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