Last week after a Star Wars fan site writer issued a challenge to fans to come up with pitches for their own unique Star Wars movie ideas, tons of ideas were thrown about on Twitter in what became a trending topic.
I must admit I'm actually not the biggest fan of the Star Wars movies - I greatly enjoyed the prequels as well as going back and watching the original trilogy as a kid, but for me the best part of Star Wars was never the films themselves. Instead, I was drawn into the universe and lore - the characters, the unique settings, the cool sci-fi tech on display.
The Disney trilogy (although I haven't seen the latest movie yet and won't until it's available digitally) has been rather abysmal - The Force Awakens was okay, but the horrendous pile of garbage that was The Last Jedi completely turned me off of caring about anything that happened in the new trilogy. I did enjoy both of the non-mainline Star Wars movies though, Rogue One and Solo, and more recently The Mandalorian series proved to be quite good, so hope is not lost entirely.
What I've really enjoyed most in the Star Wars franchise however, are the games.
Back in the old LucasArts days, titles like Battlefront and Battlefront II saw me pour dozens of hours into the galaxy far far away on the ol' Xbox, capturing control points with my beloved clone troopers and tearing through droids as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Republic Commando was and still is one of my favourite games of all time, it's gritty FPS combat and superb writing showing off a side of the clones that you'd never see if you only watched the movies.
Later on The Force Unleashed let you play with all the (super) powers at a Jedi or Sith's disposal and was a ton of fun, and most recently Respawn crafted a truly great new story with Jedi: Fallen Order which makes all of the newest movies look like crap by comparison. There are tons of memorable Star Wars games and it's unfortunate we've seen so few releases since Disney took over the empire and closed down LucasArts.
As I read through some of the fan pitches for Star Wars movies during a period of boredom, many of them stood out as quite brilliant - from a Planet Earth-inspired nature docuseries that showcases the various fictional fauna of the Star Wars universe to a The Office-style comedy following the daily lives of crew members aboard the Death Star to more serious R-rated war films set in the Star Wars universe.
It got me thinking about some ideas for new videogames set in the Star Wars universe - I already shared some ideas on rebooting and remaking various past Star Wars games, but those were all merely updating previous titles that have already been made.
Instead, I'd like to share some more unique ideas for videogames that would not only be fun, but I think would have pretty broad appeal and could easily become hits bigger than the three Star Wars games EA has put out so far over their past seven years with the license.
Videogames can deliver unique experiences and explore the Star Wars universe in more depth and variety than a movie ever could, and can also explore paths from the old movies that would simply be impossible to do well in movies given the age of the actors (or some that have passed) without recasting those roles and thus losing much of their appeal (see Solo: A Star Wars Story, which was a surprisingly fun movie but was dead on arrival thanks to Han Solo being recast, a tepid marketing campaign, and the backlash following The Last Jedi).
It's also much easier for a game to explore different avenues of the franchise without alienating much of the fanbase and risking being a box office flop, with gamers embracing a wider array of genres and creativity for the most part.
So here are my three best ideas for new videogames set in the Star Wars universe.
Star Wars Unleashed: Mace Windu
Samuel Jackson's iconic Mace Windu is one of the most popular characters in the expansive Star Wars universe despite the Jedi Master only showing up in two of the main movies.
Thanks to the actor's popularity as well as his badass purple lightsaber, which was given to him by Lucas and even given a place in the Star Wars lore all because Jackson wanted to stand out in the epic fight scene in Attack of the Clones, Mace Windu is highly regarded by fans and many have called for a standalone movie or series focusing on Windu for years.
Of course those calls have died off given how long has passed since Mace Windu last graced the screen - Samuel Jackson is now an old (but still badass) man and while digital de-aging has come a long way, older actors look very rough when tasked with fight scenes meant for younger men as we've seen with the horrendous action sequences in Martin Scorsese's The Irishman.
Fans (and Jackson himself) did call for Windu to make a return for the new trilogy - after all his apparent death was never confirmed and fans have long speculated that he managed to survive his encounter in Revenge of the Sith, so Mace going into hiding and surviving all those years isn't that far-fetched (much less so than Palpatine being alive for the new movie for instance). An appearance never came to fruition, and given the fan reaction to the new movies maybe it's best that way.
In terms of movies, unless the role is recast (and no one can replace Samuel L. Jackson) any chance of seeing him in his former glory is long gone.
In the world of videogames however, no such limitations exist - we can not only see Samuel Jackson as his younger self and performing acrobatic feats no human could possibly pull off, but we can experience the badassery of Mace Windu firsthand.
Windu's aggressive fighting style and willingness to utilize both sides of the force (which is the Star Wars way of explaining why Windu sports a purple lightsaber when no one else does) would make him the perfect protagonist for an action adventure title.
A game could easily take the mechanics from Jedi Fallen Order and combine them with a new story exploring Mace's past, with Windu replacing Cal as the playable character obviously. There are tons of books and comics to draw inspiration from and could take players through a variety of different past skirmishes and events that we haven't gotten to experience in-depth before.
Getting Samuel Jackson to reprise his role as Mace Windu would be easy - Jackson has made his love for the character and the series no secret, so there's no doubt he'd jump at the chance to voice the character for a new videogame, especially the one I have in mind.
But if Disney and EA really want to make a splash in the gaming world, creating a game for older audiences could pay massive dividends.
We've long seen properties explore darker and more mature themes through different media such as novels, comics, and of course, videogames. Unique artistic interpretations of established universes have found major success over the years, and one can find the perfect example in one of last year's biggest films, The Joker.
While the Batman franchise has always flirted with darker themes and a more mature tone, The Joker took a completely different approach to one of DC's most iconic villains and despite being R-rated, drew widespread praise and smashed records with a box office haul of over $1 billion worldwide.
Though many in the older generations still associate videogames with children, many of the highest grossing videogames in the last couple of decades have been M-rated, from Grand Theft Auto to Call of Duty and Halo. Less than a third of gamers nowadays are under the age of 18, thus there's a massive market for games with mature themes and darker tones.
Leveraging Samuel Jackson's talents and appeal would be the perfect way for Star Wars to entice the legion of adults that make up the majority of today's Star Wars fans to check out the game, not to mention potentially lure in teenagers that perhaps aren't fans of the series given the recent movies.
Rather than a typical light-hearted adventure through the Star Wars universe, a non-cannon Mace Windu game would instead explore an alternate version of events, picking up where we last saw Windu on the big screen.
As we all know, Mace was betrayed by Anakin and had his hand cut off before Emperor Palpatine shocked him with lightning and sent him flying out of a skyscraper's window. He was assumed to have died as a result, but as we've seen throughout the Star Wars movies Jedi have fallen from great heights no worse for wear by using the force to break their fall. Given Windu's abilities (he was kicking Palpatine's ass by himself after all, until Anakin showed up), one can easily assume the Jedi Master composed himself at some point during the long descent toward the streets of Corscant and managed to escape with his life - George Lucas himself stated that Mace likely survived the encounter, but as his role in the story had concluded he considered the character's arc closed.
So what did Mace do after having his hand cut off, being electrocuted by the force and then thrown out of a building?
He picked up his lightsaber, got himself a cybernetic hand like the one Anakin had, and set out on a quest for revenge.
This is where Samuel Jackson's talents would come into play, as rather than a typical Star Wars protagonist, he would be unshackled and reborn as a pissed off badass hell-bent on killing those who wronged him.
Who wouldn't want to play as Mace Windu, carving up legions of traitorous clones all the while shouting expletive-filled one-liners?
I never buy special editions of games but make a game like that and produce a limited edition which includes a lightsaber with "Badass Motherfucker" engraved on the hilt like the one Samuel Jackson was given by Lucas, and I'm handing all my money directly to whichever store offers the pre-orders first.
The story would obviously not be cannon and as such, EA and Disney could create a brand new label for stories across different media that explore darker themes and alternate takes on classic Star Wars events. I would call it Star Wars Unleashed but the name isn't set in stone.
The gameplay itself would be what Star Wars fans have been calling for in videogames for ages - violent. People are swinging around superheated blades capable of tearing straight through metal, and even in the movies characters have lost limbs and were even cut in half, so why is there no dismemberment in any of the Star Wars games?
Sure drones can be ripped apart, but cut through a stormtrooper and their corpse is left fully intact. It makes no sense, and it's time to remedy that.
Not only that, but as Mace was already willing to tap into the dark side of the force, given Anakin's betrayal and his near-death experience, a game could add in more dark side abilities to Mace's arsenal combined with the traditional jedi powers. Not only would proper dismemberment be welcome, but it could show off more brutal combat in every sense - reflected blaster bolts tearing holes in victims, people being crushed by force thrown objects, gore from explosions, and even environmental kills such as the ability to force push enemies into sharp objects.
Think of a something like Fallen Jedi Order but with more force powers, a more aggressive duelling style, and the brutality of a toned-down version of Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks.
It would be like playing everyone over the age of twelve's fantasy Star Wars game, and since it isn't cannon, it could even feature the Emperor and Darth Vader as final bosses that get taken out by Mace after he makes it clear they messed with the wrong motherfucker.
I'm sure Samuel Jackson would be ecstatic to be part of such a project as would Star Wars fans everywhere, so get off your asses and get to it EA.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunter
Not to be confused with the classic 2002 PS2/Gamecube game, this new title would draw some inspiration from classic Star Wars games like Bounty Hunter and the cancelled 1313, but would be a much different beast.
With Disney Plus' The Mandalorian being a major success, bounty hunting in the world of Star Wars has never been such a popular topic. Not to mention the likes of Jango and Boba Fett still being some of the most popular characters to ever come out of the Star Wars franchise despite their limited screen time, Mandalorians and their chosen profession in particular enjoy widespread interest from the Star Wars community.
It seems like a no-brainer then to make a game focused on bounty hunters and Mandalorians, and why we haven't seen anything from EA to suggest they're looking in that direction is perplexing to say the least. 1313 after all was arguably the most highly anticipated Star Wars game in franchise history if not the most highly anticipated videogame in general to ever be cancelled, and it was focused on the seedy underbelly of Coruscant with players getting to play as Boba Fett.
Though 1313 was set to be a more focused cinematic outing with a linear story, the nature of bounty hunting is tailor-made for an open world experience.
Imagine creating your own unique bounty hunter - whether it be a human, alien, or Mandalorian - and setting out in the Star Wars universe to take on contracts and visit iconic alien worlds.
While a single expansive location such as the underworld of Coruscant could work, a more Destiny-like formula to world exploration would be more fitting - various large open spaces with tons of stuff to do in each, rather than a larger open world in a single location. Planets like Kashyyyk, Naboo, Coruscant, and Tatooine would all make great settings, as would any of the less-explored planets in the expansive Star Wars lore.
Travel between these locations would of course be made easy thanks to your own customizable and upgradable ship, with dogfights in space also making an appearance (and some bounties could even take place on other ships, with you clearing their defenses before boarding them to take out your target).
At the local level speeder bikes and landspeeders would get you around quickly, and the trademark Mandalorian jetpack could also make an appearance as an upgrade later in the game. Vehicular combat would also spice things up, with certain vehicles sporting weaponry or your character able to shoot a sidearm from the driver's seat a la GTA.
Loot would play a big factor and instill a sense of progression, with players able to swap out different pieces of armour, weapons, gadgets, and modifications on the fly, as well as different paint schemes and the like to tailor their character to their heart's desire.
A variety of different playstyles would be catered to with skills unlocking through experience that let players optimize their character to their preferred playstyle - a stealthy approach would emphasize quiet sneak attack takedowns and sniper rifles as well as traps such as tripmines or remotely detonated explosives, gunners would have plenty of blasters and gadgets to use to aid them in battle, and the more aggressive types could utilize things like flamethrowers and melee weapons.
Gameplay would be from a third-person perspective and take the form of a cover shooter, though the different playstyles would take more or less advantage of said cover - a melee-oriented player for instance may quickly close the distance and engage enemies up-close, while heavily armoured tank-like players can mow down enemies without the need for constant attention to defense. Think The Division 2 with more variety and mixed with stealth elements from Splinter Cell.
The story itself would be a mixture of individual subplots as well as an overarching throughline that connects various bounties and moves the game forward - kind of like the way The Mandalorian combines self-contained stories within the overarching plot of the season. Some bounties would connect to the main story and unravel a deep series of threads, while others would simply explore specific and isolated stories within the Star Wars universe, offering a wide variety of Star Wars tales for players to experience.
Co-operative play would also be the perfect fit for a bounty hunting adventure - players could band together with friends or other random bounty hunters to take on bounties and explore, though the ability to choose to explore entirely on their own without being forced into online play would be important to keep intact.
A neat mechanic to add would also be AI allies that could be given a small cut from your bounty's reward. Say you want to take on a tough bounty but don't have any friends online or don't want to play with strangers; instead you could give up a small portion of your rewards in exchange for having other AI bounty hunters (essentially serving as companions like in Fallout) aid you in your quest. It's something that I've felt has been missing from many open-world co-op games, and can be especially annoying if matchmaking isn't finding any other players for your specific mission - adding AI companions would eliminate that issue.
Should it prove successful (which it would if the game was of solid quality), additional bounties and stories could easily be added to keep players engaged, and expansions could add new planets to explore along with new story arcs. Even raids featuring a large squad of players tackling a tough gauntlet of foes which are popular in these kinds of games could make for a thrilling spectacle set in the Star Wars universe.
We have yet to see an open world action/shooter set in the Star Wars universe but it fits the genre so incredibly well it should only be a matter of time before we eventually see one - a project under the supervision of former Uncharted director Amy Hennig was later turned into an open-world action game at EA Vancouver, but gamers never got to see much of what it looked like or how it would play before EA canned the project.
Here's hoping EA has seen how successful The Mandalorian is and they decide to revive the open-world project as one built around bounty hunting in the galaxy far far away.
Star Wars Jedi Hunter: Grievous
The Star Wars movies have always centered around its heroes - while villains like Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, and Darth Maul regularly stole the show, the heroes are always given the majority of the screentime for understandable reasons.
With videogames, that tends to be the case as well but we have seen several games explore the darker side of the force, with titles like The Force Unleashed and Knights of the Old Republic allowing players to choose their alignment and embrace the dark side should they so choose.
What we haven't seen is a major Star Wars game that focuses entirely on the dark side - not as an option, but instead as the focal point.
Similar to my idea for a darker, Star Wars Unleashed alternate viewpoint on the franchise, a game focusing entirely on one of the most fearsome and brutal villains in Star Wars' history could prove to be a very interesting and different experience from what we're used to.
Unlike my Mace Windu idea, a game with General Grievous as the lead playable character could exist entirely in the universe's official cannon. As fans know, Grievous was a cyborg almost entirely composed of mechanical components that served as a fearsome Separatist general. He was trained by Count Dooku to be an extremely proficient lightsaber combatant (which is aided by the fact he has four arms and thus wields four sabers) and hunted the Jedi for sport, collecting their lightsabers as trophies.
Say what you will about the prequel movies, but their lightsaber fights were by far the best in the series and still hold up today as excellent action sequences showcasing unique styles of combat. General Grievous' mechanically enhanced additions to combat would make him uniquely fun to play as, especially given his ability to take on so many different duelling styles leaving gamers no shortage of attacks to play with.
While he was only in one movie, Grievous went on to become a pivotal character in animated series and various extended universe books and comics, and is highly regarded as one of the most unique and imposing villains in the series' history.
Unlike most of the iconic Star Wars heroes and villains, Grievous had no force powers to speak of. His cybernetic body was composed of force-resistant metal to keep him from getting easily dealt with by powerful force users, but it was his intimidation and scare tactics that made him such an overwhelming threat to the Jedi.
Jedi of course need to concentrate to use the force - Grievous' strategy was to constantly break that focus through relentless and cruel attacks, overwhelming Jedi caught in his path before summarily executing them. His reputation as a hunter of Jedi, and his strategic use of showing off their lightsabers as trophies, served to further instill fear in his victims.
Exactly how many Jedi General Grievous actually killed is unknown, but we do know they are likely in the dozens. As such, there would be plenty of stories and battles to draw inspiration from to serve as the "enemies" that Grievous would face in his videogame outing.
Of course the story would be pretty straight forward - you play as General Grievous as he hunts down various Jedi in cold blood. Exploring more of his backstory and just why he hates the Jedi with such passion would form the crux of the narrative arc and offer more insight in the unique and sinister character.
Gameplay would obviously consist mostly of lightsaber combat, with a more tactical and strategic approach than a straight-up action game. It would be similar to Jedi Fallen Order's approach to combat, but with more chaotic attacks and options available given Grievous' four-blade style and cybernetic upgrades.
Rather than simply putting points into an ability to unlock them, new moves would be gained during battle to show off Grievous' cybernetic enhancements and the intelligence that allowed him to mimic his opponent's style and pick out their weak points. When a new ability is to be handed out in the game, the action would freeze and an appropriately sci-fi HUD would open up pointing out an opponent's weakness and telling you how to perform this new attack.
Given his other cybernetic enhancements, a traditional upgrade scheme could be employed to give players options of gadgets and weapons to utilize in combat, such as a grappling hook and different blasters. To break up the action, vehicular combat sections could also be added, featuring the odd wheeled tank-like vehicle Grievous used in the movie.
Of course the non-Jedi combatants would be made up of clone troopers, which could be taken out using blasters and other weapons as well, with only Jedi essentially requiring Grievous to engage in hand-to-hand combat given their skill.
Grievous' insane lightsaber skills would make for a very fun and different combat experience than we're used to in a Star Wars game, and though the game wouldn't have to be overly dark, the brutality of combat would be a main focus of the game that sets it apart from many past Star Wars titles - think dismemberment and executions.
General Grievous would be the perfect character to explore for a new experience set in the Star Wars universe, and should it prove successful (seriously who doesn't want to be an evil bastard and kill a bunch of Jedi for fun?) it could spawn a sequel in the same style featuring Darth Maul as the lead.
Quick Hits: Star Wars TV Shows
With Disney's new streaming service and the success of The Mandalorian, we can expect to see plenty more television series set in the Star Wars universe in the near future. With an Obi-Wan series in the works as well as one focusing on Cassian Andor coming, what other TV show ideas would you want to see debut on Disney Plus?
Here are three quick ideas I have for new series:
Documentary series have always been popular if they are on interesting subjects, so why not make one on Star Wars? Rather than being a making-of or behind-the-scenes real documentary, this series would be looking at the events in the Star Wars universe as a war documentary would, as if it were being told by historians years after all of the events in the movies concluded.
A strong narrator would be key, with scenes from the movies as well as plenty of footage filmed for the series serving as the visuals to accompany the narrative. Only scenes that you'd imagine historians would have access to within the Star Wars universe would feature - think aerial battle shots, recovered droid recordings, speeches taking place in the Senate, etcetera. It would lend a cool air of authenticity to events and would be a unique and engaging way of experiencing the Star Wars story as it has never been experienced before.
Coruscant Detective Show
Star Wars' most famous city would be the perfect setting for a sci-fi buddy cop show. From investigating shady politicans to murdered civilians, the show could explore the variety of crimes that are sure to exist in the massive and vibrant city. Run-ins with bounty hunters, exploration of the shady lower levels, and even cameos from famous Star Wars characters could all feature.
Detective and cop shows have been immensely popular for decades, and with a universe like Star Wars to draw from, Disney Plus could deliver a unique take on the genre and garner a lot of interest.
The Pacifist Droid
With characters such as C3PO, R2D2 and BB8 at the fore, droids have always been heavily featured in the Star Wars universe. Battle droids formed virtually the entirety of the Separatist army and were made exclusively for warfare in the prequels, and it's here I ask this question: what if one droid went against its programming and instead refused to take a life?
This series would follow a rogue battle droid as he's forced off to war against the Republic, in which the reluctant combatant helplessly pleads with his fellow droids not to fight. The other droids of course don't listen, leaving our unlikely hero forced to run for cover when the fighting starts and escape from his predetermined fate in order to try and live a life of his own. On the run, the droid would meet a variety of colourful characters that would at first greet him with hostilities, but over time he would prove his worth and create a new life for himself as he hid from his former brothers in arms.
That's all I have for you today, would you play these videogames or watch these shows set in the Star Wars universe if they were made? What are your ideas for new stories in the Star Wars franchise? Let me know in the comments below or feel free to drop me a line on Twitter.