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May the Minifigures Be With You

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Cartoon Network / Lucasfilm

I’ve been busy today closing a feature on Breaking Bad (which will be in TIME Friday) and writing a review of George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons (which will post here tomorrow morning). So I have been a bad, bad blogger today. You deserve better than that, so here are some pictures of Lego Star Wars minifigures.

Cartoon Network, which has aired the animated Clone Wars series for some time now, is airing its first ever animated Star Wars special starring Lego minifigures on July 22: Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace. As I’ve mentioned here before, Lego Star Wars has been intoxicating to my two kids—two irresistible Forces in one—and they actually learned the narrative of the Star Wars movies not by watching the films (which they eventually did) but by playing the Lego Star Wars series of videogames. There’s a certain playfulness and style to Lego that meshes beautifully with the playfulness and style of Star Wars.

So I post this here to make up for my lax blogging today, and to let my kids know: yes, we will be TiVoing this. The announcement, and more pictures, after the jump:

Cartoon Network / Lucasfilm

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (July 7, 2011) – After the runaway success of their wildly popular building sets, video game collaborations and animated shorts, The LEGO Group and Lucasfilm will join forces once again for an all-new adventure – their first-ever original television special. Premiering on Cartoon Network on Friday, July 22 at 7:00 p.m. (ET, PT) in high-definition computer animation, the 30-minute original standalone special – LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace – will feature the charm, action and irreverent humor that have become the signature style of LEGO Star Wars animation collaborations.

Featuring situations, characters and locations from throughout the entire Star Wars Saga, the original adventure is written by Emmy® Award winner Michael Price (The Simpsons) and produced by Academy Award-winning Animal Logic, the production company behind Happy Feet.

“We’re certain that fans of LEGO play and the Star Wars universe will be as excited by this new original animated LEGO Star Wars episode as we are,” said Jill Wilfert, vice president of licensing and entertainment for The LEGO Group. “Developing original animated content leveraging the LEGO and Star Wars brands is incredibly rewarding for us because it not only engages and entertains fans in original stories and adventures that further their imaginative play, it authentically delivers on the inherent values and fun that LEGO play brings to the partnership.”

To date, Star Wars is the first and most successful LEGO licensed product collection in the company’s history, generating more than 200 LEGO models and approximately 275 LEGO minifigures inspired by the Saga, which has also spurred a blockbuster collection of videogames, selling 25 million units to date worldwide. In addition to its popularity among younger fans, a significant portion of the LEGO Star Wars consumer fan base is made up of nostalgic adults and franchise collectors.

LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace is scheduled to air multiple times on Cartoon Network during the weekend including: Friday, July 22 at 7 p.m. (ET/PT), Saturday, July 23 at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. (ET/PT) and Sunday, July 24 at 4:30 p.m. (ET/PT).

Cartoon Network / Lucasfilm

A routine Jedi Academy field trip is turned into a rip-roaring comic adventure in LEGO® Star WarsTM: The Padawan MenaceTM. Tour guide Master Yoda leads a group of rambunctious Jedi younglings through Senate chambers when he senses a disturbance in the Force. Summoned to help save the Republic, he discovers that one of the younglings secretly boarded his ship…and has a taste for adventure! Meanwhile, C-3PO and R2-D2 are put in charge of the boisterous group and find themselves in over their heads. As the evil Sith prepare to wreak havoc, it’s up to Yoda and the droids to ensure that their young charges aren’t torn to bricks!