When news of Lucasfilm shutting down their ILM branch in Singapore hit, many began to assume two things: Lucasfilm was shutting down all animation and that shows like The Bad Batch and Tales of the Jedi would no longer be in active production.
We must get clarification on both of those points so that we, as fans, have an understanding of what’s actually happening not only with Lucasfilm but some of the fanbase’s best-loved content. Shows like The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, The Bad Batch, Star Wars Resistance, and Tales of the Jedi have been highly respected and widely loved by fans across several key demographics. So are Disney and Lucasfilm listening to their fans or solely to their pocketbooks?
What’s actually happening?
I find it best in times of rumors and confusion to try and get to the source or at least someone with a good level of inside information. Avoid all the rampant speculation and find out what’s really at the base of the rumors and figure out how to separate fact from fiction.
Let’s start with what’s false. You may have read online that Disney is closing down all animation and VFX studios effective immediately. This is fiction because only a tiny part of this is genuine. Let’s go to someone who should know what they are talking about, and that’s Joel Aron.
Joel Aron works for Lucasfilm as the Director of Cinematography Lighting & FX for Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi, The Bad Batch, Star Wars Resistance, Rebels, and The Clone Wars. After the announcement on August 15th, Joel Aron tweeted, “Lucasfilm Animation is not closing. FYI.”
So what is closing? Lucasfilm has announced that they are closing the Singapore branch of ILM for VFX. Currently, this is the only branch of Lucasfilm or ILM that is closing. No other branches, including the ones in California at Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Lucas Ranch.
Does this affect production?
To answer this question., let’s go back to Joel Aron and the response he gave to someone on Twitter about this issue. In a now-deleted tweet, Joel Aron responded,
"“Just to be clear, we’re not affected by this closure. LAL is not in Singapore 🙂 we’ve always been at either the ranch or where we are now in SF (or working from home!). We are still ferociously busy working with Cgcg to bring you all s3 of #thebadbatch and #talesofthejedi.”"
So we will still see The Bad Batch and Tales of the Jedi at some point. The Bad Batch should be released in mid to late 2024. Granted, the closure of the Singapore branch, coupled with possible delays due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, may delay this release some, but not horribly. Tales of the Jedi is also slated to release in mid to late 2024, with the same issues facing The Bad Batch.
The Long and the Short
So once we get down to the nitty-gritty, only one branch of Lucasfilm/ILM is closing in Singapore. All the rest of the branches are staying open. Although this may introduce a small delay, both The Bad Batch and Tales of the Jedi should release in mid to late 2024. So Disney isn’t ignoring their fan base, and they are continuing with the production of animated shows while at the same time attempting to be fiscally sound.
Sometimes rumors are just that, rumors. All smoke, no fire.