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March 16 2006

Star Wars TV series or bring back Firefly. "We can't help but think that resurrecting Firefly might be a better option".

I blundered across this Firefly reference in an unlikely spot and thought it might be worth posting.

"It may well be that the world is hungry for more space opera. In which case, we can't help but think that resurrecting Firefly might be a better option than further troubling Mr Lucas' accountants. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith alone took 500m at the box office outside of the US, the BBC reports. "

I think they're kidding themselves if they think it will run for a minimum of 100 episodes. Smacks of arrogance.
It is arrogance, but I think it may be justified. There'll probably be some type of contract which won't let the show be cancelled easily. Plus, it's Star Wars, known to make big dollars, so there'll probably be advertisers lining up to buy commercial space and a network is bound to give it a good timeslot and whatnot. Also: it's bound to make big bucks once it goes to DVD. The Star Wars fanbase is frikkin' huge, much, much larger than the browncoats ever will be, and even we made a big 'ol succes out of the Firefly boxed set.

So I think they're probably right and that they can keep it going for as long as they want to, even though they don't have to be so arrogant about it.
I don't really see what the Star Wars series has to do with anything. The two shows are completely different in my view with completely different audiences. Who knows, if Star Wars does well it might make a Firefly resurrection more likely. I think it's good they're being optimistic.
I realise he'll have studio money out the wazoo but with Lucas being a multi-billionaire he could easily finance extra episodes himself if necessary. What studio wouldn't show a Star Wars series if it'd already been paid for ?

If he doesn't want to do that though then they are probably being arrogant to assume 100 episodes. Even Star Trek can be cancelled if it's not good enough as we saw with Enterprise (2 short of the magic 100) and though i'll be watching the series, given my comparative disappointment with the prequels I won't be watching it just because it's Star Wars. It'd better be good too (and maybe i'm being cynical but how good it is will, IMO, be inversely proportional to the extent of George Lucas' involvement. Learn from Empire George and stay away).
I don't think it is arrogance, I think it's simply a business decision that's been made on serious assumptions and calculations. George Lucas is planning a 100 episode series. Given how much the films have grossed and how popular the Clone Wars cartoons have been, a live action series will probably fall somewhere in that range as well. Hell, even if the series began airing on TV and was - somehow - cancelled, Lucas would roll it all into DVD releases or downloadable content. And if Lucasfilm can afford to bankroll a hundred episode series (possible) without fear of cancellation (probable), people would feel better about commiting to it - unlike regular television shows which seem to premiere and die within weeks or months with a great deal of regularity.

There is, of course, no guarantee of success in Hollywood - but a Star Wars series is as close to a sure bet as anything. People derided the Prequel Trilogy left right and centre, but they continued to make big bucks. This venture is riskier and yet the popularity of the Extended Universe of novels and comics (which occasionally gain mainstream readership) proves that the franchise can bear branching out.

If I had to chose, it would be Firefly all the way. But the idea of a series set in the Star Wars universe intrigues me - and without the baggage of it being the prequel trilogy and having to live up to the original films, it might actually make great television.

Of course, it might blow - but then so might another Firefly resurrection. It's all a gamble... one that Lucas can afford to take.
and maybe i'm being cynical but how good it is will, IMO, be inversely proportional to the extent of George Lucas' involvement.

Of course there has also been talk of Kevin Smith being involved and he's an even bigger hack than Lucas, so hopefully that's also a rumour. Talk of Babylon 5's J. Michael Straczynski running the show are interesting, but I'm not sure he and Lucas have the same sensibility...

It's a big call, but I hope Lucas is running the show - and someone else is writing the scripts!
I dunno, JMS and Lucas may well see eye to eye on dialogue ;).

I think there's a difference Keith G between 3 films at 2 hrs each of what must be the biggest movie franchise in history and a commitment to an hour every week for 5 years. No matter how bad Episodes 1 and 2 were, I was bloody well seeing Episode 3, it being the last in a series of films i'd been watching for 27 years. Don't think i'd feel the same way about a series (though, realistically, i'm sure it'll still do very well).

Yep, Kevin Smith can be pretty patchy and does have some hackish attributes but I think he'd bring something worthwhile to it and it's that magic word again, dialogue (i've not read them but his runs on Daredevil and Green Arrow are meant to be pretty good so he can write). I've no problem with Lucas breaking the stories and having a hand in the visuals, he's actually pretty good at that (IMO), it's just the nitty-gritty that lets him down.
The series is set between Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars IV: A New Hope and covers the early years of Luke Skywalker.

Oh dear...
Hey Grounded, give it a chance, it'll be like "Skywalker's Creek". Can Luke overcome his inhibitions and ask out the cute youngling next door ? Will best friend Pacey-Solo go over to the dark side ? Stay tuned and find out !

(I don't wanna wait, for the Clone Wars to be o-o-over, la dee dee dee...)
Wow you've totally turned me around on this one!

Question for people who know more about SW than me: if it's set between III and IV, doesn't that mean there are no Jedi (besides Yoda) and so there won't be any lightsabres?
Not being a Star Wars fan i'd have gone with a Firefly resurrection too. I was never really into the science fiction thing and Firefly was the first sci-fi series to grab my attention, mainly because i was already a Buffy/Angel addict, although getting into that show has opened my eyes a little to the science fiction genre, now also being a big fan of Farscape and Battlestar Galactica. But Star Wars? Still not my cup of tea.
Well, Obi Wan will still be around though I would've thought he could only be in the series obliquely since Luke doesn't meet him until he's about 20 (unless they're just blowing the continuity off completely).

Does seem an odd time to set it (assuming it centres around Luke) since at that point he hasn't developed his Jedi powers, he doesn't know much about the rebellion, hasn't met C3PO or R2 or Obi Wan or Han etc. etc. so you end up with a young, bored farmer on a back-water planet shooting 'womp rats in Beggar's Canyon'. Sounds exciting, no ? Err, no.

(i'd assumed it would follow someone active in the rebellion and probably wouldn't have any of the main characters in it at all)
It is arrogance, but I think it may be justified. There'll probably be some type of contract which won't let the show be cancelled easily.


Yeah, they could bind it in the contract. I was reading about "Joey"'s demise in some website. And they were talking about how it was cheaper for NBC to keep it on air and keep producing it, rather than just cancel it, justifying the renewal for current season, when the show already sucked last season.

Does seem an odd time to set it (assuming it centres around Luke) since at that point he hasn't developed his Jedi powers, he doesn't know much about the rebellion, hasn't met C3PO or R2 or Obi Wan or Han etc. etc. so you end up with a young, bored farmer on a back-water planet shooting 'womp rats in Beggar's Canyon'. Sounds exciting, no ? Err, no.

(i'd assumed it would follow someone active in the rebellion and probably wouldn't have any of the main characters in it at all)


Didn't the official mention say 'during the time of young Luke Skywalker' and not make it explicit that Luke would actually be the main character? I can't quite imagine a Star Wars tv show without Jedi and lightsabres and the likes. It's just a weird decission. If it were me, I'd have gone the route of the Knights of the Old Republic games and set the show in a completely different era, where you could have complete creative freedom to include original characters and big, sweeping, storyarcs and whatnot. I don't for an instant get why they didn't decide to do that.

Ofcourse, a rebellion show could also be interesting, but it would still be constrained too much by the continuity of the two movies for it to truly have the freedom it needs to breathe and be its own show.

I'll be watching, obviously. I was a massive fan of the original trilogy (I saw it when I was a kid on video for the first time, and I think seeing SW at the right age just makes it work even better than seeing it later in life), but I thought the prequels sucked, although Revenge had its redeeming qualities (and I enjoy watching it despite its many faults). But all in all the setting seems to be the wrong choice to begin with. I'm still hoping it'll be good though. Weekly Star Wars still sounds like a great idea, so I'm hoping it won't get screwed up.
The "young Luke" thing isn't confirmed. And other Jedi *did* survive Vader's purge, so there's a possibility that this could feature a Jedi in hiding.

I totally think this is going to be a big hit, unless they screw up something majorly. Even after the blight of the prequels, Star Wars remains a red hot property.
I thought the idea was that The Emperor/Vader and Yoda/Obi-Wan were the only survivors so that the force is once again balanced ? Are these other Jedi part of the canon or are they possibly from books or other tie-ins that aren't strictly in continuity ?

The Luke stuff seems muddled. This interview with Lucasfilm's public relations guy says it's based around minor characters with some possible cameos. This (slightly more recent) article on the other hand implies that Rick McCallum says that it features the life of young Luke (but doesn't quote him on it).

Confusing but, as everyone seems to agree, there are far more potential stories to tell about different characters and situations than there are on just Tatooine so let's hope the Luke stuff's only rumours.
Please, God, no. And no, George Lucas, I am not speaking to you.

That's just too annoying for me to even debate the prospects of "who will be the main character," "how can it have Jedi or lightsabers," etc.--I just don't care. I know in my mind that whoever said the Star Wars fan base is fricking huge is right, but I personally am no longer one of their legion. Wouldn't touch this series with a 10-foot pole. Let the 13-yr-olds he made the prequels for prop up his fan base.

Probably not a subject for this board, but were the original films really as silly when we were kids as the prequels are to some of us now? I honestly don't believe it, though I've had more than one adult my age tell me so.
They already started taking liberties with continuity in RotS, so one can assume that it will only get worse from here.
Saje, I recently read Kevin Smith's original run on Daredevil (collected into a handy TPB), and when I say that they are the comics that got me to love Daredevil even more than Frank Miller's brilliant mid-90's mini-series, that should be an indication of how great they are. I've always liked Daredevil, but I've never been a huge fan, and I've never read those classic 80's Miller runs I've heard so much about. But Smith's Daredevil makes me want to search for them with a passion.

So, yes, he can definitely write. (And I loved Clerks., enjoyed Mallrats, and, yes, damn it, I didn't think Jersey Girl was too bad.)

But about the idea of a Star Wars series...as I've stated here before, I actually liked the prequels, especially Episode III, which just made me grin like the huge idiot I very well may be while I watched it. But, as others have said, there's a difference between a two-hour film and a weekly series. For me, that difference is that I can perfectly well tolerate the series' faults (stiff acting, and sometimes unrealistic character development) on a film-by-film basis, but to tune into something like that every week and to keep interest alive for the 100 frigging episodes they're after...hm. I don't know if I can do that.

Maybe it won't suck.

We're allowed to be optimistic, right?

And, Anwyn, while I liked all of the Star Wars films (though Episodes I and II to a lesser extent), I have to say that the acting was pretty much the same in all six, except for Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. All six are inherently just as silly...I mean, the whole freakin' concept is silly. It's not serious science fiction; it's a swashbuckling fantasy. Firefly and Serenity are serious sci-fi; X-Men and Spider-Man are serious sci-fi; The Matrix and Minority Report are serious sci-fi. But, spaceships aside, Star Wars really isn't even sci-fi.
There is nothing I can say that can't possibly be summed up by this comic strip from a year ago:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2005/04/27
Know something, or know it now - if it doesn't get the ratings, it WILL get cancelled. The 100 episode mark is the mark for syndication. Glad to know they're already counting the pennies before it even enters production.
Uh, yeah. What TV show isn't counting the pennies before entering production?
A hundred episodes? Yeah, right.
From what Rick McCallum has previously said, the SW TV series will cover ALL of the years between ROTS and ANH. Luke might make a cameo appearance, but it won't be "The Adventures of Young Luke Skywalker". The reason for the whole 100 episodes is that it's rumored to be set at certain intervals to cover the 19 years between Eps 3-4. If they start out and say some stupid network cans it after 25 episodes, what's the point of doing the series?

I'm optimistic about it, depending on who Lucasfilm hires to run the show. I'd love for some former Mutant Enemy writers to be involved and George Lucas and Rick McCallum to have nothing to do with it.
What TV show isn't counting the pennies before entering production?

I missed a word out - publicly. Obviously, all TV shows are budgeted for -- but if, for example, I heard Tim Minear talking about how Drive will run for 100 episodes -- syndication $$$ -- to the media, I'd be like "Sell out." So, sell outs. Maybe they should, perhaps, be busy discussing -- you know -- the writers, show runners, story arcs, characters and things which could make the show not suck?
Of course they're talking about that, because LucasFilm is a corporation. Last time I checked, Tim Minear wasn't. They have writers and are banging out scripts -- something I'm happy about, because they seem to be taking the Joss approach of long story arcs. Personally, I don't really have an opinion of this upcoming series. Star Wars, to me, is the story of Anakin Skywalker. That's Episodes I - VI. This "in-between" could be fun, but I'm not going to have high expectations.
Do we even know what tone they're going for? 24 in an arbitrary designation even though it could be set on multiple different planets with different day lengths, CSI in space, The Office for bounty hunters, etc...

I dunno though, at least they're willing to kill the series at some point even if it is a bit too optimistic. I'm assuming they have at least a rough outline of what they want to happen over that course of shows. I wonder how M*A*S*H went on for so long when it ended up outlasting the war it was based on. This means we're spared from Star Wars becoming one of those ever present soap-operas. (...on TV at least).
Readers might be forgiven for thinking the project is inspired chiefly by the desire to extract more dosh from Star Wars fans than any artistic merit. Here's two reasons for thinking this for starters. The best film in the franchise, Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, was coincidentally not directed by George Lucas, who gave us a film based around a tax dispute, the risible Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace.


I think this is about the best summary of the entire first 3 episodes as well as this venture. Perfect, Saje and War_Machine -- it does sound like all they have on their minds is "The Young Luke Skywalker Chronicles." And teen Luke on Tatooine is totally more boring than teen Indy on Earth (or Dawson, for that matter). ;-)

FWIW, I thought for a minute that maybe Mr. McCallum's statement was a response to a question, like maybe the reporter asked, "Do you think this series can really last?" or something like that. It just seems so unbelievably arrogant just to spout, "100 episodes!" unless there's some prompting involved! Am I underestimating this guy's hubris level? ;-)
I'd like to point out that, though Lucas didn't direct Empire, he did write it with Lawrence Kasdan. Leigh Brackett's name is only an honorary credit.
Ok, although I have seen all the Star Wars films I wouldn't say I was a die hard fan. Loved the second three (you know, the ones that were shown first) but not so much with the prequels. Colour me naive but if they are going to do more Star Wars, what's the problem with going forward from Return of the Jedi?
Depending on who they get to write it the show could be great. FaithFan I too am hoping for some Mutant Enemy alums to be brought aboard. There is a broad and deep affection for the original Star Wars movies present in the hearts and minds of many of my favorite creators of multimedia entertainment.
Don't forget, the period of time the show will cover includes Boba Fett's career. That alone could make it worth watching.
Poster Boy said:
what's the problem with going forward from Return of the Jedi?


There are various extended universe works that cover that time period including books for episodes 7-9. While there are some for the time between episodes 3 and 4 they are no where near as numerous. Besides a drastically remote one, this time period has the most room for creative freedom and is freshest in the minds of the viewers so it makes sense to me why it was chosen.
Episodes I, II, and III struck me as being 2+ hour long ads for product directed at kids. I saw Ep I, the first 10 minutes of II and have not seen III. Why? I both love and want good writing. Plot! Acting! Character development! At this point, I have less than zero interest in the TV show. Pardonez-moi, je suis un crabe aujourd'hui.
The Office for bounty hunters

That's a show I'd watch. In fact if the show was about Boba Fett becoming supreme bad ass bounty hunter of the universe, I'd be cool with that too.
I've just pictured Boba Fett doing the David Brent dance. He can never be intimidating again. Ever.
I wonder how M*A*S*H went on for so long when it ended up outlasting the war it was based on.


Actually, it depends on what you mean by "based on"--MASH was set in the Korean War, but of course that was just a foil for the Vietnam War. The movie was released in '70, and the series ran '72-'83. The USA essentially exited Vietnam in '73, and the war was over (well, except perhaps for the Hmong and select others...) in '75. MASH was nearly entirely after the active US presence in the Vietnam War--but as any student of modern American history knows, the hurts and divisions persisted long after the U.S. troops left. I suspect that the ended-but-not-resolved status had a lot to do with MASH's longevity and popularity: IIRC, it was the longest running sitcom at the point it ended, and the series finale was the highest rated network television event up to that point. And, just for comparison, MASH aired two more episodes than Buffy and Angel put together.
...it does sound like all they have on their minds is "The Young Luke Skywalker Chronicles...."

You guys are all completely missing the point. This isn't going to be the young Luke story.

It'd be the young Darth Vader story. Episode three is essentially the origin of a major villianous icon in modern day cinema and culture. Episode four marks the beginning of the end for the bad guy. In between those two movies there were several years there where Darth Vader was the ultimate bad ass of the galaxy. He and the Emperor were AT LARGE, as it were.

The problem with the Young Indy chronicles was that it failed to monopolize on what made Raiders of the Lost Ark so good. Namely, Harrison Ford. Kinda hard to get Ford to do tv, even as a favor to Spielberg and Lucas. That's ultimately why it failed. It doesn't matter who they pit against Vader. Luke never has to make an appearance. If the series focuses on Vader as the bad guy, you're guaranteed ratings.

Invent an ensemble that includes a droid, a wookie, a humanoid babe with an attitude, and some guy who knows how to aim a gun. Fill out the cast with random characters beyond that, all of which are expendable. Make them likeable and then have stormtroopers kill them. This is readymade gold. You don't even have to write practically. People don't watch Star Wars for the plot or dialogue. You just gotta make it look good. This is a no-brainer.

Meanwhile, I'll still be waiting hopelessly for Firefly Season Two. Which won't happen. Because Firefly is actually good. Whereas the Star Wars franchise, while no longer good, is infinitely profitable.
In fact if the show was about Boba Fett becoming supreme bad ass bounty hunter of the universe, I'd be cool with that too.

Which is what it might be about - given the fact he witnessed his father's death in Episode II but wasn't seen in Episode III. Of course, Boba hasn't got anyone to take revenge on... so it wouldn't be much of a revenge story :-)

Word has it that the series will keep entirely away from major characters of the films, but I think Boba is minor enough not to be affected by that. I'm not sure I would really want to see five years of a Bob Fett story, but as an occasional recurring character, he'd be great.

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