For years, many fans — including myself — have been begging for more Star Wars television content. Star Wars: The Clone Wars was one of the greatest children's shows ever made, but it transcended age and became popular with fans of all ages. Star Wars: Rebels seems to be on the same track, as it draws both adults and children each week.
It's safe to say that Star Wars animation has had a large impact on children's television, but could it have a similar affect on television for adults as well? What if Lucasfilm were to make an animated television show intended for adults rather than a kid's show that also appeals to kids? Here are four reasons this could be an amazing idea:
No Story Restraints
With animation, you can make practically any story come to life on screen. Live-action can be restrained by scheduling and high production costs. Sometimes, whole storylines have to be thrown out or cut down because it would be too expensive to create the visual effects.
Animation has very few restraints when it comes to story. It's true there's still scheduling and budgets involved, but the medium allows creators far more freedom. Animated Star Wars shows like The Clone Wars and Rebels are able to create stories with the same action and grandeur that you find in the films.
Just look at what went into the effects for The Force Awakens:
Animation also brings the flexibility to blend TV and film into one universe. As much as I love Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, there will always be a part of me that wishes it could be more connected to the films of the MCU. Sadly, though, it just can't be done. It would take far too much time and money to share characters equally between film and live-action TV.
You can't have an actor show up and shoot an episode in a day or two. Just one short appearance requires hours of fittings, screen tests, filming, and sound booth recordings. It's a huge commitment to appear even for one episode of a live-action series. Animation, on the other hand, only requires time in a sound booth for the actor. Sometimes the performance for an episode can be recorded in less than a day. Animation allows for any number of famous guest stars to appear, and it only cuts into their schedule a minimal amount.
Animation doesn't just make it easier for film stars to appear on TV, it also makes it easier to transition TV characters to film. Saw Gerrera is a character that made his debut on Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Because he was previously depicted in animation, when he was chosen to be a player in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the creative team had a lot of flexibility when casting the character.
If he had been depicted using live-action to begin with, fans like myself would hope for the original actor to return. Or the casting team would be required to find an actor who is similar enough to the original to be believable. Animation allows for easy transition from the small screen to film.
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Some people have the old fashioned mindset that animation is for kids. I disagree. I've found that in my household even my parents will occasionally watch something animated. What draws them into an animated program? The same thing that draws them to live-action: Story. If something is written with adults in mind, adults will enjoy it. The Simpsons is proof that adults really don't care about looks as much as they do content. If something is well written — I know in my family at least — viewers don't care if it's live-action or animated.
It also helps to remember who the adults are now. I know that I spent every Friday night on the couch enthralled by The Clone Wars. Characters like Ahsoka Tano grabbed my attention instantly because that was the writer's intention. They knew as a kid I would identify with a younger character. The Clone Wars and Rebels both have characters and dynamics meant to appeal to kids. Both worked very well and have created tons of new young fans. An animated show aimed at adults could do just the same. Appealing to adults in the same way could generate a whole new crowd of fans.
Pioneering A New Concept
An animated action or drama series has never been done in primetime on one of the four major networks. If Star Wars were to even try this, they would be making TV history. This would set a whole new precedent for major networks. A primetime animated series on a major network like ABC would allow many more creative people to share their ideas with a huge audience.
Allowing new formats onto a network would set them apart and draw a lot of media attention. Many people predict that streaming services like Netflix and Hulu could actually put an end to broadcast TV as we know it. Networks have been trying to find ways to set themselves apart. Taking a relatively dormant genre — serious action animation aimed at adults — and making it mainstream would set that network apart in a major way.
Networks pay top dollar for primetime shows. These shows draw the biggest audiences and so they get bigger budgets. With a budget that would be considered small for a live-action show, an animated show could do amazing things. Imagine something like this, as a full series:
An animated show with a primetime budget could push the boundaries of animation itself. With those resources, we could receive an animated show that looks almost real. I can only imagine the beautiful scenery and epic battles a show like this could generate.
Lucasfilm is currently in a very special position. People are clamoring for anything they have to offer. A new Star Wars TV show will no doubt draw a huge audience. Lucasfilm must be considering all of its possibles moves. A series like this, if done right, could be one of the most profitable shows in history. It could draw whole new audiences to a network and to the franchise itself. I sincerely hope Lucasfilm seriously considers this, because it could potentially make Star Wars even more popular than it already is!
What do you think? Is Star Wars animation for adults a good idea? Let me know what you think in the comments!