Neil Calloway says the new series might save the galaxy…
It’s been rumoured and planned for a long time, but this week finally brought the news that Jon Favreau will write and produce a live action Star Wars TV series. It’s news that will make Disney’s shareholder’s happy – countless people will sign up for their forthcoming streaming service purely for the show – and it should make fans of the films happy too; it’s just what the franchise needs now.
The Last Jedi provoked strong reactions, and Disney are apparently bracing themselves for Solo: A Star Wars Story to take a hit. I don’t have high hopes myself. A TV show, away from the main characters but rooted in the same mythology, could be the best element of the franchise for some time.
It’s become a cliché to talk about the superiority of television to film, but even the biggest fan of celluloid has to admit that there is at least some truth in it (side-note, but films haven’t been on celluloid for a long time). How often do you talk about the latest film you’ve seen compared to what box set you’re bingeing on? When I go out, rarely do I return home to find my fiancée watching a film, but “I’m just watching an episode of The Crown” or “I’m just watching an episode of The Good Wife” is very often the first thing she’ll say to me when I get back in.
Of course, it’s not the first time a live action Star Wars show has been developed. In between the prequels and Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, a series was planned that bridged the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Though a decent team of writers had been assembled – Matthew Graham, Ronald D Moore and Louise Fox among them – the prequels suggest that it might not have been the greatest series if it was under the control of George Lucas and Rick McCallum; there would be interminable storylines about trade negotiations and nonsense about midichlorians. You know the Gunguns would make an appearance, too.
Though the bloke-who-played-Monica’s-boyfriend-in-Friends might not seem like an ideal choice at first glance, he’s a good director, helmed the pilot for Seth MacFarlane’s sci-fi series The Orville last year, has a nice Star Wars pedigree (appearing in both The Clone Wars and the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story), and will probably do well.
As the beginning of every Star Wars movie tells us, the action takes place a long time ago in a galaxy, far, far away. As the expanded universe has shown, that’s a lot of potential material to cover. There is literally an entire galaxy of stories to explore, and you don’t have to worry about upsetting cranky old fans like me who disapprove of Solo: A Star Wars Story because Harrison Ford and is the One True Solo and anything else is just heretical. With new stories and new characters you have plenty of ways of exploring the issues that the films have only touched on previously.
We are at risk of drowning in Star Wars, but a TV show could just save the series.
Neil Calloway is a pub quiz extraordinaire and Top Gun obsessive. Check back here every Sunday for future instalments.