The concept of a a live-action Star Wars TV series seems all-but lost to time, and perhaps with good reason. According to a God of War game director working for George Lucas at the time, the series might have thought to humanize Emperor Palpatine by revealing the backstory of a “heartless” female gangster who “totally destroyed him as a person.”

Upcoming God of War director Cory Barlog spoke to Venturebeat of the decision for a revamped franchise to feature Kratos as a changed man (or deity), noting that the potential for TV to swing characters to different extremes over time first resonated with him in the Star Wars series. Apparently, the abandoned series would have attempted to justify the Emperor’s villainy, questionably pinning it all on a broken heart:

Probably the really small beginnings of this idea, the germination of this — when I was working at Lucas, I was allowed to go up to the ranch and read the scripts for the [canceled live-action Star Wars] TV show. It was the most mind-blowing thing I’d ever experienced. I cared about the Emperor. They made the Emperor a sympathetic figure who was wronged by this fucking heartless woman. She’s this hardcore gangster, and she just totally destroyed him as a person. I almost cried while reading this. This is the Emperor, the lightning out of the fingers Emperor. That’s something magical. The writers who worked on that, guys from The Shield and 24, these were excellent writers.

Bear in mind, past reports of a live-action Star Wars TV series (most commonly titled Star Wars: Underworld) were seemingly set on Coruscant between trilogies, leaving unclear if Barlog was referring to the same project. If so, one wonders if flashbacks might have detailed the Emperor’s backstory, or if the shriveled, post-Revenge of the Sith Palpatine still maintained a healthy dating life.

In any case, the project seems long dead and buried by the newer Star Wars films, but might it have proven worthwhile to explore a (less ill-conceived) humanization of the Emperor?

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