Jedi News spotted a post by French fansite Hoth Bricks, who noticed that preorders for The Clone Wars Season 5 Blu-ray and DVD sets are currently live on Amazon France with a release date of October 16. It seems likely that they would be out that same week here in the U.S… I’d say the chances of us getting a release date announcement at Celebration Europe – along with any other The Clone Wars information – is more likely than ever.
Episode VII. There have been a few reports that J.J. Abrams told a French newspaper that Episode VII would feature a central love story, mostly based on a write-up from Contact Music. But I’ve found what I believe to be the original article from Metro News and – per the translated version – there’s nothing above there being a love story in the film, though he does indeed speak highly of Michael Arndt. While it’s certainly not out of the question that there’ll be a major love story in the new trilogy, I don’t think that’s something you can safely quote Abrams on yet – unless there’s a longer version of this interview out there somewhere.
Podcasts. Composer Kevin Kiner talked to the folks at Full of Sith last week, and he told them that they’re working on about ten episodes of The Clone Wars for the bonus material. Meanwhile, this week Mike and Bryan chat with Corey Dee Williams (yes, Billy’s son) about working on Return of the Jedi.
Also… Heartwarming story of how a Jedi Master saved the day for an autistic boy at Disney World | Pixar vet Gary Rydstrom is directing an animated features at Lucasfilm | George Lucas plays Cassandra for the current entertainment landscape
Bootleg time! Yoda and Anakin have a chat in this clip from the forthcoming bonus content from what would have been season 6 of The Clone Wars, as shown at Star Wars Weekends down in Orlando.
The Star Wars Books Facebook page held a chat with Pablo Hidalgo today, one of Lucasfilm’s resident continuity experts and author of The Essential Reader’s Companion.
So his most popular answer, naturally, addressed the relationship between the movies and the rest…
I think the EU will always continue to be part of the Star Wars experience, in that there are stories that are best suited for books, comics, games. etc.. The relationship between cinematic content and expanded universe content will continue to be what it is today and has been in the past. What happens on screen is one thing. What happens in the books is another. How they connect and interact is something I’m really eager to see.
More answers below the cut!
Yesterday in the mail, I got a form letter from Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy as a response to my letter expressing my support for releasing as much bonus content for The Clone Wars as they could. Basically, it restated their position to wind down the show, and hinted at the new animated series.
Nothing really new revealed, but it seems that their position to end the show is solid. The letter had no real mention of the ‘bonus content’ but does mention that it is more than just Dave Filoni working on the new series: “many members of his Clone Wars team” is also in the letter.
Still, nice to know that my letter was received and that they are willing to engage fans on a one-on-one basis. Here’s the full text of the body of the letter (or just click on the image to read the main text):
Because of course it does. USA Today has the scoop – and a clip:
One of the arcs stars Jedi Master Plo Koon (voiced by James Arnold Taylor), who finds a lost lightsaber while on a mission on a sandstorm-laden planet with a platoon of clone troopers. It’s the beginning of a mystery, and one that will make the Jedi question their role in the Clone Wars and the universe itself, according to [Supervising director Dave] Filoni.
“The Jedi have been fighting a war with an army that was commissioned by one of their own, Jedi Master Syfo-Dias,” he says. “But who was Syfo-Dias, and what happened to him? The dark lord of the Sith has woven an intricate web to ensnare the Jedi, but it is not full-proof and sometimes a small clue, and a bit of chance, can lead to the unraveling of the best-laid plans.”
Filoni also discusses why Ahsoka did what she did in the finale, and his advice for J.J. Abrams. Still no word on where any of the ‘bonus content’ will air, though.
As a fan and supporter of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, I’ve been watching the momentum of the Save the Clone Wars movement. I’ve written my letters to Bob Iger and Kathleen Kennedy. I sent a few tweets for the twitter bomb led by Star Wars Underworld. I’ve told pretty much everyone I know connected with Star Wars or Lucasfilm how much I’ve enjoyed the show, how great I think the show is, and how I want it to continue. One of my reasons for the Team Hondo shenanigans was to drum up support for the characters of the show in a forum that Lucasfilm and fans alike would be watching.
Right now Save The Clone Wars is still pushing for Disney to magically hit the undo button, and un-cancel the show, bring back all the staff that was laid off and give us another season, and they point to how Kim Possible was given another season due to fan activism. I’d love for that to happen, but I think we need to be a little more pragmatic. My friend Bryan Young over at Big Shiny Robot points out that the smarter option may be to push for as much of ‘bonus material’ as possible – whatever that was made or in the pipeline for season six as we can get, which will hopefully be more than the two story arcs that was the rumor reported from TheForce.Net. I agree with him – we can’t get the show back on the air, but we can strive for as much of that season six content that was done/nearly done as possible.
Having a weekly twitter bomb? Maybe good for getting the word out, but I think there are more effective methods to reach Disney and Lucasfilm. Youtube video tributes? Meh. Letter campaigns are a stronger way to give the message – so long as everyone is on the same point. But really what would work – time to take a page from the playbook of some successful save-my-tv-show campaigns: express our love for The Clone Wars with our money. Here’s a few things that another fandom that I’ve belonged in has done to help keep flyin':
- Raise money to buy ad space that Disney will see. Let’s put a full page ad in Variety or some other industry periodical on a day that everyone will see it. Have a full press release and media contact ready to back up the ad. Yes, that means being organized, but it also will show “Hey, we’re organized”
- Organize charity screenings to show that people still want to see The Clone Wars. While the original film that kicked off the series was a little rough compared to the quality of the later seasons, it’s a film that can be requested for showings. Like the Browncoats’ “Cant Stop the Serenity” showings for Equality Now, if we put The Clone Wars on the big screen in theaters across the country on the same day, and get people to show up and pay to see it, the studios will notice.
- Video sales. The big kicker that perhaps helped Universal decide to turn a cancelled Fox show into a feature film was they noticed how well the DVD sales of that one-season show was doing. If you’re a fan of the show and can afford it, put your money where your mouth is. Own every season of the show on DVD or Blu-ray. Buy it for your friends. Buy it for every kid you’re stuck having to get a gift for. Buy copies to donate to your local library or send to the troops. Buy a second copy for yourself to loan to friends and family. And when season five comes out this fall on DVD and Blu-ray, let’s knock it out of the park, and keep it on the top ten bestseller list of Amazon and whatnot. It does get a little weird, since guess who is the distributor of the home video versions? Warner Brothers. So by buying the video releases, you’re showing Disney how much you’ll give money to one of their competitors for a product that Disney could sell to you, if only they continued making it. And if the ‘bonus content’ becomes available for separate purchase, buy it to show demand for more of it.
- Keep those letters going and find new fans and convince them to write.
Meanwhile, Season 5 of The Clone Wars has started airing in the United Kingdom. One of our readers pointed out that Cartoon Network UK just recently started broadcasting season five, and it seems to be playing nearly every day at 10:30 AM and 6:30 PM. While they’ve already started the season, they do seem to be re-playing episodes. Catch the start of season five ‘Revival’ on Sunday at 10:30 AM.
Among the story arcs that will not emerge in this post-cancellation era is one that dealt with Boba Fett and the other bounty hunters who have menaced the heroes for several seasons. This story arc, which my source tells me was almost done, would have shown us the fates of Cad Bane and Aurra Sing.
It’s also being heavily implied that Lucasfilm Animation layoffs – or notifications thereof – went down on Friday.
Eric also had two takes on Lucasfilm Animation’s reaction to the fan reaction. (Which has since been… removed?) One was “shocked” by “tepid fan reaction;” The other “recognized the outpouring” of support.
It’s worth noting that these two accounts can be reconciled. I’m sure that everyone at Lucasfilm Animation, both current and former staffers, appreciates what support they’ve seen. The question is how much more support those staffers were expecting to see.
If this does pan out, it’s not particularly surprising: Our own Stooge predicted the end of Lucasfilm Animation last week. Alas, as sad as it is, it only makes sense that Disney would eliminate a department that’s redundant to their own extensive resources. Our pal Bryan at Big Shiny Robot has a level-headed examination of the yet-unconfirmed moves:
But renewed calls to panic in this case aren’t justified. This seems wholly consistent with the plan we were upset about a week ago. What’s being done to The Clone Wars is unfair, both to the fans and the artists who create the show, and it will never hurt to voice your support, but being upset at a cat for eating a mouse (or in this case a giant mouse eating a television show) is to deny the nature of the thing.
That said, the letter-writing campaign that’s being pushed is far from useless: If you enjoyed The Clone Wars then, yes, make your voice heard. It may be too late to turn back the clock for Clone Wars, but it might make a difference for the remaining episodes, or show that there’s enough interest to sustain another show.
But it’s also time to sit down, take a deep breath, and make sure you’re presenting your case in a calm and rational manner. Panic only breeds more panic, and that’s not the kind of statement that’s going to make a good impression on the higher-ups at Disney – or anyone else.
UPDATE: The good news is, Bryan got word from Lucasfilm that the ‘bonus content’ that was promised – and deeply doubted – “will absolutely be made available to fans.”
Monday’s announcement that Lucasfilm was taking its animation division in a new direction, focusing on exploring a new series while bringing a graceful end for Star Wars: The Clone Wars and a hard stop for Detours, brought out a lot of mixed feelings from fans. Many, like Stooge and me, were sad and angry to see The Clone Wars get shut down at its peak. I’ve rounded up reactions from the voice cast of the show, as well as from bloggers and entertainment reporters.