Rick McCallum Talks Live Action TV Series and Star Wars 3-D

[splashcast OTMJ5860QV]

Today, Warwick Davis welcomed prequel producer Rick McCallum to the Celebrity Stage at Celebration Europe for an update on projects he’s been involved with lately, such as the Star Wars live-action TV series, the Young Indiana Jones DVD series, and the yet-to-be-started Star Wars saga in 3-D.

Check out the audio presentation above (edited for brevity) or read the list of highlights below.

The Live Action Series:

  • McCallum and Lucas were recently in London meeting writers for the Star Wars live action TV series.
  • “We want to be able to take all this technology we’ve developed over the years and make it accessible to everybody and try to make each one of the episodes [of the live-action TV series] look like a major feature film with all the production values and visual effects that you would expect in a feature but do it for a television budget.”
  • “We’ve met a whole bunch of writers from literally all over the world – we have Australia left, that’s the last place we’re going to meet some people – we’re hoping to get a group of six or seven writers ready sometime between September and December to make the final choice and then we’ll start doing story outlines. As I said before, it’s a much darker, much more character-based series, much more adult, and we’re hoping that it will go on for up to 400 episodes.”
  • “I think if we can get [the live action Star Wars TV series] right, it’s something that can go on for years and years. One of the ideas is that we’ll have multiple series going on in about two or three year’s time.
  • “We’re definitely going back to Sydney to shoot [the live action TV series] and probably June of next year we’ll start casting for it…I’ve had three conceptual artists working on it now for about seven months.”

Young Indy on DVD:

  • “October 13th, the first [Young Indiana Jones DVD] comes out. We’ve spent about three and a half years making 100 documentaries to go with each episode of the Chronicles. So the first set comes out in mid-October, and then [a second batch] in January and [a third] just right after Indy IV.”

Star Wars in 3-D:

  • “We’re planning to take all six films and turn them into 3-D. The problem is there’s not enough digital theaters in the world now to do that, and the process of turning 2-D material into 3-D is very expensive. So we’re waiting for the companies out there that are developing this technology to bring it down to a cost level that makes it worthwhile for everybody, then we’ll convert the films into 3-D.”
  • “I think 2009 is going to be a big year for 3-D. That’s when Jim Cameron is coming out with his first feature, Avatar, that will be completely shot in 3-D. I think that will start the movement, and once we get about ten thousand screens around the world, it will be possible for us…to push this so we can finally have digital dominance in all the theaters around the world.”

42 Responses to Rick McCallum Talks Live Action TV Series and Star Wars 3-D

  1. Panda Bear says:

    Will it really have 400 episodes??

  2. […] To read, or hear, everything they talked about, including these quotes, head over to the original post at The Official Star Wars Blog. […]

  3. eddie says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of new stories coming out in the future (and that’s NOT counting the books and comics!!!). Story-heaven for any timeline-freak!!!!

  4. Shada says:

    Interesting. I know a lot of people have been wondering about the whole SW in 3D thing. I’m sure it’ll happen, but I wonder just how soon it will be…

  5. only sane one left says:

    If they make a live action tv series it will be the death of SW, it will be no better than Trek if we do this. It will be spreading SW way too thin. Why take something so thick and wonderful and lovely and spread it out and spread it out and spread it out and make more more more more till there’s nothing left at all and all we have left is a shattered fandom that was once so great. Tv series never last very long, no tv series has been so great that 30 years later everyone still watches, loves, and studies it. Here’s one fan who’s hoping that no one is so stupid as to really turn SW into some stupid cheesy space tv soap opera that no one really cares about. Cause tv is a flame that burns out fast.

  6. Mike says:

    6 posts and only 1 person complaining…unusual.

    The series is not Star Trek so stop thinking it will be Star Trek.
    Why must people bitch and moan about stuff before it has even been made. Patience!

  7. matt says:

    Oh really “only sane one left”?

    “No TV series has been so great that 30 years later everyone still watches, loves, and studies it.” O.K. we’ll put Trek aside (not a Trekkie myself but you can’t deny the original show qualifies), but I don’t think you gave that one much thought. What about The Prisoner? Or The Twighlight Zone? Thunderbirds? I Claudius? Well? As for “spread too thin” you’re pretty funny in so much as ignoring the last few decades of comics novels and games and yes, T.V. series. Does animation not count? A live-action show and all of a sudden it’s the “death of SW”!

    If the series really does take the darker more adult tone they say it will, it would be a fresh angle, and surely there are any number of great writers and directors who would love a crack at Star Wars. As long as they’re given room to breathe and it’s not a Return of the Jedi situation this could be a really good thing. You seem amazingly arrogant considering nothing’s been done yet. It’s not neccesarily a forgone conclusion.

  8. Lieutenant Wiggum Jansen says:

    It’s not the fact that it’s on television, or serialized that will kill it. It’s the “darker, character-driven, adult tone” that will. Even the darkest chapter in the Saga, Revenge of the Sith, still focused on the bigger picture, still cut away when the younglings were murdered, still had a sense of the 1940s adventure movies that inspired them in the first place.

    We haven’t seen the TV series yet. We won’t see it for a long time, so don’t imagine I’m damning it before I’ve seen it.

    However, if they choose to revolve this thing around “cool” screenwriting and “dark” characters, instead of the visuals and the music, it will just be more sci-fi TV garbage. Star Wars is first of all action, visuals, and music. Moreover, it’s the Skywalker family story that has been compelling to us over the years; it will be a hard job for them to make us care about lesser characters.

    I’m eagerly waiting to see what they do, however. Episodes I-III have shown, gloriously, that Star Wars is at it’s best the closer George Lucas is to it.

  9. Master Hubba says:

    I would have asked Rick McCallum this kind of question (below), however ran of out time trying to work out the actual form of this kind of question.

    “What’s in for Star Wars considering how digital content can flow along the story line(s)?”

    Could not let it go of why mind after having seen a trailer for Clone Wars and failing to pop the question in this session with Rick McCallum I have tried to elaborate on an answer for such a question myself. In this first blog entry however I approach that kind of answer in a more general matter for digital content and film. You can read my blog entry here:


  10. Luca Cecchi says:

    I so wish to be in the live action tv serie, the only problem is I really don’t know who I have to send pictures of me to be choosen for auditioning… If somebody can help I would appreciate… but who? I asked many companies who I have to get in touch with to get started but it seems nobody knows…

  11. Darth Magnus says:

    Personally, I would be turned off if the live action TV series would focus on the Skywalker family. I think we have heard enough of this storyline between movies, comics, and novels. It is time for SW writers to explore the other possibilities in this galaxy of infinite storylines. For example, the Knights of the Old Republic video game was one of the best SW storylines ever, including the movies. If you create well written, engaging characters, even if their last name isn’t Skywalker, people will watch and it will work.

  12. Todd Trabue says:

    I think that the whole Star Wars saga in 3-D will be very awesome and George Lucas will have ALL KINDS of lute for this!

  13. Magnus, I didn’t say I would like the live action series to be about the Skywalker family. I agree with you.

  14. Mark says:

    The principle of Diminishing Marginal Utility holds as true for Star Wars as for everything else: the more you have of a good, the less it is worth.

    The first drink of water is the most satisfying, but each future one is less so. The first movie in 1977 was the biggest hit, the second one in 1980 a bit less so, and by the third in 1983, we wanted to get it over with and move on (including, I think, George Lucas). Six core films are enough. TV series, whether about the Skywalkers or not, only cheapen the product.

    If Lucasfilm has integrity, they’ll stop the TV series and let the six films remain on their pedestal.

  15. I tend to agree, Mark. Though I welcome the animated series (the trailer blew me away – and I didn’t expect it to).

    I welcome the live action series, too, truth be told. But I have to frown when I hear Rick talk about “darker, adult tone” stuff.

    Here’s what I hope – that it’s not about some rogue, Jedi-on-the-run types. I guess I’m worried the live-action series will be like this awful Jedi game they’ve been touting lately. The idea is execrable. The Jedi are done. Have this series be about some fledgling young warriors in the burgeoning Rebel Alliance, and it will be on track. At least thematically.

  16. ShadyJedi27 says:

    As cool as it would be to see a Star Wars live-action series, let’s hope Lucas doesn’t just stamp off on it the way he did all of his latest “opuses”: Episodes I-III, both Ewok movies and the Droids cartoon. It’d be cool if maybe he didn’t just say “Hey, I can make money off of young Anakin Skywalker/Jar Jar Binks/midi-chlorians.”

  17. ZX-3 says:

    400 episodes seems like a lot. While I look forward to new Star Wars, I also want it to remain special. There’s a big difference between waiting three years with aniticipation for a sequel and waiting a week for another episode. Star Wars needs to be careful that they don’t end up diluting the brand with too much product.
    There’s no need to go overboard on making a ton of episodes. The really good programs spend a lot of time getting it right and then only produce between 6 and 13 episodes per series. Even great series who make 26 episodes per season have ones that turn out to be clunkers, and after 400 episodes theres bound to be quite a few. A production model that makes a 13 episode series and then takes a hiatus would allow them to create really great shows and give fans enough time to catch their breath and get excited about it again.
    Taking their time with fewer, higher quality and more impactful episodes would be better because as much as I like new Star Wars, I love looking forward to new Star Wars too.

  18. george says:

    Personally, I think it is about time to lay Star Wars to rest. Out of the last three “new” Star Wars movies, only the final installment was half worth watching. With such marginal success, I fail to see the reasoning in producing it in bulk for TV.

    Fact of the matter is that the original Star Wars was revolutionary when it hit the screens in 1977. The market for movies and shows such as these now is crowded. Perhaps the fact that 90% of all TV is now reality TV based could mean the re-emergence of the western style episode would be refreshing. We will see…

    On the other hand, Indiana Jones has the same timeless quality as the James Bond series. Just like Bond, new “indianas” could be installed with each passing generation. We’re into the 40+ year mark with the Bond series, and each passing production is more successful than the last. Bringing the Indiana series back to the big screen would be a likely success. Serialize it on TV and you will kill that potential.

    That’s my thoughts.

  19. The last three Star Wars films have been brilliant because they were original, they weren’t pandering to the fanbase like the video games always do (and none moreso than “The Force Unleashed”).

    Unfortunately a “darker, more adult tone” means Star Wars will be more Tony Soprano and less Buck Rogers.

    “The fans have grown up. The movies haven’t.” – George Lucas
    “The fans have grown up. Let’s do things a little more adult and edgy!” – Marketing Fatcats

  20. nob01 says:

    I say bring it on!
    For every naysayer who is worried about oversaturation, dark tones or timelines, there are a thousand fans of the saga who have grown up with these stories and are hungry for more. I have faith in George, Rick and Lucasfilm – they are not about phoning in their products but are constantly pushing the boundaries of their medium.
    Not only that, but Star Wars is one of the few franchises where virtually everyone who works on the films/programmes is a huge fan already, and this shows in the output – it won’t be any different for the tv show, and with the potential to have EU authors developing the stories, the future is looking very rosy indeed.
    These are happy times for a saga geek.

  21. Jan Lomona says:

    I agree with Nob, it’s looking awesome (the word for the weekend). Originally they said x5 years of 20 episodes – 100 episodes, and we were all thrilled with that. Well, with multiple shows it looks like we can look forward to 4 shows, likely 2 running and finishing, to be replaced by 2 more.
    That’s the next 10 years sorted then!
    Question is, what era will they be? We know about the Jedi Purge era being the first, but what then? KOTOR? Legacy? Will Mark Hamill get a show with Luke as a Jedi Master? Maybe another storyline runing concurrently alongside existing ‘classic’ era Star Wars, that refers to but doesn’t impact on the main plot (much like our stories on Lightsabre).
    Agreed, this is a very exciting tim to be a Star Wars fan, and I’m still buzzing from the weekend.

  22. Lomear says:

    To be darker and more adult is what this series will need. I would like to see more substance to it than just acrobatic lightsaber duels and fancy digital background. This is what separates the classic trilogy from the modern. Why does the classic seem to be more popular? Because it really didn’t focus on making children it’s target audience, whereas I-III did. I was a kid during the classic trilogy and I still loved it even with its adult themes and dialogue. We saw subtle and well placed humor in the original, but not quite so with I-III. So though it may sound ironic, I think by taking the “kiddiness” out of it, it will actually help it thrive.

  23. I could not more strongly disagree, if it were politics or religion. 🙂

  24. I guess, whether or not it thrives with an adult direction, is besides the point. It may be more successful than American Idol.

    What matters is it will have lost it’s essence, that of a breezy fantasy for children of all ages.

  25. Mark says:

    ZX-3 makes my point exactly: Star Wars needs to be careful that they don’t end up diluting the brand with too much product. I always thought that Star Wars differentiated itself by focusing on the movies, not any other medium. There will always be fans who demand more more more, but I am satisfied with what’s out there now.

    And Star Wars is for children and always was. We tend to overlook that, since we who grew up with the trilogy are adults now and still love it.

  26. Guido says:

    only sane one left, your an idiot. You win for the MOST boneheaded comment….you should take a bottle of Tylenol PM and some root beer and go away.

    P.S. Star Trek is awesome….oh and ST does have more movies, TV shows and books…oh, and the franchise is still going strong (see J.,J. Abrams, ST X)…what was that about a fledging series? Oh and doesn’t ST Online come out next year too….

    Both great in their own ways

  27. Guido says:

    Oh forgot…Im stoked about the 400 episode thing…bitch and wine about how special SW is and how this will ruin it forever (THE TRAGEDY!) when in reality, your making this franchise/series MUCH more accessible and viable….
    I cant wait to see 5 years of new characters, Hero-type story lines and the movies redone in 3-D! Freakin’ sweet…..

    Star Wars more than ANY OTHER market has FLOODED us with products…so don’t try that angle…

    Lastly, while you believe (and thats JUST it, believeing) that SW is for kids, I remember seeing kids leaving CRYING during SW3 and my own 4 kids can ‘t STAND to watch SW IV or V……so…dont limit this to a “kid” thing…

    Much love….

  28. E says:

    I’d like to see the live action show done in the same fashion as ’24’

    Imagine… a full adventure day for Obi-Wan…
    or Boba Fett…
    or (insert fav character here)

  29. Lora says:

    Hey, this is a lot af exciting news. Why are (some of) you so worried? Don’t worry before it comes.. you can’t stop it and you can’t know what’s in it.

    And ST did do well and still does. I seem to remember the Voyager series that I personally though was great. It had a ‘more dark and adult tone’ too… so I’m not too worried about what it will do to SW.
    Besides I think everything needs a little ‘refreshing’ once in a while, ortherwise it stalls and loses its momentum. I remember how that EU books needed that when NJO finally came. (okay, alot don’t like NJO, but the change was needed. Think they went a bit too far with Legacy, but..well, can’t change it).

    Hmm, 400 episodes are a lot, so I’m mostly interesseret in seeing how they will manage to pull it off without ruin it.. How many episodes have Star Gate? A very good and popular series and going strong. But it too have some less good one though not too many.(Here the series actually became more popular than the movie).

    Indy 4, now that is something a bit more firmly and easier to graps. It’s next spring and it is being shot right now. Looking foreward to seeing it.

  30. Well, Lora, I’m not worried. Just not terribly excited.

    Though we are talking about TV series’ here, I don’t think the comparison with Star Trek is particularly apt. Trek was never the “adventure movie for children of all ages” that Star Wars is. It always was a bit of a sophisticated, “morality tale for humanists” series.

    Star Wars was more fundamentally a story for children; and people take that different ways. They either form up behind the hardcore Sci-Fi banner and denounce it’s almost *glorification* of naivete, or they are slightly embarassed at having fallen in love with this modern child’s fable and try to make excuses for it, or parts of it, to cool friends they wish to impress. There’s been way too much of the latter in SW fandom, hence the way over-the-top criticisms of “pandering” in the Prequels.

    Me, I love it. My childish heart loves it. And it lasts, longer than other childish interests and obsessions because it is made of deeper stuff.

  31. Anarcis says:

    @ Only sane one left

    Orient yourself. Watch Doctor Who. One of the best SF Television series ever, and it’s been around since 1964, and still going strong.

  32. Obi-San Tinobi says:

    I believe SW TV Live Series will be even better than the prequel movies. Go!

  33. reduntex says:

    Hi all,
    My name is John , I’m new to the forum and just want to say hi to everyone.

  34. Scruffy-Looking Nerf-Herder says:

    I think a live action show could be a very good thing for SW, if done correctly. Dark is fine, especially wherever the Empire is involved, so if this series takes place in between III and IV like I have heard, then Dark might very well be a good thing! Why else did Obi-Wan call it “The Dark Times?” I think if Star Trek can last 40 years with TV as it’s starting point and mainstay, then Star Wars can last plenty longer with a live TV series! And id anyone notice, yes Star Trek has been canceled six times, but ever since the Original Series each series has made it for AT LEAST 7 seasons! 7 Years per series seems pretty good to me, I mean it doesn’t quite match how long the Simpsons have been going, but no Sci Fi show has made it THAT long with out a break! Star Wars the Live Action series will be sure to live up to the Star Wars legacy in my opinion. I for one eagerly await the release!~Half-witted, stuck-up, scruffy-lookin’ Nerf Herder. And darn proud of it too! A.K.A. Sid to his RP buddies.

  35. Amado says:

    Pretty Interesting.

  36. marc says:

    all this negativity amazes me!sw is imho the franchise that should never end!source material already out there could keep tv networks happy for decades and lucas is obviously not going for a quick buck,its still 2 yrs away!expect something special!the prequels were not perfect but they were a moment in cinema history,the tv version wont please everyone but its bound to be something to remember

  37. helas says:

    Star Wars TV shows are gonna rock, just wait. I’ve seen some storyboards and I know a few of the writers who will be working on it, and its gonna blow old school fans away and make a ton of new fans, trust me.

  38. Henri Heinonen says:

    I hope that the shoot this series using the aspect ratio 2.35:1 to make it feel more like a movie.

  39. Revan says:

    Since the first time i gained knowledge of the “Wookiepedia” Database this was the time i really recognized (after watching the movies a hundred times again and again) the Star Wars Universe has such more great and infinite potential for creating storys settled not only in the Timeline short before 0 BBY or the Skywalkers. For example take KOTOR, Darth Bane`s Time or the Legacy Comics etc… I want to refer to a Quote i found on Wookiepedia:

    “At Celebration III, Lucas explained that if this series (along with Star Wars: The Clone Wars) is successful, more television series may follow. He explained that he has considered setting the time frames of these possible shows during time periods far away from his films. When asked by a fan at his AFI lifetime achievement ceremony if this may include the Knights of the Old Republic/Sith Wars era, Lucas explained that is always a possibility, and that he may be interested in taking the franchise to those story areas one day.”

    I personally cannot wait longer for the Future of Star Wars an i really belive as long as George Lucas is workin on it will be phenomenal – He has never disappointed me in the past.

    Sincerely A German SW-Fan
    (Please Excuse my Englisch it is not the best i know)

  40. EMPORER DESON says:

    I think taking SW to a darker theme is a good idea. As long as it isnt TOO dark.Im glad they are going to focus on the minor charactors because I would like to know more about the empire/rebels and others .
    Im not much for reading, only read about 20 SW books, so I dont know much else besides the movies and games, and the 2hrs of my life wasted on the tv special.
    We should get excited, but not too excited else it wont live up to our expectations. Like LOTS of movies./shows
    EXAMPLE: Terminator:sarah connor chronicles . I cant wait for it but Im not expecting much, that way it will be more exciting.
    just what I think anyway.

  41. psyche says:

    I’m a SW fanatic and I like anything about it…But like what Emperor Deson said we need to be exited but not to much…So I’m looking forward to it…

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