Star Wars Needs To Look Back To Move Forward

Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens | Review

“A long, long time ago” seemed like the best way to start things since that is when they seemed happiest. In the not too distant past, Star Wars was a beloved franchise and, even though it has managed to keep up with new movies and so so many Lego sets and action figures, the video games that made it great have faded into obscurity. In a recent choice, Disney locked in a director to provide them with a new Star Wars trilogy of movies not focused on the Skywalkers’ story. Although we may get to see less of lil’ Annie this way, it could not only help breathe life into the movies but hopefully add some darkness as well.

Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Sith

Star Wars needs to look back to go forward, not in the sense that it has to look at what it did to be successful in the first movies, but rather that it needs to look at what it did with those movies. The best part of Star Wars is that the outcomes have always been experiments on the inputs, whether its the cast of B-list actors that made up the trilogy, the plot twists and morality of Knights of the Old Republic, making Star Wars into a shooter from Battlefront (sorry EA, not the one you made), Star Wars means taking risks.

The best option is to look back at the success the series has seen with Sith and use that to leverage into a truly evil foe. Vader struck fear into moviegoers when he stepped onto the screen, but the lore is already ripe with new options. Anyone familiar with the Knights of the Old Republic story line knows that the potential in the first game alone for a plot twist, betrayal, and large set pieces is there for the taking. Perhaps refocusing the story to exclude Bastilias a bit but highlighting the starmaps and the Sith rising to power would finally help Star Wars be able to focus on threatening characters and not just planet-sized lasers.

Along with the new focus, KOTOR is a time ripe with many Jedi and Sith, both fighting for control in some of the dirtiest ways possible. While the films now feature aliens and space cowboys,  KOTOR is stuffed with Mandalorians, awful robots, inflated crime syndicates and yellow lightsabers. This time period can finally feature what we love seeing in Star Wars: Jedis and Sith getting scrappy and fighting no holds to the death.

Balancing In Unpredictability

Aside from the (wonderful) step away from the Skywalkers, KOTOR is also free to explore a different part of Star Wars, one where no one knows anything. Bringing balance to the force is great and an admirable quest so far as the films are concerned, but visiting a different time in Star Wars history frees the story from that completely. In KOTOR the aspirations of the Sith and Jedi never seem totally focused on balance because no one seems quite sure what balance is.

Not only are the Jedi just trying to hold their act together as the Sith grow stronger, the Sith are always fighting each other to be the very best (a la Pokemon). This allows the melodramatic handling of the Force to fall away as the movies and games are both freed to give audiences characters who may not take themselves too seriously. Are the Jedi strictly here to stop the Sith, or are there personal matters on the table too? With the Skywalkers gone and the Force unrestrained, it is easy to see the fun potential that is to be had in both the future games and the movies.

Star Wars Knights of the Old RepublicYou Had Me At Goodbye

In revisiting KOTOR Disney would have a currently functioning game to use (The free-to-play MMO, but it still does exist), and they have a trilogy that is 2/3 complete with a wonderful cast to pull from for inspiration.

Characters such as Revan and Malak are great slates to build powerful Sith out of. Malak in particular is free to be given a backstory and then really delivered on. A movie that starts with Malak losing his jaw and then goes on to see him betray his master, Revan? Outstanding. Not only are these characters developed in the wonderful KOTOR and KOTOR 2, but they are flexible enough that adding to them could feel like natural growth. Also, selling KOTOR 3 is guaranteed, so that is probably something Disney would dig too.

Past the in-game characters, most of the writers who penned KOTOR and its sequel are still active in the industry and able to be drawn from for the completion of a new film series or new game. While people established in one industry (such as games) may not want to make the jump to another (movies), it is still the prime time to have them for reference.

There’s one final thing that would make KOTOR work, but it’s not one I’m happy with. EA has the rights (per Disney) to make Star Wars games. Since KOTOR was made by BioWare and EA, it’s only a matter of when before EA gets BioWare back into the swing of making another KOTOR. Will it be fun and smartly paced, or would we see more action-shooting-running-driving-scanning that the most recent Mass Effect brought? Like everything else in this world, only Disney and EA know the answers.

In the meantime, what do you think? Would KOTOR work on the big screen, and is KOTOR 3 still something you’re hyped about? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and keep checking The Game Fanatics for more!

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