SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Netflix’s Internet video service is coming to the rescue of “Star Wars” fans left in limbo by the abrupt cancellation of “The Clone Wars,” an animated television series that embellishes the lore of the Jedi Order and Sith Lords.
The sixth and final season of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” will be shown exclusively to Netflix subscribers in the U.S. and Canada beginning March 7 as part of a licensing deal announced Thursday. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
The Los Gatos, Calif., company has already pledged to spend about $3 billion this year on licensing video as it tries to expand its audience of 48 million worldwide subscribers.
A significant chunk of that money is being earmarked for video that can only be seen on Netflix. One of the company’s most popular exclusives, the Emmy-award winning political drama “House of Cards,” returns for its second season on Friday.
The resurrection of “The Clone Wars” will finish the story that was still unresolved when Time Warner Inc.’s Cartoon Network cancelled the series following the fifth season. Cartoon Network dropped the series after Time Warner rival Walt Disney Co. bought the “Star Wars” franchise as part of its 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm.
Besides showing all 13 episodes of the sixth season, Netflix’s video-streaming service gained the exclusive rights to the director’s cut of previous seasons in “The Clone Wars.”
Netflix Inc. has been cultivating closer ties with Disney while increasing its spending on licensing rights as part of its efforts to attract more subscribers to its $8 monthly service, which delivers video to Internet-connected TVs and other devices. Disney previously struck an agreement with Netflix that allows the Internet video service to show the next wave of “Star Wars” movies shortly after they leave the theaters.
Netflix is emerging as a popular alternative for TV series canceled by broadcast and cable networks. The company revived the critically acclaimed comedy “Arrested Development” last year and plans to bring back the mystery “The Killing.”
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