At the recent TCAs, ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey said that talks are still ongoing between the network and Lucasfilm, two divisions of corporate parent Disney, for live action prime time series based on Star Wars. “We have had conversations, and we will continue to have conversations with Lucasfilm. It would be wonderful to extend the franchise.”
This comes as no surprise as Disney has been going full-Death Star with the franchise since acquiring Lucasfilm in 2012. A second animated series, Rebels airs on Disney XD, Episode VII was released last year, the first anthology film, Rogue One releases this December, Episode VIII is in production, and Disney’s theme parks are greatly expanding the presence of Star Wars in the parks.
In addition, Disney has already brought two of its other acquired properties, Marvel and the Muppets, to ABC although the latter had trouble finding an audience, not helped by creative issues with the production.
But what will the possible series entail? It could be anything – they may be discussing the possibility of the setting as part of the negotiations. But we are reminded of how five years ago George Lucas was hot on a live action series so much that they wrote as many as 50 multiple draft scripts for a series set between Episodes III and IV, which may still be available. At the time it was too expensive to actually produce. However, this is the same time period already covered by Rebels as well as the upcoming Rogue One and the second anthology movie about Han Solo, making it a crowded space – and it is possible that some of the plots were re-tuned for the other projects.
Personally, with the expanded timeline that the Star Wars universe already has, I’d like to see them explore a completely different time period, perhaps dealing with the initial reformation of the Sith and the early Republic, whether they use the former Expanded Universe as the basis or not.
It appears that execs weren’t happy with some of the test results from the Time After Time pilot, so some changes are being made – although nothing similar to the level of the changes being made to MacGyver.
The role of Vanessa Anders, a philanthropist and collector who is the modern day owner of the time machine and H.G. Wells great granddaughter as seen in the trailer below, was played by Regina Taylor (The Unit) in the pilot. But audiences weren’t as happy with the character as the rest of the pilot, resulting in the decision to rework the character and replacing Taylor with Nicole Ari Parker (Boogie Nights, Revolution).
It seems like today was deadline day on the pickups, and ABC swung the bat both ways. In my despondency over the loss of The Muppets and Castle, I was saved by the news that the network at least picked up Time After Time the series we’ve been reporting on based on the Karl Alexander novel and previously made into a 1979 feature film. We have high hopes for this one.
To no one’s surprise, ABC officially canceled Marvel’s Agent Carter after two seasons, given a nearly 50% drop in ratings and star Haley Atwell getting a new series pickup by ABC with Conviction.
Also on the plus side is that Supergirl will make the giant leap from CBS to sibling network The CW, rather than being sentenced to the Phantom Zone at least. There it will join three other Berlanti Productions-made superhero cousins: Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow. It will also join them physically, with production officially relocating to Vancouver, as we expected would happen. This is a cost-cutting movie that Warner Bros TV was already planning regardless which network picked it up. We expect there may be some additional cuts as well before production picks up. How this could also affect planned storylines remains to be seen as well. The CW also picked up three new series: Riverdale, based on the Archie Comics characters; No Tomorrow, about a straight-laced distribution center manager and a freewheeling man knocking off items on their bucket list because they believe the apocalypse is coming; and Frequency, a series adaptation of the 2000 feature film, with a female police detective who discovers she can communicate with her deceased father in the past via a ham radio.
Tidbits: Rod Roddenberry joins Star Trek; McShane to American Gods; ABC early pickups; will Doctor attend Class?
Some Thursday tidbits for you…
Rod Roddenberry, the son of the “Great Bird of the Galaxy”, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and president of Roddenberry Entertainment, will join the upcoming Star Trek series for CBS All Access as an executive producer, along with chief operating officer Trevor Roth. Roddenberry Entertainment will co-produce the series.
Actor Ian McShane (Deadwood) will play the mysterious con man Mr. Wednesday in Starz’ series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, where the gods of myth are about to enter a war against the gods of modern society representing money, power, etc.
ABC gave quite a few early pickups to its shows, including Once Upon A Time and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Absent, at least so far, is Agent Carter, which appears to be a long shot at this point – especially since star Haley Atwell has signed on to do a pilot for ABC. While Carter currently operates on a half-season schedule it is possible that if the other show is also half-season she could do both, but the shows only modest ratings already were pointing at an ending for the show.
And finally, the Radio Times is reporting that Peter Capaldi is set to show up in the upcoming Doctor Who spinoff Class which is set at the Coal Hill School – where the very first episode of Doctor Who started and where Clara Oswald had been teaching. “It wil[sic] have a close connection with Doctor Who so don’t be surprised if Peter pops up,” according to someone close to the production. Now, my interpretation of that statement is that it isn’t definite Capaldi will appear, but that the story will allow for it.
With several official live action spin-off series in the history of the show (K-9 and Company (only one episode produced), Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures, and K-9), the Doctor only appeared on The Sarah Jane Adventures – but he did so in two incarnations: both David Tennant and Matt Smith appeared in separate two-parters.
A couple of tidbits this weekend…
Syfy’s Channel Zero: Candle Cove finally has a director. Craig William Macneill (The Boy) will take the reigns for all six episodes. Candle Cove is expected to debut in October. A second 6-episode story which has not been named yet will follow in 2017.
And just days after it was announced that Freddie Stroma would play H.G. Wells in ABC’s pilot Time After Time, we now know who will play his nemesis. Revenge‘s Josh Bowman will take on the dark mantle of Dr. John Stevenson, a surgeon and a friend of Wells, who in fact moonlights as Jack the Ripper. Stevenson steals Wells’ time machine and escapes to the modern day.
Freddie Stroma, who played Cormac MacLaggan in the final three Harry Potter films and more recently Adam Cromwell on UnReal, has signed on to play the author of “The Time Machine” who, in Karl Alexander’s 1979 novel after which the series is named, builds an actual working time machine, only to have it stolen by none other than Jack the Ripper and taken to the present day. Wells then embarks on a chase to stop Jack from killing again. The original novel, which was also the basis of a 1979 film starring Malcolm McDowell in the starring role, will be used as a starting point for the series.
ABC commissioned the pilot from Warner Bros. TV. Kevin Williamson wrote the pilot and will executive produce, with Marcos Siega directing.
The 1979 movie Time After Time by Nicholas Meyer, based on and concurrently written with the novel of the same name by Karl Alexander, is set to become a series from Kevin Williamson, the creator of The Following and Stalker.
The movie followed science fiction (or so we thought) author Herbert George “H.G.” Wells (Malcolm McDowell) after he builds a time machine, which is subsequently used by his surgeon friend Leslie John Stephenson (David Warner), who turns out to be Jack the Ripper, and he’s just escaped to 1979. H.G. pursues him in the time machine, where he is befriended by and falls in love with Amy Robbins (Mary Steenburgen).
ABC has purchased the project with a script commitment from Warner Bros. TV under a deal Williamson has with the studio.
It’s a good evening for Marvel on TV – ABC just announced among a slew of shows returning that both Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Marvel’s Agent Carter have been renewed for another season!
ABC has announced some of it’s mid-season programming slots, including when Marvel’s Agent Carter will fill in for the mid-season break of sibling show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
Starting Tuesday, January 6th, the Hayley Atwell-led Carter will take over the 9pm timeslot from S.H.I.E.L.D., which will return from hiatus on March 3rd. Similarly, the dramedy musical Galavant from Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love.) with music by composer Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid) and lyricist Glenn Slater (Tangled), will fill in for <>i>Once Upon A Time starting January 4th at 8pm, with Once returning March 1st.
Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love; Tangled; Cars) teams up with the award-winning musical duo of composer Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid; Beauty and the Beast) and lyricist Glenn Slater (Tangled) for a musical comedy fairytale of epic proportions.
Starring: Joshua Sasse (Rogue), Joshua Sasse (Psych), Vinnie Jones (Snatch), Mallory Jansen (Half Way), Karen David (Pixel Face), and Luke Youngblood (Community).