Still, all may not be perfectly friendly with his new colleagues. It looks like Vizsla duels Maul with his darksaber at one point in the trailer, but whether that’s at the beginning of their relationship or at its end is unclear. It also looks like Maul’s now associating himself with the green-skinned Falleen of the Black Sun criminal cartel, which he fought against years before when still an apprentice to Darth Sidious. But again, in the trailer released in June, Maul threw his lightsaber at one of the Falleen, so maybe he’s prepping a hostile takeover? No matter what, Maul is here to stay as a long-term nemesis.

And don’t just think he’s an unthinking force of unstoppable rage. “Season 5 explores what an intellectual character Maul really is,” Filoni says.

2. Growing Anti-Jedi Sentiment
Not only does one new character say that she feels the Jedi are not the same guardians of peace and justice that they used to be, it looks like there’s an Occupy Jedi Temple protest outside their fortress on Coruscant. “We’ve got some critical set-up this season to explore why the Sith triumph, why the Empire replaces the Republic, the kind of things that fans have always wondered about regarding this period,” Filoni says. “What do people really think of the Jedi? How is it that Palpatine had the Jedi eliminated and the galactic populace seems fine with that? What does it mean when Mace Windu walks in to the Chancellor’s office and tries to arrest him? Would the people be for that or against that? Palpatine makes it look like the Jedi launched a coup. How is it that people would accept such an explanation?”

NEXT: The birth of the Rebel Alliance? The return of Asajj Ventress as a villain? Darth Sidious gets hands-on?

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