'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Almost Had A Different But Familiar Title

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There was a time when fans could only refer to Star Wars: The Force Awakens by the generic title of Episode VII. But in November of 2014 the film got the moniker we've all been buzzing about for over a year now. However, fans might be interested to hear that The Force Awakens once went by a completely different title, and it's a name that will be familiar to those who read a particular novel from what is now called the Star Wars Legends series. Find out what it is below!

Pablo Hidalgo is a Creative Executive for the Lucasfilm Story Group, and in a Twitter exchange with Jedi News editor Justin LaSalata, he revealed The Force Awakens alternate title:

Yes, at one point the title for Star Wars: Episode VII was Shadow of the Empire, which is only slightly different from the Steve Perry written novel Shadows of the Empire. For those who don't know, the novel was a story that took place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and it featured several iconic trilogy characters, including Darth Vader.

shadows of the empire novel

Here's a synopsis of the book from 1997:

Shadows of the Empire illuminates the shadowy outlines of a criminal conspiracy that exists in the background of the events in the movies, ruled by a character new to us. Prince Xizor is a mastermind of evil who dares to oppose one of the best-known fictional villains of all time: Darth Vader. The story involves all the featured Star Wars movie characters, plus Emperor Palpatine and, of course, Lord Vader himself.

In addition, Darth Vader is trying to track down Luke Skywalker in an attempt to turn him to the dark side, and the rest of our heroes are trying to track down Han Solo before he gets delivered to Jabba the Hutt.

This was a favorite Star Wars story among fans, and it got quite a lot of attention outside of the book including a Nintendo 64 video game and even a line of action figures. But now it's no longer canon as all of the Star Wars novels have become Legends, and that's likely why the title was abandoned.

Shadow of the Empire wouldn't have been a bad title for The Force Awakens. After all, the galaxy is still dealing with remnants of the Empire in the form of the First Order, so it's a pretty accurate description of what our characters are dealing with. But at the same time, it likely would've been confusing from a marketing standpoint for those looking up information and stumbling upon the novel Shadows of the Empire instead. And fans probably would have started to make assumptions about certain characters and story elements as well.

In the end, The Force Awakens is a good title that's already ingrained in our heads forever, and now we just have to wait patiently to find out what the official title for Star Wars: Episode VIII will be.