Could Star Wars Come to TV?

Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 11 2013 12:58 PM

Could Star Wars Come to TV?

Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back


Since Disney acquired Lucasfilm back in October, pundits and fans have mostly discussed the upcoming seventh installment of the Star Wars franchise. While the quest for the perfect director continues, though, ABC has shared news that is arguably just as exciting: They are considering a Star Wars TV show. Why is that just as exciting? Last summer, Lucasfilm’s then-producer Rick McCallum described it as being like “Deadwood in space.” One could make the case that in this post-Sopranos world, TV, rather than the movies, is where the Star Wars franchise could be most successfully revisited. And with Disney now holding the reins, we could see such a series in production sooner rather than later.

Before Disney bought Lucasfilm, 50 scripts overseen by McCallum and Lucas were shelved, deemed too expensive for television. Part of what made the show so expensive is that a network would have had to pay Lucasfilm in order to license their rights to the franchise. Now that Disney owns those rights, the middle man is eliminated, and the estimated costs are significantly lower. McCallum has since left Lucasfilm, but ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee is reportedly eager to take a look at those scripts soon.


With the new film due out in 2015, there is some concern about oversaturation. But Lee has talked about bringing the Star Wars universe back to audiences in a more “oblique” fashion, similar to the way Disney has handled its ownership of Marvel Comics. “We got to a point here with Marvel, a very special point, where we’re in the Marvel universe, and very relevantly so,” he said. “But we’re not doing The Avengers [on TV]. But S.H.I.E.L.D. [the upcoming Joss Whedon superhero TV show] is part of The Avengers.”

What we know about the proposed Star Wars series  suggests this sort of peripheral approach. On the planet Corsucant, two families rival for the control of the “seedy underside of the Star Wars universe and the people who live within the subterranean level and air shafts.” (Entertainment Weekly says this is similar to the upcoming videogame, Star Wars 1313.) And there’s a chance we may see some familiar faces as well, as the story takes place sometime between the movie prequels and the original trilogy.

Star Wars has graced television screens before—the animated spin-off Star Wars: The Clone Wars is in its fifth season, and no one who has seen the campy, absurd 1978 Christmas special could possibly forget it—but a more serious take on the franchise could breathe fresh life into the universe, whatever happens at the multiplex.

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.


War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

The One National Holiday Republicans Hope You Forget

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.


It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

The Only Good Thing That Happened at Today’s Soul-Crushing U.N. Climate Talks

  News & Politics
Sept. 23 2014 6:40 PM Coalition of the Presentable Don’t believe the official version. Meet America’s real allies in the fight against ISIS.
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 4:45 PM Why Is Autumn the Only Season With Two Names?
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 5:36 PM This Climate Change Poem Moved World Leaders to Tears Today
  Health & Science
Sept. 23 2014 4:33 PM Who Deserves Those 4 Inches of Airplane Seat Space? An investigation into the economics of reclining.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.