Shadows Of The Empire Adaptation: Making A Case

Shadows Of The Empire Adaptation: Making A Case

After a discussion this weekend I felt like writing about a Shadows of the Empire adaptation. Specifically I’m making a case for the perfect Star Wars Disney+ show to be led by Darth Vader. Recently star Hayden Christensen has spoken about his desire to play Darth Vader again. Christensen would love a Darth Vader led show.

However, there’s not a lot of room  within the Sith – Hope timeline for a show which hasn’t already been covered by book’s comics, games or animated shows. Yet, I would love to see Darth Vader as the lead in his own series, so how could Disney pull it off? Then I thought of the old days, and the now de-canonized Legends. My brain went straight to…

Shadows of the Empire

Shadows Of The Empire Adaptation: Making A Case

For those who may be unawares, Shadows of the Empire was a huge deal to an older Star Wars fan like me. This is pre-prequel era Star Wars content and that means the only live-action we had was the OT. Even in animation there was slim pickings, but we did have the books. Up to this point all the novels released were post-Jedi stories. However Shadows of the Empire was announced as being something special. A novel, a comic series, and a tie in video game. This felt more real, and official, than anything else since Return of the Jedi.

Why it Worked?

Now, I won’t hail the story as some literary classic, but it was not half bad. My part that caught my attention most though was the fact a lot of the story was told from Vader’s point of view. Some of the scenes therefore between Vader and the Emperor were great. It was like a window into what our young minds had dreamed of with these characters. Then throw in an underworld overlord, one with political machinations to supplant Vader as the Emperor’s right hand man. What’s more unlike most of what we had seen that far, this character, Prince Xizor, had the favor, and power to actually make a serious play.

Xizor is a great character, and his species has now appeared in the live-action canon. However Vader is the star of that story. This is a Vader who cannot use brute force like he normally would. Instead it was a story more like Varys and Little Finger playing games against one another at King Joffrey’s feet in Game of Thrones. In other words the story, and the plot are not about action set pieces. This is the Vader I’d want to see more of. With Rogue One and now Kenobi we have seen the raw power of Darth Vader. Now show us the intelligence and cunning of Vader, and how it is to work under The Emperor.

No Canon Worries

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Shadows is no longer canon, that means this would not need to be a very direct adaptation. The basic premise could be taken and changed into whatever suited the story and the new canon. As such, the previous setting for Shadows would in my opinion not be the best spot to adapt the story in the new canon. Previously Shadows was the official Episode 5.5, set between Empire and Jedi. For me, the issue there is having a Vader that’s post-Empire fundamentally changes the character, because it’s also post-Luke v Vader. The Vader we see in Return of the Jedi is a different character than what we’ve seen before. Stepping too close to that is risky for me.

Therefore, I’d switch it up. So far there has been very little content about the period between A New Hope and Empire. Setting this story in that period opens up a lot of possibilities. For a start The Emperor is more vulnerable than he has been since Order 66. Dissolving the Senate, feeling it was no longer needed due to the Death star, Palp’s faces a tricky scenario of not having said Death Star thanks to the Rebels. Also, the destruction of Alderaan whilst blamed on an accident has caused a surge towards the Rebellion and against the Emperor.

RELATED: Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 5 Review – The Good, The Bad, And The Old Men

If the show was set before Vader discovers the identity of Luke Skywalker (recently shown in a comic), the search for information about the Rebels could be a component of the story. However the main reason for me would be the chance to see Vader deal with a plot against him before the redemption began inside him. Additionally, whilst Shadows of the Empire also dealt heavily with the search for Han Solo, it would allow the adaptation to dispense with that aspect completely. We could spend time with those working closest to Vader, like whatever Inquisitors are left, if any, by that point in time. Vader, trusting no one could be surrounded by enemies, that would jump at the chance to gain the Emperor’s favor.

All Pro, No Con

There is very little here that would disrupt the canon in any way, giving the writers the freedom to create their own version of that basic concept in any way they chose. I get that this might not be the show some kids would get excited about. However Star Wars fans aren’t just kids. Giving us a more mature Vader led show, whilst still maintaining the limits expected for Star Wars could be fantastic.

Hell, I’d even take a post-Obi-Wan Kenobi sequel along the same lines. As long as I caveat that with Kenobi and Vader not meeting again. However, I’d much rather see any kind of Kenobi sequel get away from Vader. This Vader led show from a different era would be far more interesting. It would also present an opportunity for McDiarmid to return as peak Palpatine, again without busting any canon.

What do you think, would you be interested in a loose Shadows of the Empire adaptation? Have I been successful at making a case for a Shadows of the Empire adaptation? What would you want to see from a surely inevitable Vader led show? As always, leave your own thoughts below, or jump over to Discord where this idea first came up in chat.

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Campbell Clark

Cam is Senior Editor at LRM Online, and has a passion for all things geeky, including sci-fi, fantasy, and comic book movies.

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