Monday 18 January 2016


From 1996: Remember SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE? It was the STAR WARS movie that didn't bother with the movie and just pushed (true to Lucasfilm form) a ton of merchandise. 

The folks in the marketing and licensing departments were still a little rusty when it came to promoting and selling the saga after a decade or so in the doldrums and concocted this multi-media event, set in the gap between ESB and ROTJ, to limber up for the possibility of re-releasing the original trilogy or even making some new films. 

Plus, of course, they needed a way of measuring demand without risking a multi-million dollar bomb going off under Skywalker Ranch. 

The licensing department roped in all their willing pals at Kenner, Dark Horse, Lucas Arts, Bantam Books and all their other partners to create a storyline and new characters (Solo alike Dash Rendar and criminal mastermind Prince Xizor) that would be moulded (literally in Kenner's case) for the requisite merchandise.

Steve Perry's novel was the main vehicle for the storyline, allowing everything else to hang off it. The comic book wasn't a direct adaptation of the book but did co-ordinate to ensure consistency across the two interrelated storylines. 

They even released a soundtrack album, by Joel McNeely for the film that never was.

The various officially licensed STAR WARS mags all loyally devoted their efforts to plugging the event. 

Lucasfilm did produce a trailer to hawk the multi-media extravaganza but had to pull it when folks began to think that it was teasing an upcoming movie. Sometimes you can be too smart. 

West End, once again, produced this sourcebook which doubles as a supplement to the Role Playing Game as well as a handy reference work in its own right. 

The cover, the key art that adornedtheme novel and played a key part in the marketing, was by movie poster extraordinaire Drew Struzan. 

SHADOWS, long forgotten anyway, was consigned to being little more than a footnote when Disney deemed it irrelevant (like most of the Expanded Universe) when the franchise rebooted for its big screen return.  


  1. I don't have this one but I do have the novel, comic and another book called THE SECRETS OF STAR WARS SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE which can be seen here :

    All tie-in products for a movie that didn't exist. But at the time, any new star wars material was exciting and welcome.

    1. Hi Ed

      Yes indeed, they did e encounter manage to produce a "making of" book for the film that never was. I've owned and dumped that book several times over the years and I *think* I have a copy at the moment. If I find it again, I will add it to the STARLOGGED vaults. It used to be a mainstay of secondhand shelves but seems to have become rarer over the last few years. I also think there may have been a hints-and-cheats companion for the video game as well.

  2. Well, you shouldn´t forget the NINTENDO 64 console game, which was also a welcome reason for a soundtrack. The game was pretty good for it´s time and certainly helped the fans (well at least me ;-) ) to get back into the movie mood again.
    And last not least the wonderful, wonderful art series by the Hildebrandt brothers - especially created for this media event. 100 pieces by these creative brother artists who also did the cover from the STAR WARS collectors edition (one sheet art) in 1977. Published as a Topps card series.


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