Star Wars Live-Action TV Series

Star Wars Live-Action Series: Why the Force Won't Be Awakening on TV

With Star Wars once again a pop culture force to be reckoned with, the time would seem ripe to revive that long-gestating live-action series set “in a galaxy far, far away.” But the project remains about as active as R2-D2 in The Force Awakens. Why? It’s complicated.

Back in 2005, a live-action series — Star Wars: Underworld — was not only announced, it had been developed by George Lucas himself. The hour-long drama was said to be set between the original film trilogy and its prequels, and would focus on two families’ battle for control for the universe’s seamy side. The project got so far along that 50 scripts were reportedly written by scribes such as Battlestar Galactica’s Ron Moore. Apparently, they were great, too. Lucasfilm producer Rick McCallum was so impressed that, according to Slashfilm.com, he likened the proposed show to The Godfather and “Deadwood in space.”

However, once Disney purchased Lucasfilm, jump-starting the film franchise became the priority. So, although Disney-owned rebelsABC — the likeliest home for Underworld — would obviously love to have a live-action Star Wars series on its lineup, “they are focused on their movies,” network president Paul Lee tells TVLine, “so we don’t have any plans at the moment.” Concurs a Lucasfilm rep: “Our current focus for TV is on animation [Star Wars Rebels, etc.].”

Still, Underworld — or some variation of it — may not be dead. Last month, rumors began to circulate that Netflix was in negotiations with Disney to develop a live-action Star Wars series to debut as early as 2017. And Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy told Slashfilm that Underworld was “something we would very much like to explore.”

Though there would certainly be a huge audience for a live-action Star Wars series, at least one industry insider (who’d only speak under the condition of anonymity) thinks that “it’s smart brand management” not to do one. “I imagine,” theorizes the power player, “they’re looking to avoid the Marvel-ization of the franchise,” which has found the comics’ heroes and villains duking it out in more than a dozen live-action features and series.

Plus, if a live-action Star Wars series were greenIit now, it probably wouldn’t be able to involve Force Awakens‘ driving, um, force J.J. Abrams. “Since my TV deal is at [Warner Bros.],” he explains, “it is unlikely that [my production company] Bad Robot will be involved in any Star Wars television projects.”

So, what do you think? Should Lucasfilm move forward with a live-action Star Wars series? Or should it continue to focus on the film franchise?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. peterwdawson says:

    That’s a shame, there was some insane hype behind Underworld when it got started.

  2. ScrubsGuy says:

    I think what happened with Agents of SHIELD sets the precedence for the reluctance to move forward. Constraints due to the film franchise and such.

    • Jim says:

      Non-issue…..Episode 7 was set 30 years after ROTJ and Underworld was set between Episodes 3 and 4….wouldn’t even overlap with Rebels or Rogue One either as it is set in the Coruscant Underworld. Plus, not only has Agents of Shield kept going but Marvel has added several more TV series. So that reasoning wouldn’t make any sense.

  3. Scrap any references to the toxic nonsensical prequel era and retool it for post-episode IX. Most of all, make it so what happens actually matters. Including the cinematic characters instead of namedropping them would make them that much better than Marvel’s dabbling into TV.

  4. Guy says:

    Focus on the movies.

  5. Elf says:

    One correction: Phineas and Ferb did not “sub in” for the characters like Family Guy did. They had a plot that ran parallel and intersected with “A New Hope”, like Phineas lived one farm over from Luke’s. It’s well worth watching for fans of either.

  6. Ty says:

    TV LINE team / execs, you have DIRECT line access to these people so tell them. They can walk and chew gum at the same time. Tell them you believe in them. What they really seem to not want is to spend any money on tv, even though it’s the preferred medium for better content. Look at the flash and legends of tomorrow, that special effects house does AMAZING work for a fraction of the budget a star wars based show would have. They CAN do this, they CAN reuse sets. No excuses !!!

    But I don’t have a mike, but you do Michael and Andy, you can walk directly to the front door of the decision makers and say HEY, I’m from tvline, open this door NOW!

    And they will listen to you. All my hope and faith in this world now rests on your shoulders. No pressure.

  7. Bark Star says:

    J. J. Abrams not being involved in any potential Star Wars TV show is the best news ever. That means it might actually be good.

  8. Bill says:

    Good, don’t turn it into Star Trek.

  9. Ahsoka says:

    I would love to see Underworld and hope they use that content

  10. Patrick Gillease says:

    Citing the “Marvelization” of STAR WARS as the reason NOT to move forward with “Underworld,” makes no sense. W are talking ONE television series, not half a dozen movie franchises clashing with half a dozen TV series across different networks and movie studios. That’s a big difference. And JJ Abrams could very easily have Bad Robot work on “Underworld.” It just means Disney/ABC would have to pay Warner Brothers for their involvement. Several successful ABC series on the air right now are WB productions! “Star Wars: Underworld” would be ABC’s biggest hit! Hopefully, the new network head at ABC realizes the Force’s potential and green lights this series at long last!

  11. Jim Coye says:

    I would welcome a tv show – especially on Netflix. CBS is going to stream StarTrek’s new tv show
    The caliber of Lucasfilm’s talent pool will move forward the StarWars brand- not muddle it up as was suggested in the preceding article. Sci Fi with good storytelling and great production value – that’s StarWars in a nutshell!!