ABC has set its targeting computer on Star Wars.
Entertainment president Channing Dungey was asked at the Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour in Beverly Hills on Thursday whether she wants a primetime series based on the franchise that’s owned by parent company Disney. Not only is she interested in such an idea, but she revealed there are ongoing talks to make it a reality.
“Oh, as a fan, I would absolutely love to say ‘Yes,’” she said. “The conversations with Lucas, we have had conversations with them and will continue to have conversations with them. I think it would be wonderful if we could find a way to extend that brand into our programming.”
After the panel, she confirmed again that talks are ongoing.
“It’s all a little bit hush-hush,” Dungey said. “That company exists under a big shroud of secrecy. If you feel Marvel’s secretive, [Lucasfilm] takes it to a whole other level … [Talks] are ongoing. We don’t have an official timeline yet.”
Asked if the proposed concept was a live action series, Dungey wouldn’t say. But live action would certainly make the most sense given the network’s brand and the fact that there’s already an animated Star Wars Rebels series on Disney XD.
The idea of a live-action Star Wars TV series has actually been in the works for a long, long time. There was a project commissioned years ago by longtime Lucasfilm producer Rick McCallum, who enlisted writers such as Battlestar Galactica’s Ron Moore. The series followed rival families struggling over the control of the seedy underside of the Star Wars universe and was largely set within the subterranean level of the metropolis planet of Coruscant (the Empire’s urban-sprawl-covered home planet). The story was set between the original Star Wars film trilogy and the prequels, a time period that allowed for all sorts of potential appearances from classic figures from the Star Wars universe. Fifty scripts were written and McCallum called them the most “provocative, bold, and daring material that we’ve ever done.” Ultimately the project was deemed too expensive for any broadcast or basic cable network, while HBO passed on it since there wasn’t a large enough ownership stake available. More details on that project here.
ABC, however, still faces the same hurdle as McCallum’s project — the cost. Star Wars isn’t like TV-born Star Trek. Fans expect a level of production value and spectacle that far exceeds broadcast TV shows. The question is whether ABC could pull off a series that doesn’t feel like a bargain basement version of one of sci-fi’s most treasured brands (Star Wars: Agents of Tatooine, anyone?).