The Star Wars live-action TV series is a science fiction television series currently set to debut in 2009. It will be an Expanded Universe production set in the fictional Star Wars galaxy. The project, which has yet to be given an official title, was first announced on April 23, 2005 by Star Wars creator George Lucas at the Celebration III fan convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, following the completion and success of his Star Wars films that same year.
According to official reports, the series will be set sometime during the 19-year timespan between the films Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope (19 BBY–0 BBY). It will focus primarily on minor characters of the Star Wars galaxy, rather than the main ones seen prominently in the films. These minor characters will be both from the films and the Expanded Universe. However, Lucas has stated that some of the main characters may make cameo appearances. Rick McCallum has commented that "George envisions somewhere like 100 hours between Episode III and Episode IV", which suggests that the hour-long series will run for several years. According to USA Today, Lucas has described the show as "bare-bones" and "action-heavy."
Lucas hopes to use the show as a template for how he will do his "more personal films" that he hopes to create. The series is expected to begin shooting in 2008, for a 2009 release. Lucas is currently in the process of planning out the character and story arcs, which he has been working on over the last several months.
Behind the scenes
Development and ideas
According to George Lucas at Celebration III, in the series, "a lot of the issues from the films are connected, but you won't necessarily see a lot of the people that are connected." McCallum says on the writing and plot of the series: "We are just starting to interview writers and trying to really figure out which direction to go to. He envisions somewhere like 100 hours between Episode III and Episode IV with a lot of characters that we haven't met that have been developed in some of the novels and other things. We are really excited about that. Finally, we could have the opportunity to answer everybody's questions once and for all by the time we finish the series." Regarding the series, he says: "It is going to be much darker, grittier. It's much more character-based." The show is still in its early planning stages, so many plot and/or story elements may change.
In a recent interview, when asked about the show, McCallum replied, "Think about bounty hunter, that’s all I can tell you." Lucas also said that the series won't be based on the Skywalkers and it will be for more mature audiences like TV shows Battlestar Galactica and Firefly.
Lucas has described the series as "one show that will split into four shows, focusing on different characters."
Lucas will write and produce the first season, and then "hand it off from there", while remaining executive producer and general overseer throughout the rest of the series. The style of the series will be similar to Lucas' Young Indiana Jones TV series.
Lucas has stated that, in producing the show, "we will do what would typically cost $20 million, for $1 million." Principal photography will take place all around the world, with a base likely in Sydney, according to McCallum. Lucas has said that he intends to shoot the series using consumer-level cameras, which Rick McCallum has said will be hi-definition cameras. Pre-production was expected to begin in January 2006. Whether it has or not has not been confirmed.
In a recent interview, Steve Sansweet stated that the series will be released "toward the end of the decade". He gave the time period until release to be "about 3 years". In an interview with the BBC in March of 2006, Rick McCallum explained that the series would begin filming and be ready in 2008.
At Celebration Europe, McCallum stated that "I’ve had three conceptual artists working on it now for about seven months." and that there would be "a whole bunch of writers from literally all over the world – we have Australia left, that’s the last place we’re going to meet some people – we’re hoping to get a group of six or seven writers ready sometime between September and December to make the final choice and then we’ll start doing story outlines." Lucas and McCallum were unable to attend Celebration IV because they were in London interviewing writers for the series. The interview process will be finished by September 2007, with the story outlines taking shape over the next three months after that. Writers of the Star Wars books and comics will be considered as part of the final interview process in September. The series will be shot in Sydney, Australia, with casting set to begin around June 2008. He also states his hopes that it could last for 400 episodes.
In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine, Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic, declared himself Emperor and transformed the Republic into the Galactic Empire. In the process, he ordered the execution of Order 66, in which all members of the clone army of the Republic turned on their Jedi leaders and killed them. In a speech he delivered to the Senate, however, he reported that there were remaining Jedi, and that these survivors would be "hunted down and defeated".
The series is set between 19 BBY and 0 BBY, referred to as "the dark times" by Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope. It is during this period that the newly formed Galactic Empire will rise to ultimate power throughout the galaxy. It is during this time period that the first Death Star will be constructed, albeit with many problems along the way.
Nevertheless, most of the stories will be told from the perspective of minor characters from the Star Wars galaxy. Lucas has described it as "one show that will split into four shows, focusing on different characters." According to George Lucas, Boba Fett may play a significant supporting role in the series, with Daniel Logan reprising his role from Attack of the Clones. According to Lucas, several of the major characters from the films may have small appearances as well.
Over the course of the show, the fledgling Rebel Alliance will gradually form into a full resistance against the Empire. The Alliance, with its loyalist intentions to restore the Old Republic, will ultimately win its first battle against the Empire, setting up the events for A New Hope. Per the opening crawl of A New Hope, only one major Rebel victory can occur in the series; however, it is possible that the Rebels may achieve minor victories or even suffer defeats before that.
Recent Star Wars productions have revealed all that is known at this point about the period the series will take place in:
- The Evasive Action: Prey webstrips reveal that an unknown number of Jedi escape Order 66 for any number of reasons (not actively involved in the war, 'conscientious objectors', semi-rogue, skill, luck, etc.), and are hunted for a time by Darth Vader. At some point, Vader is told to focus on helping Palpatine build the Empire, and less on remaining Jedi, leaving that to others.
- Yoda is in self-imposed exile on Dagobah, while Obi-Wan becomes a hermit on Tatooine after taking baby Luke to live with Owen and Beru Lars. The Last of the Jedi: The Desperate Mission reveals that Obi-Wan resides there until contacted about Anakin's one time rival, Ferus Olin. He then goes on one final adventure off-planet before returning to Tatooine. He may have some further planetbound adventures, but otherwise mostly watches over Luke, from a distance.
- A.C. Crispin has stated that she proposed a book series dealing with Princess Leia Organa between Episode III and IV, but that "Lucasfilm didn't approve the idea of a Leia backstory because they want to keep that era of the SW continuity untouched for the television series they're considering."
Lucas stated at Celebration III that cameos by main characters are not totally out of the question. Daniel Logan, who played the young Boba Fett, has reportedly been asked to reprise his role as Fett for the new series by Lucas. A teaser image shown at Toy Fair 2007 features a close-up of Boba Fett's helmet.
Frank Oz (Yoda), Ian McDiarmid (Palpatine), Hayden Christensen (Darth Vader), Jimmy Smits (Bail Organa), Wayne Pygram (Wilhuff Tarkin), Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Temuera Morrison (clone troopers) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) have expressed their interest in occasional appearances.[source?]
Lucas himself instructed the writers of the Star Wars: Republic comic book series not to kill off the Quinlan Vos character. This has led some fans to speculate that Vos may play a role in the series. Lucas had originally written a scene for Revenge of the Sith involving Vos, but ultimately, he only got a mention in the film (Obi-Wan explains to Anakin: "Master Vos has moved his troops to Boz Pity"). Australian actor Matthew Newton is rumored to play Vos, though recent assault charges on his former girlfriend may damage his chances.[source?]
This show is to be released after the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series has debuted, in order to keep Star Wars alive in the minds of the fans and the general public. It was initially believed that the live action series was likely to be released in 2007 or 2008, based on a comment by George Lucas. He stated at April 2005's Celebration III, that, referring to the 3-D animated Clone Wars series, "we probably won't start that until sometime next year."[source?] Lucas also said that "we will probably do the animated series first," and he later confirmed this statement.[source?] Since the Clone Wars series was initially projected for release in 2007, this put the release date for the live action series either in late 2007 or 2008.
More recently, it appears that the release will not be until 2009. This was first implied by Steve Sansweet, who said the live action series may not be released until near the end of the decade.[source?] This was confirmed by a April 2007 poster advertising the next three years of Star Wars: the Force Unleashed in 2007 (it has seen been pushed back to 2008), the new Clone Wars TV series in 2008, and the live action show in 2009.. Further information about production and release dates is expected soon.
Spin-offs and marketing
At the Revenge of the Sith DVD press conference, Jim Ward explained that the new series offers LucasArts the opportunity to expand the gaming universe of the Star Wars series. "We're also excited at LucasArts about that opportunity as well," Ward said. "It's a whole environment for us to go and make some great games." Potential games include Star Wars: Battlefront III and Star Wars: Republic Commando 2/Imperial Commando. LucasArts employees have also discussed this with the media. According to Sue Rostoni, spin-off books are also likely, but as of June 2007, have not yet been discussed.
At Celebration III, Lucas explained that if this series (along with Star Wars: The Clone Wars) is successful, more television series may follow. He explained that he has considered setting the time frames of these possible shows during time periods far away from his films. When asked by a fan at his AFI lifetime achievement ceremony if this may include the Knights of the Old Republic/Sith Wars era, Lucas explained that is always a possibility, and that he may be interested in taking the franchise to those story areas one day.
Notes and references