Lucas planning two skeins based on pix

Fans and industryites have wondered for years what will become of Lucasfilm following the release of the final “Star Wars” pic, “Revenge of the Sith,” on May 19. This weekend, George Lucas gave the answer: more “Star Wars,” only this time on the small screen.

Making his first appearance at a fan convention in 18 years, Lucas told an Indianapolis crowd Saturday that he’s making plans for two TV series that would continue the sci-fi epic.

The first is an 3-D animated half-hour that expands on the “Clone Wars” miniseries of which Lucasfilm has done two cycles for Cartoon Network.

Series could take advantage of the new CGI animation facility company is building in Singapore. News also jibes with recent buzz in the toon biz that has had Lucasfilm talking to high-profile talent, including “Aeon Flux” creator Peter Chung, who is known to have consulted on a TV project for the studio.

Supporting players

Lucas also revealed that the company is working on a spinoff live-action series that would focus on some supporting characters who’ve been introduced in the movies.

“We’re probably not going to start that for about a year,” he said. “Like on ‘The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles,’ we want to write all the stories for the entire first season all at once. I’m going to get it started and hire the showrunners and all of that, then I’ll probably step away.”

Both skeins would be set in the years between the end of “Revenge of the Sith” and the beginning of the original “Star Wars,” aka “Episode IV — A New Hope.”

Neither project is close to production yet or has found a network. Lucasfilm reps emphasized there aren’t any official plans yet.

Cartoon Network would be the logical home for a 3-D “Star Wars” animated skein, given the net’s work with Lucasfilm on the “Clone Wars” series of shorts. However, a cabler like Sci Fi might also be interested given the probably high quality of the animation and the chance to be in business with Lucas.

Wanted: Live-action skein

NBC Universal-owned Sci Fi or USA Network might also want a live-action Lucas skein, given the two nets’ success with franchises such as “Battlestar Galactica” and “The 4400.” Peacock could also repurpose the series or launch it on its main broadcast net.

As for broadcast webs, Fox would be a logical home for either the animated or live-action skein, given the net’s male-centric audience. Sister studio 20th Century Fox has a longstanding distribution relationship with Lucas on the “Star Wars” features.

There’s clearly still strong fan interest in the franchise, with three-quarters of the sales on online ticketing service Fandango already going to “Sith.” If the pic gets a warmer welcome from fans than the last two, demand will likely skyrocket.

A series would also keep the franchise alive for another generation of toy-buying children, resulting in millions of dollars in additional licensing.

And a story set between the two trilogies would leave the door open for appearances by some familiar characters, most importantly Darth Vader. Vader is easily the most popular of the “Star Wars” characters in toys and games.

(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)

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