Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Star Wars Prequels Rewritten - The Phantom Menace

Yeah yeah, I know I'm late to the whole "lets bash the Star Wars prequels" party (actually I do it a little here) but since the sequels episodes 7, 8 and 9 have finally been commissioned, I figure its a good time to look at the series as a whole and see how the future movies SHOULD go. But in order to understand how Episode 7 SHOULD go we need to look at why the first three episodes were so bad.

By this point its pretty well agreed that Lucas screwed up the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Everyone goes into their own reasons but why they really sucked seems pretty simple to me. Lucas, in an effort to fully explain how and why the Republic fell apart and to satisfy fan boys with too much fanservice, completely lost focus on how the story should have gone.

Prequels by their very nature have to slow the story down and explain how things got to be the way they are in the first movie(s) shown. Episodes 4, 5 and 6 are tight and concise when compared to 1, 2 and 3. The second trilogy never gets into too great a detail on the galactic civil war, all we get is cursory exposition from time to time. To be honest, in my observation of the stories, Luke didn't seem all that interested in the Rebellion himself. He was a kid who worked his uncle's moisture farm and was looking for any excuse to get out of that place. He joined the Rebellion because his guardians were killed and he had no other choice really. So it wasn't necessary to get into detail about the conflict, we just needed to know enough to give the main characters a reason for all the running, shooting and hyper-spacing. Also the first few minutes of Episode 4 tells you all you need to know. When you see the words EMPIRE and REBELLION then see a little ship chased by a ginormous ship its pretty clear what's going on.

The Prequels in contrast go into full detail on why and how The Galactic Republic have issues with the Trade Federatizzznnnnnn...excuse me, I nodded off. That's what happens when you have to read boring political shit. Look at the opening crawl of the film and really read what's there:

Turmoil has engulfed the
Galactic Republic. The taxation
of trade routes to outlying star
systems is in dispute.

Hoping to resolve the matter
with a blockade of deadly
battleships, the greedy Trade
Federation has stopped all
shipping to the small planet
of Naboo.

While the congress of the
Republic endlessly debates
this alarming chain of events,
the Supreme Chancellor has
secretly dispatched two Jedi
Knights, the guardians of
peace and justice in the
galaxy, to settle the conflict...

The underlined are what I call "snooze lines". Taxation of trade routes? Blockade of ships? Endless debates?
And Lucas proceeds to show us all of that in detail. Instead of showing us the development of a young Anakin Skywalker, we get to see the convoluted schism that's growing in the Galactic Republic. We didn't need to know the intricacies of why shit was happening because this is Anakin's story so we should be looking at the world from his point of view. We only need to know whats going as it pertains to him.

3 Fatal Mistakes George Lucas made with the prequels:


Showing us a ten year Anakin Skywalker was a totally bad move. With the way Lucas wrote the story there was nothing for him to do and when you look at it, he only did two things of any significance in the whole film. The Pod-race scene and bumblefucking his way up to the droid control ship and accidentally blowing it up. That's it. For most of its 2 hour running time Anakin is just in the background. Lucas completely wasted every opportunity he had to establish that character. 

In episode 2 we see Anakin as a young adult but here he's a full apprentice to Obi Wan, we never saw his training and development into a Jedi Padawan. They talk about his adventures but we never saw them. Again we only see Anakin do two or three things in the whole film. Fall in goofy-worst-chemistry-ever love with Padme, avenge his mother's torture and murder, get his hand cut off by Count Dooku. Most of the film was spent with Obi Wan playing Columbo trying to figure out the overly convoluted schemes pertaining to the clone army. 

In episode 3, we see Anakin killing up a bunch of people and succumbing to the dark side but because we've spent so little time with him up to that point, we're not emotionally invested in his fall, we're just watching it happen. 


Lucas wanted parallels between the first and second trilogies so we see Leia, an activist princess, fully involved in the Rebellion. We first see her relaying the plans for the Death Star back to Alderaan but that was at the height of the rebellion so things are pretty much in a shambles and the Rebels need all the help they can get. Padme on the other hand is a Queen pre civil war and while Naboo was under seige and she was something of an exile for the duration of the story, the Queen was never at any point in any real danger. I mean the chick who was her decoy queen was never shot at or in danger of being killed. In fact Padme running around disguised as her servant actually put the Queen in harm's way much more than if she just sat around wearing the kabuki garb. But the parrallel Lucas wanted to show was like Leia, Padme had no problem getting down and dirty herself if need be. But it was a pointless parallel because both of their circumstances are different. And Padme being the real Queen automatically removes her from the action. Forcing the issue just didn't sit right with the film.

George Lucas in writing the prequel stories made the fatal miss step that many writers even successful ones make which is giving the person with the most power the most freedom to act. Which is not how rank and power works in real life and shouldn't in fiction. The King or even General is never going to lead his troops into battle. The person who is at the center of power is the furthest removed from the action. Another great film franchise and TV show that makes that mistake famously is Star Trek. 

Gene Roddenberry wanted to make a story about the adventures of a star ship crew. He wanted the show to feature characters who had the power to make decisions and make things happen so we follow the captain of the ship around the galaxy as he gets into trouble and has adventures. But centering the show around the captain and the first officers was such a confining mistake that he had to compensate by never allowing the captain, Kirk in the original series, to ever act like a proper captain. So you have episodes where Kirk, Picard, Janeway or whoever are constantly doing common reconnaissance or heading up away teams on dangerous missions. Things no captain or any first officer would be allowed to do. On one hand its understandable as to why it was done that way considering budgeting and cast size but still its a mistake. Lucas does the same thing but his reasoning seems to be closer to not caring how rank and procedure works than anything else (which is why Jar Jar Binks and Han Solo are given a General's position with command power in their films even though they really did nothing to deserve it). So we end up with Padme Amidala, an activist Queen who is constantly getting into gun fights.


Because Anakin was a small child with nothing much to do, the first film spends most of its time following Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn around, then we see what the Viceroy is doing, the Gunguns, Palpatine and Queen Amidala/Padme. We spend so much time with all these other people it's easy to forget that this is supposed to be ANAKIN'S STORY. And even in the other films we're dealing with senate meetings and long scenes of expositions with other Jedi/Sith characters and lets not get into the detour with Jango Fett which was totally pointless and lightsaber fight scenes..God, so many lightsaber fight scenes.  

What Lucas forgot and what Abrams needs to remember is that the Star Wars nine episode series is about the Skywalker clan. That's it. That's who we focus on, that's who we follow. No Skywalker, no care! Lucas himself established this pattern and theme with 4, 5, and 6. When A New Hope starts off we see Vader and Leia, then we go to Luke, then back to Leia, then Luke again, some stuff with Vader and back to Leia and so it goes. Thats it. We see the same pattern in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. All the major points of all the films deal with a Skywalker. 

If Lucas had paced 4, 5, and 6 the way he did 1, 2 and 3 then we would have seen long scenes with Grand Moff Tarkin and Ben Kenobi and Owen Lars. There would have been drawn out side stories with Greedo and Jabba the Hutt (actually there was one with Jabba that Lucas originally cut from the original Star Wars film then re-inserted in the later, tinkered with, extended versions but it doesn't enhance the story one bit.). Boba Fett would have taken up a third of the last two films alone. And while we're talking about "the Fett", Stop riding his jock already!!! Boba Fett was a one off character who had little effect on the story and DIED in Return Of The Jedi...yes he died, he was supposed to, you know why, because he's just a side character!   

I get it, Boba Fett is cool looking, with the helmet and the gear and jet pack, I totally get it, believe me. He's a space bounty hunter for cryin' out loud! If man ever colonizes space, I guarantee you there will be a line around the corner for intergalactic bounty hunter and I'll be at the head of it. I even had the classic Boba Fett poster as a kid. So yes Boba Fett is the motherfucking man. But that doesn't negate the fact that he was just a side character. His fanboy popularity is the reason Lucas shoehorned him into the prequels and even in that its pretty clear his presence is even more marginal than it was in 4 and 5. Every fan fiction story has Fett surviving the Sarlacc Pit and its so much bullshit. So please JJ Abrams please do NOT put Boba Fett in the sequels. 

I could go on forever about all the mistakes and bad turns 1, 2 and 3 made but rather than do that lets go into how they should have gone so that the prequels dovetail more smoothly into the next episodes. Keeping in line with how 4,5, and 6 went and how they focused purely on a Skywalker and the person most directly involved with them, my version of the prequels will do the same.

In doing my version, the most difficult aspect I encountered was showing Anakin's rise and fall and properly stretching it out over three episodes. In episodes 4,5,6 there were three story arcs that ran concurrently but in and of themselves were pretty straight forward. Luke had the hero's journey, Leia had the rebellion and Vader had straight villainy. In all of that there was no real conflict for the individuals. Luke goal was to be a Jedi, Leia's to win the war and Vader to destroy the Rebels and turn his son into a Sith. Anakin, on the other hand, is the major focus so his journey is becoming a Jedi, faltering and turning into a Sith and that has to be laid out equally for each episode. The problem I kept running into was even though I was trying to shift focus to the proper character and change certain aspects of the stories, I was still using Lucas's character more or less the same way he did and pacing and plotting was very similar. The result was by the third episode I would have a number of sub plots that needed resolution and Episode Three would become a jumbled mess that was more than twice as long as the first two.

And then it hit me. Is it necessary to follow the  way or all the characters Lucas used to tell the stories? Is it necessary to know exactly the cause of the civil war? All of the background information we know about the Star Wars universe comes from the novels, what makes that the only way to tell these stories? Even though George Lucas okayed the information in the novels and comics he didn't have that as a resource for 4,5,6, and since those are the works most beloved, I'm going to base my version of 1,2,3 only on the information from the second trilogy.

I'm not changing the underlying conflict between the Separatists and the Galactic Republic or the blockade of Naboo, I'm just de-emphasizing them in favor of watching Anakin become a Jedi.

It occurred to me that of all six films we only saw one Jedi training session and that was Yoda training Luke on Dagobah in ESB. There was one brief thing Obi-Wan did with Luke in ANH with a helmet and light saber but that was just a few seconds. There has never been a formal training sequence. Well here it is. A good portion of this first film will deal with Anakin's training and rise as a Jedi Padawan as it should have all along. The template I'm going to use for the training period is a great martial arts flick called The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. Here is the scene that inspired me to think THATS WHAT EPISODE ONE SHOULD HAVE BEEN!!

For a better idea of what the whole movie was about watch the trailer to about 2:19 as it runs kind of longer than it probably should. In my version we see the proper training, chambers, disciplines and philosophy of the Jedi Knights through Anakin's eyes.

While writing the stories it became apparent that there was so much information to get across that I couldn't get it all in 3 films so my prequels are actually 4 stories. Because of that I had to do away with the numbering system Lucas had (or end up with an Episode IIIb). So there is no Episode I, II or III in the titles but that's more in keeping with the original 3 films anyway. And those original titles were:

Star Wars (later re-titled Star Wars: A New Hope)
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Now with that in mind, here's my version of...

Story by: Nic Rellek - Maddcomix
Sketch art by: Nicholas Garza - Torrid ComicsNickAsArt
Poster art by: Gabriel Victor - Vaakin (tumblr)deviantart
Poster titles by: Neil Bonner - deviantart

STAR WARS: The Phantom Menace 

Art courtesy of Gabriel Victor/title - Neil Bonner

YAIRN - WE PAN DOWN FROM THE OPENING CRAWL AND FOLLOW A BEAT UP CARGO TRANSPORTER AS IT DESCENDS INTO THE PLANET'S ATMOSPHERE. The crew of five, including a tall blonde lanky seventeen year old young man, are joking among themselves about his chances of passing his machinist apprenticeship test. Something he's failed to do earlier even though his father passed the test on the first try and younger than the kid is. They talk reverently about his father who is a high ranking member of the Guild that controls the ore mining and processing business in the sector and contrast it with how the son is not like his father. Though he forces a smile,  the kid doesn't find the teasing funny. The vessel docks and as they are unloading its cargo, a supervisor tells the kid that his father and the Guild leaders took a vote to reject the Separatists offer to join them in leaving the Republic. The teen's reply is almost indifferent to the galactic schism although he believes that a show of strength by the Senate would be a better response than endless debates and empty threats. They are almost done unloading the cargo when they hear a loud explosion in the distance and see a large plume of smoke rising from the buildings in the next town. The kid reacts instantly and jumps onto a parked speeder bike and heads for the town.

Courtesy of Nicholas Garza
Its mayhem as people are running and screaming from a large ore processing plant that's half destroyed (think 911). Arriving to the scene, the young man jumps off the bike and runs against the fleeing crowd to ground zero. Searching through the smoking wreckage he screams "Ma! Pa!" A trembling hand reaches out from under a pile of rubble and he frantically digs out the bloodied body of his mother. She weakly says his name.."Anny"..then says his father was killed in the explosion. She says she and his father love him and then she dies in his arms. He screams in anguish. WIPE TO...

QUI-GON JINN AND OBI-WAN KENOBI ARRIVE TO INVESTIGATE THE TERRORIST ATTACK. They suspect its by the Separatists and while questioning people, they run into that young man who introduces himself as Anakin Skywalker. He says that his father was a leader of the guild that was being harassed about joining the Separatists movement. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan sense a strong force vibe  from him (no midi-chlorian bullshit). Anakin asks what it takes to become a Jedi so that he can prevent attacks like the one that took his parents and after some back and forth they agree to take him to the Jedi Temple for testing and training. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan continue their investigation and discover light saber burns on a murdered security team. Only a Jedi can handle that kind of weapon so expertly but no Jedi would do this. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan  are puzzled by this development. WIPE TO...

CORUSCANT - ANAKIN AT THE JEDI TEMPLE. When they arrive at the Temple, Anakin is super eager to get started and goes straight to the top and asks Grand Master Yoda himself to teach him the ways of the Jedi Knights and the Jedi elder tells him ready he is not. Yoda and Jedi Council speak with Qui-Gon in private and they confer. Qui-Gon reports that the attack on Yairn was the terroristic act of the Separatists trying to force the planet to cower to their side. Mace Windu and Yoda say they will speak with Chancellor Palpatine about that and they move the discussion to the subject of young Skywalker. Things pretty much go the same way they did in the original where Yoda senses fear, anger and frustration in the young man plus he's too old but Qui-Gon says he has great potential and if properly trained could be a great asset to the Jedi Order. There is no "chosen one" legend. Qui-Gon says that Obi-Wan is ready for the trials and he'll take on Anakin as his Padawan. The Council reluctantly agrees and young Anakin starts his training...from the beginning.

During his training at the most basic levels of the Jedi Academy, we see Anakin grouped with younglings and feeling silly about it considering they're a bunch of eight, nine and ten year olds and he's seventeen and because of that he fails at simple Force control tasks that they competently handle. This causes frustration to grow in him. That is until Master Jedi Sifo Dyas sits Anakin down and explains to him how to let the Force flow through the young man. Dyas works with him after training sessions and gives Skywalker some real food for thought in understanding the Force and how to control himself enough to let the power work through himself. Soon after Anakin masters the basics and is moved up to higher levels in the academy.
Courtesy of Nicholas Garza
Under the tutelage of Master Kahlin Wayk, the Padawan Learner learns light saber techniques and how to combine various defenses and attacks with Force powers. It is here that Anakin is like a fish taking to water and he excels very rapidly. His desire to learn the mystic arts is unquenchable and soon Skywalker develops an almost encyclopedic knowledge of applied Force methodology and tactics.

Being a Force Sensitive, Anakin has always had visions but the images were fleeting and he didn't interpret that they were actual premonitions but rather some recurring dream like nonsense. As he grows in the Force and is able to control his abilities the visions become more distinct to him. One night he is sitting on the floor in the lotus position meditating and he sees flashes of a pretty girl smiling/hearing a voice scream ANAKIN NO!/someone falling into an abyss/a demon attacking him. The more frequent the visions become the more troubled he feels and the young apprentice seeking some insight speaks with master Qui-Gon about them. The Jedi Master gives Anakin cryptic responses about guarding against the Dark Side of the Force and destiny, answers that don't calm his anxiety.

In a duel demonstration with another Padawan,  Anakin, riding a high of over confidence and arrogance, makes mental mistakes and is almost bested by his opponent which inwardly frustrates Skywalker who narrowly wins. After the session and still mulling over his self-perceived poor performance, Anakin goes to his room and trashes it in an emotional outburst. Obi-Wan, nearby, speaks with the boy and talks him down from his ire. Its in  those moments that Anakin and Obi-Wan's bond a close friendship .

Over this period and through the dialog its indicated that Anakin's been training only half the time it normally takes and its clear that he is gifted, more so than every other Padawan there. Most of the elder Jedi are impressed with his progress but some are concerned about his control over his emotions. WIPE TO...

NABOO - PRINCESS PADME WALKING IN A MALL AREA. Padme and her handmaiden Korin are in a mall area talking about the Trade Federation issue. From what they're talking about its early in the blockade and while people are concerned there's still enough supplies but Padme hopes the issue will be resolved quickly. In my version Padme Amidala is not a queen, her mother is and Naboo doesn't have an elected monarchy but a hereditary one. The Naboo monarchy is like England's, theyre basically figure heads with the real power lying with a Prime Minister and the royal family is just the cheerleading face of the planet, so the Queen and the Princess are more humanitarians than anything with Padme taking on the Princess Diana/Kate Middleton role. Padme is head strong and opinionated with a quick wit. The kind of princess that would sneak out of a formal event to smoke and drink with the help or sneak away from her security detail to take in the sights on her own with her handmaiden/confidant Korin. Some of the comic relief humor would derive from her in this film. And sneaking away from her security detail is exactly what she's done here until they catch up to her and she has that "oops you found me look" on her face. WIPE TO...

CORUSCANT - MEMBERS OF THE JEDI COUNCIL ARE HOLOGRAMMING WITH CHANCELLOR PALPATINE. Mace Windu informs the Chancellor of a step up in attacks, and encroachments by the Separatists in Republic territories and Yoda also mentions the issue between Naboo and the Trade Federation is getting more intense. Palpatine says he'll bring the findings to the senate and they will most likely authorize the formation of a formal military force. Mace Windu tells the Chancellor that the Jedi Order is stretched thin trying to maintain the peace so far but the Senate needs to seek compromise and peaceful alternatives to military action considering the galactic wars and conflicts of the past. He says that the Jedi Order are a peace keeping force and they cannot agree with the senate's decision for a full scale military answer to the issue. Palpatine takes it under advisement. WIPE TO...

Courtesy of Nicholas Garza
NABOO - PADME APPROACHING A ROOM IN THE MANSION. She spies on her mother talking with the Prime Minister and over hears them talking about the mining rights dispute they're having with the Trade Federation who have formed a blockade around Naboo in order to force them to give up their claim. And they fear they may have to if they can't get aid from the Senate. If there is no intervention by the Senate, The Queen and the PM talk about the alliance they will have to make with another planet that may push the Trade Federation back and break the blockade. After the meeting is over, Padme talks with her mother who explains that its she and Padme's responsibility to comfort and reassure the people that everything is going to be alright and do everything they can to protect Naboo. Padme tells her mother that she is up for the task. WIPE TO...

CORUSCANT - PALPATINE'S PRIVATE OFFICE - Count Dooku is on hologram to Palpatine.  They discuss their plan to take over the Galactic Republic and the Trade Federation/Naboo dispute is the first step to systematically draw out and destroy the Jedi Order and restore the Sith to their rightful place in the galaxy. He also states that the Trade Federation Viceroy's spies have heard of Naboo's plan to ally themselves with planet Ziaa  and if that happens the Trade Federation will have to back off. Palpatine says he'll send his agent to deal with it then Darth Maul pops up after Dooku drops out and the Chancellor/Sith orders him to go to the Naboo and make sure the deal gets done. WIPE TO...

ANAKIN IS EXCELLING AT THE JEDI TEMPLE BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS. He has completed his Jedi Initiate Trials and Qui Gon takes him on as his Padawan.  They get the first assignment, a personal request from the Chancellor, to go to Naboo . Since Obi-Wan has passed the High Council for the Trials of Knighthood (he's a full fledged Jedi Knight) and hadn't taken on a Padawan yet, he offers to tag along. WIPE TO...

NABOO - QUI-GON, OBI-WAN AND ANAKIN ARRIVING TO NABOO. On the way there Qui-Gon explains the dispute over mining rights between the two sides and with Naboo being pacifistic and not having an offensive military force, the Jedi are being called in to make sure the Trade Federation plays fair. They get there a day before the scheduled negotiations and Qui-Gon introduces the team to Queen Amidala and her daughter. The young Padawan gets a strong sense of deja vu upon seeing the princess. The elder Jedi assigns Obi Wan and Anakin to head up security of the royal family while he heads up security of the contingent of diplomats who are to meet with the Trade Federation Viceroy.

Obi Wan, in charge here, assigns Anakin to be Princess Padme's personal bodyguard. Which pisses off Anakin because this is a babysitting job and he wants to get into the action. Even during training Anakin showed an over eagerness and ambition that makes Obi Wan concerned. The Princess doesn't like the arrogant Jedi apprentice and the two have this Bogie and Bacall type back and forth, matching wit for wit. Anakin, being really good at what he does, doesn't fall for the duck outs that Padme liked to do with her old security and cuts her off at every turn. Padme while overtly frustrated by this is also impressed with it as well.

At one point Padme is approached by a crowd of her subjects who are scared about the blockade and the growing scarcity of supplies. Dropping any facade of haughtiness, she talks to them from the heart and reassures them that they are going to be fine and the administration is doing all it can to resolve the situation. Anakin witnesses her really connecting with the common folk and he realizes she's not a total spoiled bitch. A couple of times we see one looking at the other when they're not looking and Anakin begins to realize this is the girl from his dreams. WIPE TO...

QUI GON AND THE DIPLOMATS MEETING THE VICEROY. Its the day of and Qui-Gon and the diplomats meet with the Viceroy and his men. The talks break down quickly and its apparent that its a set up and the Jedi and diplomats have to fight their way out. During the skirmish Qui-Gon calls Obi Wan for assistance and Kenobi puts Skywalker in charge of security and jets to help his former master. This is where we fully see Darth Maul for the first time. There's a vicious clash between the Jedi and the Sith and just as Obi Wan arrives Maul kills Qui-Gon and escapes. Dying from his wounds the old master tells Obi Wan to continue to train Anakin then passes away. CUT TO...

A DROID INFILTRATION SQUAD SENT TO ASSASSINATE THE ROYAL FAMILY. Its a coordinated attack by the Viceroy and here Anakin comes into his own. He directs the Naboo security team in fighting back while single-handedly destroying most of the battle droids himself using various weapons displaying his resourcefulness and combat skill. Everyone is super impressed, especially Padme, with the show of heroics. WIPE TO...

CORUSCANT - THE FUNERAL OF QUI-GON JINN. Yoda and Mace Windu are gathered with the rest of the Jedi Knights and Padawans at the Temple. Obi-Wan stands closer to burning pyre with his eyes closed in silent prayer and mourning. Anakin stands at attention with the Padawans. The two elder council members watch the funeral pyre and Yoda says to Mace in discreet tone they should have felt the presence of the Sith long before this encounter. Windu replies that its become clear that their ability to use the Force has diminished over time since the last Sith War. Yoda says they must find and root out where this new adversary is before its too late.  WIPE TO...

Courtesy of Nicholas Garza
NABOO - THE AWARD CEREMONY. The Queen gives Obi-Wan and Anakin medals for their bravery. Padme and Anakin lock eyes in a moment of attraction and he turns and waves to the crowd drinking in the adulation. Obi Wan looks a bit disturbed at Anakin enjoying the attention a little too much. The proud Padawan takes a step forward and pumps his fist in the air, reveling in the cheers. STAR WARS THEME FANFARE, ROLL CREDITS.

You see how that went. We spend much more time developing Anakin and getting invested in his character. No Jar Jar Binks, no pod racing, no Watto and no overly long scenes at the Jedi Council. We keep that pace and pattern going forward. In fact, Phantom Menace was a short read mainly because I condensed the training sessions to a couple of sentences*. In the film it would be one third of the movie run time taking up around 15-20 minutes by itself. But its a much more brisk pace since we're not bogged down with endless political dialog.

From the opening scene to the last scene we see Anakin Skywalker develop from mundane machinist apprentice to a heroic Jedi Padawan. Earlier I talked about Lucas' want for parallels in the stories. Well the first human character we're introduced to in the whole Star Wars saga is Anakin Skywalker in the form of Darth Vader. That being the case, then the first character we're introduced to in the prequels should be Anakin Skywalker himself.

I also made the choice to have Anakin not come from Tattooine or be a slave or be the product of some kind of immaculate conception. He has both parents and they're skilled professionals. The whole myth of "the one who will bring balance to the Force" was not something that was mentioned or even hinted at in the second trilogy and it literally produced groans in the theater when  Mace Windu said it. I get the whole fantasy/mythological aspect of the Star Wars stories but that was so cliched it was cringe inducing.

In addition I made a number of changes to characters. One is, there's more than two Sith. Count Dooku, General Grievous along with Darth Maul and Palpatine are all Sith who are working together to destroy the Jedi and re-emerge as the dominant Force Order. I always thought the "Rule of two" was ridiculous. In the original version Palpatine/Sidious has to pull all kinds of strings that just stretches credibility too far to me. This guy not only is working both sides of the fence but has quite a number of people doing shit on his behalf for no obvious reason.  Also we're not going to be seeing any of the lovable supporting characters in my version. There is no reason to see C3PO, R2D2 or younger versions of Chewbacca or Jabba the Hutt. There is a protocol droid with Padme but it's not C3PO, since their main function is to assist etiquette, customs, and translation, it makes more sense finding one working for a Queen who's constantly dealing with various people, species and cultures than how Lucas used it in the original.

I'd never tried to do fan fiction before and I have to admit it was fun and a bit cathartic coming up with an alternative version of the stories. The main reason I did my own rewrite of the prequels was inspired by the two YouTube videos WHAT IF STAR WARS EPISODE WERE GOOD by Belated Media. Their take on the film (they rewrote the first two) was interesting the first time I watched it. But after seeing again, I noticed they had their own flaws. And they made one huge one that painted them in a corner as far as I could see. They decided that their prequels would focus on Obi-Wan as the main character while keeping Anakin as an over-arching storyline.

In doing it that way they keep most of the events and happenings the same as the original but instead of a little kid developing something of a crush on Padme they have Obi-Wan flirting with her. Through out the explanation of their version the guy telling the story keeps repeating that the film should be about Obi-Wan's development but it can't be because in the forth film, A New Hope, Obi-Wan dies 20 minutes into the story. If we spend 3 films delving into Obi-Wan's journey as a Jedi Knight then the next three films become something of a letdown/abrupt shift. Sure, Obi-Wan still has key moments in the next 3 films but theyre few and far between and once Yoda is introduced they become more ethereal. My version puts the focus squarely where it should be, the first set of stories is about Anakin Skywalker's rise and fall as a Jedi Knight. The second set of stories are about Luke Skywalker's journey developing into a Jedi Knight and the third set of stories should be about his children's journey in the Force.

Next, I'll post my version of Star Wars Episode II Attack of the Clones. I've re-titled it Star Wars: Enter The Clones.

How does this version match up against the original? Do you think its better or not as good as Lucas'? Leave comments on what you think.

*I've extended the scene with more detail in response to comments. 


  1. Shame Lucas put so much less effort in his movie than you did into this. He got so bogged down in symbolism and Mysticism that the story suffered. And that was just one of his failures. Reading this sort of underscores what a poor job Lucas really did.

  2. I think it was smart making Anakin older and focusing more of the story on him. And I would've liked to seen the real Jedi training sessions as you've suggested.

    The main problem with your outline is that it's short. Really short. An average film has 60 scenes playing out about 2pages per scene. Lately the trend has been shorter scenes, which means more of them, 75-90 and running closer to a page or page and a half. As you have it here there is about 18 scenes meaning your version of Phantom Menace would clock in around 25-35 minutes.

    I know you intend the training scene to be longer but that's really just a montage unless you have some real story you want to weave through it. It would help to introduce another storyline to provide more conflict and give Anakin more to do.

    Hard to say if this is really an improvement over the original because it needs a lot more fleshing out but I think the major problem with Episode I was it lacked a clear protagonist and you've solved that. So you're on the right track.

    1. thanx for the feedback I'll keep that in mind when I post the next episodes. As for the training segment I'm not that familiar with jedi background enough to reall get into it but it would definitely be longer than a montage mainly because this is where we would foreshadow the issues and problems Anakin has brewing inside him. The biggest problem the originals had was that they talked about anakins problems rather than show them..I kinda condensed it maybe too much when I wrote Interspersed through out the training period are some light comedy moments of him fumbling and floundering trying to control different aspects of Force powers and some scenes of him dealing with his out bursts of emotion at times. Its in those moments that Obi-Wan helps him out and the two become fast friends.

      I probably should flesh that out a bit more but that period is definitely much longer than a montage scene.

  3. Good points particularly that the plot should have always dealt with a Skywalker in some form or fashion.
    In a general sense I felt they overcomplicated the bad guys vs good guys theme and also presented the Jedi Order quite poorly. Instead of making the Sith a darkside sect, just have the Sith be an imperalistic, materialistic, and militaristic race of people sweeping through the galaxy enforcing their will and marginalizing systems. In their constant expansiveness they develop weapons of mass destruction which includes manipulating the Force for their own purposes.
    The original three always struck me as a parallel to a romanticized view of the Revolutionary War with a splash of World War II. In fact most of the "bad guys" have British accents while the "good guys" are more American n exotic sounding. They should have just stuck with that simplicity of free thought vs. total control

  4. I have to say that this is pretty damn awesome! Streamlined, action packed, and overall just fun. While I may not agree with everything, and let's face it, it's not all about me anyway, I really enjoyed your take on things. I'm actually looking forward to seeing future installments of course!

  5. I really like how you made Obi Wan's offhand comment in Ep 4 actually the truth, instead of an outright lie..!

  6. I considered some of the critiques and filled out the Jedi Academy training scene with more detail.

  7. Your plot breakdown seems more cohesive and coherent than the PM movie, and I like how you've clarified who the central character is (Anakin) and given him and Padme more to do. I would introduce Jinn earlier and make him much more charismatic than in the movie, that way, when Maul kills him it'll have a greater emotional impact.

    Have you thought of how your rewrite fits into the larger trilogy? As god-awful (imo) as they were, the prequels did at least have a well-delineated structure: PM intro's Anakin, CW trains him up and corrupts him, RotS turns Anakin into Vader. In your version, Anakin is already trained by the end of the first film, meaning in parts 2 and 3...?

  8. one thing I really really loved about your TPM makes sense. There's absolute logic to Anakin being around 17 when all this starts. Its always bothered me that he could go through 10+ years of training and still not be able to control himself. At least as a horny, testosterone filled teenager rushed through the program, the logic of his defiance and decisions makes complete sense.

  9. I definitely enjoyed it. I love how you took the concepts behind the prequels and improved the execution.

    I think that you should drop "younglings" and "padawans" in favor of "apprentices". I also think that Palpatine is just as important as the Skywalkers. Also, I would drop the concept of the Sith and change "Darth Maul" to simply "Maul". In the OT, nobody cared about Palpatine and Vader being Sith. An organization devoted to killing your master makes no sense and "Darth" being title is silly.

  10. I like how the writer thought out the story.

  11. Somewhat simplistic in style and a bit too obvious in places...but it still would have been a damn sight better than the actual script.