However, rather interestingly, the film used to have a much different title – one that will be very familiar to fans of the franchise, especially for those fans of the Star Wars Legends novel series.
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 remarkably similar to the title 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 Backand Return of the Jedi and it featured several iconic trilogy characters, including Darth Vader. It is one of the most popular and famous Star Wars novel/game series.
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 favourite Star Wars story among fans, and it got quite a lot of attention outside of the book including a Nintendo 64 video game and a line of action figures.
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. However, it wouldn’t have been the greatest from a marketing perspective because a lot of people searching for the film would have stumbled upon the book instead.
In the end, we’re pretty happy with the title we got. Let’s hope Episode VIII has an equally cool title too!
In related news, it seems it’s pretty successful…
Star Wars: The Force Awakens has shown few signs of slowing down its pursuit of usurping James Cameron’s Avatar as the highest-grossing film of all time after barreling past the $1 billion mark in record-breaking fashion over the Christmas weekend.
The Star Wars sequel crossed $1 billion in just nine days, beating the thirteen days needed by previous record-holder Jurassic World.
The three-day holiday should also rank as biggest Christmas weekend overall in history beating the $269.8 million in 2009, which saw the launch of Sherlock Holmes and the second weekend of Avatar.
Don’t worry, Avatar, The Force Awakens is hot on your trail.