LucasArts was an early casualty of the Disney/Lucasfilm merger, leaving many planned games cancelled, and fans left wondering about what could have been. I got the chance to speak with writer/producer Haden Blackman about his time at LucasArts (though he left long before the acquisition), specifically regarding The Force Unleashed and it’s sequels. I’ll post the full interview later on, but I thought fans would be interested in this tidbit regarding what the future of The Force Unleashed franchise would have entailed.
The Force Unleashed games were a big deal, and became multi-media endeavors for Lucasfilm, serving as a “canonical” tale set just before the events of the original trilogy. While that’s since been changed, the games are still something fans think about, mostly because of the way it told a new Star Wars story. While many fans weren’t pleased with the rushed and too short The Force Unleashed II, many have wondered what would come next.
The game ended on something of a cliffhanger, where Darth Vader is captured and under the control of Starkiller, his clone apprentice. It was an obvious set up for more games and a bigger story (as we all know that Darth Vader is out and free by the time of A New Hope), yet it never got the chance to finish. Being a fan of those games myself, I had to ask what the plan for The Force Unleashed 3 would have been:
“My long-term plan was to turn the franchise into more of an open world experience, and eventually introduce co-op play — I wanted to make games about two Force wielders adventuring through the Star Wars universe together. I tried to keep that alive for an early treatment of TFU3.”
I really love the idea of seeing it become more of an open world. Some of the best moments in The Force Unleashed titles came from when you were allowed to do your own thing, and have fun using your powers. The games were ultimately pretty linear, but similar mechanics in an open-world environment could be a lot of fun. Getting to team up with your buds for super Force powered action also sounds like a blast…But what about Vader and Starkiller?
“I think the details are best lost to time now, but my hope was that we’d have Vader and Starkiller reluctantly working together to stop one of the Emperor’s plots that threatens to replace Vader.”
This is most interesting to me, in that the next story would see you TEAM with Vader rather than fight against him. The Emperor plotting to replace Vader isn’t a new idea, but what would drive Starkiller to help Vader? Perhaps it would have been a story about the lesser of two evils or something. Why are details so scarce? I asked Haden Blackman about this, and whether or not he’d begun work on the third Force Unleashed game.
“No. I jotted down a few notes somewhere about the possible story, but that was it,” Blackman answered. Which makes sense, as he left just after work on the second game had completed. Sadly, we don’t know exactly what could have been and likely won’t get the chance. There are no plans for The Force Unleashed games to be resurrected. While the details are still missing, I’m pretty happy to hear, at least in broad terms, what it could have been.
What do you guys think? Would you have loved to see Starkiller and Vader team up in The Force Unleashed 3, or are you happy to see the franchise gone?
This is just one of the many interesting things I learned while talking with Haden Blackman. I’ll have the full interview on the site later this week (or early next week).