Five Star Wars Stories That Would Make Great Games
Now that Lucasfilm is allowing more publishers and developers to take a crack at making Star Wars games, I’d love to see a handful of Star Wars “classics” get reborn as interactive experiences. I put “classics” in air quotes because Star Wars’ history is so complicated and messy that some its greatest stories no longer exist in the universe’s ongoing continuity. Yes, you can still buy and read these stories, but most have been retconned. Lucasfilm now calls them “Legends,” treating them like “what if” alternate timelines or dreams.
Seeing amazing creative works get reconned is awful, but I understand why Lucasfilm did it from business and storytelling perspectives. With dozens of stories hitting each year, the Star Wars universe quickly became a mess of confusing plotlines and crossed wires; there was just too much happening at once and not enough checks were in place to ensure quality content was being delivered. When it came to creating a new sequel trilogy with Luke, Han, and Leia, they all had lived full lives in novels and comics. Communicating their character developments to theatergoers would have been a monumental task, a task that would need to be nailed down to every small detail. Could it have been done? Yes. Should it have been done? Yes. Did Lucasfilm’s decision to turn the Death Star’s laser on these stories pay off? I think the answer is also yes.
Whether you like the sequel trilogy or not, the mystery surrounding these titular characters was enjoyable to see unfold. We all wanted to know where Luke was and what happened between Han and Leia. Again, you may not like the answers that were given. You may prefer these movies get retconned to bring back the lore from the books, but Disney’s decision to work with a blank canvas created fantastic story potential – not just for the films, but books, comics, and games. Anything is possible, and we even see some creators diving deep into those lost works to bring back fan-favorite characters and ideas. All is not lost.
While I wish none of it was retconned in the first place, I do love a lot of the new content that is being made, and some of it may not have been possible given what was established in the old stories. I truly believe The Mandalorian is the best thing to happen to Star Wars since the original trilogy. And by a long shot. Could it have been done regardless of what happened to past stories? Perhaps, but there’s likely a chance we would have gotten the canceled Underworld show instead.
As we move forward with the likes of Ubisoft and potentially other studios being given the green light to play in in this beloved universe, here are some stories I wouldn’t mind seeing come back in some fashion.
Star Wars: Dark Empire
Penned by Tom Veitch with art by Cam Kennedy, Star Wars: Dark Empire is a short comic book series that was released by Dark Horse Comics in 1991. Set six years after the Battle of Endor, this story shows us that the Rebel Alliance’s victory is short lived, and their champion, Luke Skywalker, couldn’t resist the allure of the dark side. As he struggles with his inner demons, Han and Leia Solo (who are now married) are being hunted by Jabba the Hutt’s loyal servants. Free from the Sarlacc Pit, Boba Fett is also gunning for them. The Empire is rising in a terrifying way. The fallen Emperor Palpatine returns with his wretched soul duplicated in a clone army (an idea J. J. Abrams used for The Rise of Skywalker).
This excellent Star Wars story is a page turner that screams of video game potential. Playing as a conflicted Luke Skywalker would be awesome, and being on the run as Han and Leia (in shooter or stealth sequences) would be equally as satisfying. We’d then see the group come together with Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca for space battles and even more on-foot action. Most Star Wars games either give us a Jedi experience or a shooter experience. Why can’t one deliver both? The heart and soul of many Star Wars stories sees an ensemble of unlikely companions overcoming great odds. That’s the core of what works for this crew and it would be a shame to not have that come through in a Dark Empire game. There’s enough in the framework of this story that would still work somewhat well with Disney’s sequel trilogy.
Bring it back, Lucasfilm!
Star Wars: Darth Maul – Shadow Hunter
A Darth Maul video game was in the works years ago at LucasArts (which I wrote extensively about in a retrospective), but it never saw the light of day. Playing as this beloved Sith Lord would be amazing because it wouldn’t be a story far removed from the more traditional tales, but it would give players a chance to take part in a narrative that’s not centered around the Jedi. Set just six months before the events of The Phantom Menace, this game would show us why Darth Maul is such a threat, as he uses his double-sided lightsaber to off politicians, warlords, and even a padawan.
Star Wars: Tales of the Bounty Hunters
Tales of the Bounty Hunters is an anthology of short stories that bring us closer to Boba Fett, IG-88, Dengar, Bossk, Zuckuss, and 4LOM – the lineup Darth Vader met with in The Empire Strikes Back. The game would latch onto this concept and give the player control of all of these bounty hunters for their own stories, which could even connect with one another to have numerous hunters on the trail together. I would love to learn why Dengar is considered such a threat (or should even be considered cool), and getting more from Boba Fett is always a good thing.
Given the similarities between all of these feared hunters, the controls and gameplay would be universal for all of them, but each would have distinct abilities, such as Boba Fett’s jetpack, and, well, whatever Zuckuss can do.
The Star Wars
George Lucas’ original rough-draft screenplay for Star Wars was penned in 1974, and was quite different than what ended up on the silver screen three years later. This early version of the story followed a character named Annikin Starkiller. With the blessing and guidance of George Lucas, Dark Horse Comics adapted this script into an eight-issue comic book series in 2013. It’s a fascinating read that shows us what could have been, including an older version of Luke Skywalker who looks almost identical to Lucas today.
I’d love to see this story get fleshed out as a video game. I know Lucasfilm wants everything to be canonical now, but i think Star Wars fans would go nuts for it. Some of Ralph McQuarrie’s early Star Wars sketches are based on characters from this script. Whenever those artworks are spun into toys, collectors froth at the mouth for them. A full game of McQuarrie-esque imagery would be wild, as would be seeing Lucas’ early ideas come to life in an interactive way.
Star Wars: Knights of the
Old High Republic
If you are confused, you should be. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is the great video game series that BioWare introduced in 2003, which is sadly no longer canonical. Regardless of this, people want BioWare to make a sequel, but with its stories and characters no longer existing, what would that next chapter or reimagining be? To further complicate things, Lucasfilm recently introduced The High Republic as a new era, which is set over two hundred years before the events of the feature films.
The High Republic is basically the new place where old Star Wars stories are told. Yes, KOTOR is set four thousand years before the films, but I doubt Lucasfilm would want two old eras running in parallel. What I would like to see happen is for BioWare to create a similarly designed RPG game set within the New Republic. So instead of being Knights of the Old Republic, it would be Knights of the High Republic. The comic books and novels for The High Republic have been fantastic so far, and there’s significant amounts of narrative room for a game (or series of games) to explore. Just imagine how cool the Drengir would look on next-gen hardware. Playing as Lula Talisola or having her be a companion wouldn’t be a bad way to kick this story off.