Sunday, February 24, 2013

Opinion: The Clone Wars Series Is NOT Being Cancelled

By Chris Seekell

Recently there appears to be growing hysteria among fans of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series that the show is going to not be picked up by Disney XD and thus will be effectively cancelled.

This panic is completely unfounded. And here is why.

Firstly, Disney XD did not release their current TV schedule until March of last year. It is not outside of the norm that there has not been an announcement yet that the series is moving to a Disney channel. Until an announcement is made, everything is completely based on rumors.

The rumor going around right now is that "Disney hates Clone Wars". This makes absolutely no sense for a myriad of reasons. The Clone Wars has actually brought LFL and Disney closer together through events like Disney Star Wars Weekends. It was announced at the end of last year that Clone Wars actors James Arnold Taylor and Ashley Eckstein would be heavily involved in the 2013 Weekends. From Disney's perspective, the Clone Wars actors are the current ambassadors to Star Wars fans, which suggests there was a vision to interconnect Disney and Clone Wars long before the full merger. Does anyone seriously think Disney will pull the series right before its actors host an event that brings thousands of fans to their theme park?

But even aside from these pretty obvious inferences that debunk the hysteria, there are facts and words that back up Disney's appreciation and use for the series. The initial press release announcing Disney's acquiring of Lucasfilm mentioned that, "Animation is the heart and soul of Disney..." and "Star Wars resonates with consumers around the world and creates extensive opportunities for Disney to deliver the content across its diverse portfolio of businesses including movies, television, consumer products, games and theme parks." Disney even specifically adds that "With renewed film releases, and the support we can give the Star Wars property on our Disney-branded TV channels, we expect that business to grow substantially and profitably for many years to come." It is clear that Star Wars TV and animated properties are key to Disney's future plans.

In addition to what Disney has said publicly, I also believe that the Clone Wars series has more value than just as a TV program and source of merchandising revenue. It is the leading force driving the development of Lucasfilm Animation, a division of LFL that was built to produce the show, and has locations in San Francisco and Singapore. Disney did not just purchase LFL to acquire trademarks, but also production assets like ILM and Lucasfilm Animation. These divisions will give Disney unparalleled leverage in both the film and TV industries. Lucasfilm Animation has used the Clone Wars to create the most economically efficient animated production process in the world. It should be expected that Disney sends even more TV and film projects their way, to produce Disney content in a more cost-effective manner. Look for a large expansion of CGI shows across Disney properties over the next decade.

I will go as far as to say that the Disney purchase not only strengthens the role of the Clone Wars in the Star Wars franchise, but also may make it more likely we will see spin-off shows and feature films. More money and more advertising could actually increase the show's rate of improvement and exposure, and put it in a position to finally receive long-overdue Emmy consideration.

Yet even with all of this overwhelming evidence that the Clone Wars series will be around for a long time, there are still points being made like "But the Clone Wars Hasbro action figure line was cancelled this year" and "The 3D releases of Episodes II and III were cancelled." Concerning Hasbro, only the action figure line was cancelled, which is a small segment of Clone Wars merchandising that was horribly mishandled over the past year. There are dozens of other lines and licencees that are still going strong and stand to make Disney a lot of profit. The 3D releases were cancelled because they were simply busy-work for the live-action production team leading up to the green lighting of new films. I personally expected LFL to move on to the Sequel Trilogy after all the 3D versions of the previous films were made. The Disney acquisition merely sped up this process, and it makes perfect business sense to devote all film production assets to the main project. This has nothing to do with television, animation, and the Clone Wars series.

So in conclusion, I think this panic is not logical at all. But what do you think? Leave your opinion in the comment section below!

This article is an opinion piece and represents the views of the writer, and not the entire Star Wars Underworld organization


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Chris Seekell said...

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