Producer Rick McCallum, who worked on the Star Wars prequels and Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, has revealed his next project to The Hollywood Reporter: R’Ha, a “high-concept sci-fi feature.” The film’s script is being written by Life on Mars co-creator Matthew Graham, who THR says was one of the lead writers on the shelved Star Wars live action series. (He was reported as working on the show in 2011, but it was never, to my knowledge, confirmed.)
R’Ha was created by Kaleb Lechowski, who will be directing the film based on his short of the same name.
The initial news of Rick McCallum’s retirement was announced fairly quietly, but now we have the the official word. Here’s what George Lucas had to say about his long-time colleague:
“We had hit the limit of production technology, and I needed someone with conviction and passion to help us into the digital realm,” says Lucas. “Rick became an evangelist for the endless possibilities digital technology offered filmmakers. Rick and I fought many battles side-by-side, constantly facing nay-sayers who were convinced we could never make the lasting changes in the movie business that we set out to make. I cannot be more proud of what Rick accomplished. We worked with over 60 companies and hundreds of amazing engineers and artists over a 10-year period to bring about overdue changes: now digital cameras routinely capture images, films are released digitally, and the entire production pipeline maintains unprecedented quality by being digital. As I go off to make my own experimental films — and I hope to be able to collaborate with Rick again on one of these projects — I wish him the best and look forward to seeing his new films.”
McCallum has relocated to Prague and is “now in development of a slate of smaller, independent films that more closely resemble the projects he was involved with prior to his association with Lucasfilm.”
Don’t miss the slideshow, which features a cameo from Pablo Hidalgo and perhaps the thickest laptop I have ever seen.
Behind the scenes. IGN’s Lucy O’Brien has a nice profile of Kathleen Kennedy, “Star Wars’ new Emperor,” and her film-making resume.
Meanwhile, shuffling up into the spotlight is the news that Rick McCallum has retired from Lucasfilm. The big question seems to be where this leaves the live-action series, which McCallum has been the main ambassador for and which hasn’t been much mentioned since D-Day. Honestly, given what’s been said of it so far, it’s one project that I don’t really mind staying on the back burner for a while longer.
Outside looking in. Scott Myers looks at some of the recent information and surmises that Disney may be taking the Pixar approach to Star Wars story development.
Actors. The real question is who doesn’t want in on Star Wars, but thus far we’ve heard from Derek Jacobi, David Tennant, plus Thor’s Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston.
Entertainment Weekly caught up with Rick McCallum at last night’s Red Tails premiere to follow up on the IGN interview. McCallum confirmed that ‘Underworld’ is indeed the show’s working title (read: not likely to make the final cut,) and reiterated the show’s theme of “smugglers, gangsters, bounty hunters, and a few Wall Street-type power brokers.”
More revealing was his talk of the technological factors, and how it’s likely even further off than the “three or four years” he said back in June.
When I asked McCallum if the show is still three or four years off, he said, “Even longer. Because I think we don’t have the technology yet to be able to do it for the level of money that it would have to be done. Plus, the world of television is imploding. No one knows whether you should make a network show or a cable show. I’m really excited about it though, and I hope George does do it. I really do.”
As for Seth Green’s comedy show:
Closer on the horizon is Seth Green’s Star Wars comedy series. “That’s coming along great,” McCallum says. “I’ve seen a few of their little skits. They’re great.”
‘Skits’ is quite revealing, implying that the show’s format may indeed resemble the Robot Chicken specials. McCallum said we may see that one as soon as 2013.
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.
(You’re very lucky that I’m too tired to photoshop anyone’s head onto Kate Beckinsdale’s body.)
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.
So… By Celebration VII, then? Maybe.
Sci Fi Australia is reporting that their ‘inside sources’ say that Rick McCallum has approached several acclaimed local ‘chick show’ writers.
However, let’s note that ‘approached’ is not the same as ‘hired’… As a certain Doctor Who showrunner can attest.
Yesterday, George Lucas spoke up for educational broadband at a Congressional hearing in his guise as chairman of the George Lucas Educational Foundation:
“Telecommunications provides the new learning platform of this century and is replacing the textbook as the medium through which a modern education is provided,” he said. “The world’s knowledge is now available online, far beyond what books and materials can provide in schools and libraries themselves.”
According to IGN, Rick McCallum claims that Boba Fett is “instrumental” to the live-action TV series in the new Insider. Naturally.
More interview details at the link, or just head out and pick up the issue.