ABC President Talks ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ and Star Wars Live-Action TV Series

Published 2 years ago by

shield star wars tv shows ABC President Talks S.H.I.E.L.D. and Star Wars Live Action TV Series

ABC Entertainment owns the television airing rights for two lucrative geek brands, now that parent company Walt Disney Pictures controls Marvel and has acquired Lucasfilm from Star Wars creator George Lucas. The network is prepping Joss Whedon’s S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series, with production getting underway this month for a Fall TV season debut.

Network president Paul Lee cites the Marvel universe’s cross-generational appeal and Whedon’s storytelling style as reasons to be hopeful that the S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot gets picked up for series. Meanwhile, there are plans to re-examine the dormant Star Wars live-action TV show – which is a carryover from Lucas’ administration – and determine whether or not that’s something worth pursing.

Whedon’s show brings together Avengers veteran Clark Gregg reprising his Agent Phil Coulson, with television actors Ming-Na Wen (Stargate Universe) and Chloe Bennet (Nashville) among those playing S.H.I.E.L.D. employees created for the small screen. Speculation points to Samuel L. Jackson showing up as organization head Nick Fury (admittedly, the actor’s stirring that pot himself), but otherwise the series is shaping up as a separate entity that does not overlap with the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline (e.g. Coulson’s alive and fine).

S.H.I.E.L.D. is expected to follow the template of Whedon’s cult TV creations Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, examining contemporary family identity and moral responsibilities through a pop culture show that breezily see-saws between tongue-in-cheek action and serious drama (a la The Avengers). That is, we anticipate as much emphasis on the (dysfunctional?) team dynamic as the characters’ world-saving deeds.

Joss Whedon SHIELD TV Series ABC President Talks S.H.I.E.L.D. and Star Wars Live Action TV Series

Lee assures IGN that his fellow ABC executives recognize the series’ potential, in terms of how it meets the network’s “smart with heart” criteria that means they have more shows watched by parents and kids together (known as “co-viewed shows”):

“Absolutely Marvel has the ability to bring the whole family around it. The truth about Joss is he has some great relationships in [S.H.I.E.L.D.] so there are a lot of really funny, male/female relationships – very flirtatious ones that go through it. But it’s also Joss too and it’s Marvel and there’s a lot of action to it.”

The relatively diverse S.H.I.E.L.D. casting has Lee believing the show can appeal to “men and women and kids,” rather than just Marvel’s target male demographic. Hence, ABC heads will be watching the pilot earlier than those for other prospective new TV properties and plan to initiate marketing shortly after giving the series an official green-light (chances are good that will happen):

“By the way, the script’s great. So I don’t want to jinx it, because that may not mean a good pilot or a good series, but we’re very excited about it. Joss is wonderful to work with. And by the way, [he's] thrilled to be on television, which I’m enjoying!”

Whedon’s last small screen foray, Dollhouse, wasn’t exactly a satisfying venture, but coming off Avengers‘ $1.5. billion theatrical returns – and the increased carte blanche creative control that comes with it – has probably buoyed his spirits.

star wars spinoffs kasdan kinberg ABC President Talks S.H.I.E.L.D. and Star Wars Live Action TV Series

Meanwhile, ABC could be dusting off the 50 hours’ worth of scripts assembled by Lucas, producer Rick McCallum and geek-favorite writers like Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica, Caprica) for a live-action Star Wars TV series that unfolds during the years separating the prequel and “original” film trilogies. Lee’s informed EW that such an option is being considered right now:

“We’d love to do something with Lucasfilm, we’re not sure what yet. We haven’t even sat down with them. We’re going to look at [the live-action series], we’re going to look at all of them, and see what’s right. We weren’t able to discuss this with them until [the acquisition] closed and it just closed. It’s definitely going to be part of the conversation.”

However, the potential cost may prevent this. Lucas’ original estimates were that the required effects will cost $150-200 million or an average $3-5 million episode price tag; though, before the acquisition, steps were being taken by the filmmaker and Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) to reduce expenses to $50-60 million (or $1 million per episode). Indeed, Lee admits the scale and approach preferred by new Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy will affect their decision:

“It’s going to be very much up to the Lucasfilm brands how they want to play it. We got to a point here with Marvel, a very special point, where we’re in the Marvel universe, and very relevantly so, but we’re not doing The Avengers. But S.H.I.E.L.D. is part of The Avengers. So maybe something oblique is the way to [approach the Star Wars universe] rather than going straight head-on at it.”

For more about the show’s rumored concept and connection to the upcoming Star Wars: 1313 video game, check out the full article over at EW.


Source: EW, IGN

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. S.H.I.E.L.D. and Star Wars on tv and on the same night would be complete geekgasm :D

  2. glæder mig til dem begge

  3. cant wait for shield!!

  4. What? Shield WONT be a part of te same marvel U as the movies? My interest just went from a 9/10 to 2/10

    • It will be it just appears to be ‘earlier’ then the gathering of the Avengers.

      Remember as noted in the movie The Avengers initiative had been in process before and was put on hold.

      The show may be about (or have parts) about this.

      • It could easily be in the MCU and in the current timeline. It wouldn’t be the first time a comic character has had a resurrection.

        • I was just going by this comment “but otherwise the series is shaping up as a separate entity that does not overlap with the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline (e.g. Coulson’s alive and fine).”

          I take that as meaning it happens in the MMCU just not during (or obviously after based on Coulsons death) The Avengers movie.

  5. “Smart with Heart” – shows that parents can watch with their kids…this coming from the network airing “The B**** in Apt. 23″? Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for a show that I can watch with my kids, but I’m not sure network standards hold up to my household’s standards.

    Still, I can’t wait to watch SHIELD and pray that a Star Wars show comes to fruition.

  6. If they went back to the practical effects with minimal CGI, I’m quite sure the costs of production would plummet.

    • The problem is that some sets can get quite expensive. TV shows tend to take place in several locations (especially stuff in the Marvel Universe), so unless they shoot on-location (which involves travel and lodging expenses for an entire crew with the added addition of shipping the needed equipment),CGI and plates are sometimes the cheaper way to go.

  7. It’d be quite cool is someone had the vision to do a TV show on a movie budget! Money could be recouped through DVD and series boxset sales. It’d be amazing to see something amazing and earth shattering on a tv screen!

    • Ever heard of HBO?

      • Why HBO does give it shows a descent budget, it nowhere near a movie budget through. Has had been demonstrated on games of thrones which have avoided showing the large scales battles that are in the books on screen. HBO shows usually have lower costs than network tv. But because they on cable they have less rules about what they have to pay to actors, what they can show and film. I think the main reason they look better is because the directors are given much more creative control than on Network tv plus HBO is adept at using the international filming scene to get tax breaks, over 6 million from Northern Island alone.

  8. As long as it’s not a Jar Jar Binks spinoff, I’m all for it.

    • Thanks for giving them ideas…

      • Haha the adventures of jar jar and young annoying anakin. Cant wait lol

  9. dear lord yes. My pants just got tighter

    • Put down the cake and step away from it. Do it now!

  10. Surely it not just the scale that will matter with Starwars but its about its organisational structure. I think to do something as huge as Star wars live action series they will need a dedicated team of CGI artists that just works on that show all the time and nothing else. Otherwise you just going to end up with ILM always putting it resources behind the films and producers having to go to third party studios to get stuff done. An having almost 3 seasons of material to also help reduce costs.

    Aknot 2 days ago

    I always expected that the TV show and film will have to put some distance between each one. Especially as actors use to doing blockbuster films on blockbuster budgets will not like the lower pay on offer for TV work combine with the longer hours. Plus then the special effects, they enormously expensive, and ABC have cut corners there before, V for example has some terrible VFX.

  11. Where´s the SHIELD logo from? The three dimensional on the very top? That looks great.

  12. it would be tight if they had tha new star wars movies followed by tha show that tells what happens between movies like other adventures and missions

  13. In the series,it could be said that S.H.I.E.L.D. employed a Life-Model-Decoy___an L.M.D.____during the time of the Chitauri attack,and that is
    why the Real Coulson remained alive at the time of the TV series.

    Now that Disney owns Marvel,they should be aware of the storylines.

  14. They could call it The Man from S.H.I.E.L.D. , set it in the 1960′s and film all 4 seasons using the same 3 sets – it’ll save them a fortune !!