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November 10, 2008

Seth Green and Matt Senreich Chat with Mark from YodasNews.com about the Upcoming Robot Chicken Star Wars Episode II Special!

Seth Green and Matt Senreich, executive producers of the "Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II" take time out of their busy schedules to talk with us about creating the new special, what was easier this time around, what fans can look forward to and much more...
 

Mark: First, I want to thank both of you for taking the time to chat with me for a little bit. Your fans and our readers appreciate it. Letís get started with an easy one. When can fans catch the all new special? 

Seth: November 16th is when it will premiere. 

And is that in the US Only? 

Seth: I believe so. It will air outside of the county. We just donít have any of those outlets or dates yet. 

Matt: Thatís not to say Adult Swim wonít have them. 

There have been some rumors about the title. We have it listed as Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II and other sites list it as 'Robot Chicken: Star Wars' Attack of the Sequel - 'Episode II'. Can you let us know it's correct title?

Seth: Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II is correct. 

Lucasfilm has been known to employ a rigorous approval process before officially sanctioning anything related to Star Wars. Reporting in the Collectibles field,  we always hear about what can and can't be done. Can you walk us through the approval process with Lucasfilm regarding the new special? Was it easier since this was your second time doing it or was it just as rigorous? 

Matt: It was a lot easier this time because we knew from our first special what we could and could not get away with. 

Seth: Also, they had a clear understanding of what it would look like when we did what we did. Hearing about something, or hypothesizing about it or reading it, verses actually seeing the execution of it. I feel we proved to them that we love the brand and the jokes that we are making and we both gained a lot of comfort and trust from the last experience. 

So the process was still there, it just wasnít as in depth as it was last time. 

Matt: We are probably more critical about what goes in, then they are. 

What kind of compromises had to be made-either on your end or Lucasfilm's end to make everyone happy? 

Seth: It was such limited exclusions. The one thing we talked about doing was an opening crawl and we opted against it because we have better cold open. Youíll see the cold open and itís awesome. Iím really excited about it. 

From early reports you guys have said this one will be focused more on bounty hunters, can you let us know a little more about? 

Seth: Let me be clear here. The format is still the same where youíve got long form sketches and short form channel flips, what we did was, we have a linear story so there is story that continues from beginning to end that is broken up with several channel flips that jump all over the cannon, all over the timeline. 

Matt: The way I like to say it is that there are something like 25 to 30 sketches in it and I would say about 10 of themÖ 

Seth: Ö6 or 8. 

Matt: All tie in to the bounty hunters and a linear story that will jump back and forth. 

In addition to Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams and Ahmed Best, are any other actors from the Star Wars Movies lending a voice this time around? 

Matt: Fisher like you said, Billy Dee plays pretty prominently. Especially in the second half of this special. And Best does reprise his role for us as Jar Jar. 

Is Lucas playing a part this time around? 

Matt: You know heÖ 

(Laughter) 

Matt: Heís not this time, we didnít have a sketch for him really. 

(Laughter) 

The first special was around 22-minutes, can we expect the same this time or is it longer/shorter? 

Seth: Yes. 22 Minutes. Itís more new material. In the first special, we re-used some sketches that had previously aired like the Emperor phone call and with the exception of one less than 2 minute sketch that we are re-purposing, everything is completely original. 

Matt: And it actually factors in, we are re-purposing that dinner sequence that we played in our third season. 

Seth: Because it plays into the bounty hunter timeline. 

A fan favorite last time around that wasn't in the show was the promo with George Lucas at his therapist discussing his hatred for The Holiday Special and  he has now made the same mistake with letting Robot Chicken do Star Wars. Any new promos planned with George this time and will he have a part in this one like the first? 

Seth: Nothing that is unique like that. We had a little more time with the organization and promotion of the first special to film new content. 

Matt: This one we cut 4 new trailers that will start to air. 

Seth: They are cut from material in the show. We are doing them sort of like cinematic teasers for the special. 

So the content in the teasers is actually content from the special. 

Matt and Seth: Yes. 

Matt: Each of the four teasers will focus on a different character. 

One of the things that we talked about in the chat rooms and forums after the last special  was the little details you guys always toss in, like how both of you seemed to immortalize yourself  by inserting your names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (as well as other involved with the show), was that something that was discussed in a big meeting or did you two sneak that in so that some of the crew was just as surprised as the fans were? 

(Laughter) 

Seth: We do stuff like that all the time. One of my favorite things about stop motion is because itís photographs, actual elements. We will sneak in pictures of cast and crew members or pets or babies. Fun stuff in all the background of sketches. We like to say that our show is really DVD pause dense. If you watch the show on DVD you can pause every frame and see jokes in the margins. 

So we can look forward to doing a lot of that with this new special? 

Seth: Every frame is so dense. 

Matt: (Laughter) 

Seth: Let me say this, we are huge fans of Star Wars and we feel the fans of Star Wars. You have to know that this is a show by fans for fans. 

I think a big part of the success of the show is how on-hands you are with the fans and how open you are to speak about the show at the Comic Con conventions, doing press with fan sites such as ours, and not being afraid to get out there with the fans and actually interact and know the same inside jokes that most of us do, and that it really is a passion for you guys as much as it is a job. 

Matt: I think, if you donít get it, like the Billy Dee Williams joke... 

Seth: Every single joke we make on the show is meant to be accessible whether or not you are familiar with Star Wars or not. But the point is, if you are, there are so many details just for you. So many jokes in  the margin and sneaky references that we have all been thinking about just for you. 

With the first special you two and Breckin took over Adult Swim as the show was shown repeatedly all night long and did behind-the-scenes commentary between airings. Any special plans for this one? 

Seth: We ran the marathon and then we did some introductions to the marathon. 

Matt: There will be a night of Robot Chicken we just found out. I think they are going to show the second Star Wars special, then the first Star Wars special and then 4 other episodes. We wonít be doing the live action stuff like last time. 

It might be too early to ask this one, but we are assuming we will also get this one on DVD in due time? 

Seth: Let me just say that while I canít offer you any specifics but know that we are very big fans of DVD and not only are we planning a significant product release but I am working diligently to coordinate a release event that is specifically for fans. 

Matt: Ask us again in about 3 months. 

Have you been in any talks about a possible third special? 

Matt: We are so focused on this one right now. I am sure we will talk about a third one as soon as this one is out and the DVD is finished. 

Seth: Right now we are concentrated on the work at hand. 

Understandable, especially with the lengths it takes to bring the stop motion from start to finish. 

Seth: This is a specifically difficult project to make. 

Matt: We always like to joke that George teases us about doingÖ 

Seth: I put him on the spot. He said maybe you guys will do a continued series out of this and I said I would like to do 2 sequels and 3 prequels. 

Matt: To which he smiled and seemed to agree. 

Thatís pretty cool that you can even joke like that with him. Is that something you have build over the last few years? 

Seth: Itís been a remarkable thing over the last several years we had occasion to meet him socially and actually get to work with him and the company in the last couple of years has been an pretty incredible experience. 

He is such a profound influence on both of us both creatively and as a businessman. Just what he has built and what he has accomplished and how he deals with it all, that is all very impressive and informative. Getting to form even the most superficial of relationships is an incredible treat. 

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me today, we really appreciate it and canít wait to see it! 

Seth: And we canít wait to show it! Honestly, I donít want to seem overconfident but I just feel that everyone who worked on this production was swinging for the fences from the writing, to the effects, to the mixing. Everyone was just working really, really hard and I think this special is better than the first one and I canít wait for people to see it. 

Here is what I have been saying about the first special verses the second special. In the first special we were so stunned to have the opportunity that we threw in every nerd and water cooler conversation from the last 25 years, and that was the show that we made. All of those intellectual hypothesize about the universe and when we were presented with the opportunity to make second one, we really said alright guys here is our chance to play with Star Wars, what do we want to do. 

So we tried a little bit more of a storytelling approach and just kind of got inside some of the characters that we were fascinated by. And just tried to expand on it. I am thrilled with the result and I really canít wait for you guys to see it. 

Matt: The best thing about this second one also is the fact that we knew the voices coming in and what they were capable of and what kind of performances we could get from them. Seth McFarlane as the Emperor he developed into his own unique character. Breckin Meyer as Boba Fett has developed as his own character. 

Seth: Abraham Benrubi as Darth Vader, itís like he invested a persona to Darth Vader that is different than what you see in the films and yet completely in keeping with everything you know about him. 

Matt: Itís kind of a ďwhat ifĒ reality world of Star Wars. 

We wish you all the best, keep it up and Thanks Again! 

Matt and Seth: Thank You again very much, weíll talk to you soon.

A very special thanks to both Matt and Seth for taking the time to talk with us. Visit the Official Robot Chicken site at http://www.adultswim.com/shows/robotchicken/ and be sure to check out the Star Wars Special Premiering on November 16th!

 

Emperor Palpatineís priorities are crushing the galaxy with an iron fistónot getting regular haircuts. Robot Chicken Star Wars Episode II airs November 16 on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim