Casting Begins For STAR WARS TV Series

George Lucas is throwing out a wide net for actors to populate his live-action show.
Knowing star Rose Byrne told MTV News's ERIC DITZIAN on March 9th that "a lot of [her] friends are auditioning for" Star Wars creator Lucas's first ongoing, live-action TV series.

Byrne had a "wonderful" time when she spent a week shooting Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, "standing behind Natalie [Portman] looking very demure and supportive." But the Golden Globe nominee won't be trying out for the show herself. "I'm on a show [FX's Damages]. I don't know if I look that good in space."

The untitled series, which was announced by Lucas in April 2005 at the Celebration III convention in Indianapolis, will focus on minor characters from the six-chapter movie saga and be set in the 19-year period between Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV - A New Hope, referred to as "the dark times" by Obi-Wan Kenobi. The action will follow the Rebel Alliance as it slowly gains strength against the Galactic Empire of Emperor Palpatine. During this time, the last of the Jedi will be hunted down by Darth Vader. However, the show will not feature Palpatine, Vader or the Jedi.

"The Emperor and Darth Vader are heard about -- people talk about them -- but you never see them because it doesn't take place where they actually are," Lucas has said. "There are stormtroopers and all that, but there are no Jedis."

Instead, according to producer Rick McCallum, the show will focus on "a lot of characters that we haven't met that have been developed in some of the novels and other things. ... Finally, we could have the opportunity to answer everybody's questions once and for all by the time we finish the series."

When asked recently for more details, McCallum simply said, "Think about bounty hunter; that's all I can tell you."

Indeed, the most famous bounty hunter, Boba Fett, may play a significant supporting role in the series, with Daniel Logan reprising his role from Episode II. A teaser image shown at Toy Fair 2007 featured a close-up of Fett's iconic helmet.

Also, according to Lucas, major characters from the films may have cameos. But most of the stories will be told from the perspective of minor characters.

Originally, 100 one hour-long episodes were proposed, but, at Celebration Europe in July 2007, McCallum explained that it may run up to 400 episodes, and "it's something that can go on for years and years." Lucas has described his vision of "one show that will split into four shows, focusing on different characters."

On the style of the series, McCallum stated, "It is going to be much darker, much grittier, and it's much more character based" than the films. Lucas has said that his "Deadwood meets The Sopranos in Space" will be "bare-bones" and "action-heavy", and will be for more mature audiences like those of Battlestar Galactica and Firefly.

Lucas will write and produce the first season, and then "hand it off from there", while remaining general overseer for the duration. As with the technically-groundbreaking Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, principal photography for the new show will take place globally, with a base likely in Sydney, according to McCallum. Using Hi-Definition cameras, Lucas & Co "will do what would typically cost $20 million, for $1 million." The plan is to shoot a year's worth of episodes before seeking a cable channel (probably HBO) on which to air the series, with a current debut goal of 2011.

So, though he stated after Episode III that he was looking forward to (in paraphrase) "shooting some long-planned, little independent films no one will want to see," Lucas is, according to FilmDrunk's VINCE MANCINI, "still milking Star Wars ' old, curdled teat" by producing an animated feature and TV show, and now the live-action series.

"After retarded Jamaican alien Jar-Jar Binks [in the prequel trilogy] and his gay Jabba the Hutt based on Truman Capote characters [in the animated Clone Wars], who knows what delicious surprises Lucas has in store for us this time!" commented Mancini. "Ooh, I know! How 'bout Han Solo has a Puerto Rican niece, based on Rosie Perez?"

While ROB BRICKEN of Topless Robot agrees about the "homosexual stereotype Hutts, ...such is my eternal love for Star Wars that I'm plenty excited about this, no matter what problems may have come before. Frankly, I've had enough of the main characters in the movies, especially the Jedi, so seeing other parts of the Star Wars universe is fine by me."

"If this is Deadwood meets Sopranos set on Tatooine, I'm there," added MATT in the Topless Robot Comments section. "But if it's...remotely close to the shite Ewok special [TV films]? Forget it. I'm done with Lucas until he begins farming his universe to more capable people like Kevin Smith."

[Thanks to Sci Fi Wire.]
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