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The Force Awakens' original title was Star Wars: Shadow of the Empire

Sound familiar?

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The creative boss for Lucasfilm's story group revealed what the original title was for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and it may take you back to a video game a long time ago, on a console far, far away.

Woof. Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire was a huge multimedia project by Lucasfilm about 20 years ago, comprising a book by Steve Perry (not the Journey frontman), a comic book series, the only Star Wars soundtrack not composed by John Williams, and perhaps most notably, one of the first video games launched for the Nintendo 64. Shadows of the Empire bridged The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, until Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012 and then nuked the "Expanded Universe" canon from orbit.

Some of the concepts introduced in Shadows of the Empire were later seen in the 1997 special edition re-releases of the original trilogy. The project was meant to test appetites for a full motion picture, a kind of post-prequel (or pre-postquel?) before committing to that kind of a budget. None of it reviewed very well, so in that regard the experiment was a success as it saved Lucasfilm from a nine-figure embarrassment becoming part of the permanent record (three others would follow, however).

Still, the critical meh for Shadows of the Empire may be a big reason why Lucasfilm chose to back away from that particular phrasing for Episode VII.

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