For years, during the Star Wars prequel era, George Lucas talked about putting together a live-action Star Wars television series known as Underworld. Lucas’ plan was to have the series run for at least one hundred episodes–and he claimed to have half as many scripts already completed–but the show ultimately never came to fruition when it became clear that it would be too expensive to produce. Now, test-footage from the project has surfaced, giving us a look at what might have been.
The footage first surfaced nine years ago on VFX studio Stargate Studios’ Vimeo page (it’s since been removed), but was eventually uploaded to YouTube on January 30th.
The nine-minute clip includes a short scene that looks as though it’s set on Coruscant, and follows a woman getting into trouble with a team of Stormtroopers. The video also includes a behind-the-scenes look at how Stargate Studios shot footage.
The scene is clearly test footage for the project: the stormtroopers are wearing fan-made armor, and the acting and action is a bit rough, but it looks genuinely polished, complete with special effects.
The BTS footage at the end of the clip is fascinating to watch, as the entire video was shot before green screens, with the entire background added in digitally after the fact. While Underworld never made it off the ground, it’s an interesting forerunner to the actual first live-action Star Wars TV series, The Mandalorian, which utilizes a new filming technology called “Stagecraft”—rear-projected LED screens, which created the scenes behind the actors.
It’s impossible to judge how Underworld might have looked as envisioned, but this clip shows that Lucas was serious about the project’s development. With The Mandalorian now streaming on Disney +, and with a Cassian Andor and Obi-Wan Kenobi series (one hopes) on the way, Star Wars‘ immediate future is certainly live action television. Maybe Disney will dust off Underworld and give it another try — or maybe some part of it will turn up in one for or another in another project.