Fans of Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager are getting a special gift this Christmas Day with an announcement from Blame Society Productions that a new season of the popular online video series inspired by Star Wars will be premiering in the new year.
"There's going to be a lot in Season 2," hints Aaron Yonda, who along with Matt Sloan both writes and directs the comedy series about Darth Vader's bumbling brother. "Hopefully, it's going to be more exciting than the first season. We're making this one a little bigger."
Blame Society long ago got a greenlight to go ahead with a new season from George Lucas, who had already given a seal of approval to Chad Vader when he selected it as his favorite entry in the 2007 edition of the Official Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge. Co-creators Sloan and Yonda have been holding off on production, though, due to negotiations with a major cable network to adapt Chad Vader into a broadcast series. While these talks are ongoing, they are moving forward with Season 2 to keep fans interested in the character.
The pair have continued to produce short stories in the Chad Vader universe -- including a series of training videos and a collection of holiday greeting cards -- but have not released a new episode of their original series since May 2007. "We've been making people wait long enough," says Yonda. "We're going to go ahead with the new season and see what happens after that."
The format for Season 2 will be a little different than that for Season 1, which consisted of eight episodes that ran 5 to 6 minutes apiece. Taking a cue from their new series CSI: North Pole, Sloan and Yonda are planning to split each new Chad Vader storyline into two episodes that run 3 to 4 minutes each. "We don't have an exact set amount yet," notes Yonda, "but there may be as many as 12 short episodes total."
Chad Vader follows the title character's exploits as a manager at Empire Market, a grocery store where he is faced with the rather earthly concerns of demanding customers, eccentric employees, and difficult owners, albeit while armed with a lightsaber and powers of The Force. Replete with nods to the Star Wars universe, the first season followed the travails, fall and subsequent redemption of Chad as he confronted and defeated his nemesis, a rival manager named Clint, all while wooing a co-worker named Clarissa.
Blame Society made the announcement today in a short video that features Chad receiving an unexpected Christmas gift.
The script for the first episode of Season 2 has already been written, and pre-production, including casting and effects, is already underway. Yonda offers a few hints and spoilers for what fans can expect.
"We are going to be introducing at least four new major characters in the second season," he says. The new primary antagonist will a manager from Red Leader Foods, a corporation that has taken over ownership of the market. Clarissa will be returning, but there is another new love interest on the way. Also new is a character named Robby Johnson, who was introduced in the special content of the Chad Vader Training Videos DVD recently released by Blame Society. And, as previously promised, a major character will die.
Fans can also expect non-human characters in the new season. "There is also going to be at least one droid that runs around in the store," notes Yonda.
Empire Market will continue to serve as the primary location in the series, meanwhile, which Madisonians may recognize as the Willy Street Co-op. Blame Society has received the go-ahead to work there once again. Shooting will commence in mid-January, and the premiere is slated for February 1.
Sloan and Yonda are self-financing the new season much as they did with the first. "What we're still figuring out is where exactly we can get the money to produce the show," explains Yonda. "Making it on our own again is going to be really difficult. We're doing this massive, full-scale production." Along with hoping for the continued volunteer efforts from cast and crew (which I am lucky to count myself among), they are raising funds through sales of Chad Vader DVDs and t-shirts, one of the latter capitalizing on a nod to the series that's in the new Star Wars video game The Force Unleashed. They are also planning on auctioning off cameo spots in the new season on eBay, giving their biggest fans a chance to be a part of the series.
Meanwhile, Blame Society is keeping its options open while going ahead with Season 2. "The cable deal could still happen, but at the same time, you don't want people losing interest in the series," says producer Courtney Collins. "You want to keep Chad alive."