George Lucas is the creator of Star Wars, and he is clearly a creative genius. However, sometimes even geniuses come up with an ideas that don’t exactly work out. Here are 10 projects George Lucas worked on that you wouldn’t exactly call a “roaring success”…
10. Star Wars: Underworld
LucasFilm was planning a live action TV series called Star Wars: Underworld. The story took place in the subterranean world under Coruscant, during a gap of time after the end of Episode III, and before Episode IV. One of the writers for Underworld was Ron Moore, who has worked on Battlestar Galactica, Outlander, and Star Trek. During an interview, Ron said that while he was writing the show, he would get into heated arguments with George Lucas over what Darth Vader would or wouldn’t do, only to stop himself and realize he was arguing with… well… George Lucas.
Unfortunately, once Disney acquired LucasFilm, they decided that Underworld did not fit in with the budget. The show was canceled.
Disney has already created the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show after acquiring the rights to the Marvel universe, so there is always a chance that Star Wars: Underworld – or maybe some other live action Star Wars TV series – may be developed in the future. But for now, it seems as though we need to be satisfied with the new movies.
9. Star Wars 1313
Star Wars 1313 was a video game that was meant to be released at the same time as the Star Wars: Underworld TV series. A demo for the game was released during E3 2012, and it promised to be available for Playstation 4 and XBox One. The story also takes place on Coruscant, and it would have explored areas of the Star Wars Universe that fans had wanted to see for years.
Former employees of LucasArts shared that George Lucas was very difficult to work with. He was used to directing movies where it was okay to come up with new ideas and change his mind in order to take a story in a new direction. He didn’t seem to grasp just how difficult and time-consuming video game development actually is. Game designers were already two years into the process of making Star Wars 1313, when Lucas suddenly declared that he would rather have Boba Fett starring in the game. This was only two weeks before the game’s demo was due to showcase at E3.
When Disney bought the Star Wars franchise, all of the existing LucasArts projects were cancelled, and the years of hard work done by the staff sadly went down the drain.
8. Tomorrowland 2055
Disneyland’s Tomorrowland was built in the 1960s, so it quickly became outdated as the years went on. The company decided that the only way to ensure that the park would stand the test of time would be to based it on fiction. They decided it was better to create a land filled with advanced alien technology. Who better to design a sci-fi fantasy park than George Lucas?
The project was titled Tomorrowland 2055, and it truly was spectacular. The new park would be a fictional city that was a hub for aliens from all over the galaxy. Glowing crystals would grow out of the ground. Walkways were made of clear plexiglass, so it could look like people were walking on air. Lucas planned to write and direct an exclusive 3D movie. While the plans were truly amazing, Disney decided to cancel the project, because his out-of-this-world ideas would be far too expensive to complete.
7. The Grady Ranch Projects
After the massive success of Star Wars, George Lucas purchased a 5,000 acre property in Marin County, California. He called his new home Skywalker Ranch, and it doubles as the location for LucasFilm. In 2012, Lucas planned a third expansion of the studio on part of his property called Grady Ranch. However, the local community was outraged about his plan. In case you weren’t aware, Marin is the richest county in California. It is home to many, many millionaires. In Marin County, a 6-figure salary is considered to be modest, and a household income of $93,000 a year makes you “poor” enough to qualify for low-income housing assistance.
Once Lucas’ neighbors voted “no” on his new studio expansion, he publicly announced that he would donate that land to a new low-income housing development, instead. He released detailed plans to build a 224-unit apartment complex on the ranch, instead. This sparked an even bigger outcry from his neighbors, and the New York Times believed he did this out of spite, because one of the things Marin County feared most was letting these “poor people” in. Lucas decided to drop the plans for the apartments, because he feared that the Homeowner’s Association of Marin County would try to sue him. This all took place before Disney purchased the company, so from now on, he won’t have to worry about building studios any time soon.
6. Star Wars: First Assault
In 2012, LucasArts released the demo of a game called Star Wars: First Assault for XBox Live. Lucas hoped to capitalize on the popular style of first-person shooter games, like Call of Duty. The game was almost completed and ready for release, just before Disney acquired the Star Wars franchise. They claim that the game was a lead-up to “Battlefront III.”
It’s possible that Disney decided that the two games were far too similar, and that it was not worth paying for First Assault to be completed. If you are a fan of Star Wars games, it is still possible to download the demo of First Assault online, or watch the demo on YouTube, and decide for yourself if they made the right choice.
5. Star Wars Detours
In 2013, LucasFilm announced that they would be taking Star Wars in a new direction by creating an animated comedy series called Star Wars Detours. The project collaborated with some big-name stars like Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, Seth Green, Felicia Day, and “Weird” Al Yankovic. It’s hard to tell exactly how the stories in Detours would have fit in with the Star Wars canon. Unlike the Clone Wars animated series, Detours seems to have featured funny mini-episodes filled with inside jokes for hardcore fans to enjoy.
The show was said to have two full seasons complete and ready to air, so the budget was no excuse. However, it was never shown to the public. When Disney purchased the rights to Star Wars, they could have chosen to air Detours but it must not have fit in with their vision of the franchise, and it may never see the light of day.
4. Strange Magic
After Disney acquired Star Wars, Lucas was given an opportunity to write and direct his own animated children’s movie. It was an exciting prospect, because it was the first collaboration between LucasFilm’s animation studio and Disney. When the news was announced, there were some bold statements that Lucas was trying be like John Lasseter, the founder of Pixar.
Out of all the possible stories George Lucas could have chosen, he decided to go with Strange Magic – a musical about fairies. Never heard of it? Well, that’s because it was an absolute flop after it premiered in 2015. It currently has a mere 18% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Strange Magic was loosely based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and its goal was to teach children that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and everyone deserves to be loved. The movie includes popular music, and the characters burst into song every few seconds. It’s safe to say that Strange Magic won’t be considered a Disney classic any time soon.
Vernost was a Star Wars-themed virtual reality game that only a handful of journalists got to see. Players sat inside of a virtual reality pod with a wrap-around screen called “Mirage.”
The plot of the game was to retrieve a magical potion called “Ceela” that was supposed to heal any illness, and was rumored to be the key to eternal life. As a Rebel pilot, your mission was to make sure Ceela didn’t end up in the hands of the Empire.
At the time, Lucas was partnering with a company called Hughes Training, which specialized in flight simulators. Perhaps they thought the game might do well in arcades and malls, but that never came to pass. Details about the game were written in an issue of Popular Science from 1993. At the time, the concept was very futuristic, but by now, the graphics of the game would be incredibly outdated by today’s standards. So the odds of it being released to the public are slim to none.
2. The Star Wars Holiday Special
Most Star Wars fans would rather forget this next project ever existed. According to an interview with Mark Hamill, Lucas practically begged the cast to do the Star Wars Holiday Special. The first movie was doing extremely well at the box office, and Lucas claimed that it was a great opportunity to increase the amount of Star Wars merchandise on the market.
The movie is about trying to get Chewbacca home for a Wookiee holiday called “Life Day,” but nothing else about it actually makes very much sense. There are movies within the movie, including a Star Wars cartoon. There are also a few musical numbers thrown in. The movie is incredibly cringe-worthy, to say the least.
During an interview, when Lucas was asked about the special, he said that if he could, he would gather every copy and smash them all with a sledgehammer. How bad could it possibly be? The entire movie is available for free on YouTube (and embedded above), so you can actually watch, and judge for yourself. Happy Life Day, indeed!
1. The Lucas Museum in Chicago
In 2016, Lucas announced that he wanted to build an art museum in Chicago. However, the city would not agree to the construction, and he eventually announced that the project would be cancelled. In January of 2017, Lucas announced that he still wanted to go ahead with the project, only this time, in Los Angeles.
The plans for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art seem quite ambitious. The artistic renderings look incredibly futuristic, but contrary to what one may imagine, it isn’t a new home for his Star Wars memorabilia. Lucas owns over 40,000 pieces of fine art, as well as his collection of costumes and storyboards from iconic movies. He decided that it would be best to share his collection with the public. According to the museum’s official website, this would cost over $1 billion to complete, and Lucas plans to use all of his own money in the process, together with his wife, Mellody Hobson. As of this moment, there has not been any news on the project in nearly a year, and only time will tell if this is another plan that just wasn’t meant to be.