In Mel Brooks’ 1987 parody Spaceballs, Yogurt hinted at a possible sequel called Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money. While such a sequel never got off the ground, behind the scenes Brooks and other creative forces continued to talk about a follow-up to this comedy hit. Rick Moranis (who played Dark Helmet) said that he and Brooks had discussed — but never finalized — a deal to make Spaceballs III: The Search for Spaceballs II, which I think is one of the most brilliant concepts ever.
And while there’s an outside chance of such a film being made (Brooks and Moranis need to both be on board to make it happen), Spaceballs fans were handed a sort-of sequel with 2008’s Spaceballs: The Animated Series.
Premiering on G4 and in Canada, the animated series brought back all of the key characters and even reunited some of the original cast, including Mel Brooks (Skroob and Yogurt), Daphne Zuniga (Princess Vespa), Dot Matrix (Joan Rivers), and Dom Deluise (Pizza the Hutt). Other voice actors came in to fill the shoes of John Candy, Bill Pullman, and Rick Moranis.
A 13-episode season broadcast from 2008 to 2009. The idea behind the series wasn’t to keep riffing on Star Wars but to branch out to spoof other pop culture institutions, such as American Idol, Harry Potter, and Jurassic Park.
However, fans weren’t quite as pleased when they saw the cheap animation and the weird retcons (such as Lone Star losing his princeling status). Many of the parody subjects were already long in the tooth themselves, if not outright obscure (hey, Leisure Suit Larry showed up for an appearance). You kind of had to be on board with the Flash animation-like style and anything-goes humor, and if so, it wasn’t a total loss. It wasn’t exactly a huge hit, either, and the series wasn’t renewed for any additional episodes or seasons.
Thus, instead of being a brilliant rebirth, Spaceballs: The Animated Series came and went with so little impact that it might well have never existed. It’s exactly the sort of show that continually stuns people when they’re reminded that it even existed — and probably will again in six years when they stumble upon it again after having jettisoned it from their memories.
Perhaps the world has moved on past Mel Brooks by 2008, but from all accounts, this was a lazy and somewhat annoying effort that dragged a fun film and its fanbase through creative muck. It was a show that shouldn’t have been attempted at all if it couldn’t be done right, because in this case it ended up adding a blemish to a fondly remembered film.