May the Swartz be with comic legend Mel Brooks as he works to launch an animated TV series based on his 1987 Star Wars spoof, Spaceballs. His Brooksfilms has partnered with BFC Berliner Film Companie and MGM Domestic Television Distribution to produce an hour-long pilot and 13 half-hour episodes.
The pilot is being penned by Brooks and Thomas Meehan, who collaborated on the screenplay for the original live-action feature. Brooks will also supervise the writing on the other episodes and serve as exec producer alongside Rainer Soehnlein, CEO of BFC Berliner Film Companie Group. Under the agreement, MGM will distribute the Spaceballs toon in the U.S., Canada and international markets outside of Germany.
"Primetime animation has become a powerful staple and with the unmatched comedic talents of Mel Brooks and BFC’s expertise, you’ve got quite a winning combination," says Jim Packer, MGM’s exec VP of television distribution, North America. "To this day, Spaceballs is incredibly successful on television and on video, and with the abundance of sci-fi films that have come out in the past decade, there’s no shortage of material for Mel."
Reprising a couple of his roles from the film, Brooks will provide the voices President Scroob and Yogurt in the series. Scroob is the corrupt leader of Planet Spaceball, who sends Lord Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) to steal Planet Druidia’s abundant air supply. Yogurt, a comic version of Yoda, is an alien sage who helps the film’s hero, Lone Star (Bill Pullman), foil the evil plan. The feature also starred Joan Rivers, Daphne Zuniga and the late John Candy. There’s no word or who, if any, of the original cast members will join the series’ voice cast.
Brooks can currently be heard as the voice of Wiley the sheep in the 3D-animated PBS children’s series, Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks, from Entera and Mike Young Prods.
BFC is also in development on the new series Sherm! and MP4orce (working title). During the past two years, the company has distributed the series Adventurers, Shadow of the Elves, Altair in Starland and Mission Odyssey to international broadcasters. The hip-hop-infused animated sci-fi series Da Boom Crew marked BFC’s first U.S. network deal and premiered in September on Kids’ WB!