In this interview today, Rick McCallum told IGN that the live-action show’s working title is Star Wars: Underworld. He goes on to talk in some detail about the reasons that the series is on hold (“Each one-hour episode is bigger than the prequels were.”) which is rather fascinating in and of itself.
In a clip from The People vs. George Lucas, which comes to DVD next week, A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back producer Gary Kurtz opines on the prequel trilogy. He’s not a fan, but you probably knew that.
Merchandise. Hallmark’s Star Wars exclusive ornaments are fast sellers at conventions, shocking… absolutely no one. Next year’s regular ornaments will be TIE Interceptor, Han on Taun taun, General Grievous, Darth Maul, and a Lego Stormtrooper.
We got in touch with Matthew Graham and asked him whether the news was true. All he would say to us was that he had done some work out at LucasFilm during 2008 and 2009 “on something unbelievably cool”, and that his contract “had come to an end”. “I hope one day I’ll be able to talk about it,” he told us.
Possible? Possible: Rick McCallum said in a 2008 Star Wars Insider interview that two of the show’s writers were British.
Graham also wrote a recent Doctor Who two-parter. Other high-profile Brit genre TV writers have been approached: Russell T. Davies, who spearheaded the current Who revival, said he down an offer from George Lucas.
Producer Rick McCallum, in an interview with Czech Position, says that the live-action series is several years away.
“The TV series is on hold, but that has nothing to do with the Czech Republic; it has to do with [the episodes being] so ambitious,” McCallum told Czech Position. “We have 50 hours of third-draft scripts, but the problem we have is there is a lot of digital animation; we don’t have the technology yet to be able to do them at a price that is safe for television. Since we would be financing them, it would be suicide for us to do this [now]. So we are going to wait three or four years,” he said.
In addition to giving us a tentative production timeline, he reiterates a few things about the basic premise of the series.
“Basically, it is like ‘The Godfather’; it’s the Empire slowly building up its power base around the galaxy, what happens in Coruscant, which is the major capital, and it’s [about] a group of underground bosses who live there and control drugs, prostitution,” McCallum said.
Where is is? “It sits on the shelf. We have 50 hours and we’re just waiting to figure out a different way of making movies: A different technology we can use that will make it so it’s easy enough to make it feasible to shoot the show.” That’s pretty on line with what he’s said before.
You want a money shot? Here’s a money shot: “Right now it looks like the Star Wars features,” Lucas said. Looks like? Actual footage? Just tests? Effects? And what does that mean for those ’50 hours?’ We’ve assumed, in the past, that they were talking about scripts and concept art and the like, but this puts a whole new spin on things. I’m guessing it’s mostly for test purposes, but still, this puts things much further along than we suspected.
UPDATE 05/27: io9 contacted Lucasfilm about the whole ’50 hours’ thing, and they confirmed he was referring to the scripts. Could there still be test footage? I suppose, but I doubt LFL is going to say and none of us can be sure in any case.
“We have to figure out a way of making it for about a tenth the cost of the features, because it’s television,” Lucas goes on to say. “We’re working towards that… We will get there at some point, but it’s just a very difficult process. Obviously when we do figure this problem out it will dramatically effect a lot of movies.”
This is actually old news, but it’s something that didn’t really get any headlines back when it broke – though it has been trickling down through fandom. (Yes, I’m at as much fault as anyone here.) Turns out, the biggest news we’ve had so far on the live-action series was actually… In May. And it’s not good. Here’s what George said at the Q&A at The Empire Strikes Back 30th Anniversary Screening, courtesy of Rebelscum:
Answer: The live action TV show is kind of on hold because we have scripts, but we don’t know how to do ‘em. Because, they literally are Star Wars, only we’re going to have to try to do them…[at] tenth the cost. And, it’s a huge challenge…lot bigger than what we thought it was gonna be.
“They are working with writers on scripts,” a Lucasfilm representative said in response to a query. “They won’t set a production date [for Season 1] until the scripts are done.”
But work on the unnamed show’s scripts appears to be at an advanced stage — which isn’t surprising, considering the writing of the live-action show began two years ago.
Casting will begin once the scripts are done as well.
Sure, from what we know so far (bounty hunters, eww) it probably won’t appeal all that much to me, but it feels like the franchise is getting more and more kid-centric on a daily basis so I’m just happy to hear that the thing hasn’t been swept under the carpet in the name of indoctrinating the young. (Hey you kids! Get off my lawn!)
Folks just aren’t ready to let the Karen Traviss/Imperial Commando/Clone Wars brouhaha go, and io9 remains committed to stirring the hornet’s nest, getting hold of the woman herself. This go-round Traviss puts more weight on “contractual differences,” saying that canon and The Clone Wars was secondary to “pay and working practices.”
However, she does confirm their theory that the cancellation of the Fett book was due to the live action series. I remain skeptical (we are missing so many pieces) but it’ll all come out in due time.
Really, io9? Really? Is there so little actual news in the entire world of science fiction and fantasy today that you had to dig up some news from December and try to spin it to be about the live-action series? Really? Here’s a hint: It isn’t.
On the other hand, thanks for the laugh. I needed that.