Since Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm back in 2012, the Star Wars license has experienced a massive resurgence across all mediums. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens continues to impress at the box office, earning over $900 million domestically (the first film in history to do so). Meanwhile, the Marvel Comics series have topped the sales charts month after month and EA’s Star Wars Battlefront has sold over 13 million copies worldwide.
Considering the success Disney has had with Star Wars, it’s hard to believe that a decade ago the idea of a sequel trilogy seemed improbable. George Lucas claimed the films were done, though the universe would continue to thrive across different mediums. With the future of the movies unknown, Lucasfilm-owned game developer LucasArts considered exploring the future of Star Wars in a new video game.
Cinelinx has uncovered new details about the cancelled Star Wars game, titled Star Wars Episode VII: Shadows of the Sith. The game would have starred Ben Skywalker, a character first introduced in the now defunct Expanded Universe. Ben is the son of Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade, first appearing in the New Jedi Order series of novels. Shadows of the Sith would see Ben walking the thin line between the light and dark side, allowing him to use new Force powers that had never appeared in the films or previous games. Most interesting, Ben would be hunting down a new threat to the galaxy, possibly introducing Jacen Solo, another EU character, as the game’s primary antagonist.
The idea for the game first surfaced in 2004, when LucasArts was doing product testing to determine what Star Wars fans wanted from their next game. Unsurprisingly, the majority of potential players wanted to control a Jedi/Force wielder, with little interest in the time period or storyline of the game. Shadows of the Sith would have starred just such a character and tied into both the films and the novels, allowing it to appeal to the widest range of fans.
Though the basic ideas of the game were in place, Shadows of the Sith never made it past its early pitch. Speaking with Cinelinx, Haden Blackman, former LucasArts creative director, explained that some of the ideas behind the game were eventually incorporated into the 2008 game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. After the game was released, Blackman did revisit the the concept of Episode VII briefly, but nothing ever came of it.
Shadows of the Sith joins a long list of Star Wars games that will never see the light of day, including Star Wars 1313 and the cancelled Darth Maul game. Shadows is just another interesting footnote in LucasArt’s storied history. While it would have been great for fans of the EU to play as Ben and explore the world of the New Jedi Order, Disney’s new Star Wars canon is undoubtedly better for the brand in the long term and will (hopefully) lead to a number high quality Star Wars games in the future.
Star Wars: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, and will be followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode 8 on December 15th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode 9 is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.