Remember That Live-Action Star Wars TV Spin-Off? It’s Still Not Happening (Or Is It)

Oh, it's not dead. Not yet.

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Rumors about Star Wars: Underworld — a potential live-action TV show set in a galaxy far, far away — surface every few years or so. The show began as a George Lucas idea that got announced back in 2005, with “50 hours already scripted” by the time that Disney bought Lucasfilm. Lucas has since left the Star Wars franchise behind, including this pet project — but Kathleen Kennedy was still talking about Star Wars: Underworld as recently as last December, right before The Force Awakens came out.

Back then, Kennedy told /Film she didn’t want to rule out the potential of the show happening … someday.

Interestingly enough, that’s an area we’ve spent a lot of time, reading through the material that he developed is something we very much would like to explore. And there was 1313 [the spin-off video game] …

Our attitude is, we don’t want to throw any of that stuff away. It’s gold. And it’s something we’re spending a lot of time looking at, poring through, discussing, and we may very well develop those things further. We definitely want to.

The Force Awakens has been an unquestionable smash hit since last December, as we all know. We’ve already seen a lot of spin-off live-action feature films in development — Rogue One, the young Han Solo story, et al — so does it really seem so impossible to imagine a spin-off TV series as well?

It’s a strategy that seems to work for the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter, plus all the Netflix gems. We know now that it’s more than possible to tell a sci-fi live-action story without a ballooning budget, provided you’ve got a good creative team.

However, Star Wars: Underworld remains in development hell, at least for now. TVLine asked around today, and it doesn’t sound like the project’s been revitalized just yet. A Lucasfilm rep said, “Our current focus for TV is on animation [e.g. Star Wars Rebels].” An insider allegedly told TVLine that Lucasfilm is “looking to avoid the Marvel-ization of the franchise” — which directly contradicts other rumors that Netflix and Lucasfilm could be in talks to develop a Star Wars series.

Considering how omnipresent Star Wars seems to be, I think that “Marvelization” is already happening, whether intended or not — the Star Wars comics are already part of Marvel, which is about as much “Marvelizing” as possible! Of course, Lucasfilm would want to capitalize on the resurgence of the Star Wars fandom by doing spin-offs, but they don’t want to oversaturate or stretch themselves too thin.

Still, I doubt that Star Wars: Underworld is entirely dead — it’s just hiding out in a cave, somewhere, waiting for the right person to seek it out. When the time is right, it could return. At least … I think so!

(via io9, image via Geekroom)

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Author
Maddy Myers
Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (relay.fm/isometric), and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (robotknights.com).