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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Disney's planning a movie based on Xbox classic Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic

Illustration for article titled Disney's planning a movie based on Xbox classic Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic
Photo: Albert L. Ortega (Getty Images)

For being one of the most potent brands on the planet—right alongside its corporately owned buddies over in the MCU—the Star Wars films are currently at something of a crossroads. Sure, The Rise Of Skywalker is going to make a billion dollars (at least) when it arrives in theaters this December, ending the three-movie miniseries that kicked off with The Force Awakens back in 2015. But after that, the franchise as a whole is going on a three-year theatrical hiatus, as Disney seeks to repair whatever burnout ended up afflicting movies like Rogue One and Solo. (Which, it should be noted, performed perfectly well as enjoyable sci-fi action films, and only really “failed” when asked to perform in the context of capital letter Events demanding the fevered attention of a worshipful monoculture.)

So far, we know a bit what will happen at the end of this particular stellar interregnum, with Game Of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss helming a trilogy of their ownat least, until The Petitioners come for them at last. (Ditto, supposedly, The Last Jedi’s Rian Johnson, who’s been quiet of late about his future Star Wars plans.) Now we’ve got some more info today about the franchise’s future, courtesy of Buzzfeed, and it turns out that Disney is putting its faith for this massive blockbuster franchise moving forward into…a video game adaptation? Wait, really?

Apparently: Buzzfeed confirmed today that screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis—whose credits include Alita: Battle Angel and Shutter Island—has been tapped to write a script based on the 2003 Xbox game Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic. From a representation point of view, this is obviously great news, in so far as Kalogridis is the first woman to pen a cinematic Star Wars story since Leigh Brackett co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back way back in 1980. (Who knows: They might even find a woman to direct one of these things some day!)


It’s slightly less of a thrill for long-term fans of Star Wars as a whole, though, in so far as “The Old Republic”—i.e., the period roughly 4,000 years before the start of A New Hope—is a bizarrely unexciting setting, being almost indistinguishable from the world depicted in the prequel trilogy. (Once you’ve reached the “sentient robots and laser swords” level, technology doesn’t have much further to develop, apparently.) The original KOTOR was a bestseller at the time mostly because it refused to re-invent the landspeeder, instead letting people run around on Tatooine, whack Sith Lords left and right, and choose whether to go down the light side or dark side path. It ended up spawning two other games—a highly buggy direct sequel that’s one of the most blatantly subversive entries in the entire history of the franchise, having been written by someone generally skeptical of the Jedi’s “obvious” moral superiority in their regular religious civil wars; and a much more traditional massively multiplayer game released a few more years down the line.

The first KOTOR is mostly notable for a fairly well-executed late-story twist—so have fun with that, spoilerphobes—that will presumably make its way into Kalogridis’ script as she brings the project to life. Despite a lot of effort in recent years, the video game cinematic adaptation is still a pretty rough prospect, with studios having more luck capturing the “feeling” of a game—as with the Jumanji sequel—than repeating the beats of a particular digital plot. Still, none of those adaptations have had the advantage of also being Star Wars movies; it’ll be interesting to see which normally decisive box-office-determining factor will be the one that ultimately wins out.

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