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Wednesday, 14 November, 2001, 12:02 GMT
Star Wars release date revealed
Queen Amidala
Natalie Portman returns as Queen Amidala
George Lucas' latest Star Wars film, Episode II Attack of the Clones, is to be released in the UK and the US on 16 May 2002.

Trailers for Episode II have already been made available on the internet to tease fans ahead of its release.

The next instalment will come nearly three years after Lucas introduced a new generation to his Stars Wars films by taking the story back to the beginning with Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

Ewan McGregor
Ewan McGregor plays Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi

Attack of the Clones will once again star Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Natalie Portman as Queen Amidala and Samuel L Jackson as Mace Windu.

It will also introduce Hayden Christensen as an older Anakin Skywalker and Dracula star Christopher Lee as Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus.

Attack of the Clones will pick up 10 years after The Phantom Menace and tells the story of Anakin's adventures as a full Jedi Knight.

He and Obi-Wan will be charged with the task of protecting Queen Amidala.

A new cinema trailer will be seen ahead of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the US.

Both Episodes I and II are prequels to Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

Although The Phantom Menace received lukewarm reviews it took more than 50m at the UK box office as fans flocked to see it.

At the time it set a UK box office record by taking 9.5m in its opening weekend.

Yoda
Yoda first made an appearance in The Empire Strikes Back

Its release on DVD saw it set more records when it sold 2.2 million copies in the US in its first week.

The original Star Wars film hit cinema screens in 1977 and became a cult hit.

The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi followed in three-year intervals.

The success of the movies saw a huge merchandising trend emerge as children clamoured for toys, books and memorabilia.

Episode III, the final film in the series, is expected to go into production in 2003 but no title has yet been announced.

See also:

24 Oct 01 | Film
Star Wars breaks DVD records
19 Jun 01 | Film
Star Wars set for DVD release
20 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Star Wars sets UK record
10 Oct 01 | Scotland
McGregor may open Star Wars show
03 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Force behind Phantom video
07 Aug 01 | Film
Lucas names fifth Star Wars
03 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Satellite TV feels force of Star Wars
14 Jul 99 | Star Wars
The Phantom Menace invades the UK
05 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Honorary degree for Star Wars actor
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