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'Family Guy' meets 'Star Wars' -- again

By Marc Saltzman, Special to CNN
Darth Vader (Stewie) challenges Luke (Chris) in "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side."
Darth Vader (Stewie) challenges Luke (Chris) in "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side" is parody of "Empire Strikes Back"
  • "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane is thrilled George Lucas is on board with spoofs
  • A favorite moment? Luke's training with Yoda includes "Rocky IV" sequences
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(CNN) -- Fans of "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back" might not recall an Afro-donning R2-D2, flatulent Darth Vader or stormtroopers in mesh tank tops, but this is precisely what you'll find in the second "Star Wars" spoof from "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane.

The parody, "Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side," which was released last week, follows the same storyline as the nearly 30-year-old "The Empire Strikes Back," in which the rebels survive an Imperial attack on the ice world of Hoth, Luke travels to the marshy planet Dagobah to train as a Jedi under Yoda and a betrayal sets the stage for "Return of the Jedi."

And of course, we learn at the end of the 44-minute flick that Darth Vader is in fact (spoiler alert!) Luke Skywalker's father.

Except in this parody, one of the giant four-legged AT-AT walkers grabs its knee in pain after being tripped by cables, and Han is frozen with his pants down and buttocks in the air.

CNN.com asked MacFarlane how the project -- which was preceded by "Blue Harvest," a parody of the original 1977 "Star Wars" -- came about.

"If you want the truth, it was more of an accident, as our legal advisers were telling us we were doing too many 'Star Wars' gags on the show and we should clear these things with ['Star Wars' creator George] Lucas," said the affable 36-year-old. "And to our surprise, LucasFilm was all for it -- if we made the characters look like the ones in the 'Star Wars' movies -- and so we approached them on creating full-length episodes."

MacFarlane says Lucas is smart and progressive for allowing parodies to exist, including the risqué "Family Guy" treatment.

The parody features bumbling "Family Guy" father Peter Griffin as Han Solo, wife Lois as Princess Leia, son Chris as Luke Skywalker and evil baby Stewie as a pint-sized Darth Vader.

The supporting cast includes dog Brian as Chewbacca, neighbor Quagmire as C-3PO, Cleveland (now star of his own series "The Cleveland Show") as R2-D2, and Carl, the convenience store managers, as Yoda.

"Something," like "Family Guy," isn't for everybody (or every "Star Wars" fan), given the show's fondness for jokes about race, homosexuality and disabilities. (There's also a lot more profanity in this sequel than the first film, which includes characters dropping the F-bomb, which is something you don't hear on the television show.)

The episode is also in a 4:3 aspect ratio instead of widescreen 16:9, so it won't fill your HDTV screen.

The "Family Guy" team is already hard at work on its third and final "Star Wars" spoof, parodying "Return of the Jedi," according to various reports. The new parody will be in 16:9 widescreen.

When asked about his favorite moments in "Something," MacFarlane first calls out the special effects. "They're beautifully done by our team of animators, both here and in Korea, with the asteroid sequence in particular that really stands out for me," he said.

Following that, he said, it's a toss-up between Luke's Jedi lessons with Yoda, which include clips from Dolph Lundgren training in "Rocky IV" ("a movie that, aesthetically, hasn't held up very well," joked MacFarlane) and a humorous quip between Empire officers.

"I don't know why it amuses me, but one of Vader's officers turns to another and says, 'Oh my God, you have cake?' and the other guy says, 'Ya, it was Jim's birthday, but I think it's all gone now,' " said MacFarlane with a chuckle. "It's just one of those quiet, real moments in an office when you find out you're 10 minutes too late for cake."