×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Clone Wars’ made galaxy fun again

'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' 100th Episode

George Lucas was sounding pretty disenchanted about the movie business back in 2006, when he appeared at a Paley Center event celebrating his TV work.

Speaking about movies a year after his second “Star Wars” trilogy ended, Lucas said, “The risks are so high, and the odds so great, it takes the fun out of it.” By contrast, he said regarding TV, “Nobody seems to care. You just get to do whatever you want to do.”

Not everybody, of course, gets to “do whatever you want to do” in television. But Lucas — who developed his computer-animated “The Clone Wars” internally, before shopping it to other networks — did just that, and the result has been more creatively satisfying than his latest batch of prequels ever were.

Airing on Cartoon Network, “Clone Wars” has served a variety of purposes for Lucasfilm, most notably keeping the franchise alive — including the attendant merchandising — with a new generation of viewers who weren’t even dirty thoughts when “Star Wars” began.

Perhaps more significantly, “Clone Wars” — drawing from all the quadrants of the “Star Wars” universe — brought the fun back to Lucas’ creation, which, in the movies, at times came to feel like an obligation.

Not only did Lucas hand the creative reins to others, “Clone Wars'” half-hour format downplayed the clunkier aspects of the dense mythology and focused on whiz-bang action. Moreover, its anthological nature — tracking one character this week, another, maybe even more obscure, the next — enabled the producers to tell all kinds of stories, from small acts of heroism to full-scale battles to, in a few cases, comedy.

Even fans who winced through aspects of the new “Star Wars” (yes, Jar Jar Binks, this means you) found a lot to like in “Clone Wars,” despite slightly softened edges to ensure its appropriateness for a younger audience. Tellingly, beyond its central appeal to young boys, the series has averaged more than a million adult viewers over its five-year run.

As a consequence, Lucas’ exit strategy from stewarding every aspect of “Star Wars” with the sale of his company to Disney — leaving the high risk of future films to others — came with a helpful bridge, which should give the studio a good feeling about the property’s boundless future.

Granted, “Clone Wars” can’t rival a $200-million feature in terms of spectacle, and fans have waited years for Lucasfilm to follow through on stated plans to produce a live-action series.

Strictly from a narrative standpoint, though, an animated series many no doubt viewed as the next best thing has, at times, actually seemed like the better one.


‘Clone Wars’ spans generations of fans | ‘Clone Wars’ made galaxy fun again | Moody look of ‘Clone Wars’ inspired by ’70s classics | ‘Clone Wars’ guest stars galore

More Digital

  • Billy Magnussen Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Spinoff With Billy Magnussen's Character in the Works for Disney Plus

    Disney is developing a spinoff of its live-action “Aladdin” with Billy Magnussen reprising his Prince Anders character. The unnamed project is in early development for the studio’s recently launched Disney Plus streaming service. Disney has hired Jordan Dunn and Michael Kvamme to write a script centered on the haughty Prince Anders, one of Princess Jasmine’s [...]

  • Bernie Sanders Trump win

    Bernie Sanders Vows to Break Up Comcast, Verizon & AT&T: 'Their Greed Must End'

    Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders unveiled plans to launch publicly-funded broadband networks and break up big internet providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T Thursday. “Their greed must end,” the Sanders campaign wrote in its high-speed internet policy proposal. The campaign argued that high-speed internet access should be treated as a public utility, [...]

  • The Office

    Streaming Wars Heat Up Rerun Market as New Services Stock Up on Hits

    In a year in which more than 500 scripted series are on the air and new streaming services seem to debut nearly monthly, some of the biggest money being thrown around for content has gone to a handful of old TV shows, the kind that for years have hummed along evening television without much fuss. [...]

  • The Irishman

    'The Irishman' Nabs 17.1 Million U.S. Viewers on Netflix in First Five Days, per Nielsen

    Martin Scorsese’s mafia saga “The Irishman” was watched by 17.1 million unique Netflix viewers in the U.S. in the first five days of its streaming release, according to Nielsen estimates. By comparison, Sandra Bullock-starrer “Bird Box” scored nearly 26 million U.S. viewers in its first seven days of availability (Dec. 21-27, 2018) on Netflix, according [...]

  • Amazon, HBO Max, Netflix Dish on

    Amazon, HBO Max, Netflix Dish on Their International Plans

    It’s different strokes for different streaming folks as Amazon, HBO Max and Netflix lifted the lid on their international plans in London this week. Amazon said it’s not in the volume game and talked up a select number of hyper-local shows, while Netflix dished on plans to rev up non-English-language originals. The message from HBO [...]

  • NOBODY’S LOOKING

    Daniel Rezende on Netflix Brazilian Series ‘Nobody’s Looking’

    Having premiered on Netflix Nov. 22, “Nobody’s Looking” marks the first collaboration between Gullane and Netflix – their second, “Boca a Boca” is in development- and comes from a long list of new projects that the streaming giant has announced with it’s $87 Million investment in Brazilian content. The series embodies the streaming platform’s push [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content