March 12, 2013

Shake-Ups at Lucasfilm: 'The Clone Wars' Axed, 'Star Wars: Detours' in Limbo (VIDEO)

If you felt a great disturbance in the force, you weren't just imagining it.

Lucasfilm Animation announced Monday that "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," the animated spinoff that has aired for five seasons on the Cartoon Network, has effectively been canceled. According to a statement posted on the "Star Wars" website, "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."

Dave Filoni, the supervising director for "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," posted a video on the site, citing the enthusiasm of George Lucas and the fans for the show but also confirming that Lucasfilm will be pointing the "Stars Wars" franchise in a new direction.

"I look around now, and there is more 'Star Wars' happening here than at any time I've ever been with the company," Filoni said. "It's really kind of blossomed and taken a new shape with Kathleen Kennedy heading up Lucasfilm. I look around the halls and 'Episode VII' of 'Star Wars' is actually being made, every day … but because of these new, exciting changes and things happening, other things have to wind down and come to a close. And that's what we're going to be doing with 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars.'"

Things aren't 100 percent finished for "The Clone Wars," though. According to the online statement, "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." However, the statement also confirmed that fans will have to wait to find out when this "bonus content" will become available, suggesting that it might be on DVD only.

While the three "Star Wars" prequels that George Lucas directed between 1999 and 2005 polarized fans of the series, the animated "Clone Wars" series was generally well received and earned solid ratings. The end of the series appears not to be a matter of lack of viewer interest but rather to be a product of reorganized priorities at Lucasfilm, as a number of other projects tied in to the prequel trilogy have also been scuttled (such as the 3D reissues of "Episode II: Attack of the Clones" and "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith").

Watch the trailer for "Star Wars: Detours":

If the people behind "The Clone Wars" are disappointed, they're almost certainly more upbeat than the folks at "Star Wars: Detours," which has yet to make it to air and might never be seen. Seth Green and Matt Senreich produced three memorable episodes of their animated series "Robot Chicken," which parodied the "Star Wars" universe, and George Lucas (who gave them permission to use the characters) liked them enough that he approached Green and Senreich about working on a show devoted entirely to "Star Wars" humor.

"Lucas was sitting at a desk and said, 'You guys think you're pretty f------g funny, don't you?'" Green said during a presentation at Star Wars Celebration VI in 2012. "'So, how about we do something funny together?'"

Green and Senreich teamed up with animator Todd Grimes for "Star Wars: Detours," and a trailer for the show was shown at the Celebration and posted online. But Monday's statement leaves little room for optimism: "'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."

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