Commentary: ‘Star Wars’ has always been political. ‘Andor’ made it must-see TV. Now ‘Empire’ is here
It had to happen, right? Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and producers Michael and Kathleen Eisner are about to release a new animated series this fall called “Empire.” And, yes, that means that the original Star Wars trilogy has gotten the extended treatment it deserves. And it’s all thanks to the Internet.
“We had an idea for an animated feature series that was a really big and long thing, but wasn’t necessarily a Star Wars character-driven story,” Kennedy told me. “We’ve now produced it.”
I was a fan of the original trilogy. I bought “Return of the Jedi,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “A New Hope” on cassette back in 1986. “The Phantom Menace” never made it to the theater. “Attack of the Clones” is now a movie; its DVD and Blu-ray were re-released last August. “Attack of the Clones” is available on iTunes and Amazon.
But I was never able to see “The Force Awakens,” that 2005 sequel that introduced the now-infamous villain the Force Ghost and expanded the universe of Skywalker. Even as I wrote this week’s column, Kennedy was putting together a team of people to make a “Empire” movie, something she’d been talking about for years now, and an idea that would have had wide appeal in the ’70s, when “Star Wars” first came out. “A new generation of kids would have loved it,” she said.
If you go back to “Star Wars” first, the franchise isn’t about the future. It’s about the past. And it’s no accident that Kennedy’s first project, a trilogy of animated films about Luke Skywalker going back to “Return of the Jedi,” were a lot like “A New Hope” and “