In 2008, the Star Wars world was taken by storm by a conflicted Sith Apprentice. He wore his mastery of the Force like a mixture of a billboard and a battering ram in the way he acted as a mobile Hurricane Katrina in his missions throughout the Star Wars galaxy. Most shocking of all, he did this in an era that was restricted for so long- a time period whose stories so far had been restricted to smugglers, gamblers, and spies and mostly published over twenty years ago.
In The Force Unleashed, Starkiller defined events fans had only dreamed about, while at the same time displaying public acts of Force prowess that would have made Obi-Wan Kenobi second guess his decision to leave an untrained Luke alone with Starkiller’s master. And, in the end, Starkiller too, renamed Galen Marek after the child he had once been, made the ultimate sacrifice, becoming the inspiration not for the Rebellion itself, but for its leaders and its symbolism. But there’s more to the story…“Felucia is a world finely balanced between the light and dark sides of the Force. Shaak Ti was the only thing keeping it from being consumed by darkness.”
One thing that video game companies love to do is revisit old worlds. Bioware seemed ecstatic to be returning to Taris, its own planet, and a well known theme in games is returning in the second disc to an area in which you overthrew the government during the events of the first. In The Force Unleashed, this happens most notably on two planets, which I’m going to focus on here.
On Raxus Prime, the planet originally has three forms of local “governing”. For close to seventeen years, mad Jedi Kazdan Paratus has presided in his “Jedi temple”, collecting stray droid parts that may be far madder than he is, keeping the surrounding lawlessness to a relative minimum- it’s hard to commit some of the crimes that many would expect on a backwater, literal trash heap of a world when there’s a Jedi within spitting distance. There was Drexl Roosh, a Rodian crimelord of sorts that ran a powerful salvage operation on the planet. Finally, there was the Core, a sentient machine that wished to supplant the Emperor and take over the galaxy.
On the fungus world of Felucia, the more natural, free-flowing planet had a heavy handed influence from an even more powerful Jedi, High Council Member Shaak Ti, who not only acted in direction of at least one village of natives but also had a strong connection to the Sarlacc and other wildlife of the planet.
When Starkiller passed through the Raxus system the first time, he killed Kazdan Paratus and all of his droids. The Empire, finding a good part of the resistance against them mysteriously gone, moved in, setting up their own facilities in place of the “Temple”. Starkiller came back, took them out, and was attacked by Roosh, who blamed him for the arrival of the Empire. The Core also decided that Starkiller was a threat to its schemes- although only because he resisted PROXY’s assimilation. Starkiller, of course, ended both of these threats, plunging Raxus Prime into an even more pure state of lawlessness.
On Felucia, our Chagrian Jedi Master met her end after a wildlife-intensive battle with the Sith apprentice. After Shaak Ti fell, a large Light influence on the planet was lost- and another powerful presence, her apprentice Maris Brood, grew Dark in the vacuum, tilting the environment in the opposite direction. But Starkiller fought Maris, too, with two likely results- either Maris finds herself pushed farther into the Dark Side, though not quite to the level of a Sith (Starkiller would have had to cut off her arm for that to happen) or she lives up to her hastily concocted pledge and turns away from the Darkness. In either case, she’s stranded on Felucia.
The fact of the matter is that the state of both of these planets right now is a mystery, a mystery that may just be too powerful for the creative minds of a video game design team to ignore. I know if I worked in the genre, and had just destroyed two to four governing forces each on a planet whose ecosystem I had essentially created (neither of these planets were new, but I don’t think anybody else has gone as in depth as to how each works), I would have a few dozen pages written up or sketched as to what happened after Hurricane Starkiller passed through.
Maybe Raxus has once again become a temporary base for a Rebellion, as it did prior to the Clone Wars? Its proximity to both the ruins of the Sith Empire and the Perlemian Trade Route open up a host of opportunities for peaceful invasion, or the Jawas scavenging along the planet might have decided that it’s high time they stop living in fear and took over themselves. Perhaps a new artificial intelligence, as hostile and ambitious as the Core and as deranged as Kazdan Paratus on his death bed- perhaps even an IG-88 model- has filled the void. On Felucia, it’s an admittedly somewhat simpler scale, but as game design goes, that’s no hindrance. We’ve already seen Felucian rancors mutating as a result of the Light and Dark Side of the Force. What about a heavy infusion of raw, unfocused power or a heavier tilt into the Darkness, creating something akin to the chrysalis beasts of Dark Empire II?
All in all, it’s a mystery. And artists just can’t stand a mystery, unless it’s one they left on purpose.