Star Wars: The Force Awakens is primed to overtake theaters next week and key figures from Lucasfilm are making the mandatory press rounds. Company president Kathleen Kennedy said in a revealing Slashfilm interview the company is still exploring options for the fabled Star Wars 1313, a gritty action game canceled in 2013, and George Lucas’ Star Wars: Underworld TV series. But should the projects resurrect, their darker edge may dull because of the Disney ownership.
Kennedy — who said in an interview with Slashfilm that she thought the concept work of Star Wars 1313 was “unbelievable” — said they “definitely want to” revive the properties.
From the interview:
“So our attitude is, we don’t want to throw any of that stuff away. It’s gold. And it’s something we’re spending a lot of time looking at, pouring through, discussing, and we may very well develop those things further.”
Star Wars 1313 was formally announced at E3 2012 as a third-person RPG shooter where players control a rookie bounty hunter (Kotaku reported it was Boba Fett) through the dark, grimy alleys of the city-covered planet of Coruscant.
Evoking a pessimistic realism, 1313 would have brought to Star Wars themes of urban terrorism, organized criminal politics, and space prostitution, told through a sprawling game.
Missing from Kennedy’s comments is the distinct possibility that the game goes soft. Though a revival would be welcome, Star Wars is now a four-quadrant all-ages franchise run by Disney.
M-rated games make a lot of money, but there has never been an M-rated Star Wars game. And with such a deep foundation in the kids’ market, it seems like a left-field scenario.
So, an expensive Star Wars video game targeting only adults doesn’t sound appealing to investors, or to parents. Surely those talks Kennedy says are happening at Lucasfilm must involve this question.
The game was conceived as a tie-in to George Lucas’ Star Wars: Underworld series, a proposed live-action TV show set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. It was announced at Star Wars Celebration 2005 as a “darker” and “grittier” take on the universe, back when “dark” and “gritty” weren’t eye-rolling cliches. The show went through a troubled pre-production stage and was quietly taken out back and shot in 2010.
Star Wars: Underworld, Kennedy says, is something the company is also interested in digging up.
“[Underworld is] an area we’ve spent a lot of time, reading through the material that he developed is something we very much would like to explore.”
Star Wars 1313 and Underworld met their fates between eras. Underworld, had it arrived on time, would have arrived at the dawn of the new “Golden Age” where all kinds of risks are regularly taken. Now, a binge-able Star Wars product seems like an easy sell.
For 1313, the game was in the difficult period between console generations. In 2012, it decidedly looked “next-gen” — but just a year later would have rendered it almost obsolete. But the future is now the present, and a game like 1313 could easily live on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (and PC, but that “console” is kind of eternal).
But even if the game ditches the grit and grime that it wanted to have, it would still be worth it just to see and play Star Wars 1313 after all this time. We’re Star Wars fans after all. We’re tired of waiting.