Well, this is certainly interesting. MeTV’s Toon in With Me series revealed, and Mark Hamill has confirmed, that George Lucas really, really wanted the Warner Bros. cartoon “Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century” to run before all screenings of Star Wars: A New Hope back in 1977. And then he also wanted a “Duck Dodgers” sequel cartoon to run before The Empire Strikes Back.
George really did want this classic Daffy Duck cartoon shown before every screening of #SW. It would've been an icebreaker to let the audience know what was coming was less than dead serious. I was disappointed when we couldn't get the rights to it & it didn't happen. #TrueStory https://t.co/5VcGKH1yxf— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) April 5, 2021
Since Star Wars was originally released by Fox, it seems Lucasfilm couldn’t negotiate the rights to use the 1953 Daffy Duck toon in time for the release of the movie in May of 1977. However, this was cleared up before The Empire Strikes Back premiere, and Lucas requested an all-new animated sequel to the original, titled “Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24 ½th Century.” However, the cartoon was not finished in time for Empire’s May 1980 premiere, and Lucas was thwarted again.
It’s weird imagining watching Duck Dodgers before either Star Wars film, although it would obviously be wholly separate from the movie and have no bearing on it. Of course, it makes sense why Lucas would choose that cartoon, given it was a parody of the same classic sci-fi serials of the 1930s and ‘40s that inspired Star Wars. Plus, as Hamill said in his tweet, “It would’ve been an icebreaker to let the audience know what was coming was less than dead serious,” which feels weirdly relevant now.
First of all, too many Star Wars fans take Star Wars much too seriously, and I say that as someone has been guilty of that many times in the past. Second, given Disney’s focus on releasing Star Wars movies that are rated PG-13 and designed to appeal to and sate older fans over targeting newer, younger, and less cultish audiences, the idea of any kind of kids’ programming running before, say, The Rise of Skywalker is anathema. I bet George Lucas is bummed out by that. I kind of am, too.
[Via Comic Book Resources]