Two years ago this summer, Madison-based filmmakers Matt Sloan and Aaron Yonda introduced their comedy short series Chad Vader and caught online video wave just as it started cresting. The debut and subsequent seven episodes following the decline, fall, and redemption of Darth Vader's bumbling brother in his grocery store job swiftly went viral, racking up tens of millions of views and the approval of George Lucas. Since the first season wrapped just over a year ago, fans have been wondering if and when another round of Chad might return.
Though there have been no new episodes of the series, the supermarket Sith hasn't really gone away. Sloan and Yonda have kept their fans updated with a series of vlogs starring the character, as well as through series updates and script readings. They have also worked to keep Chad in the spotlight by creating videos of the character covering last summer's smash oddity "Chocolate Rain" and interacting with the political siren known as "Obama Girl," a character that also has Madison roots.
Then there's the broader Star Wars media universe, which has been receptive to the pair's work, particularly their recreation of Darth Vader's voice for Chad. Sloan, who voices the character, is becoming a go-to vocal stand-in for the original Vader, speaking as Darth in the forthcoming Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game, and also appearing as the Dark Lord in a special episode of Deal or No Deal that aired in late April.
Fans, as well as cast and crew from the first season (including yours truly), have been hoping for Chad to return for more original episodes. Sloan and Yonda have been busy trying to find a way to launch Season 2 as a full-fledged production on firm legal ground. So they've been busy in talks with Lucasfilm and production companies over the course of several months, looking to bring Chad back to computer screens around the world.
Sloan and Yonda announced in January that they were beginning preparations for a second season, and were also looking at creating a Chad Vader television series. A couple of months later, they discontinued sales of Chad DVDs and other merchandise through their video company Blame Society Productions. Now, the pair has launched a new online microseries featuring Chad.
"Hopefully we'll have some sort of TV show moving forward" explains Yonda about their ongoing negotiations. "It's in the negotiating phase, but I think we're close to submitting something to solidify a deal. If they like what we give them in terms of the deal we're offering, I'd like to think we're tracked to make a pilot." For now, fans will have to settle for Chad Vader Training Videos, a series within the series that spoofs corporate human resources videos. Like the original episodes, these shorts are set in Empire Market (played by the Willy Street Co-op) featuring characters from Chad and other Blame Society creations.
"We really wanted to make some more Chad Vader, and to give the fans something to tide them over until we figure out any TV deal," says Yonda.
"Chad explains the proper way to deal with spies in the produce section with multiple choice," reads the synopsis for this inaugural episode. This first Chad Vader training video follows.
Yonda says that Blame Society is slated to make up to a dozen videos in this microseries. One is already in the can and two more are in production. "I'm pretty sure we'll shoot two to four more after that," he says. "It depends on whether we'll get a positive reaction."