Lucasfilm to end production on “Clone Wars”

star_wars_the_clone_wars-showIn a rather confusing press release, Lucasfilm announced on Monday it was halting production of animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars after five seasons as the company is pursuing a “new direction” for its Star Wars television animated projects.

But the company also announced it was working on some “additional story arcs” for the series as “bonus content”. Lucasfilm declined to elaborate on what exactly would that be, or what platform the “bonus content” would be available.

In addition, Lucasfilm is putting an animated comedy based on Star Wars, Detours on hold.

Clone Wars currently airs on Turner Broadcasting’s Cartoon Network, and some move was expected after Lucasfilm was acquired by The Walt Disney Company last October.

Speculation centered on moving the series to Disney XD, but those plans are off the table. However, the “bonus material” could wind up on the channel, possibly as specials.

On, Lucasfilm said: “After five highly successful and critically acclaimed seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, we feel the time has come to wind down the series. While the studio is no longer producing new episodes for Cartoon Network, we’re continuing production on new Clone Wars story arcs that promise to be some of the most thrilling adventures ever seen. Stay tuned for more information on where fans can soon find this bonus content.”

Clone Wars premiered in primetime on October 3, 2008, but was recently moved to Saturday mornings for its fifth and now final season. In its first season, Clone Wars had averaged nearly 3 million viewers on Friday nights, but this season, viewership dropped to around 1.75 million, per average with the lower-HUT level Saturday morning slot (8:30 a.m. CT)

The March 2 series finale (at least in this format), The Wrong Jedi, drew an above-average 2.18 million viewers.

In addition to its Cartoon Network run, Clone Wars entered broadcast syndication last fall via Trifecta Entertainment as a back-to-back episode weekend offering, mostly airing in weekend late-night time periods. There is no word on Clone Wars‘ syndication status for a second season.

In the weekend late fringe daypart for Trifecta, Clone Wars replaced music series Live From Darryl’s House, which was canceled after one season (reruns still appear on a few stations.)