Following the closing credits (and no post-credits scene, because this isn’t Marvel) of Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker, the nerd masses will be without a Jedi path for the first time since 1977. That’s 42 years.
When Lucasfilm announced the most influential science fiction story line in cinematic history was coming to a close, many Star Wars fans felt some uncertainty for the beloved franchise’s future.
People began to doubt the evil empire partnership of the Mouse and the Force. Fans, although rich with canon knowledge, began to doubt their Jedi dreams because the blackness they were staring at was the future.
A world without a Skywalker? A universe without a Vader? How will this work or even be a good thing?Jedi Enthusiasts Everywhere!
Breaking News: It will…and hells yeah.
Spinning the Rumor Mill
There have been countless rumors that have spun its way into our hearts, blogs, and podcast fodder including:
- Obi-Wan Kenobi origin
- Yoda origin
- Boba Fett origin
- Vader origin
- Solo sequel
- Rian Johnson trilogy
- D.B. Weiss and David Benioff trilogy
- Lando spinoff from Solo
- New animated series
- Darth Maul origin
- Ahsoka Tano spinoff
You get the picture. All Star Wars fans have been clamoring for what’s next. With a voracious appetite to feed and an uncontrollable imagination to fill, the muckety mucks at LucasFilm and Disney realize they need to deliver. A lot.
They have. We already know about Jon Favreau’s Disney+ series The Mandalorian, which promises to be a solid inaugural conception for the new streaming service. The Game of Thrones boys and Rian Johnson are both working on a trilogy each of to-be-determined subject matter.
We have good stuff to keep us entertained for a few years (at least every other year pre-Christmas), but now we have some news that should make every Star Wars cosplay and collectible geek giddy with expectation of what’s to come.
BuzzFeed News reports a new movie based on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) is underway featuring the writing prowess of Laeta Kalogridis (Avatar, Shutter Island, Alita: Battle Angel).
The minds at LucasFilm do just about everything amazingly, except video games. The bar most video games from this franchise (or any movie franchise) must hurdle is the 2003 video game Knights of the Old Republic, which touts the ultimate recipe of characterization and action, plot and storyline, story and deliverables.
The subject matter for what could be Kalogridis’ script (nearing completion already) is vast, taking place thousands of years before the worlds of Skywalker take place. In case you haven’t played KOTOR, it entails a visceral battle between the Republic and resurgent Sith, led by the sardonic Darth Malak.
The video game was a massive success and easily a top-10 for any gamer out there. It embraced the lore of the franchise while delivering something completely different in a forum few expected to have the magic of the cinematic franchise. Not only was the video game fantastic with its visuals and action, but the storyline was totally unexpected and absolutely refreshing.
We can have a world without a Skywalker and still enjoy the crap out of it. So…why is it perfect for the big screen?
The Battle of Two Mediums
Yeah, there have been many Star Wars video games–most have sucked, if we are honest with ourselves. It’s almost sacrilege to say that of anything under the Star Wars umbrella, but ever since we got the first two prequels, the fandom has been fairly open with their pent-up aggression and angst.
But even those trollish ne’er-do-wells in Star Wars nation had nothing to debate with KOTOR. It changed the face of RPGs in a way few have matched. It delivered full voice-over talent, dynamic storytelling, and gripping action.
We got new characters, some new action, and a refreshing narrative set 4,000 years before Palpatine started weaving his bravado in Anakin’s life that delivered in many ways for the gaming community. KOTOR was so good that fans immediately begged for a big-screen adaptation. Of course, video game movies rarely fare that well, but this had the makings of something that could be great. And now, we’ll find out.
Step Into the Comfort Zone
In case you haven’t noticed, lightsabers and The Force are still big players millennia prior to Anakin Skywalker. KOTOR offers fans an opportunity to learn about another section of the Star Wars universe while still getting the comforts of “home.” Can you imagine a Star Wars movie without a lightsaber? (Oh yeah, Solo.)
Darth Malak–and Darth Revan, for that matter–can wield an energy stick better than most ever have. His control of The Force is undeniable in this video game, as he has already gathered a legion of Sith and other soldiers all hell-bent on destroying the Old Republic.
Clones. Sith. Resistance. The Force. It’s all here in full regalia with KOTOR.
A Force of a Different Kind
Kalogridis will be only the second woman in the history of Star Wars anything to write anything, behind only Leigh Brackett who co-wrote arguably the pre-eminent movie of the franchise The Empire Strikes Back.
The news is a massive score for a company that has been pelted by equal opportunity advocates, and ironically, a company led by Kathleen Kennedy. So far, the Expanded Universe has struck gold the few times a woman has been the center of attention (e.g., Leia, Ahsoka Tano, Rey, Jyn Erso). These are memorable women of the Force, so why not get one behind a camera too.
While there are many corners of the formidable Star Wars internet that have speculated that Benioff and Weiss will be the stewards of KOTOR, Kalogridis was hired in spring 2018 to develop the property.BuzzFeed
She is not writing for some other white dudes to take the credit. This appears to be her film. It worked pretty well the first time with Brackett. Odds are Kalogridis will crush it this second time too. And not for nothing, but if you know KOTOR, you know one of the most fierce female characters, Bastila Shan, is waiting in the Jedi wings.
Same Story, Way Different Movie
George Lucas was always fascinated with man’s inner turmoil. The motivating force (pun slightly intended) of doing good. The malevolent tug of acting bad. There has always been a complex exploration in the Star Wars expanded universe between good and evil, light and dark.
Apparently, even in the prehistoric times of Star Wars, one can’t escape the visceral emotions of resisting the wiles of the Dark Side, even if it means being “reprogrammed” as a Jedi Knight and one of the Republic’s most versatile defenders, as we experience with Darth Revan.
If you play the game, or even read the Dark Horse Comic‘s tale, you will soon realize a familiarity with KOTOR. While this is an ancient version of the Force, it’s a friendly reminder to what we have always known, which should play extremely well in the favor of box-office success.
In Knights of the Old Republic, the gamer becomes entrenched in what it means to go full-on Dark Side as a Sith, completely Light Side with the Jedi, or the murky waters of the “Gray Side” (?) as Revan deals with his psyche.
A World of Possibility
Excellent narrative. Familiar storyline. Girl Power. And not one, but two, Siths. What’s not to like about Knights of the Old Republic?!
It is the premiere Star Wars video game that presents forward-thinking story angles, new characters, with all the comforts of the Skywalker saga. Think about the battles in the original saga–Obi-Wan is no agile Darth Maul. Luke is a novice compared to how Dad wields a saber. However, we remember the conflict that pierces through the screen with every exchange.
This is what we have to experience in KOTOR. It will not be the fart-and-fall-down moments of the prequels. Neither will it be the equally cataclysmic disasters of Battlefront II, Force Unleashed II, or Kinect Star Wars.
There is endless potential in the game’s narrative, which means a literal world of opportunity for a movie adaptation. If you remember the game, you know the story doesn’t suffer the content of the gaming world. It’s a rich balance of action and RPG wrapped into a multifaceted realm of content that keeps the gamer interested.
Why wouldn’t the game be the perfect choice for the big screen? When you have that answer, get back with me. Until then, this is the one that could resurrect fan’s belief in video game movies being successful and restore confidence in the Force post-Skywalker.
May it be with us all…soon.