With Disney now owning Lucasfilm, it’s certainly a no brainer that the House of Mouse would be looking at ways to capitalize on the whole ‘Star Wars’ franchise. With a new movie installment slated to be released in 2015, is it any surprise that ABC is looking into a live action series for television?
Disney owns ABC and with the high buzz Marvel’s ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ is getting, the network is now looking at the possibility of bringing ‘Star Wars: Underworld’ back into development. In an interview with EW, ABC President revealed:
“We’d love to do something with Lucasfilm, we’re not sure what yet. We haven’t even sat down with them. We’re going to look at [the live-action series], we’re going to look at all of them, and see what’s right. We weren’t able to discuss this with them until [the acquisition] closed and it just closed. It’s definitely going to be part of the conversation.”
‘Star Wars: Underworld’ has been in development limbo for several years now. The project was commissioned in 2005 by Rick McCallum (producer of ‘Star Wars: Episodes I-III’ and the special editions of ‘Star Wars: Episodes IV-VI) who had hired writers like Ron Moore (‘Battlestar Galactica,’ ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation,’ ‘Roswell’) to write scripts for the proposed series. Apparently 50 scripts were written (which McCallum had described as the most “provocative, bold and daring material” that they’ve ever done) for this hour long show but the project never got beyond that point.
McCallum had stated that the reasons for the stall were twofold:
“Our biggest problem is that these stories are adult. I mean…these are like Deadwood in space. It so unlike anything you’ve ever associated with George before in relation to Star Wars. These aren’t for kids. I mean, we hope they’ll watch, but it’s not being targeted at 8-to-9 year old boys. The situation we have is that each episode – or if you put two hour long episodes together – is bigger than any film we’ve ever done. It’s on the Avatar level and we’ll only have about $5-6 million we can spend on each episode.”
Budgetary concerns due to Lucasfilm wanting to retain ownership of the series (which meant that whichever network had aired the show would have receive a smaller cut of the profit) was also a major sticking point. But now that Disney owns LucasFilm and ABC, the profit margin is kept within the family and the possibility of the series going in front of cameras is now more viable. Could this be the spin-off project that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg were hired to take on?‘Star Wars 1313’
‘Star Wars: Underground’ takes place in the 20 year period between ‘Revenge of the Sith’ and ‘A New Hope’ with the focus on new characters rather than the main ones from the feature films (a la ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’). The story centers on rival families fighting for control of the “seedy underside of the ‘Star Wars’ universe” and the people who live in the subterranean level and air shafts of the planet Coruscant. It is rumored that a bounty hunter would serve as a main character.
Sound familiar? Well it should as this premise is similar to the description of the upcoming new videogame ‘Star Wars 1313.’ In fact, the story materials and designs for the game came from Star Wars : Underground.’
Of course, all this is still speculation as Lee has yet to discuss this with Lucasfilms:
“It’s going to be very much up to the Lucasfilm brands how they want to play it. We got to a point here with Marvel, a very special point, where we’re in the Marvel universe, and very relevantly so, but we’re not doing ‘The Avengers.’ But ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ is part of ‘The Avengers’. So maybe something oblique is the way to [approach the Star Wars universe] rather than going straight head-on at it.”
This is very exciting news, although my only concern would be the fact that network television is notorious about not giving shows a chance and cancelling them right away. But the thought of an adult themed ‘Star Wars’ series is very thrilling and one that would certainly have the fans’ support.
What do you think? Is ABC the right home for a ‘Star Wars’ live action series?