With all the Star Wars 3-D talk that's been monopolizing our geek conversations lately it's easy to forget that we've still got a live-action Star Wars television series coming our way at some point. We've been hearing about it for years now, but what do we really know about it? Unfortunately, still not much and the biggest question still remains "What's it going to be about??"
Lucas's galaxy far, far away is certainly ripe for mining and no one knows that more than him, but while it's finally gotten a working title ("Underworld") almost everything else about the planned live-action Star wars series is still up for conjecture. The only thing that we really know for sure is that the series will take place during the 20 years between "Revenge of the Sith" and "A New Hope" and will deal primarily with minor characters from the Star Wars galaxy. Aside from that, there isn't much else to go on.
Lucas and producer Rick McCallum have been dropping hints for a while now, but even those are vague. Back in 2005 McCallum was asked during an interview "How can Leia claim to remember her mother when Padmé dies during childbirth in Sith?" McCallum's response? "I think that could only be answered in the television series." And when Lucas spoke to TVGuide back in 2007 he was equally vague: "The Emperor and Darth Vader are heard about - people talk about them - but you never see them because it doesn't take place where they actually are. There are storm troopers and all that, but there are no Jedis. It's different, but I think it's very exciting because I get to explore a part of that universe that I haven't been able to explore."
In layman's terms, it sounds like "Star Wars:Underworld" will basically be kind of like the "Expanded Universe: The TV series" for the time frame between Sith and New Hope. Meaning anything and anyone from any of the Star Wars-related books, toys, and other media are fair game. As the die hard fans know, there is a wealth of history within these from which the show's creators can draw.
Back in 1995 Bantam released a series of books that sound tailor made for a television series of this nature. "Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina" was an anthology of short stories about the minor characters that could be found hanging out in "the most wretched hive of scum and villainy". Who wouldn't want to see what the hell Hammerhead was up to before he ended up getting drunk in the Cantina on that fateful day that Greedo got his guts blasted all over the wall? Maybe we'll finally find out why Dr. Evazan ("I have the death sentence in 12 systems!") has the death sentence in 12 systems.
Another book in the series, "Tales from Jabba's Palace", has short stories about the Rancor Keeper, Jabba's chef, a Gamorrean guard and Salacious Crumb. Heck, that sounds like four more episodes right there.
In addition to these and countless other previously written novels, there is also speculation that the television series is likely to feature characters and story lines from The Force Unleashed Project, a multi-media endeavor developed by LucasArts in conjunction with Dark Horse, Del Rey Books, Lego and Hasbro consisting of video games, comic books, novels, and action figures.
Of course, there's almost no doubt we'll be treated to some adventures involving the most notorious bounty hunter in the universe, Boba Fett. Despite having had mere minutes of screen time in the Star Wars films, there is perhaps no other character in Star Wars mythos that has been so extensively realized in the Expanded Universe than Jango Fett's "son". And if there's one thing that Lucas could do to gain back the favor from many of his disenfranchised fans, it would be to give Boba Fett a prominent presence in the TV series.
Soooooo... where does this leave us exactly? Pretty much exactly where we started. There still hasn't even been any official start of production, much less a date (or even year) for when we could expect the series to premiere. So for now, we're still in the dark, waiting with baited breath for any juicy morsels thrown our way to whet our geek appetite. In short, the galaxy is Lucas's oyster, and we're all just gonna keep sitting at the table waiting to be served.