It’s an inexact science, the whole naming thing. Remember when we thought Episode I would be called The Balance of the Force? Or Episode II, The Clone Wars? (We were all pretty much right about Revenge of the Sith, but let’s ignore that fact because it detracts from my point.)
The Force Awakens, according to Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo, was very nearly called Shadow of the Empire.
@justinlasalata for longest time, the TFA title was the same as an old novel. Thankfully it changed. 🙂 With so many books, it’s inevitable
— Pablo Hidalgo (@pablohidalgo) December 25, 2015
Now, um, nerd alert here, but Hidalgo paints this as if Shadows of the Empire was just one in a series of many books, like every other one. That just ain’t so. At the time, Shadows was the first major expansion of actual canon since the original trilogy, encompassing a novel, a video game, and a whole sub-line of action figures. It answered a pretty key fan nit-pick — just why did it take Luke and Leia so long to rescue Han if they knew exactly where he was the whole time? — and introduced semi-popular Expanded Universe character Dash Rendar.
Shadows may no longer be canon, but it introduced elements like Prince Xizor, head of the Black Sun criminal syndicate, and his species of the Falleen, which have since been made canon in The Clone Wars. So it’s not entirely non-canon either — nothing in it contradicts, or is contradicted by, any new stories of the Disney era.
In other words, for the sake of all of us obsessives, it’s a really, really good thing they didn’t go with that title. And I’m sure Disney executives are happy that disgruntled fans won’t be pelting them with old Chewbacca in Snoova Disguise purple-carded figures.
But I’m just one fan. Would YOU have liked Shadow of the Empire as a title? Tell me if I’m overly OCD in comments below.
HT: The Verge
Image: Del Rey Books via Infinispace