6 “Star Wars” references in cartoons

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Since its 1977 debut, “Star Wars” has been referenced and parodied plenty of times in cartoons. Below is a list of a half-dozen cartoons referencing the classic film series.

I noticed the original films are the usual reference points in cartoons. Aside from “FoxTrot,” there’s not many that reference the prequels, or the current series of Disney-made films.

Yogi’s Space Race

Yogi's Space Race“Yogi’s Space Race” is yet another 70s-era anthology/package show. Debuting in 1978, it was an early cash-in on “Star Wars,” as the show’s logo suggests. Never mind it didn’t really have anything to do with the premise of George Lucas’ then-brand-new franchise.

The show involved Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Jabberjaw, and several new characters racing each other in spaceships, a la “Wacky Races.” The show’s segments include:

  • Yogi’s Space Race. A series of interstellar racing contests between several teams of Hanna-Barbera characters.
  • Galaxy Goof-Ups. Yogi, Huckleberry Hound, and new characters Scare Bear (a perpetually-nervous bear) and Quack-Up (a Daffy Duck-esque ditzy duck) are bumbling members of a galactic police force under orders from their always-cranky leader. A running gag saw the heroes stop at an outer space disco to dance; this led to some bizarre “spacey” animated dance sequences.
  • The Buford Files. A lazy bloodhound helps a group of rural Southern teens solve mysteries.
  • The Galloping Ghost. Nugget Nose, a 19th century prospector’s ghost, helps two young women named Wendy and Rita (“Laverne and Shirley” pastiches) at their place of employment, a dude ranch.

Most of the above characters were also the racing contestants in “Yogi’s Space Race.” Said races also featured a villainous character, the Phantom Phink, who posed as a “good” character, “Captain Good.” Unlike “Wacky Races,” the villains occasionally won the Space Race. Unfortunately for all of the contestants, the prizes awarded always turned out to be awful.

Oddly, Boo-Boo wasn’t used in this series (see the aforementioned Scare Bear). I’m not sure why.

Below is the opening for “Yogi’s Space Race.” Note one scene with a cantina-like alien band.

Fairly OddParents

Nickelodeon’s “Fairly OddParents” has featured plenty of “Star Wars” references. However, the main one might be “Dark Laser,” a Darth Vader-esque villain from the series’ “Star Wars” stand-in. Dark Laser’s origin stems from Timmy bringing a toy version of him to life via magic.

While defeated by the episode’s end, Dark Laser proceeded to make appearances in future episodes as an occasional foe.

Johnny Test

One of Johnny’s recurring foes is “Dark Vegan,” the ruler of the planet Vegandon. Everyone there’s vegan and the planet’s seemingly utopian… except for maintaining such via draining/conquering other worlds for their resources. Dark Vegan and his teenage daughter ended up moving to Earth, where he enjoys eating toast (which Vegandon doesn’t have).

Despite being a Darth Vader parody, he resembles Dark Helmet from “Spaceballs”; without his helmet on, he’s a less-than-evil-looking man.

Bloom County

The strip’s had some “Star Wars” references. The original 80s run had a “Star Wars” storyline; one strip (accurately) guessed there’d be follow-up films in another 15 years’ time.

The 2015 webcomic revival‘s had the characters play “Star Wars” characters frequently (versus “Star Trek” characters in the original strips).

FoxTrot

Jason, of course, is a huge “Star Wars” fan, so there’s been tons of references during the strip’s run.

Despite an early strip claiming Roger had no idea about or interest in “Star Wars,” a 2000s strip reveals that he too was a fan in the 80s, having seen “The Empire Strikes Back.” Jason subsequently screamed in horror at the idea of his father once being into “Star Wars.”

Powerpuff Girls

The episode “Boogie Frights” centered around the Boogeyman, a monster dressed in a 70s-era suit. The Boogeyman used a giant mirrored disco ball to block out the sun, so he and his fellow also-70s-style monsters could party in the darkness forever.

The episode ends with the girls flying into space to try to destroy the ball, in a sequence mimicking the climatic scene of the original “Star Wars” film.


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2 thoughts on “6 “Star Wars” references in cartoons

  1. I’m not surprised to see the Star Wars references in the 21st century stuff; making Star Wars references is practically a requirement these days. I am surprised to see it in Yogi’s Space Race, when Star Wars was new and had not yet become a cult classic.

    • Well, “Yogi’s Space Race” came out in the fall of 1978, a bit over a year after “Star Wars” first hit theaters. “Star Wars” was a very big hit—to the degree there was a big boost in sci-fi themed movies and TV shows by the 1978-79 TV season (see: “Battlestar Galactica,” the revival of “Star Trek” as a movie in 1979, etc.).

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