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Robot Chicken has hand-crafted a reputation for expertly lampooning everything from pop culture, but none of its parodies have become more instantly iconic than the Star Wars episodes. The Adult Swim comedy takes a thoughtful approach to its various spoofs of the iconic saga, and it seems this somewhat respectful method garnered the approval of franchise creator George Lucas. Star Breckin Meyer and series co-creator Matthew Senreich spoke with CinemaBlend and other outlets at San Diego Comic-Con, and they explained that Lucas saw their work and actually reached out to establish a partnership with the Star Wars satirists. Senreich elaborated:
He saw our show and he was the one who approached us to say 'Hey, what do you guys want to do with us?' and it started a multi-year relationship. And when he sold the company to Disney, it changed the relationship of that.
Robot Chicken's eps do not just make joke after joke about Lucas adding superfluous digital effects into the special edition re-releases; they poke tongue-in-cheek fun at precise concepts that real fans and Star Wars insiders can appreciate. George Lucas was apparently able to understand this distinction by watching the series on his own, and Robot Chicken's early Star Wars parodies presumably served as "proof of concept" skits that eventually paved the way for full-fledged episodes dedicated to the galaxy far, far away.
The reason why this ultimately works, according to the writing duo, is that the team behind Robot Chicken approaches everything the show spoofs with a sense of love. As Breckin Meyer explained, it is more about indulging in the feeling of playing with these worlds, rather than trying to snidely have fun at the expense of creators like Lucas. Meyer elaborated during our conversation, saying:
People have lampooned George and George's tinkering twenty years later. South Park did that. I think he could tell with our stuff, like the Emperor sketch and stuff, that these guys get it, and it's fun.
It does not matter if it is The Simpsons or Family Guy -- a show that has similarly been known to release entire episodes dedicated to Star Wars -- or some other show; virtually every major comedic pop culture institution has found a way to poke fun at Star Wars and its eccentric creator George Lucas in the years since A New Hope first debuted in theaters. (Dramas have done it too, but comedies get the tauntaun's share.) The thing that makes Robot Chicken different from most of the rest is that the jokes feel incredibly well-researched, as opposed to impulse gags, and they pay an appropriate amount of respect to the universe as a whole.
Check out an example of one of Robot Chicken's best Star Wars-inspired sketches below to get a sense of the writing's thoroughness. It's all about Darth Vader's call to Emperor Palpatine after the destruction of the first Death Star, and it's a pitch-perfect parody that never feels mean-spirited in its dissection of the franchise.
Now that Star Wars is in the hands of Disney, Matthew Senreich seems to think that getting more of these big episodes will become a bit more difficult -- as they now have to impress far more than one man. That's definitely a bummer, but Robot Chicken will bring a lot more non-Star Wars fun when it returns to Adult Swim for Season 9 this fall. Before then, make sure to take a look at our summer TV premiere guide for more information on the major TV debuts still to come before the fall season rolls around.