This week saw the Clone Wars animated series air its 100th episode. Much has been written about this series; after the mixed reactions to the prequel trilogy this series has given new life to the franchise to viewers young and old.
I’ll start by saying I’m not a massive Star Wars geek. But in general I am prone to getting a little geeky about things that have my interest. I’d seen the films, enjoyed the nonsense of it all and thought nothing more of the franchise. Until I saw some episodes of this animated series. I can’t help but think that its success helped Disney spend $4.05 billion to buy Lucasfilm.
If you haven’t seen any of it; just look at some of the visuals in the video. The design and textures of the characters, vehicles, worlds and the universe is a mix of anime and with a distinctive unique 3D style. And it looks great.
Fresh new fans see the clones as the good guys, they love Ashoka and think Anakin is a hero. Older, established fans like the fact the clones become stormtroopers and Ashoka won’t survive Anakin becoming Darth Vader. And its hard not be captivated by the look and feel of the worlds, battles and jumping to lightspeed.
I think its a great example of a brand, which has many competitors, that was seen as old hat, coming right back to the fore; with a fresh audience, while giving the existing audience a fresh enthusiasm and creating a new optimism for another trilogy in the future. And its been done by design.
*Update March 13th*
Lucasfilm has canned at the end of its 5th season as efforts move to making the new trilogy; the first of which is set to be released in 2015. Disney may be concerned that interest in the Clone Wars may detract from the new films; but surely having a 2 year radio silence before a release is a bad thing? Brand management confuses me.