It’s been a long time coming, specifically since Episode III by my count I reckon, but everyone has been waiting to see Star Wars step off the silver screen and make its way down to the boob-tube. Since 2005’s Revenge Of The Sith, there have been rumors of a live action Star Wars TV show, even as far as a pilot being shot or made. What ultimately happened to those discussions is unknown, but now that Star Wars is totally out of Lucas’s hands, we can finally realistically speculate what that TV series may actually be, given now that TV execs do not have to kowtow to whatever weirdly specific oddity that Lucas may prefer for “his TV show”. The exact details of the show still aren’t known, but the circumstances around it certainly are.
“Disney is planning to launch an in-house streaming service by the end of 2019, and while we knew it was going to come with a catalogue of their film titles the studio isn’t just content to stream their most famous titles, they’re creating some buzzy new series to go with them.
During the company’s quarterly earnings call, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced that they’re developing a number of TV series to air on the streaming service, based on some major IP. The big mic drop? A live-action Star Wars series; something that has been in demand and in the works for decades but never quite came together before. Of course, Star Wars has a thriving foothold in animated serialized storytelling with Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but the live-action market has yet to be tapped all these years later. Until now.”
It’s a truly fascinating time to be a fan of Star Wars, since the entire franchise is in a bizarrely unique and simultaneous creative rut and boon. It’s in a creative rut in that we’re only seeing the franchise extended laterally, as in, the universe keeps getting smaller because they keep finding ways to make the same characters meet and interact with each other. In another way, it’s a creative boon, because as Rogue One showed last year, there’s plenty of room for new Star Wars stories, as long as you make them engrossing and well told. The corporatization of Star Wars is something of an inevitability that more cynical fans may use to decry and befoul the current state of the franchise, but I believe that it’s currently only creating lots of potential. The sad state of potential is it’s just that. It cannot be counted on or even quantified until it’s execution is seen through, and by then we’ll all know from the context and the product itself whether its potential is squandered or not. For example, years ago I remember hearing that Lucas was selling his TV rights to Star Wars to The CW, and they were going to make a live-action teenybopper drama about being oppressed by The Empire, which is a good example of a neat idea, whose potential is exponentially lost once you hear the creative circumstances making it. I mean, we all agree that a Star Wars TV show is an interesting idea, but I don’t believe anyone needs another CW sci-fi teen drama.
If anything, the lack of series information spells out the ongoing strength of the Star Wars brand, for all who remember waiting in line for Episode III and feeling like this was the last time you’d get to see a new Star Wars in movie theaters, somehow things kept chugging along and now we’re back up to planning for a whole new trilogy after the current new trilogy. And again, a cynical fan might be tempted to label this as a shameless form of stretching out a story needlessly, but hardcore Star Wars fans will know that Lucas originally planned (or says he did) for 4 trilogies, totalling up to 12 movies total, each a part in a longer saga that he then condensed into the “Tragedy Of Darth Vader” saga that we now know as Episodes 1-6. While it’s not promised, the thought of the potential of these greater storylines finally being adapted, even loosely, is truly exciting. Whether that group of storylines stays focused on Skywalker Familial Drama again is up for grabs, but with the success of Rogue One and the troubled production of Solo, I think Star Wars fans are showing with their wallets, clicks, and views on what kind of Star Wars story they want to see. Hopefully, Disney delivers.