Move over, The Mandalorian: a much older Star Wars TV series is back on the scene. Footage reportedly from George Lucas’ scrapped TV series, Star Wars: Underworld, has resurfaced online, bringing fans back to a very different time in the Star Wars universe.
A clip making the rounds includes one segment of test footage from the series, as well as a brief behind-the-scenes look at how it was made. In the test footage, a mysterious figure clad in robes arrives on the streets of Coruscant to find plans for an Imperial Star Destroyer. Once she finds the plans, she heads to a small weapons store to try to buy a ship and avoid being followed. A passing group of stormtroopers notice her ship and head into the store, and after a brief conversation, a massive shootout ensues.
The fight includes some of the worst blaster shooting in Star Wars history — which is saying something — but everything looks impressive. The sounds and visuals all feel like slightly lower budget versions of the later prequel films, making it especially impressive for test footage.
While the footage only just appeared on YouTube on Jan. 30, it appears that the two clips have been independently floating around online for longer than that. The clips seem to come from the Vimeo page of visual effects studio Stargate Studios, which has hosted two separate clips from the proposed Star Wars TV show for years now. The first clip, which shows test footage of the actual series, has been on the studio’s Vimeo for nine years, while the behind-the-scenes footage has been there for seven.
The show was originally announced by Lucas in 2005 at that year’s Star Wars celebration. Lucas continued to work on the show, working with artists and writers on what it might be like. In fact, according to a 2011 interview with Lucas there were 50 completed scripts for the series that at the time — and still now presumably — just hadn’t ever been shot.
Lucas explained that the problem with the series was always that it cost too much to make. “Right now, it looks like the Star Wars features. But we have to figure out a way to make it at about a tenth of the cost of the features, because it’s television,” Lucas said on G4’s Attack of the Show.
This recent “rediscovery” of these clips comes at a tumultuous time for Star Wars TV projects. While the first season of The Mandalorian on Disney Plus was a huge success for the company, the Obi-Wan Kenobi series that was in-development has reportedly been put on hold, reportedly so that the script can be reworked.
Disney also has another series in the works for Disney Plus that’s set to follow Rogue One’s Cassian Andor as he conducts espionage and missions on behalf of the Rebellion. With the idea of stolen Imperial plans planted directly in the center of this Star Wars: Underworld test footage, it’s hard not to feel like the Cassian series, which doesn’t have a release date yet, could end up with the same kind of spirit as Lucas’ canceled TV project.