Every Star Wars Success And Failure, Outside Of The Main Movies
By Mat Elfring | @ImMatElfring on
In 1977, Star Wars made its debut. Its release marked the start of one of the biggest movie franchises in history, which has expanded into games, books, comics, and more. The past 40-plus years have seen the main movie series expand to include eight movies, which range from amazing to the absolutely horrific.
Additionally, there have been plenty of TV series and spin-off movies that take place outside of the core Skywalker story. Some of these breakouts were awe-inspiring while others continue to live on in infamy, spoken only as whispers among Star Wars fans. We've put together a list of all of the Star Wars movie and TV spin-offs from the past four decades and examining the franchise's major successes and failures. Not included are the Lego Star Wars series from Cartoon Network. They're outside of continuity completely.
Mild Success: Rogue One (2016)
The first Star Wars movie spin-off was a huge departure, tonally, from the rest of the series. It was dark, hopeless, and pretty sad. The characters we grew to love throughout the film all ended up biting the bullet by the end. Rogue One made a ton of money at the box office, and people seemed to enjoy it, but it wasn't really a story that needed to be told, and one where we all knew the ending in the back of our head. It was a mixed bag in that aspect, but it was a solid way to kick off the spin-off movies.
Mild Failure: The Ewok Adventure (1984)
In 1983, Return of the Jedi came out, and we were all hungry for more Ewoks, believe it or not. So Lucasfilm released Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure straight to TV a year later. The film took place before Return of the Jedi and followed the Ewoks on the moon of Endor who were trying to help two humans whose parents had been kidnapped by the Grorax, a giant race of monsters. At the time, the movie was nominated for a couple of awards, including two Emmys. However, it hasn't aged exceptionally well and is a pretty simple movie compared with everything else in the Star Wars Universe.
Success: Star Wars: Clone Wars TV Series (2003-05)
Remember how Episode 2: Attack of the Clones never really showed the Clone Wars? In 2003, Cartoon Network put together a miniseries of the actual war, directed by Genndy Tartakovsky (Samurai Jack). The episodes were 3-15 minutes long, but they were instrumental in launching a new Star Wars animated universe.
Mild Failure: Ewoks (1985-87)
Following the Ewoks on the moon of Endor, a good chunk of the cartoon isn't that bad it all. It builds on the Ewok mythos and has a nice fantasy vibe to it. There's a reason for that. 14 of the episodes were written by Paul Dini, the mind behind Batman: The Animated Series. The other 21 episodes ranged from decent to unwatchable, as the show relied on the Ewoks falling and oh so much running moreso than telling interesting stories.
Success: Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
Because of the success of Tartakovsky's Clone Wars series, Lucasfilm created this CG animated movie set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. The film follows Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi leading the clone army against the Separatists. This movie also introduced the young Jedi Ahsoka Tano, who becomes a big part of the Star Wars television universe.
Failure: Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985)
Following up the first Ewok movie is The Battle for Endor. Taking place after the events of The Ewok Adventure, Wicket and his brethren are attacked by marauders who have invaded the moon of Endor. It's more of the same, and while it won an award for visual effects, it simply doesn't hold up and easily feel like a product of its time, cashing in on the Ewok hype.
Success: Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV Series (2008-15)
A few months after the release of the movie, Cartoon Network launched the Clone Wars series. It's a continuation of the movie, following Skywalker, Kenobi, and Tano and featuring some recurring Clone Troopers and a whole bunch of Yoda. It also introduces some new characters like the Nightsisters and Cad Bane. Additionally, the series marks the return of Darth Maul, who survived being cut in half in The Phantom Menace. The prequels may not have been good, but because of them, we got one of the best animated series in decades.
Failure: The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
You cannot talk about the hits and misses of this franchise without mentioning the dreaded TV Holiday Special. If you haven't seen it, here's a quick roundup: Kashyyk celebrates Life Day, but Wookies don't speak basic; Boba Fett makes his first appearance; more wookies; there's some song and dance numbers; and did we mention wookies? It is easily the worst thing to come out of the franchise.
Success: Star Wars: Rebels (2014-18)
Once Clone Wars came to an end, director Dave Filoni had a new plan up his sleeve: Rebels. The series took place five years prior to A New Hope and followed a group of Rebels starting the fight against the Galactic Empire. There are a lot of connections to the rest of the Star Wars Universe here, including Rogue One and Solo. The series lasted four seasons, and it was exceptional.
Failure: Star Wars: Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO (1985-86)
The animated series followed the titular characters on their adventures in a galaxy far, far away. It took place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, and although it lasted two seasons, it does not hold up well. Sure, the show delivered some moments with Boba Fett and IG-88, but it was bland and uninteresting.
Success: Solo (2018)
More than likely, this will end up becoming a "mild success" as moviegoers don't seem very keen to get to the theaters for this one. Sure, production on Solo was a mess with the original directors getting fired and a slew of reshoots coming from replacement Ron Howard, but don't let behind-the-scenes drama fool you. Solo is a really fun movie that is a perfect fit for the Star Wars Universe. Unlike Rogue One, an early Han Solo movie makes sense as there's a lot in his history fans don't know the specifics of, and this movie answers most of them.