A Short Time from Now In a Galaxy That's Right Here: Two Star Wars Series Heading to the Small Screen
According to an October 17th interview in the L.A. Times, George Lucas has started work on a live-action television series set in the Star Wars universe. The project, which he first announced at 2005's Celebration III fan convention in Indianapolis just prior to the release of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, has been the subject of rampant rumors for nearly half a decade.
Lucas gave scant details about the still-unnamed series, but indicated that it wouldn't feature the main players from the two film trilogies:
"The Skywalkers aren't in it, and it's about minor characters. It has nothing to do with Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader or any of those people. It's completely different. But it's a good idea, and it's going to be a lot of fun to do."
In a TV Guide interview in September, he stated that the series would take place between Episodes III and IV, and added:
"It's like Episode IV in that the Emperor and Darth Vader are heard about - people talk about them - but you never see them because it doesn't take place where they actually are. There are storm troopers and all that, but there are no Jedis."
None of this is real news to fans of the Star Wars universe as Lucas first started dropping hints about a possible television series as early as 2003. In a September 2004 interview with USA Today, the Star Wars creator stated, "Ultimately, I'm going to probably move it into television and let other people take it...". Early rumors suggested that Lucas would hand the reins of the televised version of his universe to Star Wars überfan, director/screenwriter Kevin Smith (of Clerks and Chasing Amy fame), who had also directed a Star Wars toy commercial for Hasbro. However, Smith, who was slated to direct an episode of Battlestar Galactica this year (a deal that never materialized because the episode in question had already been assigned to someone else) has not been mentioned in the latest round of rumors. However, one unnamed agent has stated that Lucas is looking to recruit "writers of real significance" to brainstorm ideas for the series at Skywalker Ranch in November.
Lucas is hoping for a 100-episode run of the series but has yet to partner with a network, preferring, as always, to work independently and to seek distribution after the fact. The move of the Star Wars universe to television is certainly fueled by dropping production costs. Lucas has said the price of digital filmmaking and special effects technology have fallen to the point that he can make a hundred hours of episodic television with the same $200 million that would be required to make a feature film.
But some at Lucasfilm, are predicting an even brighter future for the live-action series than is Luas. At an appearance at the Celebration Europe fan convention in July of this year, producer Rick McCallum said that the new series has the potential to run a lot longer than the planned 100 episodes, suggesting that it may split off into multiple series in the future, running for up to 400 episodes.
A second, computer animated, series is also in the works at Lucasfilm. Star Wars: Clone Wars is set between Episodes II and III and is also being set up for a projected 100-episode run. Depending on who you believe, somewhere between 15 and 40 episodes have either been completed or are in various stages of production. Storywise, this new animated series continues in the vein of the previous Clone Wars "micro-series" that aired on The Cartoon Network as a prelude to the theatrical release of Revenge of the Sith. This earlier series featured traditional cel animation and was directed by Gennady Tartakovsky (of Dexter's Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls and Samurai Jack fame). The new series is said to be darker in tone and content, with Lucas aiming at a PG-13 rating and a late evening, rather than Saturday morning timeslot.
The Clone Wars CGI series is tentatively set for a fall 2008 premiere and will feature the voice of Anthony Daniels, who will be reprising the role of C3P0. The cast of the live-action series, which is slated for 2009, has yet to be named.
Posted by Christos Tsirbas.
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