Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is an unfinished multimedia project developed by LucasArts along with Dark Horse Comics, Lego, Hasbro, and Del Rey Books. It consists of a video game released in September 2008, a second video game released in October 2010, two corresponding tie-in novels, action figures, a comic book, a reference book, a role-playing game supplement, and a book on the making of the game.
After The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm in 2012 and began production of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, the Unleashed project, along with all other Star Wars expanded universe works, was discarded from the current Star Wars canon and reassigned as part of the Legends non-canonical stories, preventing the video game series representing it from continuing further past Unleashed II.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed tells the story of Darth Vader's secret apprentice, code-named "Starkiller" but born Galen Marek, as he hunts down the remaining Jedi after Emperor Palpatine orders them killed. Set between Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, the story explores the aftermath of the Great Jedi Purge as well as the rise of Darth Vader. The events of The Force Unleashed are "pivotal" in Darth Vader's history and development as a character and offer illumination into other characters from Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, and Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. Ultimately, Starkiller sacrifices his life to save the leaders of the new Rebel Alliance; they honor him by adopting his family's crest as their symbol.
In the sequel the players controls a clone of Starkiller, who has memories of the original Starkiller. The game ends on a cliffhanger where Starkiller captures Darth Vader and intends to bring him to justice. Due to the cancellation of the third game, as well as the previous two games being assigned into the discarded Legends brand of non-canonical stories, the cliffhanger will never be resolved.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
The Force Unleashed game was released in North America on September 16, 2008, and in Australia and Southeast Asia on September 17, 2008, and was released in Europe on September 19, 2008. The Apprentice was licensed to Namco Bandai Games to be a playable character in both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Soulcalibur IV.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
A sequel was released on October 26, 2010. The game ended on a cliffhanger, that would be resolved in a third game, however it was cancelled following Lucasfilm decision to refresh the Star Wars canon and reassign The Force Unleashed games to Legends.
Sean Williams' novelization was released in the United States on August 19, 2008. It spent one week as #1 on both Publishers Weekly's and The New York Times' hardcover fiction bestsellers lists, slipping to #7 and #9, respectively, the following week. It also reached #15 on USA Today's bestsellers list.
Williams took on the writing project in part because of the "catchy description" of The Force Unleashed being "Episode 3.5" of the Star Wars saga. The novel focuses on the dark side of the Force and its practitioners; Williams found it "interesting" to portray the Jedi as "bad guys." The author most enjoyed developing the character of Juno Eclipse, exploring the "feminine" side of The Force Unleashed in a way the video game does not. Williams also said that while the game allows the player to "do" Starkiller's actions, the novel allows readers to experience Starkiller's thoughts about those actions, adding another dimension to the story.
Dark Horse's The Force Unleashed graphic novel was published August 18, 2008. Newsarama called the graphic novel a "solid story" that matches the video game source material in both structure and plot. IGN gave the graphic novel a score of 6.9/10 (6.4/10 for art, 7.5/10 for the writing), praising the overall story but faulting inconsistency in the art and questioning whether the comic medium was the best way to convey the story.
Legacy and third game cancellation
After the Unleashed franchise was discontinued following Disney's decision to reboot the Star Wars canon in favor of producing a sequel trilogy, Sam Witwer, Marek's voice actor, revealed that Dave Filoni, the creator of the Star Wars Rebels animated series, considered bringing Marek back into the new canon and having him appear in that series, but ultimately decided against it because he could not find a way to do so without compromising either the new canon's quality or the character's unique distinctions.
Witwer remained involved with the Star Wars franchise, voicing Darth Maul in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels and the film Solo: A Star Wars Story. He also has voiced Palpatine and other minor characters.
- "Overview". Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. LucasArts. Retrieved March 8, 2008.
- "Holiday Gift Guide '08". PlayStation: The Official Magazine. Future US.
- Williams, Sean (August 19, 2008). The Force Unleashed. Star Wars. Del Rey. p. 316. ISBN 978-0-345-49902-8.
His full name was Galen Marek
- Gandhi, Mayur. "Exclusive The Force Unleashed Information!". NZGamer.com. Retrieved May 17, 2008.
- Keighley, Geoff. "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed". GameTrailers.com & Spike TV. Retrieved June 26, 2008.
- "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - Making the Novel". Lucasfilm. Retrieved August 31, 2008.
- "Starkiller (Darth Vader's Secret Apprentice)". Databank. Lucasfilm. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
- Williams, Sean (August 19, 2008). The Force Unleashed. Star Wars. Del Rey. pp. 311–314. ISBN 978-0-345-49902-8.
- "The Force Unleashed Sells 1.5 Million Units Worldwide in Under One Week". Lucasfilm. September 23, 2008. Archived from the original on April 2, 2009. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
- Sinclair, Brendan (June 5, 2008). "Soulcalibur IV Unleashed". GameSpot. Retrieved June 7, 2008.
- "Latest BestSellers of Hardcover Fiction — Week of September 1, 2008". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved August 30, 2008.
- Cowles, Gregory (August 30, 2008). "Best Sellers". Books. The New York Times. Retrieved August 30, 2008.
- "Latest BestSellers of Hardcover Fiction - Week of September 8, 2008". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved September 6, 2008.
- "Best Sellers". Books. The New York Times. September 5, 2008. Retrieved September 6, 2008.
- "This week's top 150 best sellers — Based on sales through Sunday, August 24, 2008". USA Today. Retrieved August 30, 2008.
- "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed TPB". Dark Horse. Retrieved June 4, 2008.
- Siegel, Lucas (August 27, 2008). "Pixels & Panels: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed". Newsarama. Retrieved August 31, 2008.
- Schedeen, Jesse (September 12, 2008). "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed TPB Review". IGN. Archived from the original on December 11, 2008. Retrieved September 14, 2008.
- Pawlus, Adam. "Hasbro Celebrates Star Wars 30th Anniversary With Cool Figures And Spare Change". Toy Fair 2007. Galactic Hunter.com. Retrieved June 7, 2008.
- Muncy, Julie (August 13, 2017). "The Force Unleashed's Absurd Protagonist Almost Returned for Star Wars: Rebels". iO9. Retrieved April 26, 2018.