Despite the mounting excitement for the continuation of the Star Wars saga - set to be kicked off with Star Wars: Episode VII in 2015 - the past few months have been filled with disappointment for fans of Lucasfilm's animated offerings. Just one month after Star Wars: The Clone Wars was going to be cancelled to make way for a different kind of animated programming, we may now know what that successor will be.
Reports of an animated series by the name of Star Wars: Reclamation have surfaced online, telling a tale set fifteen years after the end of Return of the Jedi. Sporting a cast of characters both old and new, the (rumored) series would help set the stage for the themes and plot of Episode VII, which is still two years away.
At this point we'd recommend that any news concerning Star Wars or Lucasfilm's plans for the future be taken with a grain of salt, for more than a few reasons. It's no coincidence that the announcement of layoffs at the now Disney-owned company precedes these rumors of Reclamation - uncovered by TheForce.net - in fact, the source behind the released plot synopsis claims they are one such former employee.
According to the source, Star Wars: Reclamation was being developed as far back as early 2012, only being given the green light in January 2013. Since they no longer work with the company it's impossible to know if the Reclamation pitch hasn't changed in the meantime. But given Disney's desire to move away from the second trilogy and focus on the future, an animated series filling in the gaps between Episodes II and III makes little sense.
A show helping bridge the gap between Episode VI and the world just starting to be constructed for Episode VII? Now we're talking. Here's how Reclamation will (or was planned to) help set the stage, taken from the leaked synopsis:
RECLAMATION is a character-driven war epic set in the storied STAR WARS universe. Making use of decades of media as influence, it will be and all-new story designed to introduce the audience to themes and characters pivotal to EPISODE VII and beyond.
Drawing from the talent and workflow structure employed in the creation of THE CLONE WARS animated series, our goal with RECLAMATION is to create a show with similarly wide appeal in terms of viewership and marketing possibilities. Besides again targeting children and young adults, we believe we can also appeal to the 18-49 demographic, by focusing on the ORIGINAL TRILOGY era characters and imagery.
Fifteen years have passed since RETURN OF THE JEDI and the death of Anakin Skywalker. The Galactic Empire has been beheaded for over a decade, but a state of civil war continues...The Union of Imperial Loyalists, a loose alliance of systems loyal to the Empire's cause, refuses to cease hostilities until Coruscant is surrendered and abandoned.
Our story begins at a turning point in the struggle. Supreme Chancellor Mon Mothma and Vice Chair Leia Organa are due to meet Grand Moff Ono in the first round of long-awaited peace talks...Everyone in the room -- Republic, Union, and Jedi alike -- are shocked as legions of black droids issue forth from the depths of Coruscant, destroying indiscriminately.
The aftermath of this attack sets the stage for an unlikely and uneasy alliance. Republic and Loyalist worlds are forced to unite to repel the unforeseen threat concealed beneath their very feet. The self-replicating machines lead heroes on both sides on a journey into the underworld -- where technology and the Force itself collide -- to uncover a mystery almost as old as the Republic itself: the dark legacy of Level 1313.
As noted, Supreme Chancellor Mon Mothma will be returning alongside her Vice Chair Leia Organa Solo, struggling to keep the New Republic intact via diplomacy and vigilance. Also included are Kala Calrissian, a previously unknown relative of Lando (could this mean the Calrissians will appear in Episode VII?); and Manco, a "mysterious Mandalorian" who may or may not be tied to the Coruscant attacks, and is blessed with a transforming biotic arm.
The brief character descriptions do offer a bit more nuance and depth of character than Star Wars is typically known for; even if they only act as back-story, the potential for less-than-cookie-cutter characters is present. Take, for instance, Sky Bonteri: Vice Chair Organa's personal guard, and one of the few Jedi who had the opportunity to grow up independently (and being groomed for politics), before being told what was right to feel and not feel as a member of the Jedi Order.
The 'villains' aren't as evil as Star Wars fans are used to either, as the central antagonist, President of the United Imperial Loyalists 'Rath Zel-Quul' isn't the mindless soldier that 'Imperials' are usually implied to be. As a former general, Zel-Quul was dishonorably discharged prior to the Emperor's death due to his unwillingness to commit war atrocities. As the elected leader of remaining Imperial loyalists, Zel-Quul is more interested in peace than bloodshed. As a bonus for fans, Zel-Quul is also a Chiss - meaning even if the Thrawn Trilogy isn't adapted for the sequels, there will still be a blue-skinned baddie to root for.
While it stops short of painting the Jedi/Republic side as villains, it does show potential for more complex plot lines - possibly one of the reasons the show's creators feel it could also be successful among adults, not just children. As any fan of The Clone Wars will attest, there were times in that series when the staff of writers wasn't told they were writing for children, and actually put together story arcs on par with the best of the extended fiction.
The prevalence of Coruscant's Level 1313 certainly raises some suspicions, given the troubled path LucasArts has found telling that story themselves. Unsurprisingly, Coruscant's most notorious level was going to act as the backdrop of the now-cancelled Star Wars 1313, since revealed to have been chronicling the early years of Boba Fett. Whether that means 1313 will be important in setting up Episode VII - implying these documents are accurate - or that Reclamation's plot is part of a marketing strategy Lucasfilm is abandoning remains to be seen.
Of course, there's also the chance this is all an elaborate ruse on the part of a random Star Wars fan. But if it brings forward more fan art of Leia Organa and Han Solo set within the Clone Wars universe, it might be worth it.
We'll keep you updated on this report as information arrives, but is this a strategy for providing context for Episode VII that you would be interested in? Should J.J. Abrams be entrusted with continuing the saga, or has Clone Wars convinced you that expanding on the main films is worthwhile? Share your take in the comments.
Star Wars Episode VII is currently targeting a 2015 release.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
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