Awesome Star Wars projects we will never get to see

The Star Wars franchise has been around long enough to have a ton of ideas that never got developed. Video games, novels, even movies: there are examples of cancelled projects in all of them. Unfortunately, none of them will see the light of day.

Alien Exodus

Ever wonder how humans made it into a galaxy far, far away? Fans have asked that question for years, and in 1994, the publishing company Ace Books decided to provide an answer, hiring science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer to write a trilogy about how humans made it to the Star Wars galaxy.

It's a strange (but interesting) story that starts with Cosmo Hender, a human slave to a vast interstellar empire of insect aliens. One day, he finds a book that tells the story of how humans made it into the galaxy. While planning a slave uprising, Hender dives into the book, learning the origins of the human race. Turns out, the humans in the Star Wars galaxy came from a distant blue planet in a remote galaxy: Earth.

The human exodus story starts in Earth's 25th century. A computerized totalitarian society reminiscent of George Lucas's THX 1138 controls the world. Lead by a guy named Paxton Solo, refugees sick of living under computer control flee Earth on a colony ship. Once they reach deep space, a wormhole pops up and swallows the ship, shooting them across the universe and back in time to the Star Wars galaxy. They begin setting up a human civilization among the native races — after some millennia, humans become the dominant force in the galaxy. Kind of cool, isn't it?

When it came time for Lucasfilm to sign off on the contract with Ace Books, Lucas did what he does best — he made a dumb decision. He decreed that Ace could publish the series, but they couldn't use any of the alien races from the original trilogy. How do you write a Star Wars book while not using any of the Star Wars aliens? You can't, that's how. Ace Books dropped the concept, but Sawyer published his work as fan fiction online, which you can still read!

First Assault

While some Star Wars games are undeniably classics, LucasArts has released their fair share of stinkers. After many failures, they decided in the early 2010s to make a sequel to one of the best Star Wars games ever: Battlefront 2. But they had a problem, as trust in LucasArts was declining, rapidly. Instead of dumping Battlefront 3 into a market that was, at best, apathetic to Star Wars games, LucasArts planned to create a three-game trilogy building up to the release of the sequel.

First Assault was, as the name suggests, the first game in the franchise. It took many of the multiplayer shooter elements from Battlefront 2 and modernized them. First Assault planned to have a bunch of interesting mechanics new to popular shooters. For example, instead of having players respawn at preset points, they'd respawn in a drop ship that would launch towards set drop points. On descent, players could shoot at and kill enemy forces, making respawning a hair-raising aerial assault straight out of Vietnam. Also, players could only heal each other with healing pacts in their loadouts, fostering teamwork and making the battle dynamics more interesting.

LucasArts planned on releasing First Assault in 2013, followed by a game called Wingman in 2014 which focused on purely vehicular combat and space battles. The grand finale was to be a 2015 release of Battlefront 3, which would have combined the elements of both First Assault and Wingman. But when Disney purchased everything Star Wars in 2012 all existing projects got cancelled. Instead of First Assault we got the EA Star Wars: Battlefront, a nightmare of DLC purchases. We will never get to play out our Apocalypse Now fantasies in the Star Wars galaxy.

Star Wars: Detours

Whether you love them or hate them, the Star Wars cartoon shows are wildly successful. After seeing Clone Wars become a huge success, George Lucas decided to work on a new series, Star Wars: Detours. Instead of focusing on the epic battles between Sith and Jedi, Detours would run as a sitcom, written and directed by Robot Chicken's Seth Green.

Detours was basically a vanity project for George Lucas. He didn't mind people like Seth Green making spoofs of his franchise, but he was getting sick of the spoofs happening outside of his control. Like the control freak he is, Lucas decided to get into the game and spoof his own franchise — if anybody was going to make jokes about Star Wars, it was going to be him!

Pulling Seth Green in, Lucas outlined the idea of following the citizens of the Star Wars galaxy get into sitcom high jinks and tell goofy jokes. Together, they wrote and animated 40 completed episodes worth of material, enough for a few seasons. But, when Disney acquired the franchise, they felt like releasing a Star Wars sitcom before Episode VII would lessen the value of the franchise, so Detours got cancelled. This is probably for the better, if the "comedy" in Phantom Menace is any sign of George's joke-telling ability.

Some chunks of footage have surfaced online and they aren't … great. We have hope that Seth Green would have worked hard to make the show good, but if you want to see the 40 episodes completed you'll have to break into the Lucasfilm vaults, which is probably just as easy as getting the Death Star plans from Scariff.

The Epic Continues

In 1986, Kenner toys was facing a serious problem. Star Wars was over, and no movies were coming out in the near future. Since most of their money came from making Star Wars toys, what were they going to do? Come up with a crazy plan, of course! If they wouldn't have movies to base Star Wars toys on, why not just make the toys anyways, and then create a story to tie them all together. It's brilliant!

Dubbed The Epic Continues, Kenner's new plan was one of the strangest chapters in Star Wars merchandising history. Kenner toy creators started developing a new Star Wars toy line (which mainly included repainting old ships), while the executives created a story to justify their creation. Early concept brochures tell the story, which followed the heroes of the Original Trilogy facing a resurgent Imperial threat lead by a rogue geneticist who had started the Clone Wars. It's unclear exactly how Kenner would tell a story purely through toy sales, but the story sounds cool.

The toy designs were something to behold. There was the Millennium Falcon with a cargo shuttle between its mandibles, two seat X-wing variants, badass Clone Warriors, a chubby-looking Luke Skywalker, an AT-AT walker with a giant cannon on it's back, and an alien tribe epically named Mongo Beefheads. Unfortunately, when Kenner pitched the concept, Lucasfilm shot down the idea outright. The Epic Continues faded into obscurity, but still holds an interesting place in Star Wars history as one of the first attempts to create an expanded universe. But we're probably not going to see the Mongo Beefheads canonized anytime soon, except for in our hearts and dreams.

The Darth Maul video game

Darth Maul didn't do much in Phantom Menace besides kill Liam Neeson and get chopped in half, but somehow he became a huge fan favorite. Looking to capitalize on Maul's popularity, LucasArts commissioned Red Fly Studio to make a dark, twisted game following his training.

Early discussion of the game from Red Fly highlighted darkness and intensity. Players would follow Darth Maul's training from the start, watching him get kidnapped by Palpatine and systematically tortured until he became a Sith Lord. To us, that seems like a pretty grim storyline for a Star Wars game, but it would give an in-depth look at the physical and emotional toll of becoming a Sith. This would be a welcome change from the prequels, where Anakin decides to become a Sith after about thirty seconds of convincing. Gameplay would have followed a similar path as The Force Unleashed, highlighting insane Force powers and epic lightsaber combat.

Meddling from George Lucas ultimately killed the project (you didn't think we were done with Lucas's bad decision-making, did you?) He was insistent on introducing the comic book character Darth Talon into the game for some reason, even though she lived 170 years after Darth Maul in the canon. If that bit of anti-chronology wasn't enough, Lucas wanted less darkness, and more of a Sith buddy-cop adventure, with these two characters fighting errant Sith. Even then, Lucas wasn't pleased. He kept changing his mind on what he wanted, creating huge delays in the project and pulling it away from the original awesome concept.

In 2011 he terminated the project out of nowhere — to this day, nobody knows exactly why, though some suspect he did so because the Disney deal was almost finalized. Whatever the case, this epic video game will never be seen, besides through some released concept art. Hopefully Lucas learned his lesson about meddling, though somehow we doubt it.

Star Wars: Attack Squadrons

One of the best video games LucasArts ever produced was Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. If you were a Star Wars fan in the late 90s/early 2000s, chances are that you spent countless hours playing the game on the N64, flying Rebel starfighters as the elite Rogue Squadron. The franchise got one excellent sequel, one middling one, and then died off. For years, fans have wanted a new Rogue Squadron game, and Disney almost delivered it.

Attack Squadrons was a free-to-play, multiplayer, space battle game, where up to sixteen players could join into massive dogfights. Flight mechanics weren't as complex as other flight simulators, but the game had some novel features. For example, you could manage the power output of the ship, so if a player got caught by an enemy pilot, he could divert all the power to the shields, reducing his speed to a crawl, but with an insane amount of shielding. This gave the game a dynamic, exciting take on the normal space combat shoot-em-up. Players received credits for the amounts of kills they received, allowing them to trick out their starfighters.

Early beta testing looked like an awesome mix between Rogue Squadron and the flight MMO Warthunder. Unfortunately, Disney crushed our dreams of blasting off into space and recreating the space battle at the end of Rogue One, cancelling Attack Squadrons with no reason given. Most likely, Disney was afraid that everybody's computers would explode from awesomeness as soon as the game was downloaded.

Josh Trank's Boba Fett Movie

With the smash success of Rogue One, it's clear that Disney's idea of creating standalone movies was a good one. In 2018 we'll get a Han Solo standalone movie, and until November of this year, Disney planned for a 2020 standalone that would follow the coolest bounty hunter in the galaxy: Boba Fett.

Helmed by director Josh Trank (writer of Chronicle and Fantastic Four), Disney was planning to tease the Boba Fett movie at the same time they teased Rogue One. But Trank wasn't ready to show off his ideas, as at the time, he was neck-deep in the Fantastic Four post-production nightmare, scrambling to get reshoots down and the movie put together before its August release.

The rumored Boba Fett teaser was never unveiled, and Disney slowly backed away from the hype around the movie. For a while, it was unclear whether the Fett movie was actually going forward, but recently, Disney exec Kathleen Kennedy confirmed it dead, saying that Disney has not yet decided what movies will come after Episode IX.

So, what are we missing? Details of the movie are spotty at best, but rumors state that the movie would've followed a team of bounty hunters. Imagine how cool it would have been to follow the whole team, showing us the dark underworld of Star Wars and giving us reason to really fear the eponymous bounty hunter. Maybe then we would learn why Vader was so adamant that Boba Fett commit "no disintegrations."

Episode VII: Shadows of the Sith

Before Force Awakens, lots of rumors circulated about a sequel to the original trilogy. Lucas expressed interest in continuing the story, even writing up a script treatment to give Disney when they bought his company. However, while everyone was looking for a movie sequel, LucasArts was quietly developing their own sequel: a video game called Episode VII: Shadows of the Sith.

LucasArts never got past the development stage on the project, so few details have surfaced, but what does exist is quite tantalizing. The video game would have followed the story of Ben Skywalker who, in the Expanded Universe of novels, was Luke's son with his wife Mara Jade. The timeline of the video game would place it decades after Return of the Jedi and follow Ben as he investigated a new Sith enemy to the galaxy, a wayward Solo child.

The game never got past development but, in hindsight, there are some fascinating connections. The idea an evil Solo child made it into a novel series, and was then reused again for The Force Awakens. Since Force Awakens clearly borrowed so much from Shadows of the Sith, we wonder if this is a clue to Rey's heritage. Instead of Ben Skywalker, maybe Disney borrowed the idea and switched it around to Rey Skywalker, giving Kylo the "Ben" name as a tribute. The clue could have been hidden this whole time, in an obscure video game concept.

Star Wars: 1313

Ask any Star Wars gamer about their biggest beef with Disney, and they'll likely mention Star Wars: 1313. This was the Star Wars game that was supposed to launch the franchise into a new gaming future, but Disney decided it too risky and cancelled it in 2013. Get angry, because this almost certainly is the biggest Star Wars-related mistake Disney has yet made.

1313 was a planned M-rated Star Wars game, a no-holds-barred adventure following criminals and gangsters in the seedy underworld of the Star Wars galaxy. Set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, this game wouldn't just show the galaxy's criminal underworld, but also give us a taste of what living under the Empire was like through the eyes of down-and-dirty scum and villainy. LucasArts got really far with the game, developing trailers and awesome game footage videos. Unlike some of the other games in this article, 1313 received unanimous praise for its art design, movie quality graphics, gameplay, and ambition.

It was that ambition that made Disney kill the project. As we learned from Force Awakens, they wanted to play it safe after acquiring Star Wars. Instead of using LucasArts to develop new, complex games, they wanted to use it as a licensing model, outsourcing game development to other firms for a more diverse set of games. 1313 got killed in the switch — to this day, it's the most disappointing thing Disney did, and many a gamer pray for the day Disney loosens their leash and gives the M-rated Star Wars thing an actual go.

Star Wars: Underworld

In the same vein as 1313 was Star Wars: Underworld, a TV series exploring the dark underbelly of the Star Wars universe. Before the Disney purchase, this is the direction the franchise was heading, looking into the gritty side of the universe where Jedi lightsabers don't shine.

Lucas loved the concept, and even wrote 100 episodes (finally, a good Luas decision!). Rumors began circulating about what the show was like and, from what we can see, it was kind of crazy. Producer Rick McCallum compared Underworld to a combination of a Western and gangster movie: "the Godfather and Deadwood in space." That certainly sounds exciting, but that wasn't even the most interesting part of the rumors. A big part of the story would have followed Emperor Palpatine, who gets his heart broken … by a gangster woman. If that doesn't make you wish this show made it to screens, we don't know what will.

Unfortunately, the project got halted because of the cost per episode. Even Lucas realized that getting Underworld to the small screen would cost way too much money, and the man does run a business. Underworld sputtered to a slow death, eventually getting the mouse-shaped axe by Disney. Now we can only dream of watching Palpatine's dating woes as he tries to seduce female Star Wars Vito Corleone. And trust us: we do.