Some Star Wars fans dreaded Disney’s acquisition of the franchise, fearing that the mass media conglomerate might lead the franchise to ruin in an attempt to squeeze every little dime out of it. And while the latter did happen, and Disney insanely profited from Star Wars, its expansion of the franchise was everything but ruinous. Just look at the commercial and critical success of The Mandalorian series on Disney+. However, a new day is dawning on the horizon as the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic miniseries is happening.
Unlike The Mandalorian, the animated Knights of the Old Republic series isn’t developed or produced by Disney but an independent team of talented fans. According to a report by PCGamesN, a talented team of fans is retelling the story of the critically acclaimed gaming title of the same name, which was released in 2003. Despite the fact that the best Star Wars game ever is reportedly getting a remake, the team behind the miniseries reached out to Lucasfilm for permission and received the company’s blessing to proceed.
The talented team at Unreal Cinema has been posting videos of their progress on a Knights of the Old Republic miniseries on their YouTube channel, including the videos of epic space battles, Swoop Racing at Tatooine, and facial animations. The exceptional quality found on these can be attributed to the team’s evident talent and the rendering capabilities of Unreal Engine 4 and Unreal Engine 5 game engines, which are used on this project. It’s worth noting that the latter, Unreal Engine 5, supports all existing systems, including next-generation graphics found on consoles such as PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.
As for Lucasfilm’s permission, the people at Unreal Cinema reached out to the owners of the Star Wars franchise, which greenlit the project, provided that Unreal Cinema follows certain rules. The animation team can’t use any footage from the previous films, publically crowdfund the project, or monetize the Knight of the Old Republic miniseries in any way. And while the readership can’t support the project financially due to limitations imposed by Lucasfilm, it can support Unreal Cinema as a whole as they do have a Patreon page.
Fan animations are becoming more and more common and threaten to disrupt the financial standings of companies on whose IP their animations are based on. However, the companies have found a way to work around this, as we’ve seen in the example of Games Workshop: instead of legally pursuing fan animators, offer them a job. So, it’s only reasonable to believe that if the Knights of the Old Republic miniseries turn out to be a success, Disney might absorb Unreal Cinema. Given its crusade to acquire and output as many franchises as possible, including the company’s plans on conquering the gaming world, it wouldn’t come as a surprise.
The rising number of fan animations and fan remakes is only indicative of one thing – if those in charge won’t make it, the fans will. Knights of the Old Republic is still regarded as one of the best Star Wars games ever released, and it’s time for it to receive a remake or a remaster. Supposedly one is in the works, but nothing is officially confirmed at this point.