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The main reason Star Wars: Underworld isn't being made is that the stories are too mature

Jun. 5, 2012by: Alejandro Stepenberg

Coruscant at night

George Lucas and producer Rick McCallum have periodically teased the epic existence of a Star Wars TV series entitled "Star Wars: Underworld" that would take place on Coruscant and already boasts fifty hours of completed scripts.  Which is kind of crazy awesome.  Too bad it's probably never going to happen, but not for the reason you might expect.

The main issue lies with the possible rating "Star Wars: Underworld" would receive, as explained in this excerpt from a recent inteview McCallum gave to promote the DVD release of RED TAILS:: "Our biggest problem is that these stories are adult. I mean…these are like Deadwood in space. It so unlike anything you’ve ever associated with George before in relation to Star Wars. These aren’t for kids. I mean, we hope they’ll watch, but it’s not being targeted at 8-to-9 year old boys. The situation we have is that each episode – or if you put two hour long episodes together – is bigger than any film we’ve ever done.  It’s on the Avatar level and we’ll only have about $5-6 million we can spend on each episode."

Rick McCallum and green screen

To go along with those budgetary concerns: "The episodes are too expensive and…well, we’ve got two things going on. Firstly, we’ve got television as we know it about to implode. You’ve got network TV, which is really where we should be because it has the dollars to pay for this and an audience, but you’re burdened by the fact you only get 42 minutes for an hour because of commercials. And then you’ve got cable, which has the most provocative and daring programming, but has audiences of 1 or 2 million people. They also have a very limited amount of money they can spend without wanting some sort of say or control over the material, which is absolutely repugnant to us in terms of the way we work."

I'm going to try and say this as gently as I can... WHY IS THIS A PROBLEM?!?!?!? "Deadwood" was one of the best things that ever happened to television, and the younger padawans among us already have some quality programming with "Star Wars: The Clone Wars."  I give up.  I really don't think my brain is capable of comprehending this line of logic.  Just put it on HBO or STARZ, use your own mounds of millions, and give us something that would go a long way towards replenishing all of the love lost over these last years.

Slave Leia group photo

Extra Tidbit: My snark has failed me. I have nothing.
Source: Den of Geek

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9:01PM on 06/06/2012
Star Wars Series Drama on HBO.

Make it happen.
Star Wars Series Drama on HBO.

Make it happen.
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10:53AM on 06/06/2012
First of all, cutting an hour long show to 42 minutes for commercials would cut the budget. Tone maturity lvl down just a bit and give us a DAMNED PILOT FOR GOD'S SAKE! Let the audience's reaction help you gauge if you want to take further steps with this thing or not! Did people not enjoy LOST because it was not "gritty" enough?
First of all, cutting an hour long show to 42 minutes for commercials would cut the budget. Tone maturity lvl down just a bit and give us a DAMNED PILOT FOR GOD'S SAKE! Let the audience's reaction help you gauge if you want to take further steps with this thing or not! Did people not enjoy LOST because it was not "gritty" enough?
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11:39PM on 06/05/2012

its about toys

this show is geared for adults. not kids. so no toys sold. its as simple as that.
this show is geared for adults. not kids. so no toys sold. its as simple as that.
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10:35PM on 06/05/2012
AND THE STAR WARS FRANCHISE IS WORTH 33 BILLION DOLLARS. WHY DOES MONEY MATTER AT THIS POINT.

/caps


AND THE STAR WARS FRANCHISE IS WORTH 33 BILLION DOLLARS. WHY DOES MONEY MATTER AT THIS POINT.

/caps


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10:33PM on 06/05/2012
Star Wars shouldn't be fucking targeted to 9 year old boys! They were barely able to speak by the time Episode III was out, let alone the original series or even Episodes 1 & 2.
Star Wars shouldn't be fucking targeted to 9 year old boys! They were barely able to speak by the time Episode III was out, let alone the original series or even Episodes 1 & 2.
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+7
10:07PM on 06/05/2012
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, we're not going to get anything good from the Star Wars universe again until after Lucas kicks the bucket. He's the single biggest thing hindering the franchise from becoming something better than it already is.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, we're not going to get anything good from the Star Wars universe again until after Lucas kicks the bucket. He's the single biggest thing hindering the franchise from becoming something better than it already is.
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10:41PM on 06/05/2012
So you wish death upon someone who created something you love just because of the vague notion that you might get more of it. I'm not sure what's more disgusting, the fact that you even have ideas like this or the fact that you are having these ideas over a series of movies about space wizards. Grow the f@#k up dude.
So you wish death upon someone who created something you love just because of the vague notion that you might get more of it. I'm not sure what's more disgusting, the fact that you even have ideas like this or the fact that you are having these ideas over a series of movies about space wizards. Grow the f@#k up dude.
11:23PM on 06/05/2012
@Dr_Fruitness, Did I wish death on him? No. I wrote (read the print above) that we won't get anything good from this franchise until after he dies. I didn't wish him dead, I just stated a plain matter-of-fact since he is the sole owner of the rights to the franchise and can do whatever he wants with them.

Try a little reading comprehension before making a bigger ass out of yourself by posting.
@Dr_Fruitness, Did I wish death on him? No. I wrote (read the print above) that we won't get anything good from this franchise until after he dies. I didn't wish him dead, I just stated a plain matter-of-fact since he is the sole owner of the rights to the franchise and can do whatever he wants with them.

Try a little reading comprehension before making a bigger ass out of yourself by posting.
9:21AM on 06/06/2012
I know exactly what you meant dude, but when you say stuff like that, even when worded the way you did, you make Star Wars fans look like a bunch of immature babies.
I know exactly what you meant dude, but when you say stuff like that, even when worded the way you did, you make Star Wars fans look like a bunch of immature babies.
+2
10:01PM on 06/05/2012
its better to retire than act on good ideas
its better to retire than act on good ideas
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+12
6:27PM on 06/05/2012
"Deadwood in space." If George Lucas had anything to do with these scripts, comparing this to Deadwood is like comparing Jersey Shore to the Mona Lisa.
"Deadwood in space." If George Lucas had anything to do with these scripts, comparing this to Deadwood is like comparing Jersey Shore to the Mona Lisa.
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5:37PM on 06/05/2012
Excuses, excuses; Game of Thrones does big budget looking stuff all the time and come on, TV Sci-Fi doesn't need to be that flashy BSG and five generations of Star Trek made it work. While the prospect of "Deadwood in Space" sounds cool, I don't trust McCallum; he's the same guy that hyped up the prequels, with each one being worst than the last. If however, this does happen and it is awesome I'm all for it. I'd give anything to have a new Star Wars product that I actually enjoy.
Excuses, excuses; Game of Thrones does big budget looking stuff all the time and come on, TV Sci-Fi doesn't need to be that flashy BSG and five generations of Star Trek made it work. While the prospect of "Deadwood in Space" sounds cool, I don't trust McCallum; he's the same guy that hyped up the prequels, with each one being worst than the last. If however, this does happen and it is awesome I'm all for it. I'd give anything to have a new Star Wars product that I actually enjoy.
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5:17PM on 06/05/2012

MAKE IT HAPPEN...

Please I always wanted a more adult star wars. Please. Please.
Please I always wanted a more adult star wars. Please. Please.
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4:41PM on 06/05/2012
I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that they'll somehow figure it all out, right abut the time that Clone Wars is canceled.
I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that they'll somehow figure it all out, right abut the time that Clone Wars is canceled.
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4:35PM on 06/05/2012
For everyone who keeps bringing up Empire Strikes Back as proof that it's OK for Star Wars to be dark, I would point out that while Empire was dark, it was still only about on par with movies like Dark Crystal and Neverending Story, a far stretch from the likes of Deadwood and Godfather. The difference in tone her is like comparing a John Wayne movie to a Clint Eastwood movie. They are whole different beasts and don't fit together in the same universe. Regardless of what every jaded angry
For everyone who keeps bringing up Empire Strikes Back as proof that it's OK for Star Wars to be dark, I would point out that while Empire was dark, it was still only about on par with movies like Dark Crystal and Neverending Story, a far stretch from the likes of Deadwood and Godfather. The difference in tone her is like comparing a John Wayne movie to a Clint Eastwood movie. They are whole different beasts and don't fit together in the same universe. Regardless of what every jaded angry fan thinks, Star Wars is still a series for kids and taking a mostly PG series up to an R rating just doesn't work.
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3:26PM on 06/05/2012
Imo, a dark, seedy, hardcore violent Star Wars isn't Star Wars...
Imo, a dark, seedy, hardcore violent Star Wars isn't Star Wars...
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3:34PM on 06/05/2012
The movies already have those elements in them.
The movies already have those elements in them.
3:40PM on 06/05/2012
Empire Strikes Back was dark, seedy and violent and was the best of the bunch.
Empire Strikes Back was dark, seedy and violent and was the best of the bunch.
2:41PM on 06/05/2012
In other words, Lucas said if there's no toys to make money off of, then we're not doing it.
In other words, Lucas said if there's no toys to make money off of, then we're not doing it.
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4:37PM on 06/05/2012
Well considering that most fans who are into Star Wars today owe many of those fond memories, to playing with those toys, I'd say it's hardly fair to start coming down on them now.
Well considering that most fans who are into Star Wars today owe many of those fond memories, to playing with those toys, I'd say it's hardly fair to start coming down on them now.
5:11PM on 06/05/2012
I'm not coming down on the toys. Not at all. I'm saying that Lucas can only make money off this just by ratings or ads, therefore he's not interested. He wants the largest amount of profit possible
I'm not coming down on the toys. Not at all. I'm saying that Lucas can only make money off this just by ratings or ads, therefore he's not interested. He wants the largest amount of profit possible
2:21PM on 06/05/2012

Digression: Reminds me of when...

...George Lucas said he didn't transfer the original unaltered trilogy to Blu-ray because "it would cost too much."

...Yeah, okay. Then start a Kickstarter page and see where it gets you. Probably get the funding you need within the week
...George Lucas said he didn't transfer the original unaltered trilogy to Blu-ray because "it would cost too much."

...Yeah, okay. Then start a Kickstarter page and see where it gets you. Probably get the funding you need within the week
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+16
1:42PM on 06/05/2012
Multiple thoughts about this:

You cannot expect them to just produce it and put it out there out of the goodness of their hearts. That's silly. It's not show friends it's show business.

Given that Netflix has spent close to 3 billion in the past year or so on programming acquisition, why not bring this to them? This would easily be the biggest thing on their service and it's not even close. I love arrested development as much as the next guy, but this Star Wars series becomes their
Multiple thoughts about this:

You cannot expect them to just produce it and put it out there out of the goodness of their hearts. That's silly. It's not show friends it's show business.

Given that Netflix has spent close to 3 billion in the past year or so on programming acquisition, why not bring this to them? This would easily be the biggest thing on their service and it's not even close. I love arrested development as much as the next guy, but this Star Wars series becomes their calling card for the next decade. Easy.

Also, if they paid for an initial order of, say, 13 episodes and it launched into the pop culture stratosphere i.e. Game of Thrones or Walking Dead (which seems virtually inevitable) then finding a financial partner for the production of the remainder of the series would be a simple enough task. Lucasfilm could even come on as the financial partner after NetFlix took on the initial 80-90 million risk.

My second point is that this could go a long way towards rehabilitatinging the Star Wars brand. As it stands, most adults have turned their backs on the prequel films and Lucas himself for his seemingly endless greed and reiteration ( and bastardization) of the original films. Producing a quality, adult-oriented series of television programs set in the Star Wars universe could bring back the panache and reverence we once all felt for the Star Wars franchise. This could easily result in great increases in Lucas' very favorite thing: money.

This is a simplistic business plan, and leaves out many details, but seems reasonable enough.

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1:22PM on 06/05/2012
A big part of it is probably "if kids can't watch it, we can't sell them toys".
A big part of it is probably "if kids can't watch it, we can't sell them toys".
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1:12PM on 06/05/2012

Good Stuff...

I just wanted to give a "what-he-said" to that last paragraph...
How is cost even an issue the people who own the rights to every toy, t-shirt, and bed sheet that ever carried the Star Wars logo?
Oh well...
I just wanted to give a "what-he-said" to that last paragraph...
How is cost even an issue the people who own the rights to every toy, t-shirt, and bed sheet that ever carried the Star Wars logo?
Oh well...
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+8
1:11PM on 06/05/2012
So...12 or 13 years ago the cast of Friends each got $1 million per episode, so that show cost, conservatively, around $8 million total to make an episode, probably more. And they made about 20 of them that last season. I don't understand then, why STAR Wars can't get $8 million per episode in 2013 for 10 episodes of an hour-long show. What's all this $5 million talk? You don't need big stars, just talented actors.
So...12 or 13 years ago the cast of Friends each got $1 million per episode, so that show cost, conservatively, around $8 million total to make an episode, probably more. And they made about 20 of them that last season. I don't understand then, why STAR Wars can't get $8 million per episode in 2013 for 10 episodes of an hour-long show. What's all this $5 million talk? You don't need big stars, just talented actors.
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3:16PM on 06/05/2012
Friends was an enormous network television hit. The economic model for that is vastly different than what McCallum is talking about.

Cable TV operates on budgets about 1/4 that of a hit network show. Look at Walking Dead for example. There is a reason they spent the entire 2nd season on that farm. AMC reduced their budget after giving Matthew Weiner his money for Mad Men.
Friends was an enormous network television hit. The economic model for that is vastly different than what McCallum is talking about.

Cable TV operates on budgets about 1/4 that of a hit network show. Look at Walking Dead for example. There is a reason they spent the entire 2nd season on that farm. AMC reduced their budget after giving Matthew Weiner his money for Mad Men.
+23
12:18PM on 06/05/2012
Cost too much and too adult?? Have they seen the ratings for Walking Dead??
Cost too much and too adult?? Have they seen the ratings for Walking Dead??
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+11
11:43AM on 06/05/2012
I'm sure the main problem is money and just the lack of enthusiasm because Lucas and good ol' Rick alienated fans. I highly doubt it took 50 hours of scripts to realize the show was 'too dark', Rick just wanted to sound edgy.
I'm sure the main problem is money and just the lack of enthusiasm because Lucas and good ol' Rick alienated fans. I highly doubt it took 50 hours of scripts to realize the show was 'too dark', Rick just wanted to sound edgy.
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11:40AM on 06/05/2012

So basically they're saying that

Star Wars: Underworld would be too expensive to produce. Then why keep talking about it then? This is like a date who keeps talking about giving you a blow job and then pleads a headache at the end of the night.
Star Wars: Underworld would be too expensive to produce. Then why keep talking about it then? This is like a date who keeps talking about giving you a blow job and then pleads a headache at the end of the night.
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+8
11:27AM on 06/05/2012

Gonna say this.

No matter how mature the content they can always do some re-writes. Break it up into hour long episodes. Fans will love it either way. If it isn't good enough for them they can buy the season once they roll out on dvd. With as many Star Wars fans as there are, does anyone think it could really lose money? How bad can this be for the franchise. If it sucks, people will just pretend like it doesn't exist in the Star Wars universe. Look at all the people who are ok with Hayden Christensen as
No matter how mature the content they can always do some re-writes. Break it up into hour long episodes. Fans will love it either way. If it isn't good enough for them they can buy the season once they roll out on dvd. With as many Star Wars fans as there are, does anyone think it could really lose money? How bad can this be for the franchise. If it sucks, people will just pretend like it doesn't exist in the Star Wars universe. Look at all the people who are ok with Hayden Christensen as Anikan. The show is affordable. They just have producer who throws money at things versus using creative ways of pulling it together.
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11:20AM on 06/05/2012

Star Wars: 1313?

I'm wondering if the hold off is because of the new video game coming out called Star Wars: 1313, which has this exact same premise. It is suppose to be a "Mature Rated" game as well. hhmm...
I'm wondering if the hold off is because of the new video game coming out called Star Wars: 1313, which has this exact same premise. It is suppose to be a "Mature Rated" game as well. hhmm...
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11:19AM on 06/05/2012
I usually just ignore any Star Wars TV stories since they've been talking about it forever, but nothing ever happens. Those ideas sound awesome though. But I don't see what the problem would be if they had it on HBO. If they're worried about the amount of viewers, a Star Wars TV show would be something people would subscribe to HBO for. They do it for other things. Look at how good Game of Thrones has performed and how good it looks with that budget and cast.
I usually just ignore any Star Wars TV stories since they've been talking about it forever, but nothing ever happens. Those ideas sound awesome though. But I don't see what the problem would be if they had it on HBO. If they're worried about the amount of viewers, a Star Wars TV show would be something people would subscribe to HBO for. They do it for other things. Look at how good Game of Thrones has performed and how good it looks with that budget and cast.
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10:43AM on 06/05/2012
Now, I think McCallum is a huge douche (and his claim of 1-2 Million viewers on cable is bullshit, Game of Thrones brings in 3-4), but the article is a bit misleading. He's not saying that it won't be made because it's mature, he's saying it won't be made because right now the scripts require budgets that are significantly greater than the $5-6 million they would have per episode.
Now, I think McCallum is a huge douche (and his claim of 1-2 Million viewers on cable is bullshit, Game of Thrones brings in 3-4), but the article is a bit misleading. He's not saying that it won't be made because it's mature, he's saying it won't be made because right now the scripts require budgets that are significantly greater than the $5-6 million they would have per episode.
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+10
10:42AM on 06/05/2012
Do these douches (McCallum, Lucas..) actually believe anything they say?

So basically their "show" pushes the envelop too far as for tv goes? Yeah sure.. because tv shows nowadays are only for kids with silly SyFy-looking like effects due to limited budget. Aha...

IMO they don't try to enter "adult world" because they know their work won't cut it. They don't have the guts to do it the way it is supposed to be done.
Do these douches (McCallum, Lucas..) actually believe anything they say?

So basically their "show" pushes the envelop too far as for tv goes? Yeah sure.. because tv shows nowadays are only for kids with silly SyFy-looking like effects due to limited budget. Aha...

IMO they don't try to enter "adult world" because they know their work won't cut it. They don't have the guts to do it the way it is supposed to be done.
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10:38AM on 06/05/2012

Deadwood in Space?

So apparently the 6 millionth and final form of communication C-3PO is fluent in is hilariously profane iambic pentameter?
So apparently the 6 millionth and final form of communication C-3PO is fluent in is hilariously profane iambic pentameter?
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1:47PM on 06/05/2012
Yes, and Jabba the Hut refers to everyone as a cocksucker.
Yes, and Jabba the Hut refers to everyone as a cocksucker.
10:35AM on 06/05/2012
I'm reading what this McCallum douche is saying, and find myself thinking: "doesn't he have balls? What a girly thing to say."
"Deadwood" was awesome. And so are other mature TV shows like "Spartacus" and "Game of Thrones".
Yeah, keep doing childish Star Wars stuff for money. That Kinnect dance game was AMAHHZING....
I'm reading what this McCallum douche is saying, and find myself thinking: "doesn't he have balls? What a girly thing to say."
"Deadwood" was awesome. And so are other mature TV shows like "Spartacus" and "Game of Thrones".
Yeah, keep doing childish Star Wars stuff for money. That Kinnect dance game was AMAHHZING....
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10:19AM on 06/05/2012
There is no issue here at all. It's the reason they want us to hear. I believe that if they make it the way they described, as adult, they would only get the profit from us adults, and not the rest of their fans. I would like to see this happen because it would be wicked. Money is money to them.
There is no issue here at all. It's the reason they want us to hear. I believe that if they make it the way they described, as adult, they would only get the profit from us adults, and not the rest of their fans. I would like to see this happen because it would be wicked. Money is money to them.
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10:18AM on 06/05/2012

Rick McCollum is still a clown

I bet HBO could even go to $8-10 million an episode without losing sleep - it would be the biggest thing to hit cable ever, and the blu-ray sales would be through the roof.

How many of those 50 hours of scripts would be worth filming, though.
I bet HBO could even go to $8-10 million an episode without losing sleep - it would be the biggest thing to hit cable ever, and the blu-ray sales would be through the roof.

How many of those 50 hours of scripts would be worth filming, though.
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10:12AM on 06/05/2012

Rick McCollum is a clown

HBO would murder their firstborn to make an R-rated Star Wars series at $6 million an episode. But Rick McCollum is right, they'd want to make sure the quality was better than the prequel trilogy.
HBO would murder their firstborn to make an R-rated Star Wars series at $6 million an episode. But Rick McCollum is right, they'd want to make sure the quality was better than the prequel trilogy.
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9:57AM on 06/05/2012
"They also have a very limited amount of money they can spend without wanting some sort of say or control over the material, which is absolutely repugnant to us in terms of the way we work."

And that, right there, is why you continue to put out disappointing, subpar material.

I'm sure George R.R. Martin cries himself to sleep each night over the way HBO is controlling and spending money on the work created from his property.

Pardon my language, but Rick McCallum can go fuck himself.
"They also have a very limited amount of money they can spend without wanting some sort of say or control over the material, which is absolutely repugnant to us in terms of the way we work."

And that, right there, is why you continue to put out disappointing, subpar material.

I'm sure George R.R. Martin cries himself to sleep each night over the way HBO is controlling and spending money on the work created from his property.

Pardon my language, but Rick McCallum can go fuck himself.
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+8
9:43AM on 06/05/2012
too bad, cause it actually sounds pretty damn cool!
too bad, cause it actually sounds pretty damn cool!
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9:40AM on 06/05/2012
I'm not usually this cynical, but as soon as I stopped reading his quotes the first thing I thought was "This isn't happening because it would be good."
I'm not usually this cynical, but as soon as I stopped reading his quotes the first thing I thought was "This isn't happening because it would be good."
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