George Lucas and his producing partner Rick McCallum are ever-so-slowly peeling back the lid on the live-action Star Wars TV series that's been in development for years. First we got the name, and now we're getting a much better sense of what Lucas has in mind.
There are about 50-some-odd scripts for Star Wars: Underworld, which takes place between Episodes III and IV, and they're just waiting for Lucas to pull the trigger. As McCallum describes it:
"[Underworld is] much darker [than the movies]. It's a much more adult series. I think, thematically, in terms of characters and what they go through, it will be ... if we can ever get it together and George really wants to pursue it, it'll be the most awesome part of the whole franchise, personally ... It's Empire Strikes Back on steroids.
"Obviously, we changed it for where we couldn't go in terms of language. It was to be serious performances, very complicated relationships, unbelievable issues of power and corruption, greed, vanity, pride, ego manifesting itself at levels that only equal the world that we live in now, but, as I said, on steroids."
"Basically, it is like The Godfather; it's the Empire slowly building up its power base around the galaxy, what happens in Coruscant, which is the major capital, and it's a group of underground bosses who live there and control drugs, prostitution."
Sounds promising, right? Problem is, as McCallum clarifies, Underworld is far too expensive a proposition ... for now:
"This is the best way to put it into perspective: we did Episode III—which is one of the larger of all the Star Wars films in relation to set construction, visual effects, the amount of visual effects and everything else—and that was made for $100 million which was unheard of even five years ago, because had it been made by any studio or anywhere in the United States it would have been easily double that price. So imagine an hour's episode with more digital animation and more visual effects and more complicated in terms of set design and costume design than a two-hour movie that takes us three years to make, and we have to do that every week and we only have $5 million to do it. That's our challenge."
As a result, Underworld is quite a ways off. And it could take years before Lucas and his team are up to that challenge.