Disney+ brought Star Wars to live-action television with The Mandalorian, but before that, George Lucas planned to do the same with the television series Star Wars Underworld. Ronald D. Moore, known for his work on Star Trek and for rebooting Battlestar Galactica, worked as a writer on the show. Speaking to Collider, Moore shared some new details about the unfinished project. Lucas announced the series in 2005. Moore says the show would have told a heavily serialized story with big-budget effects. Based on Moore's description of Lucas' plans, Star Wars Underworld sounds like it was well ahead of its time, perhaps by as much as a decade.
"It was an extraordinary undertaking for someone to do. I don't know anyone else that would really take that on," Moore says. "At the time, George just said, 'Write them as big as you want, and we'll figure it out later.' So we really had no [budget] constraints. We were all experienced television and feature writers, so we all knew what was theoretically possible on a production budget. But we just went, 'For this pass, OK let's just take him at his word just to make it crazy and big' and there was lots of action, lots of sets, and huge set pieces. Just much bigger than what you would normally do in a television show."
Lucas' dream seems obtainable in the post-Game of Thrones television landscape where streaming services are throwing around film-scale budgets for shows as a standard practice. You can see it in shows like Star Trek: Discovery, Altered Carbon, and Westworld. But 2005 was another era, and Lucas was always one to push the technological envelope.
That was also before serialized storytelling became the norm for television. Moore recalls Lucas planning for the show's story to be as epic as the Star Wars movies.
"I think it was pretty much one big storyline," he says. "It was one long tale with episodic things that would happen. You know, there would be certain events [that] would happen in this episode or this episode, so it was sort of an episodic quality to some of it. But it was telling a larger narrative, in terms of the story of those particular characters in that setting."
Lucas sold Lucasfilm and Star Wars to Disney, abandoning plans for the epic television show. Based on the reception fans have given The Mandalorian, it seems he left Star Wars' television future in good hands.