Seth Green to do official Star Wars sitcom
It can be a risk to have fun with your characters.
Universal studios famously did that with their monsters in 1948 when they released Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
Universal had an incredible one-two punch in 1931 with the Bela Lugosi version of Dracula and Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s monster in Frankenstein. Both made stars of those actors, and were big successes. The series continued with The Mummy, The Invisible Man, and, in 1941, The Wolf Man. At some point, everybody has been exposed to the Universal Monsters.
The first half of the 1940s saw several match-ups and sequels a year.
In 1948, though, Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the Wolf Man met up with a foe they couldn’t defeat: the comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.
For the next half decade, A&C would take on Dr. Jekyll, the mummy, and the Invisible Man…ending the movie series for all of them. The 1950s saw Universal’s Creature from the Black Lagoon series, but the feel of those is rather different from Dracula/Frankenstein/Wolf Man/Invisible Man.
It would really take decades before Universal was able to return to a monster movie series with Stephen Sommers’ The Mummy (which has had two sequels to date).
So, that’s one interpretation: putting your characters in comedies can kill them.
On the other hand, one could argue that the A&C movies extended the life of the Universal Monsters another five or six years…acting as comic tana leaves.
Lucasfilm now confirms that they are going to an official animated Star Wars comedy series:
There have been plenty of satires of Star Wars. One of my favorite comic films is Troops. It has great special effects, and is a funny blending of Cops and Star Wars.
Robot Chicken has done a couple of Star Wars satires, and Seth Green (Austin Powers) and Matthew Seinrich, executive producers of that series, will be involved in the new one.
“What do these characters do when they’re not overthrowing Empires?”
Does this mean we are going to see Han and Leia arguing over who takes out the garbage? Yes, that seems possible. Official Star Wars fiction has gone pretty deeply into their family lives, so it seems George Lucas is open to it.
Does Star Wars need to go in a new direction? Do we need “Everybody Loves Vader?”
The Star Wars universe is still going strong. There is an animated series now (Star Wars: the Clone Wars), and theme park rides, books, and more.
I think an important element is the micro-marketing of popular culture. It used to be that pretty much everybody watched the same movies and the same TV shows. Now, you can have dedicated channels for kids’ shows. You can have multiple streams: just because you make a humorous Star Wars or a light-hearted Batman (Batman: the Brave and the Bold) doesn’t change overall perception.
Star Wars is too big, too rich, too varied to be seriously impacted by a non-serious take. Even if it was bad…which I don’t think it will be. Green is a professional and a geek and funny: that’s the combination you want for this. Oh, I wouldn’t bet on it working…this is going to be harder than attacking the Death Star. Still, I do have hope…maybe a “New Hope”. 😉 It’s a very narrow route to success on this, and plenty of people will be shooting at the X-Wing comedy. But the Force is strong in this one…
What do you think? Good idea, bad idea, or who cares? Feel free to let me know.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in The Measured Circle blog.