Ronald D. Moore, creator of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica and a writer on George Lucas’ scrapped Star Wars: Underworld TV show, has shared a few details about what could have been.
Before George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney, he was planning to make a very ambitious Star Wars TV show set in the lower levels of Coruscant called Star Wars: Underworld. You can see test footage here.
Lucas had all the scripts written by various writers before thinking about production and one of the scribes brought on board was Star Trek alum Ronald D. Moore. Moore has now opened up about the project and what it was like working with Lucas.
In a recent interview with Collider he said: “I was one of several, there was a bunch of international writers they assembled… we would gather up at Skywalker Ranch once every six to eight weeks, something like that. And we would break stories together, and right after we’d go off and write some drafts and bring ‘em back, and George and we would sit down and critique them, and then do another draft and break more stories… It was great! It was a ball, it was a lot of fun.
“It didn’t happen ultimately, we wrote I’d say somewhere in the 40-something, 48 scripts, something like that… the theory was George wanted to write all the scripts and get ‘em all done and then he was gonna go off and figure out how to produce them, because he wanted to do a lot of cutting edge technological stuff with CG and virtual sets and so on. And so he had a whole new thing he wanted to accomplish. And what happened was, you know, we wrote the scripts and then George said ‘OK, this is enough for now, and then I’ll get back to you. I want to look into all the production things.’ And then time went by and like a year or something after that is when he sold Lucasfilm to Disney.
“It was an extraordinary undertaking for someone to do. I don’t know anyone else that would really take that on… At the time, George just said ‘write them as big as you want, and we’ll figure it out later.’ So we really had no [budget] constraints. We were all experienced television and feature writers, so we all kind of new what was theoretically possible on a production budget. But we just went, ‘For this pass, OK let’s just take him at his word just to make it crazy and big’ and there was lots of action, lots of sets, and huge set pieces. Just much bigger than what you would normally do in a television show.”
Moore also commented on the show’s story structure: “Yeah, I think it was pretty much one big storyline. It was one long tale with episodic things that would happen. You know, there would be certain events [that] would happen in this episode or this episode, so it was sort of an episodic quality to some of it. But it was telling a larger narrative, in terms of the story of those particular characters in that setting.”
It certainly sounds like Star Wars: Underworld was very ambitious and could have been something really terrific, especially for die-hard fans of the franchise. As all the scripts are already done, hopefully Lucasfilm considers revisiting the idea again in the future.