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Few modern television series have a knack for sending up pop culture icons quite like Family Guy. Beyond that, few Family Guy pop culture parodies have had a lasting impact quite like the Star Wars episodes. Seth MacFarlane's crass adult cartoon has become legendary for its ability to tackle niches concepts from deep within the Star Wars lore, which has many wondering whether or not the new movies (or even the prequels) will get spoof episodes. For those of you hoping for more Star Wars-centric Family Guy episodes, I'm afraid we have some bad news.
During a Family Guy panel at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, an eager fan asked the producer Alec Sulkin about the possibility of more Star Wars parodies in the near future. He said:
We like the first three but by the time we were done with the third one I think we were about ready to kill ourselves. The new regime at Star Wars slash Disney is a little more difficult to deal with. Before we were just dealing with Lucasfilm and Seth had a good relationship with them... I just think that [Disney's] a little more rigid.
We're not even remotely surprised that Alec Sulkin would openly vent about the difficulty of the Star Wars episodes. It's become a well-established fact that the Star Wars parodies exhausted the Family Guy writing staff. The very first joke in the Return of the Jedi parody (aptly titled "It's A Trap") involves the writers using the opening crawl to vent about how hard it was to spoof The Empire Strikes Back so they pretty much let the assistant write the Return episode for them.
Beyond the sheer difficulty of creating these episodes, the Family Guy team also has to contend with the growing resurgence of Star Wars. With Disney making a killing on new Star Wars movies like The Force Awakens, the studio has become much less willing to let adult cartoons such as Family Guy poke fun at a major cash cow. Lucasfilm had no problem with these spoofs back when the Star Wars brand remained relatively dormant, but Disney is now far more concerned with brand integrity.
The Family Guy/Star Wars episodes have become some of the most beloved and highly regarded installments in the long-running adult cartoon. Condensing the story of each of the three original trilogy films into more manageable run times, the spoofs inject Family Guy characters into logical roles -- Peter for Han Solo, Chris for Luke Skywalker, Giant Chicken as Boba Fett, etc. -- and lampoon traditional Star Wars tropes using trademark Family Guy humor, like this:
Seth MacFarlane has become known for his affinity for Star Wars, and that passion shines through with how expertly these episodes send up Episodes 4-6. Disney should at the very least reconsider letting Family Guy (or any other major cartoon) have another pass at this mythos, because these spoofs are genuine love letters to the galaxy far, far away.
So far now it looks as though Family Guy won't be doing any more Star Wars parodies for the foreseeable future. We will keep you posted regarding any potential developments as more information becomes available to us. Family Guy will return to FOX on Sunday, September 25. For more information concerning all of the most highly anticipated fall debuts, check out our fall premiere schedule.