Now That Disney Owns Lucasfilm, What New TV Shows Would You Like to See?

By Noel Kirkpatrick

Nov 01, 2012

The ramifications of Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm and its various subsidiaries aren't yet known (though, given Disney’s history, we can expect the company to never let Star Wars fall into the public domain, striking yet another blow against copyright law), but it’s fun to theorize with regard to what potential TV shows could come out of it.

In that spirit, I’ve gone through Lucasfilm's various catalogs and thought about what the TV versions of some of its properties might look like, as well as where they might fit within Disney’s TV mediascape. Since Disney tends to be highly controlling, the vast majority of the series it produces in-house end up on Disney-owned channels (ABC, A & E, Lifetime, Disney Channel, etc.), which limits the number of networks where new programs might appear. Thus, you'll have to think a bit imaginatively about how Disney might exploit the properties and series ideas listed below.

Also: Almost all of these ideas are actually based on properties from LucasArts, the video game branch of Lucasfilm—but that’s largely because it's the one with the fewest Star Wars properties.

So with all that said, here are five now-Disney-owned properties I think could work on television. Name the ones you'd like to see on the small screen in the comments!

That long-rumored “dark” Star Wars live-action series

Tim mentioned this project in his Tuesday's News Briefs. There are (supposedly) already around 50 scripts written for this project about the criminal and political dealings following the events of Revenge of the Sith, but Lucas and company have been holding back, waiting for the technology to become possible and, presumably, for television-production practices to maker the project economically viable.

Essentially, the show would need to air on a major premium cable outlet in order to work, and Disney just doesn’t have that. But I cannot imagine, provided the forthcoming S.H.I.E.L.D. series is successful (not to mention the video game Star Wars: 1313 and the just-announced Star Wars: Episode VII) that Disney won’t figure out a way to do some sort of Star Wars TV series (maybe something based on the Rogue Squadron books, but minus space combat? Rogue Commandos, maybe?)

Maniac Mansion

Maniac Mansion was actually already turned into a TV series that aired on, amusingly enough, The Family Channel from 1990 to 1993. That series veered pretty heavily away from the source material’s B-movie hijinks and more risque elements (oh, Edna) to achieve a more kid-friendly premise.

Sadly, a straight adaptation of Maniac Mansion just wouldn’t fit anywhere on a Disney-owned channel, and the challenge of balancing the humor and the horror—to say nothing of the iconic green tentacle—likely dooms the property to remaining undeveloped, unless Disney were to offer it up to Time Warner and tell the folks at Adult Swim to just go nuts.

Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders

Along with Maniac Mansion, this was one of LucasArts’ first adventure games for various platforms. The game follows the reporter Zak McKracken as he, along with a scientist and two university students, tries to stop an alien invasion. Despite the success of the game, and the positive reviews at the time, LucasArts never did much with the property. But given the game’s playful weirdness (aliens, Elvis, a humming that lowers intelligence), it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to de-age the characters a tad (not a lot), transform it into an animated series, and pair it with the Disney Channel’s already delightfully odd Gravity Falls.

Monkey Island

Beyond Star Wars, this is the property that Disney should pounce on when it comes to developing a show. The games are bright, fun, and were designed to be player-friendly at a time when such adventure games were designed not to be. Set in and around the Caribbean during the best days of piracy in the 18th century, a Monkey Island series on Disney Junior could be a neat educational show in the spirit of Little Einsteins. I can totally see Guybrush Threepwood leading sing-alongs and teaching kids about music and art.

Grim Fandango

Set in a sort of cartoon neo-noir world inhabited mostly by skeletal calaca characters and influenced by notions of the Aztec afterlife, Grim Fandango is about Manny Calavera, a travel agent for the dead who tries to helps deserving soul Meche reach the final destination quicker than others. But the world is ripe with crime and corruption, and Manny struggles to help Meche, as well as other "clients." The game drew heavily on Hollywood films of the 1940s, and would make an ideal Disney XD animated series.

I admit that I left Sam & Max off this list, but that’s because I'm not entirely sure whether Lucasfilm still has the rights to it or not. And I also left out Howard the Duck, but I figure someone’s already hard at work on it now that Marvel and Lucasfilm are together at long last.

What else did I miss? Or do you have a different idea for these shows? Sound off in the comments.

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  • Arogance1 Nov 04, 2012

    Disney already said the 1st POtC was nicked from the Monkey Island series.

    Did LucasArts make The Dig? That was made akin to a movie and was awesome

  • JT_Kirk Nov 03, 2012

    Lucas I think was holding back on his "gritty" Star Wars show basically because he wanted total creative control over it, a guaranteed 3 seasons minimum without risk of cancellation, and the ability to hold an audience, but realized that meant paying out of pocket for the entire show without a guarantee that anybody would air it. It's sad how poorly NBC Universal has ruined the Sci-Fi Channel that there was no chance of a Star Wars television show being on it. Still, USA, FX, TNT, almost any ad-supported cabler could have made a meal out of it, just not with all the costs of doing it entirely Lucas' way, some compromises have to be made for a current TV budget, there's no way to make a cinema-quality hour-long sci-fi show that reaches a large enough audience to justify its cost in any scenario, and Lucas should have either conceptualized around that or bit the bullet and sold it on itunes or something.

    Lucas really wants a show that is available to a large audience, and one that's open to kids and adults alike, so premium cable is out IMO, it's a major cabler or even a network show, or it's nothing. So, what could they do with location and sets? Well, a lot really, if you look at the original Star Wars that's all it was, locations and sets, I know Lucas wants to be the king of greenscreen but actors are removed from the process to a degree and it's obviously too expensive. Then again, if they're building digital sets for the new movies, they could just recycle those. Honestly, I think a new SW dramatic show should involve less Jedi and politicians, instead focusing more on smugglers and troopers and leaders who actually are believable getting their hands dirty (this is what made Leia so enchanting and Padme so bland). Lucas wanted to do a bounty hunter show, and that felt kinda gimmicky to me, but it's better than watching people yammer about the senate and walk around sterile halls all day.

  • darkitp Nov 03, 2012

    i am thinking that C-3PO and R2-D2 would join modern family as Newly married gay couple

  • qbe_64 Nov 02, 2012

    Omigod! I love Grim Fandango. I will watch the shit out of that show. Hell, I'll watch it LIVE if they make it.

  • Writerpatrick Nov 02, 2012

    Disney bought LucasFILM, but I don't know if they also bought LucasARTS. The games may not be Disney owned so we may not see any game related shows.

    But they so need a Monkey Island movie. The trouble is that Disney already has Pirates of the Caribbean. But a Monkey Island TV series would be a great idea. They could cash in on the PotC interest while still being different enough for rights and other issues not to get in the way.

    One of the least likely titles for Disney to do anything with would be Full Throttle. Just imagine dystopian bikers running through Disneyland.

  • JT_Kirk Nov 03, 2012

    Lucasfilm was defined in the press release as also being known as Industrial Light & Magic and LucasArts, so all those properties come with. Not mentioned in the press release or anything so far that I've seen regarding this sale of Lucasfilm is Indiana Jones though.

  • noelrk Nov 03, 2012

    Except that Lucasfilm owns LucasArts, and was included in the acquisition. So...yeah.

  • turmoil23 Nov 02, 2012

    Yeah film is not arts. I would make only cartoons out of this games, maybe some for Adult Swim, eg Full Throttle cause there is already a bikers show and its called Sons of Anarchy.

  • JeroenMeijering Nov 02, 2012

    A cartoon remake of the star wars movies with Disney characters, "Donald... Mickey is your father!".

    If Disney also bought the star trek franchise that would be so great.

    And we now expect a Howard the Duck sequel obviously.

  • LucaMaltaglia Nov 02, 2012

    Grim Fandango. Better as a movie or miniseries. Or anything for that matter, such a perfect story.

    I would like also to see Maniac Mansion yes.

    Even if Monkey Island would be the most profitable I guess, but there's the risk of a Pirates of the Caribbean overlap (but, on the other hand, Monkey Island is known enough to retain its own identity also for the public).

  • JeremyStratten Nov 02, 2012

    Monkey Island would surely become a hit now that each Pirates of the Caribbean movie makes a billion $, a weekly show about pirates seems like a no-brainer, easy money. They could even use some if not all of the sets from the movies to cut costs.

  • turmoil23 Nov 02, 2012

    Thing is MI is based on Pirates of the Caribbean disney game, so i guess they didnt mind much when the PotC movies stole some ideas from the MI games

  • JeremyStratten Nov 02, 2012

    Don't forget the game Full Throttle, especially now that Sons of Anarchy is very popular.

  • DawsonLeery Nov 02, 2012

    I would definately watch Monkey Island (they can even start by turning the first four games into a series of two seasons) and Grim Fandango for sure (A movie, a new game, cartoons, anything with Grim Fandango would work for me, especially if they use this amazing soundtrack, which is one of the best in gaming history... Now, now, where was my OST? One, two,three... *and stary rhyming Companeros*) ... Sorry, I got a bit excited when I saw the name of Grim Fandango after many years...

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