The LEGO Star Wars television special

LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace is arriving later this month. Cameron looks at what it's all about...

Later this month will see a spin-off film from one of the most remarkable joint franchises in the history of franchises. LEGO and Star Wars individually are beloved by millions across the globe, and their joint toy range has enchanted the young and old in equal measures.

Taking it one further is a new television special, LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace, airing on the Cartoon Network on July 22. This original animated production will feature the “signature family-friendly fun, spirited action and irreverent humor” seen previously in the immensely popular series of videogames.

Also broadcasting in HD, this thirty-minute standalone special is written by Emmy Award winner, Michael Price (The Simpsons), and produced by Academy Award-winning Animal Logic, the production company behind Happy Feet. The synopsis reads:

“A routine Jedi Academy field trip is turned into a rip-roaring comic adventure in LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace. Tour guide Master Yoda leads a group of rambunctious Jedi younglings through Senate chambers when he senses a disturbance in the Force. Summoned to help save the Republic, he discovers that one of the younglings secretly boarded his ship…and has a taste for adventure! Meanwhile, C-3PO and R2-D2 are put in charge of the boisterous group and find themselves in over their heads. As the evil Sith prepare to wreak havoc, it’s up to Yoda and the droids to ensure that their young charges aren’t torn to bricks!”

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This, of course, is not the first foray into the world of the television special for Star Wars. 1978 saw the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special (featuring the first appearance of Boba Fett and a singing Princess Leia. No really), which was never repeated or released, whilst the Ewoks received their own TV movies post-Return Of The Jedi with Caravan Of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (which managed a theatrical release in Europe) and Ewoks: The Battle For Endor. A trilogy of oddities, not for the faint-hearted.

The furthering of the Star Wars franchise on the small screen is an intriguing one, especially on the animated front, as The Clone Wars continues to perform incredibly strongly and win awards by the Star Destroyer load. Could this be the start for another long running spin-off? The humour displayed in the games demonstrates numerous possibilities, all of which would seem to please both prequel and OT fans alike. A rare opportunity.

LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace airs on Cartoon Network on July 22 in North America. A UK broadcast is yet to be announced.

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