Family Guy meets Star Wars again
Fans of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back might not recall an Afro-donning R2-D2, flatulent Darth Vader or storm troopers in mesh tank tops, but this is precisely what you’ll find in the second Star Wars spoof from Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.
Available Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side is an animated retelling of the sci-fi classic, but starring familiar characters from the popular television series and loaded with irreverent Family Guy humour.
Something follows the same storyline as the nearly 30-year-old The Empire Strikes Back, where the rebels survive an Imperial attack on the ice world of Hoth, Luke travels to the marshy planet Dagobah to train as a Jedi under Master Yoda and a betrayal sets the stage for Return of the Jedi. And of course, we learn at the end of the 44-minute flick that Darth Vader is in fact Luke Skywalker’s father.
Except in this parody, one of the giant four-legged AT-AT walkers grabs its knee in pain after being tripped by cables, and Han is frozen with his pants down and buttocks in the air.
The Star spoke with Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, television’s highest paid writer/producer, about why he chose Star Wars as the source material.
“For a movie parody to work on this scale, it has to be something everyone knows well enough, and for our audience it doesn’t get more familiar than Star Wars,” MacFarlane says in a telephone interview. “But if you want the truth, it was more of an accident, as our legal advisers were telling us we were doing too many Star Wars gags on the show and we should clear these things with (creator George) Lucas,” adds the affable 36-year-old. “And to our surprise, LucasFilm was all for it – if we made the characters look like the ones in the Star Wars movies – and so we approached them on creating full-length episodes.”
MacFarlane says Lucas is smart and progressive for allowing parodies to exist, including the risqué Family Guy treatment.
The parody features bumbling Family Guy father Peter Griffin as Han Solo, wife Lois as Princess Leia, son Chris as Luke Skywalker and baby Stewie, known for being evil, as a pint-sized Darth Vader. The supporting cast includes dog Brian as Chewbacca, neighbour Quagmire as C-3PO, Cleveland (now star of his own series The Cleveland Show) as R2-D2, and Yoda is played by Carl, the convenience store manager.
When asked about his favourite moments in Something, MacFarlane first calls out the special effects. “They’re beautifully done by our team of animators, both here and in Korea, with the asteroid sequence in particular that really stands out for me.” Following that, it’s a toss-up between Luke’s Jedi lessons with Yoda, which include clips from Dolph Lundgren training in Rocky IV (“this is a movie that, aesthetically, hasn’t held up very well,” jokes MacFarlane) and a humorous quip between Empire officers.
“I don’t know why it amuses me, but one of Vader’s officers turns to another and says, `Oh my God you have cake?’ and the other guy says, `Ya, it was Jim’s birthday, but I think it’s all gone now,'” retells MacFarlane, with a chuckle. “It’s just one of those quiet, real moments in an office when you find out you’re 10 minutes too late for cake.”
The conversation turned to Canada, of which MacFarlane has been a vocal admirer. “Canada just very casually and unobtrusively has all its sh– together,” he says.
“That universal health care thing seems to work: no one is getting dirty needles. Canadians are very pleasant people, plus you have moose, too.”
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