Last June, we reported that the live-action series Star Wars Detours was on hold for at least three years, due to its overwhelming budget. Producer Rick McCallum recently revealed that another problem facing the show is the adult nature of the stories, which he compared to the HBO Western series Deadwood in tone, and Avatar in scope.
"Our biggest problem is that these stories are adult. I mean, these are like Deadwood in space. It so unlike anything you've ever associated with George (Lucas) before in relation to Star Wars. These aren't for kids. I mean, we hope they'll watch, but it's not being targeted at 8-to-9 year old boys. The situation we have is that each episode - or if you put two hour long episodes together - is bigger than any film we've ever done. It's on the Avatar level and we'll only have about $5-6 million we can spend on each episode."
He also reiterated from the earlier report that they have 50 hours of scripted material ready to go, although the shows will still take some time to develop.
"They're all second draft scripts and it would probably take a year of prep before shooting would start, but that's because they're all very complex."
The producer also talked about the fragile state of television as a whole, and how that factors into this new series.
"Firstly, we've got television as we know it about to implode. You've got network TV, which is really where we should be because it has the dollars to pay for this and an audience, but you're burdened by the fact you only get 42 minutes for an hour because of commercials. And then you've got cable, which has the most provocative and daring programming, but has audiences of 1 or 2 million people. They also have a very limited amount of money they can spend without wanting some sort of say or control over the material, which is absolutely repugnant to us in terms of the way we work."
We reported in January that the series had the working title Star Wars: Underworld. Our story from last week about Kathleen Kennedy taking over as the head of LucasFilm revealed the show is now being called Star Wars Detours.