So what is The Yoda Chronicles? It's a TV show, an online experience, and a marketing gimmick all in one. And I'm going to try and break it down for you all in one post cause I myself need to get this straight in my head.
Cartoon Network will debut "The Phantom Clone", the first of three episodes, tonight at 8pm with the other two scheduled to air before the end of the year. The story behind the series is that Yoda hid an ancient relic called the Kaiber Crystal. Count Dooku, his former apprentice, wants this relic and knows exactly where it is. The Sith have plans to take this relic and infuse a clone on Kamino with Force powers. This is the origin of Jek-14.
The series writer is Michael Price and that name should sound familiar as he wrote both The Padawan Menace and The Empire Strikes Out so you should get an idea of what to expect: lots of humor, gags, and jokes. In terms of continuity, the events of The Yoda Chronicles take place some time between Episode II and III so the major characters are from that era. Yet Price has gone on record to say that Classic Era characters also make an appearance. Whether the classic characters are younger versions to maintain some semblance of continuity remains to be seen.
LEGO is pushing The Yoda Chronicles on their site with a series of short movies and other interactive bits and bobs. If you head over to StarWars.LEGO.com, you'll see the Holocron Vault. Each of those lights represents an animated short or wallpaper that you can download. Right now not all of the lights are active, but there's enough there to waste some time with. The movies section has all of the animations ordered in reverse order. Each episode is split into two parts. They're nice little diversions but don't really add to The Yoda Chronicles story line. The production value is pretty nice as the animations are beautifully rendered. If you've played any of the Traveler's Tales video games the dialog or lack there of should be familiar. Just short of a few one word expressions, communication between characters is more or less a series of grunts.
LEGO is already creating merchandise based on The Yoda Chronicles. And why shouldn't they? It is their own wholly owned, fully licensed production after all. The first and probably only set out of the gate for retail sale is 75018 Jek-14 Stealth Starfighter scheduled for release in August. It is priced at $69.99, has 550 pieces, and comes with 4 all new minifigures, including the first ever minifig element case in transparent plastic. The Stealth Starfighter looks like it's based on the expanded universe E-wing Fighter. With only three episodes confirmed we may get lucky and see another set for the January 2014 assortment but I'm not holding my breath. We'll have to see what the episodes actually have in store for us.
There's also a book in the works aptly titled The Yoda Chronicles which you can pre-order it from Amazon right now! And just as you'd expect like most of their other books, it too comes with an exclusive minifig of Special Forces Commander Clone Trooper. I wouldn't expect much in the way of gripping content but it should be enjoyable by kids standards.
Still confused? I am a little but it may be because it's way past my bedtime. Depending on the success of the show, and I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be, there may be additional episodes beyond the first three. The Holocron Vault was designed to provide countless stories all told through the eyes of Yoda. There's a lot of little lights.
Set your DVRs and reminders for The Yoda Chronicles on Cartoon Network tonight at 8pm/7pm Central. For you Canadian fans, it's on Teletoon at 3:30pm Pacific according to Zap2It.