How a Pen and Paper RPG Brought 'Star Wars' Back From the Dead
The creation of a classic. I have fond memories of playing this and later versions from WotC. "In the late Eighties, the original film trilogy was a distant memory, the kid-friendly TV specials were done, the Saturday morning cartoons had petered out, and there were no new novels or toys on the horizon. This was an era before every single intellectual property that had ever been vaguely popular, from Point Blank to Poltergeist, got recycled. At the end of the Reagan era, it genuinely seemed to many that the lifecycle of George Lucas’ film franchise seen its day in the sun. That’s why it was sort of crazy that West End Games, a maker of Dungeons & Dragons-style tabletop role-playing games, would spend a fortune to license Star Wars in 1986. Bill Slavicsek, who helped create Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game for West End, remembers telling a friend who worked for Marvel Comics about the project. “He said, ‘Why would you make that?! That’s a dead license!’” recalls Slavicsek. But Star Wars wasn’t dead. And the tabletop game was one of the things that helped keep the the franchise's flame alive in the minds of countless fans. West End’s RPG wasn’t merely a stopgap – it helped to flesh out the details of that galaxy far, far away in the darkest days. In giving players the backstory and framework they needed to have their own adventures in Star Wars, the game became a cornerstone of the Expanded Universe, adding names and story elements that are still in use today."