TRANSMISSIONS FROM A GALAXY FAR, FAR, AWAY:

EPISODE X

This is the 10th column in a weekly series from The Rock Father James Zahn. Check back Fridays for the latest in what’s happening in the galaxy far, far away, or read them all here.

Some of the best moments in Star Wars are the ones that surprise—the ones that catch you completely off guard and make you remember that unexpected thrills are still possible. In our current world, it’s become exceptionally hard to keep things under wraps, yet still, somehow, Lucasfilm was able to do it. As Star Wars fans at Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) flocked to what they thought would be a retrospective panel dedicated to the 10th Anniversary of The Clone Wars animated series and its lasting legacy, instead they received news that no one was expecting… The Clone Wars are coming back!

During its initial run on Cartoon Network, The Clone Wars was a series that I’d only casually watched, never giving it the attention that I should’ve. What I wouldn’t realize until later is that it became a catalyst for an entire new generation of Star Wars fans who would find their entry into the Saga not by the films, but from a cartoon. Discovering it later on Netflix, I realized what series loyalists had known all along—that The Clone Wars was an essential piece of Star Wars storytelling that greatly enhanced the stories of the films that came before it.

But The Clone Wars was unfinished, an unintended casualty of a corporate acquisition. Shortly after Lucasfilm was acquired by The Walt Disney Co., production on the series would be wound-down as the overall canon was evaluated and adjusted in preparation for a franchise relaunch that would need to align across all media. Disney agreed that The Clone Wars was important, and it became a part of the official modern canon. Unfortunately, both fans and crew alike were left hanging as more than 65 episodes were in development when the plug was pulled. While a handful of finished episodes would make their way to Netflix as “The Lost Missions,” a gap in the story of Anakin Skywalker and his former Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, was missing between where Clone Wars ended and when she re-appeared on Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels.

In speaking with StarWars.com following the panel at SDCC, Dave Filoni, the supervising director and shepherd of The Clone Wars as well as Rebels and the forthcoming Star Wars: Resistance described what it’s like to come back to a project that was never properly finished—one that fans have constantly rallied in support of over the years…

“Personally, it’s very rewarding,” Filoni said. “Any opportunity to put the final pieces of the story in place is meaningful as a storyteller. I’m happy for the opportunity to define these things and the end of this part of the Clone War. It also makes me reflect on all the people that I got to work with over the years. It reinforces the things I learned from George. It reminds me of the important elements that go into making Star Wars. So, it’s nice on several levels, and I think for the crew that’s still here that worked on Clone Wars, they feel that, as well.”

The new 12-episode season will debut in 2019 on Disney’s as-yet-untitled streaming service.

ALSO AT SDCC:

The Star Wars presence at SDCC is being heavily felt, and this year fans have two different opportunities to hop into the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. At the Lucasilm Star Wars Pavilion, “the Millennium Falcon Experience” gives would-be smugglers a shot at getting into the cockpit of the Falcon as seen in Solo: A Star Wars Story. But over at the Hasbro booth, they’re taking things in a vintage direction! That’s right, Hasbro has life-sized the cockpit from the classic Kenner Millennium Falcon—just like the one I played with as a kid.

In many ways, SDCC plays like Toy Fair: Part II, and all of the Star Wars licensees are rolling out new products. What’s different this time around is that Hasbro is dropping the curtain on a ton of new Star Wars, and they’ve announced that Entertainment Earth is their exclusive pre-order partner for all the new Star Wars, Marvel, and Transformers toys being announced this year. New toys will be available to order right after each panel occurs at SDCC, which is pretty cool. Already, Hasbro has been showing off new additions to The Vintage Collection, The Black Series, their Mighty Muggs collection, and more. But more is yet to come. Personally, I’m digging The Vintage Collection 3.75-inch version of Enfys Nest.

FURTHER TRANSMISSIONS FROM AROUND THE GALAXY:

  • It may not have been a box office smash, but I stand behind my opinion that Solo: A Star Wars Story is a lot of fun, and hopefully it will find the audience it deserves when it comes home. Lucasfilm announced that the film will come home digitally in HD and 4K Ultra HD and on Movies Anywhere on September 14, with Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and On-Demand hitting on September 25.
  • Speaking of in-home releases. Star Wars Rebels: The Complete Fourth Season will be available on Blu-ray beginning July 31.
  • Finally, Star Wars collectors that were worried about the fate of exclusives formerly slated to be available as Toys “R” Us can look forward to these toys being picked up by other outlets. Target, Walmart and even ShopDisney/Disney Store are said to be picking up the toys that got caught up in the Toys “R” Us bankruptcy fiasco, so keep your eyes out and happy hunting!