‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Almost Borrowed a Familiar Title
When Lucasfilm merged with Disney and embarked on a new era in the Star Wars franchise, the companies declared that the EU — or expanded Star Wars universe — would no longer be considered official canon. But as it turns out, The Force Awakens almost had a title that might sound quite familiar to fans well-versed in the EU and its vast collection of novels and connected stories.
Jedi News editor Justin LaSalata tweeted out a fun suggestion for the Episode VIII title, which elicited an interesting response from Lucasfilm story editor Pablo Hidalgo regarding the title the studio almost used for The Force Awakens:
Shadows of the Empire was the title of Steve Perry’s book in the Star Wars Legends series, which centered on a newly-created villain who sets out to challenge Darth Vader in a story that takes place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The novel’s title is a teensy bit different — Shadow vs. Shadows — and involved a plot where Vader attempted to turn Luke over to the Dark Side.
As Slashfilm notes, Perry’s novel was quite popular: it was adapted as a Nintendo 64 game and inspired a line of action figures. But the story is no longer considered official canon, as Lucasfilm has encouraged fans to look at the EU stories as fun, supplementary materials instead.
Director Rian Johnson is currently filming Star Wars: Episode VIII, with John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and more set to reprise their roles from The Force Awakens. That film doesn’t hit theaters until 2017, and it may be a while yet before we learn its official title.
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