Star Wars: Underworld would be darker and probably more epic than the prequels.
This week, IGN sat down with Rick McCallum to discuss his new film, Red Tails. However, an interesting part of the interview focused on Star Wars: Underworld, the newly titled live-actions SW television show, which has been in development for what seems a lifetime.
He also talked about the setting of the potential series, which, if picked up, will cover the period of time between episodes 3 and 4, the twenty years or so between Luke’s birth and his discovery by two droids in the desert. The show is slated to depict the more populated worlds of the galaxy, with various themes focusing on government, crime syndicates, and bounty hunters.
The episodes are expected to be significantly darker in theme than the film prequels, and more capable of covering long and intricate plots. The development team, which is lead by McCallum, and original Star Wars creator George Lucas, is currently sitting on 50 hours of content, easily enough to fill 3 television seasons.
However, as has been the case for all these years, the only stumbling block is budget. The show would currently cost a cool $5 million per episode to produce (more than double the budget of most modern television shows), and that’s even before actor salary is taken into account. For comparison, the budget for Fox's Terra Nova (considered to be huge and unwieldy) is about $3.5m per episode, including actor salaries.
Production costs are constantly going down, however, and it may not be long before the show is affordable, especially if they go with a network who doesn’t care much about advert income, like HBO.
In fact, I think if Team Lucas talked to HBO right now, they would likely come to an agreement that is mutually beneficial for both parties. I know for certain that a Star Wars show on HBO would increase viewership and subscription to the premium channel. Would it be enough to pay for the show? Of course there is little way to know without trying, but after the success of Game of Thrones, I should think they’d be willing to at least attempt it.
Then again, perhaps Lucas is waiting for the opportunity to put the show on network television. He’ll have to move fast though, because the networks are becoming increasingly irrelevant to genre fans each year. Modern genre audiences already barely know what channel their favorite shows are on, since they watch them all on online streaming services.