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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Jump to Lightspeed... Again! (but who'll be flying the ship?!)

Well, this is turning out to be an interesting morning. Right after posting that Mel Brooks is making "Spaceballs 2", this comes along...

My old stomping grounds at TheForce.net is today reporting that there will be a live-action Star Wars TV series beginning in the fall of 2006. You can bet the farm that this is gonna happen. For one thing, that had to be Josh Griffin posting the story (no one else can type "Awesome!" quite like he ;-) and being his colleague for two and a half years and friend for even longer, I can vouch that he's way more thorough on his sources than a CBS editor. Also, this has been coming out piecemeal for the past several months anyway: the "Clone Wars" microseries on Cartoon Network was a smash hit and George Lucas has been pretty adamant lately about not only not making any more Star Wars movies, but letting the story continue "in other ways" and with other people taking a shot at the saga.

Exactly who those people would be might be quite an item of discussion coming up. No doubt Lucas is going to be executive producer, if at least to make sure "his baby" doesn't stray too far off the path... but someone else is needed to nurture and guide the show's development so that Lucas can have a free hand to do his other film projects.

Someone is going to have to be trusted by Lucas himself to be only the second person ever to have complete control of Star Wars, answerable only to Lucas himself.

That someone had darn well better know the television industry.

That someone should also know how to manage a vast, multi-generational epic spanning thousands of years.

That someone should be able to relay that epic across a wide variety of mediums: not just television, but the ensuing books and videogames, etc.

That someone shouldn't be afraid to take risks, or "play it safe" to appease a demographic: good storytelling comes from conflict, and this person just might have a good track record on that.

That someone had better be a heckuva good writer.

For all of these reasons and more, finding the right person to take over Star Wars is going to be like finding a needle in a field of hay. But is there such a person?

Yes, there is, I find myself believing, especially in light of some interesting conjecture courtesy of CloneCleaner02 on TheForce.net's forums...

There is one... and only one... person who really comes to mind. One person who has worked most of the past 30 years in television and wound up creating one of the most original series ever put to that medium. One person whose writing is as prolific as Isaac Asimov's... coupled with an understanding of human nature on par with Orson Scott Card. One person who has spun a tale that began millions of years ago and ended one million in our future... but mostly concentrated on a mere five somewhere in between. And, it happens to be the person who has been dropping hints like mad that he's been tapped for an executive producer of a new network series "and while I don't usually do that on shows I don't create or develop, when I heard what this project was, I had to get on board." He later added that this new show had "nothing to do with any current series." Not long thereafter he wrote to his fans on Usenet that "Pending contractual negotiations and formal pickup by the networks involved, I've been offered two different series, so we'll see which goes first. They could both be very cool to work on, but one of them could be insanely successful. I should know more about this situation in late October." In his initial post he said that part of the contract was "work out how that will interface with the stuff that'll be going on later in the year, but fortunately the start date for the series should work out, at least at this point."

The "other stuff" could very well be a few novels, a play, and some television work. Not to mention writing "The Amazing Spider-Man" every month. Everything on the timing works out perfectly for a 2006 launch.

Could it be that Star Wars is about to be placed into the capable hands of J. Michael Straczynski? The same "JMS" who brought us "Babylon 5"?

The mind boggles at such a thing...