Posted on Monday, June 13th, 2011 by Angie Han
It’s been six years since George Lucas first announced that he was developing a live-action Star Wars television series, and it seems we’re going to be waiting a little longer yet. In an interview, producer Rick McCallum revealed that he and Lucas would be putting the show on hold for another three to four years — but that when shooting does begin, it will be shot largely in the Czech Republic, possibly in Prague. Hit the jump for more details.
Ten years is a long time for a television series to be in development, and were this another filmmaker, I might’ve given up hope on this project by now. But Lucas is the guy who gave us a Star Wars prequel sixteen years after his last Star Wars film, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull nineteen years after Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. A decade to develop a series seems almost speedy in comparison.
If the series really does shoot in the Czech Republic, it’ll be a return to the county for McCallum and Lucas, who recently shot Red Tails in the country. McCallum and Lucas also filmed scenes for The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles series in Prague, back in the 1990s. In the interview with Czech Position (via Bleeding Cool), McCallum praised Czech film crews, saying he’d “absolutely” consider shooting the Star Wars television series in Prague: “This would be one of the primary places because of the talent.”
As previously reported, however, the ambitious (read: expensive) scope of the series is holding up the project. Said McCallum:
The TV series is on hold, but that has nothing to do with the Czech Republic; it has to do with [the episodes being] so ambitious… We have 50 hours of third-draft scripts, but the problem we have is there is a lot of digital animation; we don’t have the technology yet to be able to do them at a price that is safe for television. Since we would be financing them, it would be suicide for us to do this [now]. So we are going to wait three or four years.
I’m guessing those “50 hours of third-draft scripts” are the same 50 hours ready to go that Lucas mentioned last month. The delay shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to anyone who’s been following coverage of the series; Lucas has been frank about the problem with trying to make feature-quality episodes on a television budget. Still, depending on how much you trust Lucas to put out a good series, it’s either a grave disappointment or a huge relief to hear we may have still more years of waiting ahead.
That is, if we see the series at all. McCallum expressed his (in my opinion, not entirely reasonable) worry that there might not be a place on television for his series at all by the time it’s ready to go:
Network television and cable television as we know it are completely imploding, so we’re not really sure that in five years’ time we can release a dramatic one-hour episode because it is all reality TV now.
McCallum also spoke a bit about the plotline of the show, which will take place between Episodes III and IV in the Star Wars timeline — during Luke’s teen years, though the series won’t actually have anything to do with Luke himself.
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 [about] a group of underground bosses who live there and control drugs, prostitution.
Bleeding Cool likens McCallum’s description to /Filmcast favorite The Wire, which seems apt except that I don’t believe for a second that Lucas will demonstrate the same nuance and devotion to character that made the HBO series so beloved.
So to recap: In about three to five years, we can expect to see a Czech-shot live-action Star Wars television series that plays like an unsubtle, sci-fi version of The Wire — but only if Keeping Up with the Kardashians hasn’t ruined American television by then.
Discuss: Are you more relieved or disappointed by the delay? Do you think there’ll still be a place for one-hour sci-fi dramas in five years’ time? Do you have strong opinions about the Czech Republic that you would like to express here? (Don’t get racist, though, or we’ll have to ban you.)