One Look at the New Direction of LucasfilmMarch 12, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Posted in Opinion, Star Wars, Television, The Clone Wars | 1 Comment
StarWars.com broke some big news yesterday. At the time, we decided to just report the news when it broke, but today I’m going to take a deeper look. Breaking down the announcement piece-by-piece, I’ll provide my opinion on what I think it really means for the future of Star Wars.
Lucasfilm has decided to pursue a new direction in animated programming. We are exploring a whole new Star Wars series set in a time period previously untouched in Star Wars films or television programming. You can expect more details in the months to come.
A new direction in animated programming which includes a new Star Wars series in a new time period, which rules out the Clone Wars era and possibly the Return of the Jedi period (due to the Ewoks tv show) and some of the time period leading up to A New Hope (due to the Droids tv show). Most likely, given the new direction, this will mean either a series bridging the gap between Episode VI and VII or a series taking place during Episode VII, as the new management seems disinclined to focus any attention beyond the planned sequel trilogy.
As part of this shift, we have also made some key decisions affecting Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Detours.
After five highly successful and critically acclaimed seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, we feel the time has come to wind down the series. While the studio is no longer producing new episodes for Cartoon Network, we’re continuing production on new Clone Wars story arcs that promise to be some of the most thrilling adventures ever seen. Stay tuned for more information on where fans can soon find this bonus content. In the video below, Supervising Director Dave Filoni offers a peek of what is to come in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
I’m going to strive to not be too negative here since I’m a fan of The Clone Wars. While we all know the series would come to an end at some point, the “wind down” feels just a tad bit abrupt. As is, there’s plenty of room to end the series with a full season six which could finish bridging the gap between Episode II and Episode III and provide resolution for the fate of Ahsoka. A lot of fans are invested in the series, and they’d like to see this done.
From what the statement from Lucasfilm implies, we will not be getting a full season six, let alone a television broadcast of the episodes. Labeling them as “bonus content” is really distressing. The end of The Clone Wars isn’t some behind the scenes documentary, out takes or cut scenes featurette. For me, it means much more than that. With the very best animation on television, the end of The Clone Wars would seem deserve of something better than an online download. And forgive me if I don’t jump up and down if they happen to decide to do a direct-to-dvd release. Reading their statement, it doesn’t seem likely that will get anything more than either of those two options.
At Star Wars Celebration VI last year, George Lucas gave fans a glimpse at the animated comedy series Star Wars Detours from Seth Green, Matthew Senreich, and Todd Grimes. Detours was conceived and produced before we decided to move forward with the new Star Wars trilogy, and in the wake of that decision, Lucasfilm has reconsidered whether launching an animated comedy prior to the launch of Episode VII makes sense. As a result, we’ve decided to postpone the release of Detours until a later date.
I went to Star Wars Celebration VI. I was at the first panel that revealed the very first look at Star Wars Detours. The auditorium was packed. When they rolled the footage, people were pumped. This looked promising. This was something that was funny, smart and enjoyable to a wide range of viewers. It also bridges the gap between the prequels and the original trilogy. This was something all Star Wars fans could truly enjoy. I was excited to see this.
Now? Well, it’s hard to be positive about postponement. The news release implies that we will not see Detours prior to Episode VII’s release. By then, any hype left for the show will be gone and the technology and animation for the show will risk looking dated. Reading between the lines, Detours sounds like it’s dead.
The announcements of Detours being postponed and The Clone Wars winding down into bonus content comes on the tail of Star Wars 1313 being put on hold along with the 3D release of Episode II and Episode III. Taken together, that’s a lot of disappointing news. On the plus side, we have a vague statement about a new television series in a new era and the promise of three new Star Wars films and two spin-off films. Of course, there is rumored talk that the release for Episode VII might get pushed back. Regardless, in the wake of these postponements, the pressure on Disney and Lucasfilm to do an outstanding job on Episode VII has just dramatically increased, in my opinion. Star Wars fans are also going to be very disappointed if the new television show can’t live up to The Clone Wars which set a very high bar in season five.
What will the future hold? As an optimist, I’m trying really hard to remain positive. Even though The Clone Wars is coming to an abrupt end, we will be getting more. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll get it as a theatrical release, the kind of send off a show of this caliber truly deserves. Raising the bar a little higher, this new, unnamed Star Wars television show could utilize the awesome assets of The Clone Wars’ team. They already have a superb animation team, voice actors, sound department and writers all in place. Just point them toward Episode VII and let the magic happen. That right there would evaporate all my worries and disappoint from the flurry of postponements that have been announced recently. But will that happen? Well, there’s always room for a little hope. Just ask Princess Leia.