Last week, LEGO unveiled a full-sized X-wing starfighter straight out of the Star Wars universe. Tonight, LEGO will debut The Yoda Chronicles on Cartoon Network, a three-part animated dive back into that universe (airing throughout the year) that follows a new Sith plan to create Force-enhanced clones and Yoda’s attempts to stop them. The result continues the LEGOs/Star Wars tradition of mixing references with irreverence. It’s a style familiar to anyone who has played a LEGO video game or watched previous LEGO animated specials, such as The Empire Strikes Out.
“When I came aboard, I tried to stay faithful to that,” says writer Michael Price, who works as a producer on The Simpsons, “[to] use my Simpsons sensibility, have some somewhat ironic fun with it, and also at the same time making it something that kids would enjoy but also their parents — who I guess I’m a substitute for that. I am a parent.”
The Yoda Chronicles introduces a new character — Jek 14, a Force-”enhanced” clone — and marks a return to the prequel era after The Empire Strikes Out, which featured Luke, Darth Vader and other “classic era” characters. “So it was so much fun for me to go back to that world, the sort of Clone Wars-era world of the prequel era, and to have fun with these characters that were just vaguely touched on in The Padawan Menace,” Price says.
That includes Chancellor Palpatine, who doubles as a villainous Sith Lord, which becomes a recurring visual gag, a holdover from The Padawan Menace. Palpatine is able to switch personas with the raising or drop of his evil hood. Price says, “He’s sort of a reverse Superman — well, I guess Superman is always a good guy.”
The new episodes will also include blink-and-you-miss-them sign jokes, which Price picked up from his days in Springfield. As he explains, “We’re sort of doing this balancing act of having it be really fun and action-oriented and a lot of physical comedy, [so] some of the more insider, nerdy jokes that Star Wars fans will like are often in these sign jokes.”
Without giving away too much, Price teases that the three new episodes will take place all over the galaxy (from Coruscant to Tatooine, Hoth, and more) and “all the major characters we’ve had fun with,” such as Anakin and his “young brashness.” Finding the right mix of tones required a few drafts and the knowledge that the show isn’t really done until it’s really done. Tweaks and cuts can be made along the way toward animation. Even still: “People get blown up but then they get put back together again,” Price says. “It’s still LEGO.”
Next: Two more exclusive images from The Yoda Chronicles