Star Wars Live Action TV Series on Hold Due to Budget Concerns

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.

  • Bryan

    Didn’t they say they’re releasing the whole saga in 3-D?

  • 1138

    “But sometimes working within limitations forces you to be more creative… Lucas of all people should know this.”

    I agree with you Sean especially since George came from the world of independent film. I mean he was going to shoot Apocalypse Now with a guerrilla crew and some handhelds for godsake!

    But George never seemed happy with limitations and hated the restrictions they placed on him especially when he was making Star Wars. Unfortunately like you said Sean he fails to realize the depth of creativity he was able to craft with a limited budget and technology at the time. His best work, Graffiti, Star Wars, and THX were the were filmed with extreme limitations. I wish he would realize that.

  • Ben

    Damn. I really want them to get a move on with this. I’m hoping that it’s not just bounty hunters and rebels though. My interest in SW has always been firmly rooted in the Jedi/Sith. I’m really hoping that they are planning on having Starkiller from the Force Unleashed games if and when this does happen. It would make sense considering they made him look like a real actor.

  • Ian

    This is one reason why Star Wars has become less cool. Budget concerns are what creative people use to force themselves to be more creative with what they have.

    Hell I could see a great episode of a Star Wars show shot in the mojave desert with a minimum of visual effects.

    Damn it is about story. If the stories really are there and they really are solid stories and not just gobs of visual effects, then any reasonable producer that wants to get this made should be able to do it. Even on a TV budget I’m sure it will still be a “Star Wars on freakin’ TV!!!” sized super budget.

  • BigHungry

    I would really like see what happens after Return of the Jedi……
    I already know what happens between III and IV…. or I feel like I do… at least I know where they end up…. Tell some new stuff George!!! LIke the stories of Reed-Solo…
    Just something new. I feel like, I have been stuck in the same story for decades!!!! It is like hearing the 20th remix on a song…. I would only be good with the middle story if… the reveal…. Yoda is Anakin’s Mom. or something like that. totall change what we know…. That is were episode 1-3 missed the boat…. They had no game changers…..