Adult Swim’s pop-cult spoof machine Robot Chicken has been launching dedicated lampoons at the sprawling Star Wars universe. The last arrives Sunday night in the form of Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III, and it’s a scruffy, Nerf-herdering riot. I talked to head Chicken about sympathizing the Star Wars biggest asshole Emperor Palpatine, Boba Fett’s bitch move, George Lucas’ evil chuckles and more for Wired.
In Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III, Emperor Palpatine is less the universe’s evil incarnate and more an overwhelmed multigalactic CEO encumbered with ambitious yet hapless employees like a certain Dark Lord of the Sith.
“Darth Vader is a whiny little boy who has grown up in the shadow of his boss,” Robot Chicken executive producer Matt Senreich told Wired.com by phone ahead of the Sunday debut of Robot Chicken’s third and final stop-motion Star Wars spoof.
“Darth wants to rule the Empire but has to bow down,” Senreich added. “Our emperor’s persona explains what it would be like to be in charge of all of that. In his world, it’s like, ‘Who are these Jedis running around making all these laws?’ The Jedis’ intentions are good. I just don’t know that they’ve accomplished what they were going for.”
The same cannot be said of Senreich and Seth Green’s gut-busting gagfest, which has scored points with Star Wars fans and haters alike. Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III, which premieres at 11:30 p.m. Sunday on Adult Swim, concludes the three-part lampoon of George Lucas’ sci-fi franchise. The show features voiceovers by Star Wars fanboys like Green, Breckin Meyer and Family Guy mogul Seth MacFarlane — whose riotous turn as the Emperor deserves an Emmy — as well as insiders like Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams and Ahmed Best, whose Robot Chicken work has nearly made everyone forget he once played Jar Jar Binks with a straight face.
Help from above came from the Star Wars franchise’s own beleaguered Emperor Lucas, who signed off on the series’ mostly merciless heckling with evil chuckles.
“Everything gets run through Lucasfilm for these specials,” Senreich said. “He was laughing throughout, so that’s a good sign. He seems happy with the way everything turned out, and appreciates how we turn characters on their sides.”
Lucas didn’t really have to worry about Robot Chicken’s Star Wars fanboys crossing the line. No one pisses off Star Wars‘ real or imagined emperor and gets away with it.
“We kind of self-censor ourselves, and know what’s inappropriate,” Senreich said. “We try not to cross the line. This is a TV-14 situation, and we’re not doing anything that says one thing or another sucks about Star Wars.”