Yesterday, I saw a rumor online that Sandra Bullock and Jesse James had filmed a sex tape together in which the couple, dressed like Nazis, hurled profanity and, as a grand finale, James inserted a shotgun someplace very uncomfortable. (Note: Not the back of a Volkswagen.) While this story is laughably implausible, it is sadly not the most ridiculous thing I read online this week.
No, the award for most ridiculous news story goes to George Lucas, the man on a mission to systematically destroy all fond childhood memories I have of his films. Reportedly, Lucasfilms Animation is developing a comedic animated series written by Robot Chicken creators Seth Green and Matthew Senreich and Daily Show writer Brendan Hay.
Unlike the Sanda Bullock story, this proposed Star Wars sitcom story seems to be 100 percent true. I say “seems to be” because my mind simply cannot wrap itself around this concept. It just seems fake – like some belated April Fool’s Day prank. But there was a press release and everything; Seth Green even provided soundbites.
According to Green: “The Star Wars universe is so dense and rich; it’s crazy to think that there aren’t normal, mundane everyday problems in a world so well-defined.” He added: “What do these characters do when they’re not overthrowing the Empire?”
Eat sandwiches? Take naps? I have no clue. More importantly, I don’t care. Do you know what sentence no one who has ever seen the first Star Wars movie ever said? “This movie is good, but I wish they would spend less time on this whole ‘overthrowing the Empire’ storyline and more time on Uncle Owen’s moisture farm.” Who needs lightsaber duels when you can watch Owen and Beru harvest moisture? (Farmville fans would love it.)
I’ll give Seth Green credit. Robot Chicken has put together two very funny Star Wars themed specials. Family Guy, on which Green provides the voice of Chris Griffin, has also done a great job parodying Star Wars in two different specials. The guy has a knack for finding the humor in George Lucas’ universe. However, that still doesn’t mean this is a good idea.
The things that made the Robot Chicken specials a success won’t transfer over to this new endeavor. The specials provided a series of brief vignettes which poked fun at various scenes we were already familiar with from the films. For this show to work, these writers will have to write sustained 22-minute storylines with characters and situations we haven’t seen before. This is not going to be Han Solo and Princess Leia hosting a dinner party to impress Han’s new boss. It’s going to be people we’ve never heard of in situations we are unfamiliar with. I’m sure there will be references made to what’s happening with the Empire and the Rebels, but for the most part this will be unfamiliar territory.
Now, in theory that could work. If Green and Co. can come up with characters we all feel invested in and a good enough premise to keep us coming back week after week, it could be entertaining. These guys know Star Wars and they know what fans do and don’t like about the movies. But they won’t be given a chance to succeed for one simple reason – George Lucas’ stubby, untalented fingers will be all over this thing.
Lucas has been “Eddie Murphying” his career for some time now. The three unwatchable prequels, the whole Greedo shooting first re-edit, the “Knowledge was their treasure”/alien nonsense in the most recent Indiana Jones film and whatever the hell that effeminate pimp Hut character in the Clone Wars animated film was all point to a man who is now either entirely devoid of talent or completely out of touch with what his audience wants. But that isn’t his biggest problem. Lots of successful people are talentless and out of touch. Look at Jay Leno.
The problem with Lucas is that he’s a control freak. He’s going to want to be heavily involved in this project. He’ll be standing over Seth Green’s shoulder making edits and changes. Considering that his idea of comedy these days is Jar Jars Binks; that’s a recipe for disaster. Besides, much of what worked about the Robot Chicken specials was pointing out plot holes and nonsensical storylines in the Star Wars films. Obviously, those types of jokes won’t fly if Lucas is the one writing the paychecks. Lucas is too egocentric to let anyone on his payroll mock his established cannon. He’ll water down the funny jokes and interject his own “hilarious” material, which will make this show as entertaining to watch as … well, Star Wars: Episode I.
Maybe if we are lucky, this thing will never see the light of day. This is all in the very early stages, so there is still time for someone to wise up and pull the plug on this thing before it’s too late.
If it does get made though, I’m sure I’ll be curious enough to at least watch the first episode. I have a fondness for train wrecks. But I have a feeling this thing will be about as uncomfortable to watch as Jesse James goose-stepping into frame holding a shotgun.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at email@example.com.