I read something not long ago, and I don't know where or what it was about, that Lucas was really pissed about "Rome" going off the air on HBO... Then in that article you posted, it mentions the storyline of this live-action show revolving around "an Empire" and how it grows and falls, etc...
Sounds like Lucas got some inspiration from Rome, and he's really looking to duplicate that series, somewhat anyway, with the live-action show, and at least play it out like the birth of Rome with the birth of the Galactic Empire... I'm sort of intrigued by that.
Rome was a good series, and got cut short IMO... Same with Deadwood. And thinking to the production values of both, it really makes you think a Star Wars series could be better than maybe people are expecting.
I'm intrigued... I like the idea of seeing how the Empire expands, how it starts to take control of planets and systems in the outer rim where there's a sort of "lawless" feel because species like the Hutts control them, and how the Empire actually has good intentions to bring order to chaos, and how people support that (at least at first), but how it crumbles within over time because of people who are power-hungry and such...
The thing is, the timeframe of Rome on HBO is a bit longer than 20 years I think, but still, 20 years is a good bit of time to play with. It's longer than either trilogy had to mess with really.
I still hold out hope for this. Call me a blind fanatic I guess, but I'm just a SW fan at heart and I wish for the best with these projects.
Clone Wars I think is more locked into greatness because of the first series' popularity, and them taking it in a more "moody" and adult direction... The live-action show, based on what I've heard, and some speculation on things like the Rome series being a possible inspiration and things, I believe could be just as good or even better.
I wonder if he'd really be ballsy enough to take it to HBO too though? That would take guts to me... Smaller market, but man it would open doors to you too, if you were gutsy enough to go through them, in terms of how "graphic" you could take the saga... I doubt he'd go that route personally, but I think it would be interesting to see.