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Lucas dubs Episode II

Next installment to be titled 'Attack of the Clones'

George Lucas has announced the next “Star Wars” installment will be titled “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.” Pic is skedded to bow next summer.

Lucas used the franchise’s official Web site, StarWars.com, to make the news public.

According to the site, the title was chosen because it “harkens back to the sense of pure fun, imagination and excitement that characterized the classic movie serials and pulp space fantasy adventures that inspired the ‘Star Wars’ saga.”

Set a decade after “Episode I — The Phantom Menace,” “Attack of the Clones” follows Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), who are assigned to protect Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), whose life is threatened by a faction of political separatists.

Over the past year, Web sites set up by exuberant fans, such as TheForce.net, have published what they thought to be possible titles for the pic, including “The Shadow Falls.”

“Star Wars” arguably has the most intense Internet following of all feature film franchises; fans have gone so far as to re-edit “The Phantom Menace” more to their liking and even have created their own digital-enhanced trailers for “Attack of the Clones” to be viewed via the Web.

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