Will ‘Force Unleashed’ be the next ‘Star Wars’ film?

Sept. 23, 2008 | 12:50 p.m.


Haden Blackman, the project leader on “The Force Unleashed” video game, has a daydream: He strolls into the movie theater, buys some popcorn and then sits down and watches his game’s tale of Darth Vader and his secret apprentice flicker to life as cinema.

“Oh, that would be incredible,” said Blackman. “And it’s not impossible. Never say never. George [Lucas] has looked to tell new ‘Star Wars’ stories through the games and with the entire Star Wars Expanded Universe, and then he has also shown a willingness to let the characters come into the films. Look at Aayla Secura, a creation in the [Dark Horse] comic books who became part of the theatrical films.”

More than that, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” released in August, began as a television animated series (and still will be, with tie-in episodes premiering Oct. 3 on Cartoon Network), but when Lucas saw the work in progress he decided to take the tale to the cineplex. That film has gotten mixed reviews, to say the least, but Lucas doesn’t seem to care a bit about the opinion of any detractors when it comes to his historic entertainment enterprise and its directions.

Dark Horse has also released a graphic novel version of “The Force Unleashed” and, to my mind, it’s more satisfying than the game — although in full disclosure, that’s not saying much, because I am far more of a reader than a gamer. Blackman not only penned the story for the graphic novel, he also has a lavish 224-page book titled “The Art and Making of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed” that celebrates the images and behind-the-scenes labor on the game as if it already were a major motion picture. An adapatation of the film in a traditional prose novel written by Australian sci-fi author Sean Williams also hit No. 1 on the New York Times list of hardcover fiction bestsellers and now, after four weeks, is at No. 14 on that tally.

Lucas is clearly pleased with this new entry to the broader “Star Wars” story and I would not be surprised for a moment to see it on a theater marquee at a CG-animated project in the next few years, especially with the intensifying Hollywood interest in video games and toys as film properties. There’s also the very real power of putting Darth Vader on a movie poster in the theater lobbies of America.

If the “The Force Unleashed” does become a movie, Blackman said it would be a testament to the priorities and sophisticated ideas of his team, who he says puts storytelling and game-play on equal footing and emphasized “the artistic nature” of the quickly changing video-game medium. “It’s an incredible time,” he said, “to be telling powerful stories in this fairly young medium.”

Perhaps, but like the most recent film addition to the Lucas universe, there was huge pre-release anticipation for “The Force Unleashed,” followed by widespread grumbling. It hit stores Sept. 16 and topped the 1-million units sales mark in its first five days, according to industry retail reports, but the reviews have been decidedly mixed.

Here’s the take, for instance, by Hero Complex contributor Pete Metzger, who reviewed the game for the Los Angeles Times and echoed many other underwhelmed gamers:

Most of the things that make up the “Star Wars” universe these days — movies, TV shows, toys and video games — are lacking the magic that made the original trilogy of films so incredible. Gone are the spectacle and awe. Instead, we get halfhearted disappointments (such as the current “Clone Wars” animated movie).

Sadly, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is no exception. It should be an amazing story bridge between Episodes 3 and 4 and one that boasts groundbreaking new artificial intelligence and gaming technology. But Unleashed fails to register the tremor in the Force we were hoping for.

You can read Pete’s whole review here.

The Associated Press review was much the same in tone:

You can cut a swath of destruction with your light saber alone, but it’s more fun to use your Force powers. You can send enemies flying with a force push or grab them and throw them at each other. You can zap them with lightning bolts or shock waves. And when you come face-to-face with a larger foe, you have to figure out how to effectively mix your Force abilities.

The story takes place between the third and fourth episodes of “Star Wars,” and it doesn’t have much for the nonfan to chew on.

The game is also marred by some technical problems, such as bland level design, awkward camera angles and inconsistent targeting, which makes it hard to pick up and heave specific objects. And some of the fighting, whether against hordes of Wookies or just a single big boss, gets tedious. Still, it’s entertaining for most of its eight-hour length; it’s just not the revolutionary title that will win over “Star Wars” skeptics.

I’m sure the “Force Unleashed” team is pained after their many seasons of labor to hear any disparaging remarks, but when I spoke to Blackman the other day he could hardly have been more upbeat. He even told me about going to see “The Empire Strikes Back” when he was a kid in Orange County, and he described the way the movie seemed to pluck him out of the audience and whisk him away to the far reaches of the Lucas universe. “I’ll never forget that. It’s just great to be part of it all these years later.” It sounds like Blackman (just like so many other people now working for Lucas at the Presidio) became a secret apprentice back in the summer of 1980.

— Geoff Boucher


Photo gallery of the “Star Wars” Expanded Universe

All Hero Complex coverage of “Stars Wars”

Image from “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed” courtesy of LucasArts



34 Responses to Will ‘Force Unleashed’ be the next ‘Star Wars’ film?

  1. Rudy M Alapag Jr says:

    it would become a film, just don't know when. Because a cousin-in-law of mine asked me:
    is there will be a STAR WARS: TFU FILM? And i said: I think it's just a game and that's about it.
    There is no TFU film. Which i was asking that same question myself, if SW:CW could be a film so could The Force Unleashed, but no news on it yet since i read the story on the SW website.
    Keep me informed or I'll visit SW website every day.

  2. Vichus Smith says:

    I've only gone through a bit of the game and I already think this is better than the new Clone Wars cartoon- and most of the new trilogy. Even though the game has issues, the story is very appealing.

  3. Schaefer Prince says:

    I agree with Vichus, and think that it is a pretty cool game. The only thing is that when fighting AT-STs, if you run around to get some health, the screen turns to face the apprentice, leaving the enemy's whereabouts a mystery. Also, the fighting gets tedious after a while, but in this game, you can truly unleash the force. I've upgraded my force powers so that I can force push almost anything a hundred yards away, and can electricute five people at once, killing them in just seconds. This game, though it has its problems, is great.

  4. Hal9000 says:

    I've also only been through the first few levels but it is a blast to play and does have the "Star Wars" feel that makes it so appealing. I almost didn't get it because of the bad reviews but I'm glad I did…

  5. Carolyn Cook says:

    i think they should make a movie out the star wars the force unleashed game. It fits in perfect with the star wars saga. I would be dissapointed if they do not make a movie out of this game. All you would have to do is through in some extra characters but i dont think that would be a big deal.

  6. Navin R Johnson says:

    I for one, am absolutely loving TFU. I almost didn't buy it because of the reviews, but boy am I glad that I did, because this game is a blast! I don't think there has ever been a game that has captured the feel of the original Star Wars movies like TFU – not even the prequels felt this dead on. The story is just awesome, and would make for an amazing Feature Film. I just hope it's live action and not CGI.

  7. jmorgan says:

    There was something missing in the Star Wars saga in the last ten years. It was Darth Vader. As cool as Vader was, he was never portrayed as a powerful enemy. All that we have seen is him losing one fight with luke, winning once against Obi-Wan after he gave up, an then beating luke in Empire. Everyone wants to see Vader kick a little tail. It's all that people have really wanted to see for three decades. Without Vader, the story is useless. I get that it was more artistic to let us see Vader before the mask, but it was simply not that interesting. I want someone to finally make a movie about why Vader should be feared. If you want your box office millions, do that. Please quit wasting our time with a story that lacks magic and wonder.

  8. Jimmy says:

    What? thats the f-ing problem then if George Lucas doesn't care.
    He's basically telling the world that he, and the people who work for them don't care what ppl think, hence, dont care about making good products. They care about one thing: Money.
    quanity of quality is not what the fans will stand for

  9. RaptorXS says:

    I recall wishing they'd done the same thing with "Shadows of the Empire" back in 1996. Even today, CGI has shown us that this would be possible, especially if the characters could be voiced by their real-life counterparts from the original trilogy. The book was really good, but a silver screen rendition would be KILLER!

  10. krona says:

    Star Wars is and always has been an incredible concept and I for one would be extremely happy to see a TFU film debut. I loved the game and the story line, it is perfect for some cinematic action. m/ (>.<) m/

  11. ender350 says:

    a movie about swtfu would be great.

  12. R4-P17 says:

    I am truly sad to see what some people think of STAR WARS in this age they criticize it and think George Lucas is insane and cares only for money ,but let me tell you something the man is a sheer genius all he cares is making something nobody has ever seen before; because of the great work Haden Blackman and George Lucas have done in TFU, I am inspired and I am proud to to say I'm taking a leap and ready to create THE FORCE UNLEASHED MOVIE. I have been making STAR WARS movies for a long time now and now I think am ready to embark on this mission, sadly the movie is going to be CGI since am literaly the only CG artist or actor (don't worry some friends will voice the characters). I will attempt to make the graphics as real as possible. The plan is to have the film on my web-site two years from now. I hope it will bring that magic back from the original trilogy.

  13. Nukem says:

    I beat the game and saw both endings. (think the good ending would be the one they would use in a movie) I admit there were some annoying flaws with the game, but after I beat it. I kept saying I would definitly go see this if it was a movie. They already have a killer soundtrack to the game,(transfer it to the movie) It shows how a colder side of vader. I hear there is a novel out, so I want to find it and read it, I hear it is better than the game as far as the story

  14. Mike says:

    I am about half the way through this game, its entertaining for sure but to me, I do not see the makings of a great story here that can be turned into film. As for the game itself, its decent, but not as good as I expected it to be. However, there is a Star Wars based game that for sure should be turned into a movie…. It’s called “Knights of The Old Republic”. Yes, its 1000 years before Vader but so what, its time for a new villain anyway and the story in this game was great! Not only that, its by far the best Star Wars based game ever made in my opinion.
    I honestly think there would be a huge market for an era in the Star Wars Galaxy when it was the time that Jedi were in greater numbers. Where there would be new Sith and New Jedi characters to fall in love with. I think anyone that played KOTOR would agree. The only ones that would not agree never played that game and never experienced that great story! Trust me, the story on Force Unleashed is Childs play in comparison, its just intriguing to some that still love Vader. Lucas blew it by making Episode 3 too short and rushed Anakin’s fall to the dark side ruining that build up for me. In all honestly, Clone Wars should have been a movie BEFORE Episode 3….. We should have seen how good Anakin really is and that’s when the buildup and fear of Vader could have really set in.

  15. Steve says:

    Nukem–how do you see both endings??

  16. Steve.C says:

    I think the force unleashed would suck as a movie, i think they should move away from episodes 1-6 and try going forward in time, or maybe back (Knight of the old republic) or even making a film that will focus on a different type of people fighting the same struggle against the sith. The ideas are endless, i think the reason they haven't decided on a new movie yet is because they don't want to kill the franchise with a crap movie, a movie will have a far bigger impact on the franchise than a few episodes of a cartoon. Just one more thing a game thats based on a movie will do far better than a game thats turned into a movie. Take Doom for instance lol, that sucked so bad.
    I dunno, the force unleashed is a good game, and i hope they make more similar.

  17. R4-P17 says:

    Good and Excellent news!! There will be a 2010 live action star wars series, and it appears Sam Witwer the actor of the secret apprentice will be playing on there as the secret apprentice, so far this is supposed to be rumor but the true fact is that the series takes place between episodes 3 and four, so to me thats enough proof to say there will be an episode of the THE FORCE UNLEASHED!!!

  18. charles christian says:

    I think there should be a STAR WARS UNLEASHED MOVIE and it will be GOOD

  19. Samuel Stopher says:

    I definatlly agree that the game would make a great movie but only if they get Sam Witwer to play the aprentice as he did both voice and face regognition for the character in the game.

  20. The wrecked says:

    Alright. The game it's self. Brilliant. Ps2 version is a major black sheep compared to the 360 and ps3 versions. Obviously. But a movie about it would be great because not only so it points out major events in more detail but the battle sceans would be so greatly recognized. By the way. I've been google about the after math of swtfu and I can't find anything on it. Don't tell me just wacth episode 4 and go on. No, I want to know what happens to key players from the game. Exp, general garm ibelis, general kota, and juno eclipse herself. None of them show up in episode 4 so unless it's one of those they were assasinated before episode 4 or didn't play a major role in episode 4 okay then. But i'd still like to know if they were killed or not. Contact me if you have any info. Treizcorp4@sbcglobal.net

  21. jedi says:

    There can still be another starwars movie, as long as there are jedies, siths, the force, and lightsabers.
    People will rush to the cinemas!
    The Force Unleashed would make some great eposides.
    While Luke is still a baby, there's quite years ahead before episode 4.
    Not necessarily only episode 1, 2, 3 ,4 , 5, and 6.

  22. Revan says:

    Luke wouldn't have been a baby… Leia was in Force Unleased all grown up around 20ish, and since Luke was her Twin…

  23. star wars fan says:

    it would make a good film but they leia is in it and and carrie fisher is like 50

  24. Jacob says:

    if they made the force unleashed movie that would be a hit

  25. Ryan says:

    I think this would make a great movie. I have played both of the TFU games and i think they have a good story line.

  26. Dude says:

    I would rather them make a movie about knights of the old republic but I doubt that'll will happen. Force unleashed "could" work but I am skeptical to say the least.

  27. The dude with ur mom says:

    If Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is going to a movie I will be first in line for the midnight showing.

  28. jake and his friends says:

    jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake says if it does come out when

  29. jacob says:

    if it does come out when i say when?!?!?!?!?!?!

  30. Adrian says:

    I just want to see a movie with Galen Marek (starkiller) in it. I'm drawn toward how much power he has and how he could have been the most powerful force user in the Star Wars universe. And I reckon from the storyline of the SW FU games if they tweaked the story a bit it would be a solid movie.

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