Following the success of other Star Wars series on Disney+, George Lucas’s original vision for a live-action series set in the galaxy far, far away can finally become a reality. In the days before Disney acquired Lucasfilm, the filmmaker was attempting to bring Star Wars: Underworld to life, a gritty series that would have served as a large deviation from the original and prequel trilogies and their focus on the Skywalkers. While it unfortunately never got off the ground and would inspire other Star Wars projects, the time has come to revive the project.

Set on Coruscant, Underworld would have explored the city planet’s seedy underbelly between Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Lucas put quite a few hours into Star Wars: Underworld with various writers, hoping to create a series on an unprecedented level for 2005 (long before the rise of the streaming era). However, the project was eventually put on hold due to budget constraints and Disney’s eventual purchase in 2012.

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However, now is the perfect time for Star Wars: Underworld to finally become a reality, thanks to the rise of the streaming era and Disney+. Not only have shows such as The Mandalorian proven the success of the live-action Star Wars shows, but they’ve also shown the value of stories that aren’t directly connected to the Skywalker saga. Furthermore, new technologies have emerged to assist with the existing budget issues. Here is what’s known about Lucas’s original plans for Star Wars: Underworld, how elements of the series have emerged in other projects, and the odds of the unfinished Star Wars project ever becoming a reality in the Disney era.

Star Wars Underworld: Lucas’ Planned Show & Why It Didn’t Happen

According to reports and updates given by Lucas himself from 2005 to 2010, Star Wars: Underworld was to be Lucasfilm’s next big project following the completion of the prequel trilogy with Revenge of Sith. This was in development alongside the animated Clone Wars series, which successfully began airing on Cartoon Network in 2009, following a feature-length film in 2008. Taking place during the rise of the Empire, Underworld would have featured the darkness of Coruscant and its lower levels where crime and lawlessness ran rampant despite the world becoming known as Imperial Center. The series would have also tied into the similarly scrapped video game Star Wars: 1313 that had been in development, where players would have assumed the role of a bounty hunter operating on Coruscant’s Level 1313.

Initially planning to write 25 42-minute episode scripts, Lucas apparently enjoyed the process so much that the writing team eventually had around 50 scripts in varying stages of development. While Lucas encouraged writers to think big, with the budget being no issue, it seems as though budget concerns were the critical reason behind Underworld being put on hold. As Lucas put it in an interview (via MovieWeb):

“Right now, it (Underworld) looks like the Star Wars features. But we have to figure out how to make it at about a tenth of the cost of the features, because it’s television. We are working toward that, and we continue to work towards that. We will get there at some point. It’s just a very difficult process.”

It seemed as though each episode would cost nearly the same amount as a full-length feature film. As such, Lucas eventually put the series on pause in 2010 due to budget concerns, citing that he and Lucasfilm were simply waiting for the technology to catch up so they could produce the episodes for a fraction of the cost. However, Disney would come to purchase Lucasfilm in 2012, which put the series on hold indefinitely. That being said, 202o saw test footage from Stargate Studios being leaked where Stormtroopers hunted a Rebel agent in the bowels of Coruscant, reigniting fans’ interest in Lucas’ unfinished project.

Disney Star Wars Is Already Incorporating Elements of Underworld

While Disney hasn’t gone forward with Underworld, its legacy can be seen in the various films and series they have released. Envisioned as an Underworld tie-in, the canceled 1313 game became the inspiration for episodes of The Clone Wars, where Ahsoka Tano visited Level 1313 in the series’ final season. Furthermore, elements of both Rogue One and Solo: A Star Wars Story were reportedly envisioned as episodes of Underworld before becoming their own feature films under Disney. Forest Whitaker’s character Saw Gerrera, who has been featured in multiple projects, was originally meant to be an Underworld character as well.

Likewise, Disney’s first live-action series, The Mandalorian, shares a good amount of DNA with the vision for Underworld, featuring a lone Mandalorian gunslinger making his way through the more lawless parts of the galaxy. Additionally, it seems as though the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series and the seedy world of Daiyu will contain elements of Lucas’s Coruscant plan intended for Underworld. It’s also likely that the upcoming Andor series featuring Diego Luna’s Cassian will see him operating in the shadows for the Rebellion’s cause, potentially mirroring what was seen in the leaked test footage to some degree.

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Disney Should Now Finally Make George Lucas’ Star Wars Underworld

The reasoning for why Star Wars: Underworld should go back into development is twofold: the steaming era and the creation of new technologies since the series was paused and seemingly scrapped. Thanks to streaming, studios are more willing to pay bigger sums for the small screen (with Disney very much included). For example, The Mandalorian‘s first season reportedly cost 100 million to produce, averaging around 15 million per episode. Furthermore, Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light and Magic has created a new technology known as The Volume, utilizing groundbreaking and real-time virtual sets for The Mandalorian and more projects using powerful game engines. Now that Disney has paid for the incredibly expensive overhead, they’ve practically eliminated the need for on-location shooting if they so desire. For the largely galactic and xeno-exotic settings of Star Wars, it greatly aids in the cost. The technology Lucas has been waiting for since 2010 has finally arrived.

Will Star Wars Underworld Ever Became A Reality?

While a good number of its scripts and elements from Star Wars: Underworld have been retooled and appropriated for other projects, the series could still be completed, albeit in a somewhat changed form to better fit the streaming era. Rather than 25 episodes a season as George Lucas envisioned, a future might exist where Underworld could be released as a Star Wars series on Disney+ with a more feasible number like eight for its first season, perhaps with a more focused story. It certainly seems as though the biggest obstacles have largely been removed. Star Wars: Underworld could gain a new life, finally seeing the light of day while offering a darker look at the Star Wars galaxy George Lucas created.

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