Star Wars fans have a lot to look forward to, as the franchise’s universe is going to get a whole lot bigger in the next few years. Aside from a new trilogy and spinoff movies, there’s no telling how many animated or live-action TV shows are coming. But fans might not even realize that there are chapters in the Star Wars saga they’ve missed completely – chapters that shouldn’t slip by unnoticed, for the best possible reasons.
Here are Screen Rant’s Amazing Star Wars Spin-Offs You’ve Never Seen.
The Star Wars Holiday Special
When Star Wars proved to be a massive hit, CBS came up with a plan of bringing that success to the small screen, pitching George Lucas on a holiday variety show. The director agreed, but only if the story centered on Chewbacca’s Wookie family: his father, Itchy, his wife, Malla, and his son, Lumpy. Aside from some small cameos from the movie’s cast, the special was a random mix of unrelated skits that disappointed almost everyone who watched it. It was aired just once, before George Lucas could buy all master copies of what would come to be known as “the worst two hours of television ever” by TV critics. The worst part? The short cartoon that introduced bounty hunter Boba Fett was so good, it left fans wondering why a full series wasn’t greenlit to do what the variety show failed at.
Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure
Three years after the first Death Star was blown to pieces, while Luke, Leia and Han were helping the Rebels gain an edge, an entirely different adventure was taking place on the forest moon of Endor. The made-for-TV movie follows Mace and Cindel, a brother and sister stranded on the planet, who team up with the Ewoks to resuce their parents from a strange monster. After the embarassment of the Holiday Special, George Lucas crafted the story himself, with the art director of the original films, Joe Johnston, overseeing the production design. The result was an award-winning adventure for its special effects, and the start of a new franchise within the series.
Ewoks: The Battle For Endor
The made-for-TV sequel to the first Ewok Adventure follows an older Cindel, who is soon orphaned and tossed into the forest with the Ewok Wicket, to find an old hermit who will help them save the moon from invaders. The movie was, once again, overseen by ILM creative leads, and a story crafted with the help of George Lucas directly. The movie gave wicket even more attention after his well-received appearance in Return of the Jedi, and earned the studio even more acclaim for pioneering a new form of camera work on a relatively small budget.
Star Wars: Droids
George Lucas’s second trilogy may have told the origin story of Anakin Skywalker, but it wasn’t the first prequel series to fill in the events of the galaxy far, far away before the series began. Set in the time between the rise of the Empire and A New Hope, the animated series follows C-3PO and R2-D2 in one adventure after another, as the pair of droids always seem to have a knack for getting into trouble. The cartoon included appearances from fan-favorite characters like Boba Fett, IG-88, and too many space pirates, smugglers and gangsters to count. With Anthony Daniels still supplying the voice of the cartoon 3PO, and the prequel trilogy referencing the cartoon years later, it’s a serious part of the series canon.
Star Wars: Ewoks
Droids are fine for a few laughs, but the miniature, walking, talking teddy bears in Return of the Jedi were a cartoon creator’s dream – and the main reasons that the animated Ewoks got almost three times as many episodes as the saga’s star droids. With the cartoon set years before the events of the TV movies, the first season of Ewoks was surprisingly high quality, and enjoyed by kids and their parents. The second and third seasons’ writing and story lines instead aimed squarely at younger viewers, but boasted some talented writers, including Paul Dini, years before he created the animated Batman and Superman cartoon. The Ewoks series also offers a major twist: since the cartoon characters all speak Basic English, we assume George Lucas was revealing that the Ewoks were only pretending not to understand the Star Wars heroes. And we thought they were friendly.
Star Wars: Clone Wars
To be clear, that’s Clone Wars, not THE Clone Wars. Before the CG TV series became a reality, there was this hand-animated cartoon following the saga’s star Jedi between Episodes 2 and 3. Establishing why General Grievous was a villain to be feared, the series of short episodes – drawn by the same artist as Dexter’s Lab and Samurai Jack – showed the Jedi Knights using their Force powers in the ways fans always hoped to see. The short series is often overlooked in favor of the lore-heavy computer-animated show, but it shouldn’t be: it includes some of the best moments in the entire Star Wars story.
Those are the key spin-off stories of the Star Wars saga that most modern fans may have missed, and are still worth visiting today – for a variety of reasons. Which are you favorite extensions of the main Star Wars series? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this one!