The Scrapped Star Wars TV Show Would Have Made A Major Villain Likable

Over 10 years ago, around the time that Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was released, George Lucas announced that a Star Wars TV series was in development that would take place between the Prequel Trilogy and the original movies. Despite many scripts being written, this series, later called Star Wars: Underworld, was scrapped, but had it moved forward, viewers would have seen Emperor Palpatine, the overarching villain in the first six movies, painted in a more sympathetic light.

While working on the new God of War video game, director Cory Barlog was able to look at the scripts for the canceled Star Wars series, and there he learned that show would have revealed specific moments from Palatine's life that explained why he turned to the dark side. Barlow explained Venture Beat:

Probably the really small beginnings of this idea, the germination of this --- when I was working at Lucas, I was allowed to go up to the ranch and read the scripts for the [canceled live-action Star Wars] TV show. It was the most mind-blowing thing I'd ever experienced. I cared about the Emperor. They made the Emperor a sympathetic figure who was wronged by this fucking heartless woman. She's this hardcore gangster, and she just totally destroyed him as a person. I almost cried while reading this. This is the Emperor, the lightning out of the fingers Emperor. That's something magical. The writers who worked on that, guys from The Shield and 24, these were excellent writers.

While Darth Vader is Star Wars' most famous and popular villain, it's generally agreed upon that Palpatine is the embodiment of pure evil in this universe. After decades of scheming and working his way through the government hierarchy, he secretly orchestrated the Clone Wars, leading the Republic as Chancellor and the Confederates as Sith Lord Darth Sidious. This eventually led to him forming the Empire, where he ruled with an iron fist and had no problem slaughtering innocents to enforce his interpretation of law and order. Palpatine had no true redeeming features during his movie appearances, so had this TV series shown how this criminal wronged him and ripped out his humanity, fans might have ended up feeling some sympathy for him...even if he still ended up becoming a sadistic bastard.

Emperor Palpatine

Despite the TV series never coming to fruition, the James Luceno-penned novel Darth Plagueis explored a good chunk of Palpatine's life, from his teen years to the events leading up to Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. However, with that (and all the other Legends books and creative material) rendered non-canon, the Star Wars franchise has yet to explore Palpatine's life before he was a notable politician. Whether it's told on the small screen or in a book, it would definitely be great if a new version of his past was told to the masses so that he can be fleshed out beyond just being the cackling, hooded mastermind.

As for Star Wars television, the animated series Star Wars Rebels is airing on Disney XD, and now that a new era has kicked off under the Disney banner with the sequel trilogy and spinoff movies, maybe there's still hope to see a live action Star Wars series hit the airwaves in the future. Just don't get your hopes up about it being this Underworld series.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.