As long as there has been “Star Wars,” there has been hopes/wishes/dreams/aspirations for a live action television series to branch off from the main saga and explore new worlds. In the animated realm, the franchise has done well, with numerous spinoffs, but a live action series has been a tough nut to track. The closest in recent memory was something called “Star Wars: Underworld,” described by longtime George Lucas associate and producer Rick McCallum as “ ‘Deadwood‘ in space” but it too stalled out (as did a tie-in videogame as documented in Kotaku‘s excellent piece on the collapse of LucasArts). But time to start thinking about series possibilities again…
According to the usually well-informed Blue Sky Disney the early success of “Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” has reportedly got the the idea wheel spinning at Disney about bringing “Star Wars” to the small screen. They caution that it’s all very early days and “right now it’s just batting ideas around and seeing which ones work and which ones they want to pitch to the network.” Of course, the real question is whether or not the mouse house will go for something more adult or stick with the kind of broadly appealing fare that Marvel has minted billions from.
On the one hand, ‘Underworld’ apparently already had “50 hours totally scripted,” according to McCallum but the tone and cost (rumored to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 million per episode) made it prohibitive. (Though ABC has dealt with expensive programming before, such as “Lost“). But on the other hand, Disney’s m.o. right now is stay as far away from anything resembling adult far as possible (part of the reason their deal with Jerry Bruckheimer hasn’t been renewed).
Meanwhile, J.J. Abrams recently addressed concerns about “Star Wars” being Disney-fied on during his recent appearance on “The Tavis Smiley Show” (via Mania). “The beauty there is Disney doesn’t want that. They are well aware of this and they are very careful to make sure that…they are sensitive to that. They don’t want that at all, that’s the last thing they want,” he said. Meanwhile, in related “Star Wars” news, actress Saoirse Ronan confirmed the rumor she has read for a new part in “Episode VII,” but notably added, “so has everyone.” Which is true. Every actor under the sun has met or read for a part. Doesn’t mean they’re necessarily going to get it.
Anyway, there is definitely more than one way to grow the “Star Wars” brand and franchise, and certainly, the next few years will be interesting to watch as Disney starts firming up their plans with that universe. Where do you want to see live-action “Star Wars” series go?