For those unfamiliar with Death Troopers, it is a horror / science fiction book written by Joe Schreiber and published by Del Rey in 2009. The tale begins when the Imperial prison barge Purge—temporary home to five hundred of the galaxy’s most ruthless killers, rebels, scoundrels, and thieves—breaks down in a distant part of space. Its only hope appears to lie with a Star Destroyer found drifting and seemingly abandoned. But when a boarding party from the Purge is sent to scavenge for parts, only half of them come back—bringing with them a horrific disease so lethal that within hours nearly all aboard the Purge die in ways too hideous to imagine.
And death is only the beginning. The Purge’s half-dozen survivors will do whatever it takes to stay alive. But nothing can prepare them for what lies waiting aboard the Star Destroyer. For the dead are rising: soulless, unstoppable, and unspeakably hungry.
Death Troopers would be the perfect opportunity for the Star Wars franchise to venture into the horror genre and quite possibly win over more fans who tend to enjoy their entertainment with more chills and thrills than already offered by the past trilogy films. Zombies are a hot commodity these days and are proven to be a big seller for fright fanatics. Combining two of the most popular creations together in one movie is guaranteed to work on an epic scale. It’s also a concept that could be shot under a modest budget if put into the hands of the right producers and filmmakers.
I could see a powerhouse production company like Blumhouse Productions teaming up with Lucasfilm and Disney to bring Death Troopers to life. Jason Blum is known as a master at making horror and supernatural thrillers on a miniscule budget that look incredible. It wouldn’t be hard to get any independent genre director to sign on for a modest fee to helm such a project. I’d be willing to bet there’d be a few directors out there that might even wave their paychecks to be involved in something so groundbreaking and interesting.
Most of Death Troopers takes place in the darkened corridors of a Star Destroyer and a prison transport ship. All the interior shots on the vessels could be shot on existing sets used for the new trilogy films. They’d just need to be redressed to make them look more menacing and shadowy. All the limited exterior space sequences and footage of ships would be done in house by ILM.
Casting directors for Death Troopers could do the same thing George Lucas and J.J. Abrams have done for the trilogy movies. They could hire up and coming actors who they can afford to take a chance with. Of course, Han and Chewbacca would need to be cut out of the movies for obvious financial and aging reasons. You could also just have Chewbacca in the movie without his partner-in-crime to add a little flair to the cast of characters. The 501st would probably be more than happy to come in and act as Stormtrooper and Zombie extras.
Of course there are those folks out there who would be concerned about a Star Wars horror movie being too graphic. Other genre fans would be concerned about the movie being rated PG-13or tame and diluted. World War Z has proven that there is a happy medium that can be attained when it comes to zombie films and gory content outside of an R rating.
Now is the time to act on an ingenious and genre-spanning idea like a Star Wars Anthology: Death Troopers movie. With one new stand-alone film being planned every other year, there’s plenty of room to expand the Star Wars Universe into the world of horror. Although it is technically a part of the Expanded (or Legends) Universe, Death Troopers could be re-tooled to fit into the new canon. It quite possibly could set the stage for an entire series of genre films based on other Star Wars books like Red Harvest and the Goosebumps – influenced Galaxy of Fear novels.