George Lucas announced today that plans for the new Star Wars television shows had been finalized, with production slated to begin in the fall. An animated show is still under wraps, but Lucas revealed some details on the live action project, entitled "Star Wars: Tatooine Dreams." It focuses on the story of a still young Darth Vader making his way as a discipline of the Sith after the events of the third prequel. We were able to get an interview with Lucas about the upcoming show, with some exclusive information about characters and early episodes:
Socratic: Could you describe Tatooine Dreams to our audience?
George Lucas: Tatooine Dreams will skew younger than many Star Wars fans might expect after the more intense action of Revenge of the Sith. This is a young Vader, unsure of himself, still finding his way in the galaxy. For example in the first episode he has a bit of a tiff with Palpatine, who choked the lead singer of his favorite Cantina band to death, and Vader runs away to Nar Shadda, this big city on a moon circling the Hutts' homeworld. He gets a small apartment and hooks up with some friends and they go shopping and hang out, you know, typical adolescent stuff. It's pretty neat, actually you can buy some of the merchandise they pick up at the Lucasarts Online Shop. Anyway, Palpatine shows up doing his whole Darth Sidious thing and threatens to destroy the planet and they get in this huge argument. I won't tell you how it gets resolved.
S: Interesting. Does Vader find being a deadly cyborg problematic in terms of his new relationships?
GL: Well, it's like any other disability. We really want to be sensitive to people out there who might have "Different" capabilities. So there's an episode where Vader gets a bit of a Juma Juice problem after this girl rejects him because of how he looks. We really want to show the realistic downside to being a faceless killing machine.
S: There's some crossover potential with this series too, right?
GL: Oh definitely, definitely. For example, in October we've got some episodes where Dr. Phil joins the show as this character I wrote, Phillius Micgrauw. He sort of mediates between Sidious and Vader some, and then he helps Vader take responsibility for his kids, who are, you know, out there. Luke comes on the show, and we fudge ages a little here, and he's upset, you know, because Vader hasn't been there. Meanwhile Vader doesn't want to give up his fancy Sith lifestyle to take care of a kid, so Dr. Phillius tells him that he needs to get real, and that you can find a balance between ruling the galaxy with an iron fist and good parenting. He gives Vader a copy of his book, Family First, and together they help form an action plan to create a stronger bond between Luke and his father.
S: Doesn't that sort of conflict with some of the material from the original trilogy.
GL: Yeah, a little, we went back and digitally edited some lines. So for example where Vader used to say "I am your father" he now says "Remember the encounter sessions with Dr. Phillius. I don't feel that you're validating my role as a parent." And instead of saying "No, that's not true, that's impossible" Luke says "Well I don't feel like you've been there as a father to me. I feel closer to Obi Wan than I do to you." And instead of getting in a big fight they hug. It's really an improvement over the original, and it'll be released in the super duper special awesome editions that will come out along with Tatooine Dreams and the DVD for episode 3.
S: Do you feel that you risk alienating some fans with this new show, which is a departure from much of what they have loved about the movies?
GL: No, no, not really. We've been very successful with Star Wars television properties in the past. Who can forget the Ewok Adventure Christmas Special? This is following in those footsteps, and it'll create new fans. I think there's a lot of appeal for people who like shows like The Gilmore Girls, or The O.C. We actually thought for awhile about switching Vader's line when he discovers Obi Wan on the Death Star to "Welcome to the D.S., bitch" but we decided against that mostly because we didn't want to be TOO much like those other properties. But I think there's a lot of room in the market for a show like Tatooine Dreams and I'm excited. There are some great stories we have left to tell about Vader's young adulthood and what it's like to be a lord of the Dark Side and the imperial army so young. He wants to party, but there are worlds to conquer, and you know he can't...ummm..perform sexually in the suit so there's an issue there. He's getting over Amidala and dealing with his old attachment to Obi Wan and his new love hate thing with Palpatine, so there's a lot to work with.
S: You mentioned that Luke will be appearing in the Dr. Phil specials, isn't there going to be a bit of an issue with Mark Hamil's age?
GL: No, no. Mark Hamil was great as Luke, but we're going in a different direction. We've chosen Chad Michael Murray as sort of a new Luke for the hip generation. Ashton Kutcher was also in the running but we felt he was a little too...serious...as an actor. Not quite as light as we'd things to be. So yeah. We're probably going to go back and digitally remove Mark from the original films, replacing him with Chad. We feel that it's time to update Luke's image. We also might take out Harrison Ford and put in like a Liev Shreiber type. I've always thought of Han as a little more Jewish than he came off the way Ford played him. You know he's sort of obsessed with money and a little shady, so there's like a Hebrew side to him. We'll see.
S: Well thank you. Is there anything else you'd like to say.
GL: Yeah. Tune in. I think Tatooine Dreams is going to be great, it's a really a young person's Star Wars with all the exciting learning and growing that happens at that age. This is a little more of an Emo Vader than you might be used to, we're going to license some new tracks from Dashboard Confessional and Jimmy Eat World for the first season, but I think you'll really like it, and yeah, it's still Star Wars right. It's still exciting.
S: Thank you very much George Lucas.
GL: Thank you.
Tatooine Dreams premieres Tuesday September 13 at 9 PM on the WB.
Pictured are Mark Hamil as Luke Skywalker and Chad Michael Murray, his replacement.