Though feature films are still the crown jewel for many tentpole franchises, several studios have developed extensive, multimedia empires in recent years to expand their brand. Few properties are as prevalent in this regard as Star Wars, which complements its movie slate with a wide array of books, comics, video games, and animated television series. All of these work together to flesh out the universe as a whole and give fans plenty of ways to enjoy their favorite galaxy.
One of the few areas where Star Wars does not have a presence is live-action TV. Their Disney brethren Marvel have found a great deal of success with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC and their collection of Netflix series, but Lucasfilm has yet to jump into that pool. Many viewers are hopeful that they will one day, and rumors keep popping up periodically. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like this is a priority for the studio.
In an interview with THR (hat tip CBR), Disney Media Networks Co-Chairman and Disney-ABC Television President Ben Sherwood provided an update on the development of a hypothetical live-action Star Wars show. While he remains hopeful it will eventually come into fruition, he cautions fans to not get too excited about the possibility:
“Somewhere we hope in a galaxy not too far away there will be a television show that will air on one of our networks. But I wouldn’t get anybody’s hopes up too high. They have a lot of movies to make between now and then.”
Lucasfilm has a full slate of films scheduled through at least 2020, and they will be quite busy on making those over the next handful of years. It’s true that Marvel was able to do both TV and movies, but it’s important to keep in mind that all studios are different. Star Wars rests on the decisions of Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, meaning it’s up to her which direction it goes. If she doesn’t feel the time is right to move forward on a live-action series, then it’s better if they don’t rush into something just for the sake of getting it on the air.
In the meantime, Star Wars has enjoyed the fruits of the small screen via their animated programs like Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, which is just about to start its third season. During his interview, Sherwood mentioned that ABC and Disney are engaged in “ongoing conversations” with Lucasfilm to iron out the details of the next Star Wars animated show. Rebels will still be going strong for another few seasons, but when it ends, the network would obviously love to have something lined up to take its place. A series that takes place between Return of the Jedi and Force Awakens has potential, or maybe Lucasfilm can explore the Old Republic time period in the new canon.
It is somewhat disappointing that there won’t be a live-action Star Wars show soon, but so far it hasn’t been that much of a detriment to the franchise. As long as Lucasfilm keeps delivering high-quality content through their various channels, there won’t be too many complaints. And besides, what comes after Episode IX remains a mystery for the time being, so Lucasfilm could come through with something towards the end of the decade. Fans will just have to wait and see.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.