Leslye Healand is developing one of the next television shows part of the Star Wars franchise, one which has been deemed a martial arts thriller by the writer. According to the Russian Doll creator, she's currently been writing the series for over a year as the writer's room continues to move along with the Disney+ series. In a recent chat with Fantastic Frankey, the scribe dove in head-first into the development behind her Star Wars series, revealing how she brought the idea to life through research and the pitch process with Kathleen Kennedy and the other Lucasfilm executives.
"Every pitch starts here," Headland said holding up a copy of Wallace and Fry's Star Wars: The Essential Atlas. "It start with 'Where are we?' because I think that is always how I anchor myself within this particular world. You can't just always just start with 'I have a cool emotional idea,' or 'I have a cool concept I'd like to explore.'"
She added, "Those are all great and keep them up there, but it's an actual world with actual places. Where are you? Who's there? How much do we know about who's there and how much do we not know? Based on what we know about who's there, what can we infer from the political economic structure of that place and then, how does that dovetail into the story you want to tell?"
Headland explains since Star Wars already has an expansive world that's been established through nearly a dozen feature films and a handful of television properties, she aimed to explore it geographically first while developing the series.
"For me, it's less about going through the Star Wars universe cinematically or artistically, I'm actually kind of combing through it geographically and go on a literal journey," Headland explained. "When we were pitching, I had my designer create that Indiana Jones-like "we go here and then we go here," with the little dotted red line like this is our journey, this is where we're going."
Furthermore, Headland essentially confirmed the series would follow in the footsteps of The Mandalorian and its weekly release schedule, suggesting episodic releases not only help create fan engagement, but they also help with a different type of storytelling.
"When I first pitched to Lucasfilm, I didn't necessarily pitch as a television show or a feature film, I just kind of pitched character or story and all the things that are dear to my heart as a playwright. I'm just pitching on that level," Headland concluded. "Ultimately when I settled on television and specifically streaming, it felt right because I feel that there's a different type of storytelling when you come from TV, especially episodic TV, meaning not bingeable TV."
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Cover photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix