After three weeks of release, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has brought in about $615 million worldwide. Between the action, excitement, and resurrection of the classic era of Star Wars lore, its success has shown that the Force is strong with the franchise, even without an episodic title attached to it. It is moments like this that embolden people to take big risks, splash a little bravado into the tank, and do something extremely daring. Which is why, at least in my humble opinion, it's time Lucasfilm get off of their collective rears and bring to life one of the most well regarded Star Wars stories to life on the silver screen: Star Wars: Shadows of The Empire.
Published in 1996, author Steve Perry's entry into what's now designated the Star Wars Legends canon of discarded expanded universe fiction told the story of Dash Rendar, a bounty hunter hired to help track down the frozen Han Solo, as his body was being transported by Boba Fett to Jabba The Hutt. Taking place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Shadows of The Empire was the bridge that introduced a rather formidable villain: Prince Xizor. A shipping magnate, and head of the Black Sun crime syndicate, Xizor had designs to replace Darth Vader as Emperor Palpatine's right hand man. This, among other adventurous events, leads to a climactic space battle where Imperials and Rebels alike fight to destroy Xizor's scheme, setting the stage for the final chapter in the classic Star Wars trilogy.
Of course, even if you're not an avid reader, you're probably still excited to hear the title Shadows of The Empire, as the novel was also adapted into a successful Nintendo 64 game, as well as given its own orchestral score, composed by Joel McNeely. It's one of the most memorable books in the now obsolete expanded universe canon, because it fills in some more of the gaps that were left between the events of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Much like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the chance to fill in some of the plot holes left between the two classic films could be an opportunity to not only revise the story of Shadows to officially make it canon, but also to help tie together the classic trilogy's story a little tighter.
Most importantly, the fact that Shadows of The Empire was written a good 13 years after Return of the Jedi has previously prevented any hope of making Steve Perry's novel into a film. Up until now, a full CGI film was always mentioned as the best possible hope for creating a viable film out of this rich, much bantered about story. However, as we've seen in Gareth Edwards' Rogue One, the technology for full CGI de-aging is not only at our disposal, it's pretty advanced at this point. If we can de-age Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia and resurrect Peter Cushing's Grand Moff Tarkin, then we can give The Emperor and Luke Skywalker the same treatment. Not to mention, the opportunity to cast the somewhat legendary Dash Rendar is something that shouldn't be passed up.
With bits and pieces of the Star Wars Legends universe already being worked into the newly refreshed cinematic universe, Shadows of The Empire deserves its moment in the sun. It's a well regarded piece of fan favorite literature, and it gives the opportunity to flesh out characters both new and pre-established in the cinematic portion of the saga. The success of Shadows of The Empire would not only vindicate the novel once and for all, it would be bringing more historical events in the Star Wars universe to light. However, if there was one overriding reason that Shadows needs to be made into a Star Wars Story, it's that big skyhook finale that we remember from the end of both the book and the Nintendo 64 game. Seeing that moment on the big screen would be instant magic.
Star Wars: Shadows of The Empire is available through most booksellers, while Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now.