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Mattoon native Titley wrote script for tonight's 'Clone Wars' episode on CN

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LOS ANGELES — Googling yourself is one thing.

But discovering your name in a listing on www.wookieepedia.org — the official online encyclopedia for all things “Star Wars” — is about as cool as it sounds for someone who watched the first “Star Wars” film 20 times when it was released in 1977.

Oh, and Mattoon native Craig Titley also got to sit down with “Star Wars” creator George Lucas to talk about that galaxy far, far away.

Obviously, this experience was “indescribably mind-blowing,” said Titley.

An established Hollywood screenwriter, Titley is now part of the “Star Wars” universe after penning the script for the latest episode of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” which airs tonight on the Cartoon Network. The half-hour episode titled “Blue Shadow Virus” is slated to run at 8 p.m.

Helping create a new chapter in the “Star Wars” saga was pretty much like what you would expect from a guy who could tell you the difference between an AT-AT and a Tauntaun. “I know people say this all the time, but this really was the coolest experience of my life. Hands down, bar none,” Titley said.

“I am a huge, Death Star-sized ‘Star Wars’ fan who watches all the movies on a regular basis and has an office full of ‘Star Wars’ toys and collectibles. So when I found out I had been hired to work on the show, I was bouncing around the house like a kid on Christmas morning, dive-bombing my wife with my X-wing fighter (while making my own laser sound effects) and screaming, ‘I’m a Jedi! I’m a Jedi!’

“Miraculously, my marriage survived that little episode.”

Titley said he visited the legendary Skywalker Ranch and met with creator George Lucas, “discussing the nuances of the ‘Star Wars’ universe.

“As a writer/storyteller, it was extremely educational to witness his creativity in action. I felt like a young Jedi in the presence of the greatest Jedi Master of all time.”

A 1989 graduate from Eastern Illinois University, Titley also wrote the scripts for the recent “Cheaper by the Dozen” films starring Steve Martin, as well as “Scooby-Doo” and “See Spot Run.”

“Blue Shadow Virus” not only was Titley’s first collaboration with Lucasfilm, which oversees the production of “The Clone Wars,” it was also his first foray into animation screenwriting. However, “Writing for the ‘Clone Wars’ was really no different from writing a live-action feature,” he said.

“Although technically a ‘cartoon,’ the (‘Clone Wars’) shows are really mini-movies with great characters, great action sequences and strong emotions that you would find in a feature film. So for me, it was like writing a ‘Star Wars’ movie, only a much shorter one.”

According to a synopsis of the new episode on www.starwars.com, “Padmé and Jar Jar are captured while searching for a secret Separatist bio-weapons lab, sparking Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka to try and save their friends and halt the release of a deadly virus.”

Titley’s name appears on this same Web site, and he’s listed on www.wookieepedia.org as a screenwriter. “Just seeing my name (on those Web sites) is a thrill that I still can’t quite comprehend,” Titley said.

“It’s surreal to be an official part of something that I have loved for so long. My inner 9-year-old child is quite proud of me.”

He has not yet seen the episode that he wrote. “I am as excited as anyone to see it,” said Titley.

“I have been blown away by all the episodes so far, so I’m sure this will be no different. It really is a fantastic series, and I say that as a fan.”

Contact Nathaniel West at nwest@jg-tc.com or 238-6860.

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