When Disney acquired Lucasfilm back in October 2012, the Mouse House didn’t buy George Lucas’ film company just to re-launch Star Wars on the big screen with Episode VII and the sequel it will launch. They wanted to expand the Star Wars empire even bigger than it already was with new movies, animated series, theme parks, and TV series. While Marvel Studios is fully enjoying everything that Disney can offer them with the new Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series, the Star Wars franchise is looking to get that kind of treatment for the small screen.
According to Reuters, ABC Television and Disney are in talks with Lucasfilm to develop a new live-action TV series for the network. While it’s unclear what the premise would be, Paul Lee, president of ABC Entertainment Group, says, “We’ve started conversations with them (Lucasfilm). I have an inkling in my mind, but they have a lot on their plate.”
Before the Disney acquisition, former Lucasfilm producer Rick McCallum shed some light on the long-developing Star Wars TV series which has been in the works at Lucasfilm for nearly a decade. Apparently, it was going to be a darker look at “a galaxy far, far away” with comparisons made to Deadwood, but in space. It would have taken place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, and would have explored the seedy underbelly of the Star Wars universe. That series’ working title was Star Wars: Underworld, and supposedly Lucasfilm had about 50 scripts finished, which remained unproduced. Each episode would have been an hour long, but it likely would’ve been too expensive to make, with an estimated budget of $5 million an episode.
It’s doubtful that the new Star Wars TV series being discussed will be anything like the proposed Underworld, since it would be airing on network television. It’s always possible that Disney might partner up with a cable network to produce Underworld, but any ABC forays into Star Wars territory will probably be family-friendly.
When Disney acquired Marvel Studios for $4.2 billion in 2009, the Mouse House had big plans to expand the comic book publishers and movie studio. Marvel Studios built the Marvel Cinematic Universe by using the success of the first Iron Man movie to construct a shared big-screen mythology leading up to The Avengers. On the small screen, they introduced new animated series such as The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Iron Man: Armored Adventures, The Super Hero Squad Show, and now the upcoming Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series. Disney shaped Marvel into a top-tier brand across multiple media. They’ve already begun expanding the Star Wars universe with the new animated series Star Wars: Rebels, as well as a “Star Wars Land in the works at Disneyland. It would make perfect sense for to create an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.-style show for ABC.
With the bold claims of wanting two to three Star Wars movies a year (stand-alone and “Episode” movies) and a new animated series, could Star Wars soon be oversaturated in pop culture? Honestly, I don’t think so. There’s more than enough space to have many versions of the Star Wars universe in different forms. It seems to have worked out well for Marvel, so why wouldn’t it work for Star Wars too?