BLOG Spaceships! Gone! The End Of The Clone Wars?

So, I wrote a blog last month about my hope that the Disney Star Wars purchase and the forthcoming new films might lead to a resurgence of spaceships on our TV screens. And the first thing Disney does is cancel the Star Wars: The Clone Wars cartoon series. Sheesh! One of my last remaining sources of spaceship battles and space opera fixes and it’s being cancelled. Not exactly what I was hoping would happen.

Well, I think the show’s been cancelled; a statement was released yesterday on the StarWars .com website saying that Lucasfilm Animation is heading in a new direction with their animated programming. There’s talk of “winding down” The Clone Wars TV series. They talk of not making any new episodes for Cartoon Network. But at the same time they talk about “ new story arcs that promise to be some of the most thrilling adventures ever seen ” and give us a video interview with show-runner Dave Filoni wherein he shows off a big action packed clip of some not-seen-before Clone Wars footage featuring things relating to Order 66 and the fall of the Jedi. There is also some vague talk about future news concerning how to see this “bonus content” whatever that means, or even is. So, the series is over. Sort of. But not quite yet. Or something…

There’s also news that the forthcoming Star Wars: Detours comedy cartoon, from Robot Chicken ’s Seth Green and Mathew Senreich, has been shelved indefinitely too. Lucasfilm has “ reconsidered whether launching an animated comedy prior to the launch of Episode VII makes sense ” whatever that means.

I realise that when the Clone Wars cartoon was started there was talk from George Lucas of making 100 episodes and they passed that number in the middle of the recent fifth season, but I really had hoped that this was a show which could go on and on. I don’t really see how Clone Wars -related stories should affect the plans or storylines of the proposed Disney sequel trilogy or any of the stand-alone Star Wars films thus mooted but what do I know?

If anything – and I know this isn’t really possible – I would have loved to see the Clone Wars episodes go right up to the events seen in Episode III and even re-tell them somewhat. I think that seeing the end of the war, Order 66 and the fall of the Jedi covered again with the hindsight of five seasons of Clone Wars and its better characterisation and better known cast of clones and Jedi would have made for some excellent and gripping dramatic viewing for a more invested audience.

This last season of The Clone Wars has been as jam-packed with action as you’d expect and with the deaths of some high profile characters, and shocking changes in circumstance for others, the drama has been top notch too. It’s also been nice to see Darth Sidious finally get off the bench and get more involved in the war as well. It really is a shame to see this show come to an end because it’s been consistently entertaining and there are plenty of interesting plot threads hanging which deserve to be explored more fully.

I’m going to miss Star Wars: The Clone Wars when it goes. I’ve said it before; I think this little show is the best thing to come out of the brand since the original films and easily eclipses the prequels for drama and character.

This show has been a weekly slice of Star Wars “as it should be” for me. It has an appeal to both new young fans and the – ahem – older fan like myself. It represents the Star Wars I had as a child. It felt like Star Wars ; it’s action-packed, it’s fun, it has brilliant characters and it’s not afraid to show a little bit of violence now and then.

So, I know it’s not quite over and there’s the promise of a little more Clone Wars in some vague format, and I will be there to watch it however it comes to us, but I really will be sad to see this show go.

I just hope Disney has something good in mind to replace this excellent show. The press release also eluded to future animated TV shows with Disney saying that they’re “ exploring a whole new Star Wars series set in a time period previously untouched in Star Wars films or television programming ” so at least there’s the hope of something else on the horizon. But will it be as good as The Clone Wars ? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

Steven Ellis