There’s not much in the way of Star Wars-related entertainment that can still get me excited nowadays, but one thing I am quite interested in is the proposed live action TV series that George Lucas has been hinting at for a few years now. The show would tell the events that happen between Star Wars: Episode III and Episode IV by focusing on some of the lesser known characters in the Star Wars universe. Last we heard, it sounded like scripts for the first season were currently in the process of being written and casting was also underway. Unfortunately, now this week we have an update on the project that puts a lightsaber through the heart of fans. At a screening of The Empire Strikes Back in Chicago back in May, Lucas confirmed that the project is currently on hold:
“The live action TV show is kind of on hold because we have scripts, but we don’t know how to do them… They literally are Star Wars, only we’re going to have to try to do them [at] a tenth the cost. And it’s a huge challenge, [a] lot bigger than what we thought it was gonna be.”
I guess the budget always had the potential to be a problem from the get go, but back in 2006 Lucas seemed a lot more confident. At the time, he was quoted as saying, “we will do what would typically cost $20 million, for $1 million.” Clearly shows like Battlestar Galactica have been able to pull off decent special effects on a TV budget, and I don’t see why Lucasfilm can’t do the same.
Then again, I guess Star Wars isn’t really Star Wars without cutting edge special effects, and I was personally hoping that this would be a show that pushed television forward in this area, precisely because they would spare no expense. But sometimes working within limitations forces you to be more creative… Lucas of all people should know this. I think they need to approach this in the same way that HBO approaches their original series: aim for shorter seasons, and maintain much tighter control over the quality of each episode.
Either way, this is definitely disappointing news. For the time being, we’re stuck with Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Seth Green’s animated spoof. Ugh.