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Editorials

1997-1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002+



X-Wing TV Series Should Fly

Flash back to the summer of 1996. Young Scott Chitwood sits in a discussion forum at Texas A&M with Howard Roffman (Head of Lucasfilm Licensing, I believe), Steve Sansweet, Kevin J. Anderson, and others at Aggiecon. This is several months before the Star Wars Page at Texas A&M was created and about a year before the SE's premiered. The subject of a Star Wars TV series came up. I believe we asked why a Star Wars cartoon based on the X-Wing series or Young Jedi Knights series wasn't in the works. The gist of Howard Roffman's reply was that #1. Effects technology for TV wasn't up to Lucas' standards. #2. They didn't want to saturate the market with Star Wars. We took it as the final word and moved on.

Present day: I'm in the middle of reading X-WING: WRAITH SQUADRON by Aaron Allston. I'm completely blown away by this book. I love it! It's got all the action, humor, characterizations, and cool space battles that you've come to expect from Star Wars. Again, I find myself saying, "This would make an incredible TV series!"

We hear that Lucasfilm keeps their ear toward the Net to gauge fan's reactions and opinions, so I thought I'd make a case for Lucasfilm to give an X-Wing series the green light. Here goes!

EFFECTS: One of Roffman's points was that the effects weren't up to par for television. Now I don't know about you guys, but I've seen the effects on the Star Trek series and the Babylon 5 series. Based on those effects, it doesn't take a big stretch of the imagination to see X-Wings in a dogfight on the TV screen. Spaceships seem to be one of the easier effects to create with CGI. It seems to be within the realm of possibility. Besides, look at TROOPS or Nick Brandt's trailers. All those effects are pretty good, and they were all done in a guy's spare time on home computers. Imagine if they were paid to do that stuff. So, it would seem that effects would not be a problem for an X-Wing series.

STORYLINE: They've already got a great storyline! Lucasfilm owns the stories told in the novels and comics. They would translate into a great show, with a chapter each week. Wouldn't you love to see the liberation of Coruscant? Corran Horn's training as a Jedi? They know they already have a story the fans will like. Plus, that storyline will only take a set number of shows to tell. At the end, Lucasfilm could bail out or continue. No problemo.

ACTORS: The beauty of an X-Wing series would be that they could use all unknowns. It would be great to see a bunch of fresh faces in the SW Universe, right? Most people would say "You can't do a Star Wars series without the original actors!" Actually, I feel you could. Look how many big stars today started out in TV. In this case, the series would make the star, not the star making the series. Plus, depending on when you set the show chronologically, you could even bring in Mark Hamill, Denis Lawson, or Anthony Daniels for cameos, right?

MERCHANDISING: At the heart of Lucasfilm's concerns would be licensing. An X-Wing series would bring up a whole new line of toys, games, and other stuff that could be sold. You could actually make figures based on characters with speaking lines. You could create new ships, aliens, droids, etc. It would be like a license to print money.

NETWORK: The Fox network would be perfect for hosting the show. Besides being owned by 20th Century Fox, it has shown in the past that it is the most "Sci-Fi Friendly" with X-Files, Millennium, etc etc.

OTHER: One of the biggest reasons that I, as a fan, would like to see this series is that it would be one of the few shows on TV a whole family could sit down and watch together. Take, for example, Darin's family. Darin loves Star Wars. Darin's Dad enjoys it. Darin's nephews enjoy it. That's three generations that could all sit down and watch something together without fighting over the remote. How often does that happen in your house?

BUT WHAT ABOUT...Lucasfilm's other TV adventures? Remember the Star Wars Holiday Special? Remember the Droids/Ewoks Cartoons? Remember the Ewok Adventures? Remember Young Indiana Jones? Some of them were good. Some of them were mediocre. Some of them were REALLY bad. But none of them just blew away the ratings. That alone might make networks and Lucasfilm wary of venturing into TV land. But do you know why they bombed? They strayed away from the formula. I absolutely love Indiana Jones. But the TV series was trying to do something different from the films. I obviously love Star Wars, but the Holiday Special made me throw up. The Ewok Adventures were also not sticking to the films. An X-Wing series has the potential to be most faithful to the movies. Throw in enough action and effects, and you'll do OK.

Well, I've covered every department but one. Roffman mentioned that Lucasfilm didn't want to saturate the market with Star Wars. That's the only valid argument I see against doing an X-Wing series. People are going to be so sick of Star Wars by the end of Episode 1 that we'll NEED 2 or 3 years till Episode 2 in order to be ready for more. But the movies are going to run till like 2004 or something. What time does that leave for an X-Wing series?? Next to none, I'm afraid, until after the films. Is there any hope for an X-Wing series?

Good question. I'd say that the chances are slim. Lucasfilm has it's full focus towards the prequels. They probably won't even consider something like this until the next millennium. So what we have to do is keep the idea fresh in their minds for after the prequels. Let them know that there's a market for it, and maybe they'll deliver. If the Force is with us, maybe you'll see Rogue Squadron blast out of your TV set into your home.

MTFBWY!

Scott Chitwood
02/26/98

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