What Lucas Can Learn from Radiohead

George Lucas has just begun work on his upcoming live action Star Wars TV show and his CG animated Clone Wars television show is in full swing. Right now, neither show has a traditional network TV home. Mr. Lucas, take a cue from Radiohead, and tell the networks to take a hike.

Why bother with traditional TV? You own the one of the biggest brands in the, well, universe. The shows are already being produced without a network commitment. Avoid the hassle of negotiating terms with networks around the world (and dealing with their marketing and promotions).

But most of all, it would give you what you are famous for — control. Here’s how you do it.

Just make the shows available through a service like Brightcove. Throw ads in front them to make a little scratch for yourself — or don’t. With the content embeddable, your legion of rabid Star Wars fans will propagate it around the globe for you, faster and better than any marketing department ever could.

Then put higher-quality versions up on BitTorent and iTunes for people to watch the shows on their big-screen TVs. Charge people (or don’t) and if you do, keep that money for yourself.

Or release them through every digital distribution platform at once and take your cut from all the ads. It’s not like someone would turn down hosting Star Wars content because it’s up elsewhere. Exclusivity is dead — viva ubiquity!

Then you could release as many shows at a time as you like — don’t be hamstrung by a weekly network schedule. Launch with one — or all of the episodes at once.

With Star Wars, you’re one of the only people who can push this idea forward. It’s not like you don’t have precedent. You helped create the summer blockbuster with the original Star Wars. You ushered in a new era of digital moviemaking with The Phantom Menace. Why stop now? Transform the entire notion of TV.

Help us, Mr. Lucas. You’re our only hope.

A disclaimer, while I was never an employee of Lucasfilm, I did help run its Star Wars Fan Film Awards for a number of years.