15 years later, Star Wars fans are still fighting over The Force Unleashed

Star Wars The Force Unleashed
(Image credit: LucasArts)

15 years after the launch of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, franchise fans are once again at war - this time, it's over whether the game's protagonist is actually cool or just a vessel for overpowered fanservice.

The debate stems from a clip that went viral on Twitter, showing Starkiller - the game's protagonist - exploding with Force energy and causing a battalion of stormtroopers to disintegrate. The user who posted the clip, dyingscribe, added that "I'd be way more into Star Wars if they did more shit like Starkiller in the movies."

These days pretty much everyone has a strong opinion about Star Wars, whether they're a fan of the series or not, and an opinion as basic as 'Starkiller was cool' kicked up a whole lot of varied opinions. As one commenter says, "people are still debating whether Kylo Ren stopping a phaser blast with the force or Leia surviving in a vacuum for a few seconds was too OP for Star Wars; nerds would probably burn down theaters if you put this guy in a movie."

Or, to put it a more sarcastic way, "right because using the Force to disintegrate legions of stormtroopers is exactly what Star Wars is all about and totally not the antithesis of what they preach in the films." On a similar note, another comment argues "every day it becomes more obvious that George Lucas was the goat precisely because he didn’t listen to fans."

The Force Unleashed, originally released in 2008, lived up to its title by giving you an array of Force powers far more powerful than anything that had been depicted in the movies up to that point. The game's most heavily-marketed scene had you ripping a Star Destroyer out of the sky - and, honestly, it's not too dissimilar to scenes that have appeared in Obi-Wan and The Rise of Skywalker.

Most of the pro-Starkiller arguments come down to some variation of 'yeah it was dumb but it was cool.' I think I'm generally on the side that Starkiller is a bit too much of an edgelord fantasy to be worth bringing back, but then I see comments like how we "need Bollywood level Star Wars movies" and I'm starting to think I might be on board.

"Like man can we AT THE VERY LEAST get a remake of The Force Unleashed?" another comment asks. "With like PS5 graphics and stuff… I’m not tripping on not getting a third game at this point but like sheesh. Show Starkiller some love Disney."

There actually is a deep cut reference to The Force Unleashed in Andor, though that's more of an example of how much the franchise loves its Easter eggs than an indication that Starkiller himself is being brought back into canon. The Knights of the Old Republic remake certainly indicates that the license holders are interested in keeping beloved old materials alive, but that game's reported delays suggest that it might not be laying a blueprint for success.

The funny thing about all this is that the scene that's courted all this controversy doesn't even appear in the game. It was part of a 30-second cinematic commercial for The Force Unleashed 2. Can we really have a canon debate over something that was never canon in the first place?

Our list of the best Star Wars games offers no room for debate.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.