If the first six Star Wars movies only whetted your appetite for whirling lightsaber duels and thickets of blaster fire, then you're in for a treat starting Friday, August 15.

That's when Star Wars: The Clone Wars—the first animated installment of George Lucas's epic Star Wars saga—opens in theaters. Watch as Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu and their other Jedi pals, backed by an army of cloned soldiers, takes on a droid army led by General Grievous and Sith Lord Count Dooku.

Spacecraft, robots, far-off galaxies—all are familiar subject to readers of ScientificAmerican.com. In this special report, we bring you a selection of Star Wars–themed science, from robots and artificial intelligence to cloning and alien life. Read excerpts from Jeanne Cavelos's 1999 book, The Science of Star Wars, then check out our interview with the author and peruse a selection of stories from our archive to find out what's happened since.

And because there's more to life than science (or so we've heard), you'll also find an interview with David Filoni, director of The Clone Wars film and an animated series coming this fall, as well as an image gallery of Clone Wars characters, old and new.