Ever since its debut in 1977, Star Wars has become a staple of all facets of pop culture. The massively successful film instantly became something everyone on the planet became aware of, with its legacy only growing wider and stronger with each passing year. In addition to this helping the film cement itself in cinema history, the property also became referenced and parodied in various other areas of culture.
Debuting in 2005 from co-creators Seth Green and Matthew Senreich, stop-motion animation series Robot Chicken used existing action figures from various properties to parody virtually every facet of pop culture, Star Wars included. With the wide array of material to pull from and seemingly endless access to Star Wars figures, the franchise became one of the most regularly parodied franchises that was lovingly poked fun at in brief sketches on the series.
The partnership between Robot Chicken and Star Wars became so strong, in fact, that the series produced three different specials completely devoted to Star Wars, which were endorsed by George Lucas himself.
In 2012, Lucasfilm was purchased by Disney, which was followed by the announcement that new films were on the way. Although this news was met with excitement, the new ownership of the property threw some wrenches into the works of the studio's various connections, with Robot Chicken included.
When speaking with ScreenRant, co-creator Senreich revealed his affinity for Star Wars, saying those specials and sketches were "closest and dearest to his heart." He also went on to detail the experience he had collaborating with Lucasfilm about obtaining permission for the projects.
Senreich revealed the ease of the initial partnership, noting, “Because it was just one guy: George Lucas. He saw our show and he was the one to approach us, like, 'What do you guys want to do with us?' It started a multi-year relationship."
Sadly for Senreich, things didn't stay that way, revealing, "When he sold the company to Disney, it changed the relationship…it comes down to corporations playing with each other. As much as we know those people, and they like us and we like them, we are dealing with billion dollar companies that couldn't care less what we think and how well we know each other.”
This doesn't mean that Robot Chicken will no longer be able to incorporate Star Wars sketches into its regular programming, just not to the extent they were able to get away with in the past.
"For a regular episode of the show, it’s parody so it’s no different from say Saturday Night Live making fun of any of these properties," Senreich explained. "But to do a full episode of an actual property, we would need the agreement of that company."
Thanks to the release of The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Senreich is thrilled to incorporate new material into the upcoming Season 9 of Robot Chicken.
"It’s definitely our nerd character’s perspective on Episode VII. I think he represents the fans, the good, the bad, and the ugly about that one," Senreich teased. "We have a couple of other little things I’m trying not to spoil. There’s some fun Darth Vader stuff coming up. Some fun Vader stuff that ties into Rogue One that I really enjoyed.”
Another drawback of Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm was that an all-new animated series from Green and Senreich, Star Wars Detours, was postponed indefinitely. The series was announced at Star Wars Celebration VI in 2012, which was set to incorporate the same type of humor as seen in Robot Chicken.
Disney decided to shelve the project in 2013, thinking that an animated parody of the franchise could be confusing for fans who were about to see an all-new series of films. Following the official postponement, Green revealed that 39 episodes of the series had been completed.
The next installment in the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi, will be landing in theaters December 15.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the second film in the new Star Wars sequel trilogy that began with Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015. The film will deal with Luke training Rey to become a, and possibly the last, Jedi. Meanwhile, the Resistance, including Poe Dameron and First Order defector Finn, continues to fight against the First Order, led by General Hux, while Supreme Leader Snoke and his Dark Side follower Kylo Ren continue their mysterious plot.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is written and directed by Rian Johnson and stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Andy Serkis, Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, and Kelly Marie Tran.