ABC Is Considering A STAR WARS TV Show
We’ve been promised/threatened with a live action Star Wars TV show for years. We heard all sorts of stuff, like that it would be about the underworld of the Star Wars universe. That it would be dark and challenging and more mature. That there were dozens of scripts written and ready to go, entire seasons of the show planned out in advance.
And nothing ever came of it. George Lucas said a bunch of times that he was waiting for the economics of it to make sense, until TV budgets could handle the kind of FX work needed. That’s never going to happen - one of the great truths of the digital FX revolution is that it has not really made anything cheaper - but maybe now that ABC parent company Disney also owns Lucasfilm and Star Wars the economic realities have changed. Or at least the new people in charge aren’t as particular about the FX work. ABC entertainment president Paul Lee is certainly open-minded about it all.
“We’d love to do something with Lucasfilm, we’re not sure what yet,” Lee exclusively told EW. “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.”
The only hold up that I can imagine is this: the current TV series was Rick McCallum’s baby, and he’s gone. When people leave projects their visions tend to leave with them. On top of that, since the whole series is written that leaves ABC out in the cold, creatively. Network execs are like all other execs: they love giving notes. Paul Lee and friends would, I am sure, love to be hands on with Star Wars: The TV Show, something they couldn’t be if 50 episodes are pre-written. That pre-writing worked in a scenario where Lucasfilm was doing all the heavy lifting and the network would have been partnered as a distributor (how 20th Century Fox was involved in all post-Star Wars movies in the series), but with everybody being a happy family I imagine there would be more cross-cooperation.
More concrete is the fact that a lot of the concept art and worldbuilding for the show was used for the upcoming video game Star Wars 1313, which could mean Lucasfilm gutted the thing and used the spare parts for other areas of the franchise. I wonder if some TV show character designs/concepts won’t show up in the new trilogy, in fact.
If ABC wanted my advice - and they’d be crazy not to take it! - I would approach a Star Wars TV show like an HBO series. I’d go with shorter episode orders, and I’d have each season be fairly self-contained. That way you can run all 13 episodes and get out if it fails, but still sell Blu-rays. Call me, Paul Lee.