There was a time when Star Wars: Underworld felt so very real. There were writers and designers. There were rumors about the color and the shape of the thing and the ample excitement that naturally follows those rumors like a hanger-on. Scripts were even written, and then suddenly, the project was put on hold due to the prohibitive cost of the technology that George Lucas would have needed to make the show work because, I assume, ensouling CG creations is a bit pricey on a TV budget and is also a moral grey area.
On a shelf in Lucas’ office, next to a vial of Val Kilmer’s stolen anima (he hasn’t been the same since Willow, do not deny yourself this truth!) sat those scripts until a guy in a Mickey Mouse costume knocked down Lucas’ door, took all of his stuff and threw a bunch of money at him. That may be an oversimplified and exaggerated assessment of the Lucas/Disney deal, but the point is, the idea of a live action Star Wars TV series now sits somewhere in the Disney Vault next to a pile of VHS copies of Bambi and a vial of Robby Benson’s anima.
Will a Star Wars series ever become a reality? At this point, that’s anybody’s guess. ABC has hinted at an interest, but the films are clearly the key priority for the House of Mouse. This includes a possible spin-off centering on the new adventures of young Han Solo, and that brings us to our point: despite indications that the plan had been for Star Wars: Underworld to mostly steer clear of existing characters, a writer who worked by Lucas’ side on the project has indicated that it would have eventually told some pretty cool stories about some of the original trilogy characters.
Stephen Scaia is an established writer who has worked on Human Target, Warehouse 13 and the Y: The Last Man script. Presently, Scaia is running a Kickstarter campaign for an Indiana Jones fan-film called Army of the Lost Horizon: Part One, and on the campaign page, he reveals a bit about the direction of the show and some of the stories that they were working on.
“The way the show was going to work was it was going to take place between [Episode III and Episode IV].It was going to tell the story of a different part of the Star Wars universe that you didn’t exactly know, and then it was going to slowly fold back into the characters that you knew and loved. […] We told the story of how Han met Chewie and how Lando lost the Millennium Falcon. I even got to pitch a Boba Fett action scene with his rocket pack.”
While that sounds undeniably epic, it’s important to recall the reason why Star Wars: Underworld ultimately met its end before you start grieving over the loss of the show all over again: the idea was cost prohibitive. Lucas clearly had the ambition to stretch out his world, a la Star Trekand Star Wars’ own expanded universe, but if that effort would have been hampered, might we be better off with the planned spin-off films if they are going to be used in pursuit of filling in the space between Episode III and IV?
I vacillate between wanting and not wanting more prequels and look backs – every referenced event doesn’t need to be documented on the screen and the unseen can often be grander than the seen. I’d honestly never want to see Han make the Kessel Run with the Falcon, I’d rather leave that to my imagination where there is no budget, but if something like that makes its way onto the screen, I suppose it’s better that it happen on a big screen with an ungodly budget.