Long before Jon Favreau was put at the helm of a Star Wars TV series, George Lucas had his own live action series in development.
Star Wars has come so far since 2005, but so much still looks the same. Like now, much of 2005 was spent in anticipation of a finale to a Star Wars trilogy, the franchise was a few years away from a new Clone Wars animated TV series and, yes, a live-action TV show was in development, according to the 2017 report by Den of Geek.
Star Wars: Underworld sounded like, in title if nothing else, that it would be the dream of fans of the grittier, Fett-based stories from the franchise. The story was expected to take place between Episode III and Episode IV on the planet of Coruscant and feature new characters and plots unrelated to the Skywalker saga. Reportedly, 50 scripts were written to cover two seasons for what appeared to be a promising story. However, as we know, the show never saw the light of day.
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What went wrong
The series’ failure to reach the airwaves is an apparent combination of clichéd reasons. Firstly, this was 2005. TV shows like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad were yet to prove how profitable big-budget TV could be. The framework wasn’t there for a show of that cost. Any network that took on such a venture would be be taking a risk unprecedented for TV.
There’s also the factor of George Lucas himself. The year Underworld entered development (2005) was the same year Revenge of the Sith premiered in theaters. The Prequel Trilogy had just concluded and at the very least, it was a disappointment. Perhaps networks had little faith in Lucas’ remaining ability to capitalize on the world he had constructed 30 years prior. Additionally, there was probably some concern about general interest in Star Wars off the tail of the Prequel Trilogy.
Jon Favreau isn’t the first to be at the helm of a live action Star Wars TV series, but he should be the first to see his reach the air.