Writer/producer Ronald D. Moore spoke to Collider about the development and writing process on Star Wars: Underworld.
Moore is a venerable fixture in the world of science fiction and fantasy television, his resume including time spent on Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He more recently developed the popular Starz show Outlander.
He recently joined Collider Connected and revealed what it was like to work on the live-action Star Wars show, Star Wars: Underworld, which George Lucas pitched around the time of the prequels.
Lucas first announced the TV show at Star Wars Celebration III in 2005 and described it in various interviews as "a soap opera" and film noir, something that would push the boundaries of special effects (as well as TV budgets). Impressively, Tony McNamara was another writer involved in the development of the show.
It would have been set on Coruscant and taken place in the time between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.
Moore told Collider:
"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 them all done, and then he was going to 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."
For a writing staff to create almost 50 scripts for an unproduced show that hasn't gotten a green light is pretty bonkers. Lucas imagined the show as an epic with hundreds of episodes.
Lucas also didn't give the writers any budgetary constraints, according to Moore. They wrote big action set pieces, assuming Lucas would figure that all out later.
Lucas told the writers he would work out the logistics. In 2011, Lucas didn't call the project officially dead but rather shelved.
"It sits on the shelf," he said on Attack of the Show. "We have 50 hours."
In 2012, Lucasfilm sold to Disney, and the project effectively died. But perhaps Lucas' early ideas for virtual sets inspired the team behind The Mandalorian.
Would you watch a Star Wars film noir? Should they bring this project out of development hell? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!