A “Star Wars” TV show is being developed by ABC! Call the neighbors, alert friends and family, tell your job you’ll soon require time off!
Or don’t. Because if you’re a true fan of the galaxy far, far away, your heart has undoubtedly been broken time and time again by promises of live-action Lucasfilm adventures. True, this promise by ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey that she would “love to say yes” to a series is slightly different because now Disney and behind-the-scenes talents like JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson could be involved rather than George Lucas — but as philosopher George Santayana once famously remarked: “Those who cannot remember history are condemned to repeat it.”
With that in mind, let’s look back on the long, sad history of “Star Wars” on the small screen — and five reasons to be very afraid as we tiptoe over the Aunt Beru-like charred ruins of Lucasfilm mistakes.
It could be a show about Wookies
We won’t go over the head-scratching, well-documented history of 1978’s “Star Wars Holiday Special” here, but what we will focus on is the worst part of the worst thing to ever come out of the “Star Wars” universe (sorry, Jar-Jar). We’re speaking, of course, about the brutally-difficult-to-watch part of the show that focused on Chewbacca’s non-verbal family.
Hold on, you might say, no one working on the new Star Wars TV show would be crazy enough to let minutes upon minutes of airtime be devoted to men in walking fur carpets roaring and pointing at each other incomprehensibly. Well, once upon a time, somebody thought it was a good idea.
It could be ‘The Godfather’ in space
That was the pitch for 2005’s “Star Wars: Underworld” — well, actually it was “The Godfather” meets “Deadwood” in space, which sounds even more confused. The announcement of the show, which was to be set between “Revenge of the Sith” and “A New Hope,” garnered a lot of media attention (much like this latest ABC news).
But as fans eagerly anticipated the one-hour show to be produced by George Lucas, which intended to teach us Corsucant was as much a “hive for scum and villainy” as Mos Eisley, a funny thing happened. Fifty scripts were written, and then somebody realized that the cost of producing the show was more than Han Solo could raise with a hundred rebel missions. Not a single episode ever aired.
It could be ‘Droids’
After “Return of the Jedi,” the Star Wars universe went into a lengthy period of slumber until the late ’90s (which movies could do back then, without fear of being remade with Andrew Garfield five years later). This self-imposed exile was broken briefly by “Droids,” a 1985 animated series that ran for thirteen episodes.
The cartoon featured C-3PO and R2-D2, but in the same pandering-to-children manner that doomed Wicket and the other Ewoks a few years prior. Rather than maintaining the balance of humor-and-heroism that made the duo so effective in the movies, “Droids” too often felt like Scooby-Doo in outer space. Like anything pop culture has deemed a “dud,” if you look hard enough you’ll find some supporters online — but when the Pac-Man cartoon lasts three times longer than your show, you know you blew it.
The ‘Robot Chicken’ guys could be making it
Don’t get us wrong, over the last decade it could be argued that the [Adult Swim] staple is the funniest (and perhaps, most influential) show on TV. Particular highlights include the frequent Star Wars references, culminating in the 2008 episode that was nominated for an Emmy.
Knowing what huge fans Seth Green and Matthew Senreich were, George Lucas made the celebrated move in 2012 of giving them the rights to make a comedy series. According to statements Green made a few months later, 39 episodes were in the can and there were 62 more scripts written.
Whatever those 39 episodes contained, it must not have been laughter. What you see below is pretty much the only footage that ever saw the light of day.
It could be made by Genndy Tartakovsky
A Russian-born director, producer and animator, Tartakovsky had a brief window between “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith” where he was allowed to make a series of “Clone Wars” shorts (long before the much more famous Cartoon Network show) . Produced in tiny two-to-three minute chunks (and later lengthened to fifteen minutes), the cartoons were … actually really, really good.
These days, Tartakovsky’s genius is being consumed by “Hotel Transylvania” films. Hey ABC, give the man a call — and you might just end up with a TV show worth getting excited about.