"Star Wars" baddie Emperor Palpatine wasn't always so heartless -- at least, not according to the character's role in the scrapped "Star Wars Underworld" television series, which reportedly aimed to turn the evil Sith Lord into a more sympathetic figure.
During an interview with VentureBeat, "God of War" director Cory Barlog recalled how he briefly worked with Lucasarts, a Lucasfilm game studio that was developing a tie-in to "Underworld" at the time. Balrog spoke about how "Underworld" influenced his take on "God of War," saying,
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.
Though little is known about "Underworld," it was clear that the series was intended to follow on the criminal gangs of Coruscant, which makes the Emperor's involvement something of a surprise; additionally, it would have taken place during the rise of the Empire. Recent statements from ABC network and Lucasfilm make it clear that the franchise is focused on creating the films and won't be pursing any live-action television series for the moment.
Though fans won't be seeing "Star Wars Underworld" anytime soon, “Star Wars: Episode VIII” is scheduled to open Dec. 17, 2017.