TV Guide recently posted part two of their exclusive interview with George Lucas. This time around, he talks about the two upcoming Star Wars television series, including Clone Wars.
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TV Guide: Can we talk about the two Star Wars television series you're working on...?
George Lucas: There's Clone Wars, and we're in the middle of that.
TV Guide: Tell us about it.
Lucas: Well it's basically like Star Wars [in that it] takes place between, obviously, [the films] Episode II [Attack of the Clones] and Episode III [Revenge of the Sith], but it's the same kind of action. Unfortunately, it doesn't fall into the realm of what animation [typically] is, which is either adult, kind of off-color humor or kiddie stuff. This is, like Star Wars, sort of in between those two things. It's a lot of battle stuff, and it's obviously the Clone Wars, so it's a war picture. So it's kind of a PG-13 animated TV series, which is something that has never been done before and obviously doesn't fit in any of the conventional slots that these things fall into. In that, it's very different, and I think it's very exciting. It's got a very, very sophisticated look to it. It's very much like the features. We're still trying to figure out how to put it on the air.
TV Guide: And you're going to do a hundred episodes?
Lucas: We're going to do a hundred episodes. I think we're on [No.] 40 right now. We'll probably end up with 50 to 60 episodes before we start to put it on the air. We'd like to put it on next fall, in about a year from now, but we'll see what happens.
TV Guide: Where do you see it living? How do you see this playing? Obviously it doesn't sound like a Saturday morning cartoon.
Lucas: Right now, we don't know. It's out there to people, and people are talking about it, but so far, everybody's got the same conundrums - "How do we program it? Where does it live? Where can we put something like this?" You know, it has to go after 9 o'clock and it can't be on a kiddie channel.
TV Guide: So you see it on a more mainstream channel or the Sci Fi Channel or something like that?
Lucas: Well, it's one of those things. Television is sort of bifurcated up into small niches and unless you fit in one of those niches, no one knows what to do with you. And, of course, I'm always outside the box, so it's like, "Uh-oh, we don't have a box for you." [Laughs] But it's Star Wars and it's really good, so I'm sure somehow or another, people will also start thinking outside the box and it will find its home.
TV Guide: What about your Star Wars live-action series for TV?
Lucas: Yes, I'm working on that. We're just going to start writing it in about a month from now, start doing scripts for it.
TV Guide: And where will that live in the Star Wars continuum relative to Clone Wars and relative to the films?
Lucas: Well, Clone Wars has got all the characters in it - Yoda and Anakin and Obi Wan and the Emperor and all that - so it's basically the movie. The live-action [series] is not the movie. It's the Star Wars universe, but it's characters from the saga who were [previously] minor, and it follows their stories. It's set between [movie episodes] III and IV, when the Empire has taken over. It's like Episode IV in that 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. Once you have a saga, it's got a lot of requirements because it's about a particular [thing] - in this case, Darth Vader - and so it's his story from the time he's 10 to the time he died. You really can't go off that track because that's the story. Whereas now, I can make a left turn on 10th Street and go down there and see what's going on.
TV Guide: And how are you going to produce this one? Are you going to film a certain number? Are you going to have a deal with a network before you go ahead with filming?
Lucas: No, we'll do it just the same way that we're doing the animated series, which is we usually write a whole year first, and then we'll start shooting, and then we'll shoot the whole year and then once we've got [something to show], we'll see where we can put it. We're going to do a hundred of them, too. [It should be] easier [to place] than the animated one because it's live-action.
TV Guide: So you'll film before you get a commitment? Or how will that work?
Lucas: Well, we're doing these before we get a commitment, so we're just doing them on the faith that we're going to [sell them]. I mean, we're doing them ourselves, so we can finance them, we don't need to have a commitment of any kind. We're simply going to sell them.
TV Guide: Will you be looking for a network like an HBO to say, "We'll take all hundred"?
Lucas: Yeah, but they probably won't do that. [Laughs] Somebody might, but usually what they'll do is they'll take 13 or 26 and then see what happens and they'll take the next group.... If that group doesn't work, then we'll move to another place. Lucasfilm is basically acting as the production company.
TV Guide: Yeah, but usually a network will commission a single pilot off a script or pick.... Well, you know the process.
Lucas: Right - but I have enough confidence that this is good, and I'll make it really good, so I'm not too worried about that part of it. And if worse comes to worse, I'll end up with a lot of library product. [Laughs]
TV Guide: A whole lot of DVD stuff.
Lucas: Yeah. It's the San Francisco way of doing things: This is something I want to do, and I'm going to go ahead and do it. And how the system copes with it or how I mesh it into the system or how I manage to end up earning my money back and all that kind of stuff is a whole different problem that I don't think about at this stage. I just go and do what I want to do. I mean, even when I did the very first Star Wars, I was doing it, and I had three of them, and I assumed that the [first] film wouldn't be successful, and I assumed that I would have to somehow struggle very hard to get the other two made. But my job was to get all three of them made, you know, and that's why I took the sequel rights and everything because I didn't want anybody else to control that because I wanted to control that. And the assumption was if [the first one] didn't make any money, the studio would just sit on it and it'd just make it that much harder for me [to make the rest].
Dont't forget to also check out: Untitled Clone Wars TV Series