If that meant bringing back Dash Rendar and the Outrider to Star Wars, sign me up!
While Disney is going off any making sound marketing decisions with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which led to it becoming the fastest film to gross $1 billion in ticket sales, the inner Nintendo 64 fan in me, upon hearing that it was almost called Star Wars: Shadow of the Empire, wished it could have been named just that. The story comes from Pablo Hidalgo, the Creative Executive of the Lucasfilm Story Group responsible for keeping all current (and canon) tangents of Star Wars working together, who tweeted on Christmas that The Force Awakens was, for the longest time, subtitled “Shadow of the Empire.”
If the name sounds familiar to you, it should! Shadows of the Empire was not only the name of an Expanded Universe book and comic book series, but also an early Star Wars video game title for the Nintendo 64. It followed mercenary Dash Rendar in events between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, first tailing Boba Fett in an attempt to bring back Han Solo to the rebels. Prince Xizor is the ultimate enemy of the Rebels in this game, ordering hits out on Luke Skywalker and capturing Princess Leia.
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Your interactions with established Star Wars characters, expanding the understanding of bit characters like assassin droid IG-88, while crafting and embarking on a story of its own made Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire a worthy title on its own. It was marred with controller issues, however, preventing a widespread appreciation of the best way to expand the Star Wars universe; through video gaming stories.
Eventually, someone at Lucasfilm must have got across how silly an idea it is to throw away the established expanded Star Wars universe but use one of its namesakes as the title for the first new Star Wars film post-Disney acquisition, and the film was eventually named The Force Awakens. It’s probably for the better, but it can’t hurt to think about what a world that would be to live in.