How Disney might be reviving the Daredevil of the Star Wars Galaxy.
Not long ago, Peter Sciretta over at /Film interviewed Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm and producer on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The interview held some surprising details about a television show and video game we had long thought dead: Star Wars Underworld and Star Wars 1313, respectively.
Both were projects that George Lucas worked on directly before the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney. After the sale, both projects were seemingly abandoned, especially after Lucasfilm dissolved Lucasarts, their in-house video game development branch. Instead, Lucasfilm turned to external businesses, outsourcing video game development to Electronic Arts (EA).
But surprisingly, Kathleen Kennedy mentioned that both projects were not as dead as some thought.
“So our attitude is, we don’t want to throw any of that stuff away. It’s gold. And it’s something we’re spending a lot of time looking at, pouring through, discussing, and we may very well develop those things further. We definitely want to.”
Of course, it may still be several years before we actually see a Star Wars 1313 video game, or the Underworld TV series, but it’s good to know that hope is not lost for the future of these projects. Let’s do all we can to keep the hype for Underworld and Star Wars 1313 alive. On that note, here is everything you need to know about the two projects, and how they could integrate into the Star Wars canon.
What is Star Wars 1313?
1313 was going to be the first Star Wars video game to have a “Mature” rating. It was formally revealed in 2012 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) and was notable for its collaboration across multiple departments at Lucasfilm, including Lucasarts, ILM, Lucasfilm Animation, and Skywalker Sound. It even used modern technologies like full-body motion capture. Although the TV series Star Wars Underworld was still in development, 1313 was conceived as a direct tie-in to the show.
The plot centered around a young Boba Fett before he was the dreaded bounty hunter we see in The Empire Strikes Back. The setting was the underworld of Coruscant, specifically the level 1313, described as one of the seediest locations on the planet (or in the galaxy, for that matter). The gameplay would focus more on gadget or weapon-based combat instead of the Force or lightsabers, as was and is common in other Star Wars games.
Unfortunately, the game was shelved in 2013, following Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm.
What is Star Wars Underworld?
Star Wars Underworld was originally announced in 2005. George Lucas announced the series along with animated series The Clone Wars. Unlike the animated show, Underworld never made it past pre-production, though some reports suggest that over 100 scripts were produced. George Lucas brought in celebrated writers like Ronald D. Moore of Battlestar Galactica fame to work on the project.
The series was going to take place between the prequel and original trilogies. It was set in the Coruscant underworld, just like Star Wars 1313. It was described as being a lot “darker, grittier, and more character-based” that many other Star Wars projects. Producer Rick McCallum also hinted at bounty hunter involvement. Think what a Star Wars series made for HBO might look like, and you’re probably not far off from what was being developed.
In 2010 George Lucas announced that the series was on hold due to concerns about the budget. Following Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, ABC president Paul Lee mentioned that they were looking at the finished scripts, but no additional info was forthcoming until Kathleen Kennedy’s recent comments that the show was not abandoned.
Incorporation into Star Wars Canon
The original concepts for Star Wars 1313 and Underworld incorporated tightly with the established Star Wars Expanded Universe and other TV shows like The Clone Wars that have remained canonical through the Disney purchase. For example, as far back as season 2 of The Clone Wars the show explored some of Coruscant’s underworld and even featured the giant pit seen in concept art for Star Wars 1313 (see above). The main character for the animated show, Ahsoka, also visits levels adjacent to 1313 when she is on the run from Coruscant authorities. So many of the ideas founded in Underworld or Star Wars 1313 have influenced other pieces of Star Wars media.
The game and the show were said to tie in directly to each other and may have also tied into The Force Unleashed video game series. Since the Disney acquisition, all of the expanded universe was labelled as Legends and the official canon started over, with only the films and The Clone Wars remaining as official canon. Lucasfilm would need to adjust the scripts for the show accordingly, and possibly the story for the game as well. For example, Boba Fett has long been rumored as the subject of an anthology film, much like the young Han Solo project currently being developed. That could put the story for Star Wars 1313 in conflict with what becomes “official” Star Wars lore. But with the right adjustments, these issues could be ironed out.
Given the influence that these stories already have had on existing Star Wars canon, it’s no wonder that Lucasfilm has not fully abandoned them. After all, they were directly influenced by George Lucas, so it makes sense that Lucasfilm would want to use that material.
The Daredevil of Star Wars
Marvel has shown tremendous success with their Netflix shows that are part of their cinematic universe (MCU), like Daredevil or Jessica Jones. What makes these shows so great is that they are so far removed from the rest of the cinematic universe, focusing on ground-level superheroes with little/no interaction with the Avengers or other larger-than-life aspects of the MCU. This gives creators added freedom since they don’t have to worry about conflicting content.
Given the concepts that we’ve heard for Star Wars Underworld and Star Wars 1313, it sounds like these projects could provide a similar approach for Lucasfilm. You could have an entire show taking place in the Coruscant underworld and never even see the surface of the planet, not to mention other worlds. It would allow Lucasfilm to tell a compelling story that doesn’t tread on the toes of other Star Wars projects. Given the fact that Lucasfilm is planning on releasing one film per year for the foreseeable future, a show with little effect on the galaxy at large could be the perfect side-project. Hopefully networks like Netflix or ABC will be ready for the challenge.