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The Future of the Clones

What happens to 'Clone Wars', now in the hands of Disney nemesis Time Warner?

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Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Lucasfilm Ltd.

When it comes to theme parks, Disney and Lucasfilm already have a connection, so the acquisition already starts from a preexisting, mutually beneficial relationship.

But there's one Lucasfilm property that's in a tougher position: Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which airs on rival-megacorp-owned Cartoon Network.

Disney is unlikely to want the popular prequel-era series, now airing season 5, to continue to generate revenue for CN's parent, Time-Warner.

The Future of the Clones

There's no official word on exactly what's planned for Clone Wars -- after all it's early days, and existing licensing contracts will ensure that the balance of season 5 will play out on CN regardless. A Cartoon Network spokesperson confirmed, "A decision has not been made about a sixth season yet, and won't be made for some time."

But what will happen afterward, both to future seasons and to airings of the first five?

It's easy to assume that Clone Wars will jump for the all-but-assured season 6 to a Disney-owned cable channel, but might be an open question which one. The likely destination is Disney XD, which positions itself as hipper than the softer and younger-skewed Disney Channel.

Reliving the Past

What about reruns? According to EW, Cartoon Network may have the licensing rights to the first five seasons even beyond 2013; but those rights are probably not exclusive. Even if they are, Disney has so much financial leverage that if they really want Clone Wars off CN they can probably find a property-barter deal that will make both Disney and Time-Warner happy.

Whatever the fallout ends up being, the popularity of the series and the need for Disney to generate revenue by exploiting existing franchise properties makes it very likely that Clone Wars will long outlast the actually brief conflict that provides its setting.

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