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After acquiring LucasFilm, Disney cancelled the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series, causing fans all over the world to lose their minds. Maybe I am not representing accurately the number of these fans (I counted myself, family, friends, forum mates, favourite bloggers, and news guys who by no means represent the world), but the TV series won loads of awards. Awards reflect public interest most of the time, so I don't think the TV series was running at a loss. Ratings graph supports this, too.

Why exactly did Disney cancel the TV series?

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    There's been no actual reason given, but the going theory is because Disney was doing their own show, Star Wars Rebels. – PiousVenom Apr 19 '15 at 16:05
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    @MyCodeSucks Couldn't both shows run side-by-side? – Captain Cold Apr 19 '15 at 16:06
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    They could, but it wasn't Disney doing Clone Wars, and thus would be a competing show. It'd be like Marvel releasing 2 Iron Man movies at the same time. – PiousVenom Apr 19 '15 at 16:08
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    @CommuSoft It's on-topic on both sites. But we only require that the work be sci-fi/fantasy, not the subject of the question itself. – phantom42 Apr 20 '15 at 11:33
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    For the record, there is no correlation whatsoever between critic reviews, awards, and viewer interest. – Omegacron Apr 20 '15 at 14:28
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Because they felt "it was time", and the studio decided to head in a different direction.

From their press release

As we enter into an exciting new era focused on the next Star Wars trilogy, Lucasfilm has decided to pursue a new direction in animated programming. We are exploring a whole new Star Wars series set in a time period previously untouched in Star Wars films or television programming. You can expect more details in the months to come.

(snip)

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. In the video below, Supervising Director Dave Filoni offers a peek of what is to come in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Disney saw fit to go in a "new direction" in the animated programming, arguably looking to focus on a slightly younger demographic (gotta hook those kids).

It sounds like the mature themes of The Clone Wars may have been a bit much for what Disney would be willing to air on their own networks, but did not want to continue creating content to be aired on a competing network (Cartoon Network is owned by Time Warner).

This is backed up by a quote from Netflix's VP of content acquisition:

“The series really aged up over the years,” said Sean Carey, Netflix vice president of content acquisition. “It went to a darker place and didn’t fit the Cartoon Network brand any longer. So it was a hidden gem that Disney brought to our attention, and we jumped all over it.”

LucasFilm's Animation studio is not huge. They can't work on too many things all at once, especially since many of the production staff (from producers, writers, on down) had now been tasked with Star Wars: Rebels.

The show had run five full seasons and had begun production on the sixth. The Clone Wars, themselves, only lasted three years in-universe. There were, of course, more stories that could be told, but as time went on, they would likely start bumping into an issue of time frame eventually.

According to Lucas (take that as you will, given his history of changing his mind on everything), there were originally only 100 episodes planned.

TV Guide: And you're going to do a hundred episodes?

Lucas: We're going to do a hundred episodes. I think we're on [No.] 40 right now. We'll probably end up with 50 to 60 episodes before we start to put it on the air. We'd like to put it on next fall, in about a year from now, but we'll see what happens.

This was backed up by another quote from an interview a few months later:

CS: Do you see the show going on for a long time? It obviously takes a long time to produce computer animation.

Lucas: We’ve been doing this for three years. We have one year finished, we’re in the middle of the second year. I’ve written the third year. We expect this to go on for at least five or six years.

So, it sounds like they were likely either already past, or pretty close to their initial plans for Clone Wars stories anyways.

  • Your answer is better than mine. Snip. – Valorum Apr 19 '15 at 16:22
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    "It was time" is a great reason to end any TV show. So many good shows deteriorated over the years because studios drag them on and on until it stops being profitable enough, even if they ran out of good stories years ago. – Brandon Aug 28 '15 at 0:04
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The answers already given are excellent. I was a fan of the show and was very sad to see it go. I'd like to add that, though it's true George Lucas said 100 episodes, the fact that season 6 was already in production and many storylines turned up in one form or another after the cancellation of the show proves they were not "winding down" just yet when Disney pulled the plug. Add in the facts that Time Warner owns Cartoon Network and Disney's XD Channel skews much younger than what the Clone Wars had become, and you can see how after the acquisition, Clone Wars was suddenly a show without a room of it's own in the Mouse House.

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Clone Wars was on Cartoon Network, so I'm guessing there was something in the contract that prevented them from moving it to XD. So disney decided to cut the show. No matter what they say, it's obvious the show wasn't done. They cut it mid-season. That's not how you "wind down" a show. To clarify, by "wind down", I am referring to this quote:

“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.”

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    This seems to be a comment on the accepted answer (you even quote "wind down" from the answer) and speculation ("so I'm guessing") as opposed to an answer to the question. Might I suggest checking out the Tour to get a better idea of how to ask and answer questions here? We're not a typical discussion forum. – Meat Trademark Nov 9 '15 at 5:52
  • while this may have been the case, a cited source (article, interview, etc) would go a long way to turn this into a decent answer. – phantom42 Nov 9 '15 at 6:31
  • If I remember correctly, "wind down" was used in the official answer from Dave. – U2LN Nov 10 '15 at 13:16
  • Okay not Dave. Here's what 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.” – U2LN Nov 10 '15 at 13:27
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    No official source has confirmed this, but it's obvious that they did not think the series should be "wound down". There were obviously episodes still in production. If they had felt it was time to "wind it down" they wouldn't have started to produce the next episodes. Besides, some of the most important episodes were still coming. And as for finding something to back it up, I doubt Disney would ever admit that they shut it down for these reasons.I have emailed CN to ask about their legal policies. – U2LN Nov 10 '15 at 16:13

protected by Community Nov 9 '15 at 15:31

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