The ‘Star Wars’ Show from ‘Robot Chicken’ We Never Got
If someone told us back in 2005 that we’d be swimming in a tidal wave of Star Wars movies and TV shows for the next two decades, we would’ve laughed, rolled our eyes and made a Jar Jar Binks joke the umpteenth time. Yet, here we are today, arguing how Andor might just be the best Star Wars entry ever made and how The Mandalorian is just one giant metaphor about the perils of getting older.
Given that Star Wars as an IP is one of the biggest behemoths in cinema (second only to the MCU), it makes sense that Robot Chicken — Adult Swim’s stop-motion stalwart that parodies all things pop culture — would inevitably use their toys and action figures to mock the sith out of Lucas’ space opera. This would be a good call by creators Seth Green and Matthew Senreich since they would end up getting to work with Darth George himself. And it all kicked off because of a silly sketch from the show’s second season:
At the time, few would’ve guessed that Lucas still had a sense of humor about making fun of his baby, but after seeing the segment, he invited Green and Senreich to pitch ideas to his execs for a possible collaboration. Senreich suggested an entire 30-minute Star Wars special, and that is how we got Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode I featuring Lucas himself riding a fan who’s dressed as a Tauntaun.
The special was such a hit that it spawned two more, with no sign of stopping there. In 2012, at the sixth Star Wars Celebration convention, a brand new series called Star Wars: Detours was announced by Lucasfilm and the Robot Chicken guys. When asked during the reveal of the project why he wanted to do a Star Wars comedy now, Lucas said that he wanted to do something different and fun and joked that they created a show that’s “too young for old people and too old for young people — it’s perfect in every way.”
Set somewhere between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, the show’s trailer features almost Funko-esque versions of the familiar Lucasfilm animation designs combined with the jokes of Robot Chicken — it has Vader recruiting “dudes” to join the Empire, Leia sporting hair buns the size of monster-truck wheels and Palpatine talking about his time on a “Singles Cruise.”
At the time of the announcement, 26 episodes were already done and in the can. Unfortunately, it was roughly the same time that deals were being made to sell Lucasfilm to Disney. The show’s release was ultimately postponed, and there’s never been another peep about whether the public will ever get to see it from those who would know. Instead, Lucasfilm and Disney clearly decided to stick to a more serious route, churning out the Rey movies and kicking off our current television trend of Pedro Pascal playing guardian to some random orphan.
It’s a shame that Star Wars: Detours will probably never see the light of day (a problem becoming more prevalent with our favorite franchises). The series has since been dubbed “Seinfeld in space,” and it’s a concept we can totally see play out. After all, this specific Robot Chicken bit proved that Palpatine would totally fit in at a Frank Costanza Festivus dinner.