With the announcement yesterday that Star Wars: The Clone Wars would not be going forward on Cartoon Network, it seems that the franchise we all love has been taking some big hits. As of Star Wars Celebration VI, last August, there were several promises for 2013 that looked to make this a banner year for fans of the franchise.
Then in October it was announced that Disney would be purchasing Lucasfilm for $4 billion dollars and things seem to have come to a screeching halt.
With the purchase of Lucasfilm, Disney announced that a new trilogy would begin in 2015 with Star Wars Episode VII. While that trilogy would tie into the existing Saga, we’d also see standalone films that would run parallel to the expanding Saga. But what did that mean for the existing franchises and those that had just been announced?
At Celebration VI it was announced that the 3D releases of both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith would be coming in the fall of 2013. The first hint that something was changing behind the scenes came when the dates for the 3D releases were shuffled to bring them closer together. Then, on January 28th, both releases were cancelled.
Also on January 28th, Cartoon Network announced their fall 2013 schedule and Star Wars: The Clone Wars was not on it. At the time the speculation was that Disney would want to pull the show over to one of their existing networks such as Disney XD. It seemed like coincidence at the time, but now it seems possible that the fate of the Clone Wars was determined at the same time as that of the 3D releases, many of us just didn’t want to see it.
Besides The Clone Wars, yesterday’s StarWars.com article also brings up Star Wars: Detours and that it has been postponed. The animated show, from the creators of Robot Chicken, was first shown off at Celebration VI and was slated to hit the airwaves this year. According to a post on twitter from Seth Green, the show is on hold but “Don’t fear, you’ll see it when the timing’s right.” Still, that sounds less than promising for any type of weekly show.
LucasArts first showed off Star Wars: 1313 at E3 and then during Celebration VI, it had a lot of buzz coming out of the convention, but there have been little or no updates since. The official website has been quiet as has the Facebook page where the only posts seem to be from fans asking for, well, anything to indicate that the project is still moving forward. There’s been such little information that Stephen Totilo over at Kotaku wrote an article about it back on February 28th titled “The Strange Status of Star Wars 1313, A Hot Game with an Uncertain Future.” With more adult themes, and set between Episodes III and IV, 1313 would take a look at the criminal underground on Coruscant. That’s not necessarily the most family friendly video game. Could Disney have cancelled or at least postponed the game? With no evidence to the contrary, it seems possible.
When it comes to collecting, Hasbro had already been slowing down the Clone Wars line of toys and action figures, and even though they showed off new releases for this year, it was thought that we were seeing the final waves of animated action figures. Now, looking at January 28th with new 20/20 hindsight, it makes more sense why Hasbro has cancelled nearly everything they showed at San Diego Comic-Con and Celebration VI, replacing them with toy lines that we had no notice of until February’s Toy Fair.
But where does that leave us going forward? While, on one hand, we’ve been told it’s going to be business as usual at Lucasfilm, it’s hard to trust that at this point.
We have to wonder about Dark Horse Comics and how long they may be in the Star Wars business. Since Disney owns Marvel Comics there are some (including us) that think it’s inevitable and only a matter of time before Dark Horse will have to give up the reins to the comic book license. This would be familiar territory for Disney who ended a two year partnership with BOOM! Studios in favor of publishing their IP comics with Marvel. For his part, Dark Horse President Mike Richardson announced back in October that “Star Wars will be with us for the near future.” There are two new titles scheduled to come from Dark Horse this year but depending on when their current license runs out, we’d bet on hearing something from Disney soonish. After all, we’d assume Disney would be looking at comic tie-ins to the new movies and that could be a good jumping on point for Marvel to take over.
What about the fans? Celebration Europe II is coming up in July and based on a rumor from last year, we were kind of expecting an announcement for Celebration VII in 2014 during that event. Could that be out of the question now? It would seem that if a three convention deal had already been in place for Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center, which is what the rumor was, it would probably go forward but the Disney acquisition throws everything into question. Could Star Wars Celebrations be cancelled or, at least, on hold until closer to the Episode VII release? One of the major guest announcements for CEII has been Dave Filoni. We wonder, with the cancellation of The Clone Wars, how his attendance will be affected and if it’ll have any effect on the mood of the show.
Even though Filoni mentioned in his video to fans that important Clone Wars stories were still “coming your way,” we have no indication yet of how or when that will happen. With the ending, for now, of The Clone Wars and the postponement of Detours, that means we’ll have a period of time leading into Episode VII with no ongoing television series. It seems to play into the comments that Robert Iger made about not over commercializing Star Wars. If Disney takes a less is more approach over the next two years, it could help to make the new theatrical movies feel fresh.
Right now, it’s a very transitional period for Star Wars fans. Even without new feature films, we had an idea of where things were heading in the gaming market, with books and comics and an ongoing television series. With Disney now at the helm, nothing is certain. We’ve seen several cancellations, postponements and possible delays all within the span of two months and it’s starting leave a sour taste. We’ve certainly seen some of the early praise for Disney erode; it’s always easier to see what you’ve just lost rather than what you could gain in the future.
One thing is for certain, many fans want to see positive movement and they want to see it soon.