A movie based on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic — the beloved video game first released in 2003 — is currently being written by Laeta Kalogridis (Avatar, Shutter Island) for Lucasfilm, three sources close to the project told BuzzFeed News.
The project should be welcome news to the Star Wars fandom, who may be feeling beaten down after Solo‘s disappointing box office led Lucasfilm to reevaluate the franchise’s ambitions and scale back the studio’s release schedule. Knights of the Old Republic, nicknamed KOTOR by its devotees, is a role-playing game about Jedi versus the Sith set nearly 4,000 years before the events of 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope. Fans have long yearned for its rich story to be adapted to film.
At Star Wars Celebration in April, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy told MTV News, “Yes, we are developing something to look at,” after being asked about KOTOR. “Right now, I have no idea where things might fall.”
Kalogridis is close to finishing the first script of a potential KOTOR trilogy, according to the three sources. She is the first woman writer of a Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, when Leigh Brackett received a cowriting credit with Lawrence Kasdan. Lucasfilm has been criticized for hiring only white men to shepherd the world of Star Wars.
Representatives for Kalogridis, Lucasfilm, and Disney did not respond to BuzzFeed News’ requests for comment.
Disney announced earlier this month that after J.J. Abrams’ new Star Wars movie — The Rise of Skywalker, which will close out the nine-film Skywalker family saga in December — the next film in the franchise will be released in December 2022. That film, by Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, will be the first of a new trilogy, and, according to Disney, will come out “pre-Christmas weekend every other year.”
While there are many corners of the formidable Star Wars internet that have speculatedthat Benioff and Weiss will be the stewards of KOTOR, Kalogridis was hired in spring 2018 to develop the property.
In the KOTOR game, the player helps fight an uprising against the Republic led by the villainous Darth Malak, a Sith Lord. The player eventually joins forces with Bastila Shan, a Jedi Knight and one of the most revered women characters in the Star Wars extended universe. The story has Wookiees, droids, the Jedi Academy, and the Force — a wealth of material to be mined.
Lucasfilm’s post-Solo retrenchment, and the fact that there are only the three Benioff–Weiss movies on Disney’s current release schedule through 2026, doesn’t necessarily make KOTOR an orphan. None of the movies in Rian Johnson’s upcoming Star Warstrilogy are slated yet either, and as recently as last month, Kennedy told the Hollywood Reporter she would soon be talking to Johnson, Benioff, and Weiss about “where do we go next?”
What’s chronologically next for the Star Wars franchise will be Disney+, the megacompany’s streaming service that kicks off Nov. 12. From its launch, Disney+ will feature Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian, a sci-fi drama set five years after the events of Return of the Jedi. Disney+ has also announced a Rogue One prequel series (currently untitled) that follows Diego Luna’s character, Cassian Andor.
With Cassian Andor — and with the Marvel properties Disney+ is developing — Disney is proving it’s interested in building stories around characters cherished by the fandoms. If made, KOTOR‘s Bastila Shan, Darth Malak, and Darth Revan would join that roster.