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Somewhere between the Fountain of Youth and a den of unicorns, there exists the live-action Star Wars TV series, that most legendary of small screen projects that has eluded existence for the entirety of Star Wars' hold on pop culture. And while interests were piqued yet again earlier this year when it was revealed TV discussions were happening between ABC and Lucasfilm, it seems our interests are better off permanently buoyed, thanks to all the features coming. Here's what Ben Sherwood, President of Disney-ABC Television Group, said about what's holding Star Wars' television future up.
The live-action Star Wars plan rests in the hands of [Walt Disney Studios chairman] Alan Horn, [Lucasfilm president] Kathy Kennedy and the great folks at Lucasfilm. Somewhere we hope in a galaxy not too far away there will be a television show that will air on one of our networks. But I wouldn't get anybody's hopes up too high. They have a lot of movies to make between now and then. We are deep into a very productive relationship with Lucasfilm making [Disney XD's] Star Wars Rebels. And we are in ongoing conversations with them on what is the next Star Wars animated show.
An optimist can see the glass half-full in that statement, since he talks about there being hope for a TV show to come about one of these days. But the realist knows what's really up here. Basically, the movie side of things is entirely too busy at this point to extend the good galactic graces over to the episodic side of things. And while it's always possible the company will, in the future, build up an entire sub-quadrant dedicated specifically to the TV side of the Star Wars universe, we're likely years away from that happening.
There's no real "proof" of that, especially not in Ben Sherwood's answer to THR, but let's look at history. Hardcore efforts to get a live-action TV show happened in 2005, when George Lucas was still at the head of this empire, and he had Battlestar Galactica's Ronald D. Moore writing the scripts. Revenge of the Sith was just hitting theaters, and the TV show was probably the biggest project on the horizon for the franchise, so if it got scrapped then, what chance does a new show have when competing with the rest of the third Star Wars trilogy, not to mention the standalone films?
ABC and Lucasfilm have been talking about doing another TV show ever since, and nothing has come so far as Lucas' own efforts. Rumors abound, of course, with some of them being quite exciting. (Particularly the notion that Netflix was going hardcore into Star Wars-dom.) But The Force Awakens reminded people what Star Wars was like on the big screen, and it made Disney very aware of how much money it could make on the big screen. TV shows don't work quite the same way, which could keep any potential live-action projects on the back burner for a while.
One has to wonder whether the live-action world suffered for Star Wars going so hard into the animated world for Clone Wars and later Disney XD's Star Wars Rebels and the upcoming LEGO series, among others. It's more probable that animated series just use less manpower and funding than what would be needed to bring intergalactic battles to TV. Still, I'd like to imagine there's a tall bastard in a big black cloak that we can blame for all this.
In the meantime, there are tons of shows that are coming to TV, and some of them involve spaceships and androids and heroes, so there should be enough to keep everyone happy. Check out our fall TV schedule to see when they're coming.