Posted on Wednesday, December 9th, 2015 by Peter Sciretta
I talked to Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy over the weekend at the Star Wars: The Force Awakens press junket, the full interview will hit the site later in the week. During my chat I learned that the company is still spending a lot of time looking, discussing and developing two of the most notorious left-over projects from the George Lucas era: the live-action Star Wars TV show Star Wars: Underworld and the Star Wars 1313 video game. Could either of these thought to have been abandoned projects find new light in the Disney era? Find out after the jump.
During my conversation with Kathy, I wondered out loud what happened to the live-action Star Wars television series that George Lucas was developing. Lucas had been developing the series, which had the working title Star Wars: Underworld, for many years. Lucas had hoped to do 400 episodes of the show, and reportedly even had 100 episodes fully-written. From what I’ve heard, Lucas had hoped to film the television series in between making new Star Wars films in a new super high-tech studio he was hoping to build in Marin County. When his rich neighbors made it too difficult for him to build that state-of-the-art studio, George Lucas pulled the ultimate “fuck you” and announced he would instead build affordable housing on the land. Of course, that’s the rumored story.
Anyway, the Star Wars: Underworld TV series was announced at 2005’s Celebration III, and was to be set in the Coruscant underworld during the timespan between Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. Lucas compared the series to Episode IV, saying that it would be “funny and there’s action.” But instead of being based on the action-adventure films of the 1930s, it would be based more on the film noir films from the 1940s and in a sense be more talky and be filled with more “personal dramas.” Described as being “much darker, grittier” and “more character-based,” it was compared by prequels producer Rick McCallum to The Godfather, who also described it as “Deadwood in space” and “Empire on steroids”.
So what’s to happen to those hundred or so Star Wars: Underworld scripts sitting on a shelf in Lucasfilm headquarters? Are they gone? Here is how Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy responded:
No. No, interestingly enough, thats 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 game, where there was….
I wasn’t expecting her to bring up Star Wars 1313, a highly anticipated video game that was seemingly canceled after the Disney purchase. I interjected that “The concept art for that looked amazing!”
Kathleen Kennedy continued:
Unbelievable. So 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, pouring through, discussing, and we may very well develop those things further. We definitely want to.
By saying they definitely want to develop those things further, Kennedy could mean a variety of things. We have heard many rumors of Lucasfilm possibly developing a television series for Netflix, and Star Wars: Underworld was originally being planned as a premium cable-type of show. Star Wars 1313 could go on to inspire aspects of, say, a Boba Fett movie (we know one was supposedly in development as a standalone movie with director Josh Trank before he dropped out), or aspects of the Star Wars: Underworld television scripts could be used for inspiration for other mediums.
For those of you who don’t know about Star Wars 1313, it was an M-rated video game that LucasArts was working on before Disney purchased the company. The game was announced at E3 2012 and initial gameplay featured an unidentified bounty hunter navigating the underworld city of Level 1313 of Coruscant, using fast paced combat, centered around human skills and tech-based weapons instead of Jedi force powers. Apparently the game was secretly about the early years of bounty hunter Boba Fett.
Once the Disney acquisition was announced, the Walt Disney Company ceased internal development at LucasArts and laid off most of its staff. Disney decided to license the Star Wars brand out to game publishers like Electronic Arts, “minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games.” They let the Star Wars 1313 trademark lapse at the end of 2013.
You can explore a ton of the interesting Star Wars 1313 concept art here. Level 1313 of Coruscant has been featured in an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, as well as the canonized novels Dark Disciple and Aftermath, where it’s described as “Coruscant’s most infamous underworld level, a dungeon so deep that the world above has forgotten about it.” So at very least we haven’t seen the last of 1313 in the Star Wars universe.Cool Posts From Around the Web: