For nearly forty years Star Wars has been one of the biggest- if not THE biggest franchise in popular culture. It's hardly surprising that such a huge expansive universe has made it's way into animation numerous times. As Star Wars Day arrives again, what better time to look back at some of them?
Before there was Jar Jar, there were the Ewoks. Nerd consensus seems to say that everyone hates the warrior teddy-bears, but the truth is that kids of the time took them to their hearts.The animated TV series followed the adventures of Wickett, and his friends Kneessa and Teebo on the Forest Moon of Endor. The series rans for a total of 35 episodes and featured an Endor largely untroubled by the Empire, al least until the end of the second season. In the series Wickett's family name was Warrick- a nice nod to the actor Warwick Davis who originally portrayed Wickett in Return Of The Jedi.
Droids: The Adventures Of R2-D2 and C-3PO (1985)
Broadcast around the same time at the Ewoks show, but running for just a single season, Droids followed the adventures of the saga's most iconic robotic chracters, R2-D2 and C-3PO. Set prior to the events of A New Hope, it followed the droids as they moved between various masters and got into numerous scrapes. Original C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels reprised his role for the series, which was later packaged with the Ewoks show to create the Ewoks and Droid Adventure Hour.
The Adam and Joe Show Star Wars Segments (1996-2001)
Long before Robot Chicken, British comedy duo Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish made totally unofficial parody segments featuring vintage Star Wars action figures in unlikely situations, often featuring parodies of popular TV shows of the day, such as Chew Wants To Be A Millionaire and Jedi Springer. The segments were part of a variety that was full of other parody sketches and silly songs and like the rest of the series had a ramshackle and home-made charm.
The Clone Wars (2003-05)
It would be nearly another two decades until Star Wars officially came back to animation. This 2D animated series related to the Prequel trilogy (no wait, come back!) and was made to fill in the gap between the second two prequel films. Directed by by Genndy Tartakovsky and aired on Cartoon Network it is often considered one of the few bright spots to come out of Lucas's second trilogy. The series has an unusual format, with the first two seasons running for 3 minute episodes and the third and final expanding to 12 minutes per show.
Star Wars: Clone Wars (2008-2014)
This later CG series occurs over the same space of time as the earlier series. However, running as it did for six seasons of 22 minute episodes, it had considerably more room for more complex storytelling than Tartovsky's more action orientated shorts. Staring with a theatrically released animated film of the same name, the series featured characters from the prequel trilogy and also many original characters who would go on to become fan favourites in their own right.
Star Wars Rebels (2014-)
Fans were upset when Disney bough LucasFilm and the Clone Wars was nixed in favour of a new XD show. However, they quickly warmed to the new show, which many would argue is the best animated Star Wars effort to date. The new series takes place five years before the events of Episode IV and features a cast of new and very likeable characters who journey aboard a ship named the Ghost. Two seasons have aired to date, but there is a (new) hope that it will run for years to come.
Star Wars Detours
The Star Wars show that never was. Before the Disney buyout, LucasFilm were pretty generous with allowing their IP to be used in unlikely series like Robot Chicken and Family Guy. Unlikely as it seemed, in 2012 Robot Chicken alumni Seth Green and Matthew Senreich were given the greenlight to produce 39 episodes of an irreverent Star Wars comedy series. Despite being completed the series has never been released as since Disney started making sequels, it seems projects like this no longer seemed like such a good idea. Whether that's a good or bad thing though, is up to you...