Disbandment of Lucasfilm Animation?

Last week was a hard week to get through. On March 11th, Disney announced the “winding down” of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which we all now understand as a sugarcoated expression for cancellation (given the post-series interviews and tweets from several voice actors and crew).

In addition to that news, the press release from the official Star Wars site also stated, “We are exploring a whole new Star Wars series set in a time period previously untouched in Star Wars films or television programming. You can expect more details in the months to come.” This was placed right at the beginning to soften the blow, but it gave us hope that Lucasfilm Animation would take this forward and produce something that would carry on as The Clone Wars’ legacy.

March 13th rolls around and TVLine reports, “Disney Channels Worldwide boss Gary Marsh also said the company is ‘working closely with LucasFilm, Kathleen Kennedy and director Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) to explore new Star Wars content for our platforms,’ to be detailed later this year.”

“Our platforms” most likely means Disney Channel and Disney XD. “Other brands and programming blocks [for Disney Channels Worldwide] include Disney Junior, Disney Cinemagic, Hungama TV, and Radio Disney. Outside the US, Disney Channels Worldwide operates more than 90 channels in more than 160 international markets,” according to the company profile from Hoovers.

With Dave Filoni at the helm, this can’t go wrong! Right? He would surely call on the old crew of writers and animators to push this new series forward. Right? Wrong. Earlier this week, fans were informed “that The Clone Wars team at Lucasfilm will be disbanded imminently,” which questions the entire promise we initially received about future arcs as “bonus content.” Dave Bouressa over at the The Sonic Saber managed to summarize the plans perfectly in their headline, “Disney ‘Order 66”s Entire Lucasfilm Animation and Clone Wars Team.”

According to Rebelscum.com,

UPDATE: I have spoken to another source close to Lucasfilm Animation who confirmed to me that the division will be proceeding with layoffs. This person stressed that fans should still expect to see the promised story arcs from The Clone Wars‘ canned sixth season, but reiterated that this and other changes at Lucasfilm were part of a reorientation of the company toward Episode VII and Sequel-related work.

There you have it. As we all suspected, the cancellation and subsequent disbandment of Lucasfilm Animation was done to focus efforts on Episode VII and the new trilogy. The news is heartbreaking because for the past five years, this team of talented artists, animators, and writers created something special. Something that truly brought Star Wars back into the lives of fans and helped create new fans along the way. Needless to say, I no longer trust Disney and the fact that they are running this entire operation. Whatever hope I had for the new trilogy is completely lost in the wind because if Disney made such a poor decision canceling a vital series for the franchise and alienating millions of fans, then how could I trust their decisions when it comes to the future of Star Wars?

The following questions still remain:

  • Is Dave Filoni truly at the helm of a potential new series that will explore another aspect of the Star Wars galaxy?
  • Why explore a new series when Lucasfilm already had a hit? Disney literally inherited a well-oiled machine, but decided to take it apart instead. Why?
  • When and in what distribution form will fans get the remaining arcs that were promised?

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