Star Wars Detours Will Probably Never Be Released

The Star Wars Holiday Special has remained the uncontested low point of the franchise almost since its inception. George Lucas infamously hated it, and it remains largely unavailable through official sources, though certain segments have been released on Disney+. It justifies its reputation, cramming Lucas’s galaxy far, far away into the then-popular television variety format with disastrous results. Yet despite the well-earned ridicule, it did actually make it to the airwaves, and over the decades its corniness has earned a kind of scruffy affection from Star Wars fans. Star Mark Hamill even tweeted a mea culpa on the special’s anniversary this year with typical tongue in cheek.

While it might be the “worst” Star Wars project thus far – by a considerable margin – it likely wasn’t the most cursed. Another project, Star Wars Detours, never made it to air despite producing almost 40 episodes and leaving scripts for another 60 or so behind. Along with The Holiday Special, it remains the most notable unreleased Star Wars project of all time, and while apparently, a good deal better than its infamous predecessor, its odd visuals and satirical tone have made it an object of intense curiosity from fans.

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When Was Star Wars Detours Created?

The show was first announced at Star Wars Celebration in 2012, just before Disney acquired the property. Lucas himself was apparently working closely with series creators Seth Green and Matt Senreich, whose previous show Robot Chicken regularly poked fun at the saga’s sillier aspects. Detours was intended as a spiritual continuation of the Robot Chicken material, ostensibly set in the years just before Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and depicting various characters’ comedic escapades during their surprisingly ordinary day-to-day lives.

Lucasfilm was behind the project, and with Star Wars: The Clone Wars carrying the franchise at the time, animation appeared to be the way forward. Detours also spoke to a more focused direction for Star Wars than Disney ultimately took, aiming at long-time fans rather than expanding to new ones. And with 39 completed episodes, it meant multiple seasons’ worth of content ready to be aired. It even had a trailer for the Celebration announcement: the best public look thus far at what the series was aiming for.

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Why Wasn’t Star Wars Detours Released?

All of that changed with Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012. Detours’ unique character design and adult humor made an odd fit at best with the franchise’s new corporate owners, and in 2013, it was announced that the project had been placed on hiatus. The sequel trilogy, beginning with Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, became the new focus. With its grown-up tone and self-aware references to the saga, Detours didn’t fit the more serious approach of the upcoming movies.

It remains unaired, though clips and images have filtered into social media through the years, and rumors occasionally crop up of a release on Disney+. Green shot them down in a recent interview, stating emphatically that Lucasfilm had no interest in releasing the series (though he expressed nothing but warm feelings for the process of creating it). That’s only enhanced curiosity among fans, and the different direction Star Wars has taken under the sequel trilogy and projects like The Mandalorian leaves it a one-of-a-kind outlier.

During the Celebration announcement, a clip from Detours aired depicting a cartoon version of Lucas condemning the project as “the Holiday Special all over again!” His fondness for it was apparent in his subsequent comments, and it turned out to be the last Star Wars property that Lucas was personally involved in. The Holiday Special line was eerily prophetic, and while Detours arrived there more through bad luck than inept execution, its undeniably strange nature makes it feel of a kind with its maligned predecessor. The Holiday Special has found redemption, after a fashion, and may even see an official release someday. Detours, lumped into the same category through circumstances beyond its control, make someday shake its snakebit status and achieve the same.

KEEP READING: Star Wars Detours May Never Air, on Disney+ or Anywhere Else

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Robert Vaux (459 Articles Published)

A native Californian, Rob Vaux has been a critic and entertainment writer for over 20 years, including work for Collider, Mania.com, the Sci-Fi Movie Page, and Rotten Tomatoes. He lives in the Los Angeles area, roots for the Angels, and is old enough to remember when Splinter of the Mind's Eye was a big deal.

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