With George Lucas’ Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace set to be the first of the 3D re-releases in little more than a month, you might be thinking to yourself, “Gee, there really isn’t anything more they can do in the Star Wars universe that I haven’t already seen.” Well, your self would be wrong. The long-developing Star Wars TV series may be no closer to production but it does at least have a working title: Star Wars: Underworld. This fits in with the previous plot details having to do with a Godfather-like storyline set in the Star Wars universe. Unfortunately, prequels producer Rick McCallum confirmed that they’re still at the mercy of financial constraints and the inefficiency of ratings standards on network television. However, we do have a few tidbits of information on the series that Star Wars fans might find interesting. Hit the jump to see what they are.
In an interview with McCallum, IGN scooped some new details about the Star Wars live-action TV series, currently called Star Wars: Underworld. While it might seem like just another cash grab for Lucas and Company, it seems like they’d be willing to go forward with the project if they could finance it themselves with guaranteed recoup of their losses. The other major hurdle besides the cost of digitally animating a weekly show (north of $5 million per episode) is the skewed ratings system for network television which would prove far too unstable for as expensive a project as Star Wars: Underworld would undoubtedly be. Check out the bullet points or watch the whole interview below:
- Scripts are timeless, so even though they’re a few years old already, the stories can be produced at any time. McCallum says the scripts will only get better.
- Stories take place in the twenty year period between Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope when Luke Skywalker is growing up.
- Stories aren’t about Luke, but about the criminal underworld during that period. McCallum draws comparisons to modern day Wall Street.
- The main impediment to getting the live-action TV series done is the budget. The difficulty lies in integrating the effects from the movies within the budgets and time constraints of a weekly series.
- Lucas obviously won’t go to a network like HBO which will demand rights to the property in exchange for financing.
- McCallum says it’s about breaking even, “not about making a shitload of money.”
- Calls Nielsen Ratings a “Bernie Madoff pyramid scheme.”
- McCallum says that there are 50 one-hour scripts, each of which is “bigger than any of the prequels were. They’re complex, they’re dark, they’re adult,” but technologically they can’t do them for $5 million an episode or less due to all the digital animation on the digital characters.
- Cites difficulties in getting their series onto major networks, even if they financed the project themselves, due to lack of patience by the networks for shows will smaller audiences and lower ratings.