Ex-employee Reveals Lucasfilm Animation Project?

Update: Well, a spokesperson from Lucasfilm shot that down. It was a great post to write, though.

On Saturday, April 6th, at 12:35AM, a rumor was born. In the message board for the series Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), an IMDb user, fantasmographer, responded to the “Dave Filoni New Star Wars Animated Series” thread with the following comment:

Star Wars comment from IMDb

Prepare yourself. I’m about to go CSI on this post…

The imgur link this person provided takes you to an album with seven images of what appears to be a scanned script. The script dates to November 9, 2012, and any handwriting has been digitally smeared to protect private information.

Now, I was a bit hesitant to write about this latest buzz in the Star Wars franchise because (1) I recently had my wisdom tooth removed and it has been an inconvenient experience, and (2) I wanted to get all the facts straight. I wanted to read enough comments and analyses of it before I surmised a theory for myself and wrote something on it.

To start, I’ve scanned various materials from photographs to film to old newspapers. I’m sure you have, as well. Many have labeled these pages as a hoax. I also want to believe they’re a hoax (I’m not too excited about the Sky Bonteri character, but I’ll get into that later). When you scan documents on a flatbed scanner and have several pages stacked on top of one another, sometimes the light from the scanner can capture the image from the next page.

This is exactly what you see on the first page (as well as the other pages that follow). The following image is a cropped portion of the first page with the curves layer altered in Photoshop to reveal the ghost image of the second page.

Brightness altered in first page of Star Wars Reclamation Script

The creases and fibers of the page, as well as the ghost image of the second page, indicate that these documents are in fact real. However, that doesn’t make them true. The pages can still have fabricated information.

Let’s go back to the user, fantasmographer. The individual asserts that they worked “there,” meaning Lucasfilm Animation. Their profile states that they have been an IMBb user since March 29th, 2006. They have only written five posts: two in 2006, two in 2007, and the one that shines light onto this project in 2013. The following information is also present in the biography section:

Rankin/Bass 1998-2001
Zombie Studios 2001-2004
Digital Dimension 2005-2008
Lucasfilm 2008-Present

Rankin/Bass or Rankin/Bass Productions, Inc. was an American production company, particularly known for its work in stop-motion animation, such as Rudolph and other holiday specials. Zombie Studios is an American independent video game developer of various platforms, including consoles, PC, mobile, and web-based. Digital Dimension is a special effects company and specializes in visual effects and 3D animation for films, television programs, events, and commercials. Finally, Lucasfilm. Well, we all know what that company stands for in the realm of production.

Whoever this person is, they have a strong resume as a special effects artist or something along that profession. I spent about an hour scanning through IMDb, hoping to find a match, but I gave up after my eyes went cross-eyed in the long list of names and production companies. The fact of the matter is this: the individual used real companies to describe their line of work. If I were describing myself in the biography portion of a profile, I would also do the same. Perhaps, a bit more elaborate, but where I’ve worked defines what I’ve done and who I am.

Still, this information about the user does not completely confirm the validity of the script. It does make things more interesting, however.

Now, let’s turn to the script. From the beginning, the script comes off as a proposition. Meaning, it sounds more like a project someone or a group of people proposed.

Drawing from the talent and workflow structure employed in the creation of THE CLONE WARS animated series, our goal with RECLAMATION is to create a show with similarly wide appeal in terms of viewership and marketing possibilities. Besides again targeting children and young adults, we believe we can also appeal to the 18-49 demographic, by focusing on the ORIGINAL TRILOGY era characters and imagery.

From there on, they present the concept, characters, setting, etc. This confirms what fantasmographer said, “we’d been working on details of it since early last year but didn’t know the details until a few months ago.” In other words, the script was compiled throughout 2012 and most likely finalized (using that word loosely) on November 9, 2012. He then goes on to say, “got the greenlight in january but stopped everything when the layoffs hit.” The “details a few months ago” could have been the green light given in January.

What people have disregarded so far is the last line, “who knows if this is the same project though, everything was dicey.” Dicey, meaning doubtful or uncertain. This individual could be referring to the fact that suggestions for projects come and go, and that nothing was ever certain–even more so when Disney took over. The fact that Dave Filoni is currently exploring concepts for a future animated series could suggest that this project (if real) is no longer in play, “At this point, I am involved in some early production discussions and exploration of what we’ll be doing with Star Wars animation in the future…” (Source).

Let’s take a look at the details presented in the script, in the order in which they appear:

  • The story takes place 15 years after Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
  • The Rebel Alliance and the Union of Imperial Loyalists are in conflict with each other.
  • Supreme Chancellor Mon Mothma and Vice Chair Leia Organa show up.
  • Both the Rebel Alliance and the Union of Imperial Loyalists have to join together to fight self-replicating machines from Level 1313, in the depths of Coruscant. *
  • Two new Jedi: Master Evyn Aoka and Jedi Knight Sky Bonteri. **
  • Other characters introduced include: Kala Calrissian, Manco, President Rath Zel-Quul, The Shade.

* As we all know, Level 1313 was going to be the setting for LucasArts’ upcoming video game, which was cancelled by Disney on April 3, 2013. For a lot of people, this fact alone labels the script a hoax, but I don’t see the reasons why. According to Wookieepedia, 1313 was first hinted in March 2012 on the website GameTrailers TV. In May 2012, the game’s title was trademarked. Finally, in June 2013, the game was announced. This script was supposedly in the works “early last year” before it was finalized (using that word loosely again) in the November 2012 date. It is completely possible for this script to focus on a setting of a video game that was supposed to come out first and a series that would follow it later on.

** Sky Bonteri. Please forgive me, but I’m about to go all fangirl on this detail. The name Bonteri is quite familiar to fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. For a short moment, Lux Bonteri was the crush or the “love interest” for Ahsoka Tano before she finally got over it and saw him as merely a friend, but the Luxsoka ship was born. I have to admit that I was cruising on that ship for a short time before I dropped anchor and hightailed it out of there. Here are my reasons why. Ships aside, I am not a fan of Ahsoka Tano running to Lux Bonteri for help. NOPE. I believe Ahsoka is more capable than that. Sure, she could have gone there to grab some resources and money, but to stay there and eventually form a romantic relationship? NOPE. I will not have that nonsense. No, I will not.

All that said, I strongly believe that this script is in fact a genuine artifact. It does seem odd that this IMDb user would come out of nowhere after not posting anything since 2007. I follow the same pattern, however. I go months without commenting and then come out of the blue when I see a message I can relate to or a point I can refute. Will the script ever see the light of day? Probably not. Dave Filoni might take concepts and characters (if he is in fact delving into that time period), but I don’t think we’ll see the actual script become a reality. People are quick to put it down or connect it to Episode VII, but hopefully this post helped shed a little light on something that may not be a rumor.

One response to “Ex-employee Reveals Lucasfilm Animation Project?

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