The Star Wars franchise has seen many video game adaptations throughout its four-decade existence, but few have stood out like The Force Unleashed series. Aside from heart-pumping action, they had a compelling and impactful storyline that could bring players to tears (the cliffhanger ending of II did that for me). Following the release of The Force Unleashed II in 2010, fans eagerly awaited the next chapter, but #Disney shut down LucasArts after purchasing the company. which put an end to Starkiller's journey.
The writer of the two games, Haden Blackman and David Collin, the games' audio lead, joined series protagonist #SamWitwer for a lengthy The Force Unleashed-centric Twitch session. There, the trio dished on what they had planned for #TheForceUnleashedIII.
The 'Force Unleashed III' That Could Have Been
According to Blackman, the game would have started off right after the ending of The Force Unleashed II, with Boba Fett shooting down Galen's ship, stranding the conflicted Force-user, Vader, Juno and Kota on an unnamed planet. Their unscheduled stop would have opened the door for an unexpected team-up:
"The one idea I had related to that was Boba Fett being sent after the Rogue Shadow and basically shooting it down and you literally play as Vader and the Apprentice on this planet trying to survive and they have to join forces together to work their way off the planet - and obviously you never know when you can trust Vader. Then you find out Boba Fett's been sent by the Emperor to make sure neither of them gets off the planet because the Emperor has his own plot."
That would have been an incredible dynamic to see unfold. Starkiller grew up hating Vader. He murdered his entire village, his parents, and robbed him of his childhood. So how would the two clash if forced to work together to survive?
Witwer stated that, if things had gone his way, Starkiller, Juno, and Kota would've escaped the planet and taken the Dark Lord of the #Sith to the Resistance, where he was going to be disassembled in order to keep his kidnapping as secret as possible. Sadly, Darth's capturing was a trap concocted by The Emperor:
"I remember pitching a nightmare scene where the trap is sprung as they're trying to bring Vader to justice. There's going to be the trial of the century - they're going to put Vader on trial - and then the Imperial Star Destroyers turn up, Boba Fett turns up."
According to Blackman, this would have led to a sequence of Vader reassembling himself with the Force. There weren't any more story details given, but Witwer revealed that Blackman told him the final level he envisioned for TFUIII, which involved two different endings –– similar to the mechanics of the previous two games. Just as we were getting ready to get this huge piece of information though, the actor decided to keep quiet, explaining that scrapped Star Wars ideas often find their way in other mediums, so he didn't want to ruin someone else's storytelling opportunities.
An Open-World Star Wars Experience
That's the plot, but what about the gameplay? Getting #DarthVader and Starkiller working together on an escape mission brings some serious potential to the table. Blackman was planning to take advantage of that by making TFUIII a co-op experience in an open-world, allowing fans to embody both Vader and his apprentice while fighting off Boba Fett and other potential threats:
"I wanted to build a more open world. A game that had more exploration to it and kind of man open-world feel without going the whole hog."
We've never had a true open world Star Wars game. Yes, the #Battlefront series offers big environments for matches, but they're still limited. The Force Unleashed gave us a version of the Jedi we'd never seen before. #GalenMarek's powers were off the charts, so it would have been great to try out those abilities in a more open setting.
Is There A Chance For The Game To Ever See The Light Of Day?
After hearing about all those awesome ideas, I started wondering: Could we ever see Disney revitalize the project? Well, it's complicated. Here's the thing, work on the game never officially started. As Blackman mentioned during the stream, his ideas weren't discussed since he knew he'd be leaving LucasArts:
"There was not even any concept art that I recall. I obviously had ideas about where the story could go –– maybe I wrote up a couple of plot synopses just for my own brainstorming –– but I knew that I was leaving LucasArts to found my own studio well before we done with 'TFU2' so there wasn't a lot of work put into any kind of 'TFU3' that I'm aware of."
Ok, but couldn't Lucasfilm and Disney still revive the project, with the same game mechanics in place? That unfortunately makes things more complicated, because a sequel to the games isn't technically possible storywise.
The #StarWars universe went through a restructuring when the House of the Mouse bought the property in 2012. All Extended Universe material like books, games and comics were erased from the franchise's canon, and became known as "Legends." The Force Unleashed went into that package.
It was also announced that any new material outside the movies had to be canon to the franchise, and the new canon comics have pretty much detached the TFU saga from the main continuity. That means the series would have to be redone with a new story in order to fit with the new status quo of the galaxy far, far away.
Whether Disney ever decides to do that is a complete mystery, but with so many projects under its belt, the future of the game is doubtful. For now, all we can do is think about what could have been of this incredible franchise, and hope that we're not far away from another awesome Star Wars game.
Would you have liked to play The Force Unleashed III given the new information available? Do you think it has a chance to exist within the modern Star Wars structure? Let me know in the comments!