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Thursday, May 7, 2015

"May the Fourth" Week: The Cartoons of Star Wars

In the 1980's, George Lucas sought to expand his empire. The huge profits coming in from films and merchandising gave him unparalleled opportunities. ABC eagerly took advantage of the opportunity to greenlight two series based on the world of Star Wars. Star Wars: Droids and Star Wars: Ewoks.

Star Wars: Droids took place in the timeframe before Star Wars: A New Hope. R2D2 and C3PO were still just floating around, unowned and moving from master to master. The show featured their hijinks as they tried to stay functional and help their new masters.

Star Wars: Ewoks featured the lovable Ewoks in the years before Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Unlike the Ewoks in the film, these Ewoks spoke regular English and were less prone to the violence depicted in Return of the Jedi. 

The shows were never given stable time slots, which contributed to their low ratings. Lucasfilm insisted on high quality animation, which meant that the shows were more expensive than others. ABC decided to cancel the Droids after just one season and the Ewoks after two.