- "The core of LEGO is building sets with family and Star Wars is a story about a kid, his father, and his sister, and go back to the prequels and see that it's about building a family. That's the core of LEGO, too. Family had to be at the heart of this thing"
- ―Bob Roth
LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures is a LEGO animated television series that debuted on Disney XD on June 20, 2016. The show follows the adventures of a scavenger family, the Freemakers, as they travel throughout the galaxy. The series is set between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The first season consisted of thirteen episodes and ran from June 20 to August 29, 2016. On April 3, 2017, it was announced that The Freemaker Adventures had been renewed for a second season that would premiere on Disney XD in the summer of 2017.
Told in the whimsically charged style that audiences have come to expect from LEGO Star Wars entertainment, the series stars the Freemakers, a family of scavengers who build and sell starships from the scoured debris of space battles strewn throughout the galaxy. When their youngest discovers a natural connection with the Force through an ancient artifact—the Kyber Saber—his galaxy is turned upside down, and he and his family are thrown into an epic struggle against the Empire to restore peace and freedom to the galaxy. Throughout their adventures, the Freemakers explore new worlds, meet new and familiar faces, and learn the true value of what it means to be a family.
The Freemaker Adventures focuses on four main characters: three Freemaker siblings, their old Clone Wars B1 Battle droid, and Naare. The Freemakers are a family of scavengers who operate a salvage and repair shop in space. They include Kordi Freemaker, who manages the family business; ace pilot and starship enthusiast Zander Freemaker; and their adventurous Force-sensitive younger brother Rowan Freemaker. The droid, R0-GR ("Roger"), is a refurbished B1-series battle droid. The Freemaker Adventures introduces a number of new characters including the Sith agent Naare and the Hutt crime lord Graballa. The series also utilizes a number of characters from the Star Wars movies, including Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, and Dengar.
Zander is the eldest sibling in the Freemaker family. He is an ace pilot and a skilled mechanic who has a passion for starships. He is quick and agile, but always seems to find trouble where ever he goes, but he protects his family as best as he can. The character is voiced by American actor Eugene Byrd. Creator Bob Roth modeled the eighteen-year old Zander after his "car-nut" of an older son.
Kordi is the middle sibling in the Freemaker family and the leader of the scavenging operation. She is a self-described tomboy, a tough fighter, and a quick-witted negotiator who is able to talk her and her brothers' way out of a trouble. She is a caring sister who loves her brothers very much and will do almost anything to have them safe. Kordi is voiced by Canadian actress Vanessa Lengies. Roth characterized Kordi's role as keeping the other two "knuckleheads" [her brothers] in line.
Rowan is the Force-sensitive youngest sibling in the Freemaker family. An adventurous twelve-year-old, he has a knack for getting himself and his family into trouble, especially when hunting for the Kyber Crystals. Rowan was voiced by child actor Nicolas Cantu. Roth based the character Rowan on his own twelve-year old and posited the scenario of a Jedi having to train a "kid who's an unfocused bundle of energy."
Roger is a refurbished B1 battle droid who is programmed to serve as Rowan's buddy. He is a friendly but misunderstood simpleton. Roger is a capable thinker when the time calls for it and he loves being with his adopted family, the Freemakers. Roger is voiced by Lucasfilm sound director Matthew Wood, who had previously worked as a voice actor for the B1-series battle droids in the Prequel trilogy and the animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Wood described playing a battle droid character with a major character arc for the first time as a "dream come true."
- "Humor is important, but the drama is also important. The stakes are real. There's real jeopardy. The fate of the galaxy is at stake. We want our characters to handle the dramatic as well as the funny."
- ―Bill Motz
LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures was created by Bill Motz and Bob Roth. The two men first conceived the idea for The Freemaker Adventures while attending the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con. During a party, Motz and Roth overheard that The Walt Disney Company was interested in producing a LEGO Star Wars animated show. Moth and Roth wanted to produce a television series that incorporated the Star Wars films.
Over a dinner-table conversation, Motz and Roth fleshed out the idea of a family of scavengers who collected scrap from Clone Wars battles prior to the events of Return of the Jedi. The two creators took care to incorporate several classic Star Wars characters into their story including Princess Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and Emperor Palpatine. Metz characterized Vader and the Emperor as the "out of touch, detached upper management of the galaxy." From the onset, Motz and Roth wanted The Freemaker Adventures to be totally different from the previous LEGO Star Wars television series and games which had taken a parody-driven approach towards the Star Wars saga.
- "A touch of humor. We're allowed to play with them. It's like creating a side-Star Wars universe that creates a freedom."
- ―Michael Hegner responding to a question about the difference between Star Wars and LEGO design
The Freemaker Adventures was jointly produced by the LEGO Group, Lucasfilm, Disney, and Wil Film. Torsten Jacobson and Jill Wilfert served as the animated television show's executive producers while Carrie Beck, Jason Cosler, Jake Blais, and John McCormack served as producers. Michael Hegner, Jens Møller, Martin Skov, Frederik Budolph-Larsen, and Per Risager directed several episodes.
According to Hegner, the production team adapted the classic Star Wars sets to LEGO by making them smaller in order to fit the LEGO tone and scale. The illustrator and art director Doug Chiang helped design objects such as the Hutt antagonist Graballa's starship Rancor's Fist. LEGO's Lead Model Designer Erik Varszegi also built a scale model of the Freemaker's Garage using LEGO bricks.
The veteran Lucasfilm sound editor Matthew Wood, who also voiced the protagonist "Roger", was responsible for designing sound for the entire show including the Freemakers' starship StarScavenger and their garage. Wood used a specialized computer digital processor to create the voice of Roger. While recording the show, Wood spoke in his normal voice but used the computer program to augment his voice during the post-recording process. Wood used this same digital process when voicing the battle droids in the Prequels and The Clone Wars animated series. The podracer sequence in the seventh episode "Race on Tatooine" was modeled after the Boonta Eve Classic from The Phantom Menace.
The music score for Freemaker Adventures was composed by Michael Kramer, who recorded the television show's score during a live orchestra. He also incorporated John Williams' cues into the TV show. The four main cast members were child actor Nicolas Cantu (Rowan), Eugene Byrd (Zander), Vanessa Lengies (Kordi), and Matthew Wood (Roger). Other recurring cast members included Grey Griffin (who voiced the antagonistic Naare), Dana Snyder (Graballa), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), and Greg Proops (Fode and Beed).
For Season Two, Doug Chiang and his team redesigned the characters' costumes to allow a more natural transition into their LEGO forms. The protagonist Rowan's costume was also redesigned to resemble Luke Skywalker's fatigues from The Empire Strikes Back. Chiang also designed the antagonistic hunter droid M-OC, who was voiced by James Urbaniak, and his starship. Rowan Freemaker's starship Arrowhead was also designed by Ryan Church, who had worked as a concept artist on the prequel trilogy.
The Freemaker Adventures was first announced by StarWars.com on February 11, 2016. According to LEGO Group vice president of licensing & entertainment Jill Wilfert, the animated television show was the first joint collaboration between LEGO and Disney XD. Meanwhile, Carrie Beck characterized the upcoming show as a joint collaboration that combined the narrative experience of the Star Wars saga with the playful tone of LEGO Star Wars. The announcement was accompanied by a promotional YouTube teaser trailer of the television series.
On April 28, 2016, StarWars.com published a promotional article and an accompanying YouTube video entitled "Meet the Freemaker Family" which introduced the TV series' main cast members and plot. The Freemaker Adventures would premiere on June 20 on Disney XD with a new episode debuting each day until June 23. In addition, it was announced that the first episode "A Hero Discovered" would also be released via Video on Demand and the Disney XD app on tablets, phones, set top boxes, and computers on June 20. On June 10, StarWars.com released a full original trailer on YouTube that showed several other characters including Graballa the Hutt, Maz Kanata, and Princess Leia.
The first four episodes "A Hero Discovered", "The Mines of Graballa", "Zander's Joyride", and "The Lost Treasure of Cloud City" were released between June 20 and 23. After the fifth episode "Peril on Kashyyyk" premiered on June 27, the series took a two-week hiatus until the released of "Crossing Paths" on July 11. The series than ran until the premiere of its thirteenth episode "Return of the Kyber Saber" on August 29, 2016.
To promote the series, Bill Motz, Bob Roth, Michael Hegner, and Matthew Wood hosted a panel live blog at Celebration Europe 2016. Besides discussing the conceptualization and development of the series, they also played a podracer clip from the seventh episode "Race on Tatooine", which was inspired by The Phantom Menace. During the hour-long session, the creative team also addressed questions regarding the Canonicity of the series. To promote the series, LEGO produced two toy sets based on the starships StarScavenger and Eclipse Fighter. In addition, a Freemaker-themed expansion pack was added to the LEGO computer game LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
On September 9, 2016, it was announced on StarWars.com that the first season, consisting of thirteen episodes, would be released in Blu-ray and DVD formats on December 6, 2016. This two-disc set is entitled LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – Complete Season One and includes some special bonus features such as promotional clips, the one-minute Freemaker Salvage and Repair video, behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with cast members.
On April 3, 2017, it was announced on StarWars.com that the series had been renewed for a second season. The press release was accompanied by a YouTube trailer, which showed several other Star Wars characters including Mon Mothma, Admiral Ackbar, General Hera Syndulla, and Quarrie. It was also announced that five new short clips would be released on May 4 to fill the gap between the first and second seasons. A sneak preview of the season was shown at Celebration Orlando.
Season Two premiered in the summer of 2017. It continues the Freemakers' adventures with the Rebel Alliance as they face the Empire, Hutt crime lords, Sith Lords, and the Emperor's new hunter droid M-OC. Rowan also builds a new starship to aid the Rebellion called the Arrowhead. To promote Season Two, Bill Motz and Bob Roth, Story Group member Leland Chee, Michael Kramer, Matthew Wood, and host Amy Ratcliffe hosted a panel at Celebration Orlando on April 16, 2017. During the panel, Roth confirmed that Season Two would focus on the Freemakers' involvement in the Rebel Alliance with the main story arc being Rowan discovering his purpose. Roth also confirmed that several Rebel Alliance characters including Princess Leia Organa and Hera Syndulla would appear as supporting characters. During the Celebration Orlando panel, Motz and Roth also displayed two LEGO models of MOC and Rowan's new ship Arrowhead. As a bonus for audience members, the season premiere was also screened.
On June 7, The Star Wars Show hosts Anthony Carboni and Andi Gutierrez confirmed that Season Two's first episode "Trouble on Tibalt" would air on June 17. The series would then resume on July 31 with new episodes running Monday through Thursday until August 16. The Star Wars Show also featured cast member Eugene Byrd and show producers Motz and Roth as guests. Bryd confirmed that Rowan Freemaker was a Force Builder and also showed Doug Chiang's drawings of Zander, Kordi, and Rowan.
On March 23, 2017, it was reported that the first season of LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures had been nominated for four Emmy nominations: Best Children's Animated Program, Best Casting for an Animated Series or Special, Best Animation Sound Editing, and Best Music Direction and Composition.
On December 5, 2017, it was reported that the Freemaker Adventures Season Two episode "Trouble on Tibalt" had been nominated for the Annie Award's Outstanding Achievement for Music in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production.
- "We work with the Story Group, and we work with a woman named Carrie Beck, and she has this smile... and when we pitch things to her and she smiles and says, 'You can't do that,' we know that we've stumbled into Rogue One, Episode IX -- who knows what. But seeing The Force Awakens before we started, I was like, 'Oh, that's why we couldn't do that one story!'"
- ―Bob Roth responding to an interview on IGN
While The Freemaker Adventures is not considered canon, the creators Motz and Roth and director Hegner still consulted the Lucasfilm Story Group members Leland Chee and Carrie Beck to ensure that the show did not contradict the official Canon storyline. However, the Story Group still allowed the show's production team to "take liberties for the comedy of situations." During a panel liveblog held at Celebration Europe in London on July 16 2016, the creators also characterized The Freemaker Adventures as "canon-adjacent" but implied that their adherence to the Story Group's guideline meant that "this [the TV series] could be." When asked whether the crew of the Ghost, the main cast of the Canon animated television series Star Wars Rebels, could appear in the series, the creators clarified that this would not be the case for Season One but hinted that they might appear at a later time. During Celebration Orlando in April 2017, Roth confirmed that General Hera Syndulla would indeed be appearing.
During an interview with IGN journalist Max Nicholson, Roth described LEGO Star Wars as "its own unique universe" which followed the Star Wars continuity but was "reenacted by a kid playing with his own toys." Motz characterized the animated series as "Canon Paraphrase." The creators also pitched ideas regularly to Beck to ensure that their ideas and plot elements did not come into conflict with other projects like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker.
|Season||Episodes||First airdate||Last airdate|
|August 29, 2016|
|June 17, 2017||August 16, 2017|
- "Launchpad" – Star Wars Insider 165
- "Meet the Freemakers" – Star Wars Insider 167
- "Building Up the Action!" – Star Wars Insider 168
Notes and references