Let's Re-Write the Star Wars Prequels

Inspired by this Episode III thread, we Dopers have some great ideas on how the Prequels should have been. So why don’t we try to put those ideas together and see what happens?

Here’s your chance to pitch your favorite “here’s why Anakin fell” scenarios, erase Jar-Jar from existence, re-conceptualize the Clone Wars, and give Darth Maul three whole movies to kick Jedi ass.

So I’ll start with a couple of things:

  • The Force: An energy field that flows through all living things. It surrounds us, and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together. (ie. NO MIDICHLORIANS)

  • The Baddies: Palpatine (of course), but his main henchmen are Darth Maul (who survives at least through the second film) and possibly General Grievous. Dooku is useless. If anything, perhaps a minor character on par with Mon Mothma in Jedi.

  • Padme survives to escape with her daughter to Alderaan, giving Leia enough time to remember “just images mostly, feelings.”

  • Is Qui-Gon really necessary? Really?

OK, go.

Palpatine needed better second-in-command guys. A major failing of the prequels was the lack of a Nazi-like military - we all know that the Nazis are the best bad guys of all time, and that their uniforms kicked ass. Therefore, the secondary bad-guys of the original movies were awesome. We had Tarkin, who was the Eichmann to Palpatine’s Hitler, a calculating bureaucrat with a callous disregard for life. General Veers was a clear parallel to Erwin Rommel, a consumnate cavalry commander who was obviously an effective general. These guys with their distinguished bearings and aristocratic accents actually seemed like intimidating military officers.

So, I’ll be the first to suggest that a younger Tarkin (played by Hugh Laurie) should have been the evil second-in-command to Palpatine. That’s a start.

I’ll also add that I had a really awesome dream last year, which I remember vividly, that I was watching an alternate version of one of the Star Wars prequels. I was watching a scene in which a squad of stormtroopers (in the badass original outfits, not in the weirdo prequel ones) burst into a room on a ship and killed everyone in sight (as in the intro to A New Hope.) They were led by a stormtrooper commander who was wearing black armor instead of white (since the stormtrooper officers wear black uniforms.) After all the opposition is dead, he removes his helmet. He was played by Tim Roth.

Shit like that is what the prequels were missing (among other things.)

I second all of those. My additions are

*have Anakin be discovered in his early teens, not as a young boy.

*have Anakin not be whiny and sulky. At first he’s a golden boy, showing all the promise of the Chosen One. A little impulsive yes, a little impatient with the Jedis’ conservatism. His eventual disenchantment with the Jedi order comes from his yearning to make a difference now. He can’t understand why the Jedi don’t just march in, behead the bad people, and establish perfect freedom and justice everywhere. He ends up turning to the Dark Side because he buys Palpatine’s lie that the Jedi simply want a monopoly on the use of the Force, and starts practicing “forbidden” techniques using the Dark Side.

*Accept that the entire tone of the prequel trilogy HAS to be ultimately a tragedy. No comic subplots, no lighthearted adventure stories.

*If possible, we see a little more of just how badly corrupted the Galactic Senate has become, how they give democracy a bad name. How Amadala and her few allies are about the only decent people left in the Senate.

-Anakin is 15ish when we first meet him. Think about how many problems with episode I this solves right off the bat. The relationship with Padme isn’t so creepy, his participation in the race (although we can debate if we need to do that in the first place) and in the final battle become less obnoxious, and we stand a better chance at getting a decent actor, who we can reuse for the subsequent films.

-Set up Anakin’s fall more gradually. Anakin went straight from “cocky” to “atrocity”, back to “cocky” and then finally back to “atrocity”. The Clone Wars cartoons got it right, start out with some overzealousness and bloodthristiness in the line of duty. Only at the end should he be slaughteirng women and children. His becoming Palpatine’s (instead of the Jedi Council’s) man should come earlier. He and Mace Windu, for example, should be at each other’s throats from the very begininng.

-Bail Organa should have a bigger, but totally different part. Basically, he should be Han Solo meets Prince Hal. An aristocratic ne’er-do-well, who gradually grows into responsibility, as Anakin falls from grace. He could be a romantic rival for Padme’s affections, and the eventual catalyst for Anakin’s fall. But really, his job is to delfate all those pompous Jedi. We need someone more grounded to identify with. Bail’s our man.

The Star Wars prequels are the epitome of “It came so close to being awesome, if they just did X, Y and Z” to me. There are so many places that could be improved by cutting or rewriting…where to begin?

For starters, the obvious choice would be to eliminate Jar Jar Binks, or rewrite his character completely. Actually, he wouldn’t be so annoying if he acted like the vortigaunts from Half Life 2, although they seem to be inspired by Yoda to begin with.

And for God’s sake, rewrite episode 1 so that Anakin is as old as he was in episode 2. It would’ve made so much more sense. I know Darth Vader is a smart guy, but are we really supposed to believe that he built C3PO and a pod racer by the time he was old enough to be in the 3rd grade? And that Amidala would be romantically interested in him?

First thing to get cut from episode 2 would be the Anakin/Padme soft-focus laughing-and-rolling-around-in-the-grass scenes. When I think “Star Wars” I get images in my head of people running down hallways dodging blaster shots, not a Lifetime made-for-TV movie.

I’d also cut Grievous’ four twirling lightsabers of death, which sounds like something a 10 year old came up with. Either that, or make them four double-sided lightsabers, because if two lightsabers at a time is cool then eight would be too much awesomeness to handle.

Wow, so can we agree that the unanimous conclusion we all came to simultaneously is that introducing Anakin as a small child was a dumb idea?

More like “if they did A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, R, X, Y, Z, A1, B1, etc.”

I frankly thought he was the best part of the “first” film. The best acting ( considering what little he had to work with ), the most “Jedi-like” presense and magnetism and the best death scene. In fact he was about the only redeeming feature in that movie for me ( MacGregor also did a decent job with what he had, but he had less to work with in that particular installment ).

Also if I can get geeky for a minute ( hah! this would be the thread for it :stuck_out_tongue: ) and address something not specifically spelled out in the film, his iconoclastic background makes sense in the continuity of the development of the Kenobi and Anakin characters.

Count Dooku as a character I can take or leave, but I always like Lee the actor ;). And he could scarcely be less interesting than General Grievous ( boring! ), while Darth Maul, while the most impressive lieutenant, never struck me as much of a good political manipulator. Personally I think that is another reason this “one master, one apprentice” stuff doesn’t quite work for me. Dooku + Maul makes for a much better one-two combination as henchmen.

  • Tamerlane

Anakin’s descent into evil was not convincing. I agree, Padme did not need to die in order to catapult him to the Dark Side – that was lazy writing . His converson should have been more gradual and subtle, and should have began in episode I with a slightly older and less cutesy Anakin.

Eliminate most of movie 1.
movie 2 becomes the first in the trilogy
movie 3 becomes the second in the trilogy. Anakin becomes Vader about 2/3 of the way through.
The third movie details the birth of the rebel alliance, shows some early victories against Palpatine, and ends on an upbeat message of hope for the future.

also, we need an interesting villain that runs throughout the trilogy.

Agree, no midichlorians (wtf?), no virgin birth (wtf?!?!), no one master one apprentice (retarded). Big yes to starting with older Annikin, yes to Tarkin brought in earlier.

Here are my main points:

*War is against clones, not with them! I had always imagined the Clone Wars as being the noble but crumbling Republic and the skilled Jedi against a threat totally unlike them: Clones using cheap ships and guns against them but in utterly brutal numbers.

Fighting against droids as a concept is utterly retarded, and as executed is far beyond retarded. Killer droids existed in the OS, but they were rare and special (IG-88). The whole use of droids in the prequels is totally wrong.

*Annikin is a true hero for the first two movies, but in the second he does begin to use the Dark Side–effectively and not for evil purposes. Only in the 3rd movie does he become truly evil.

*Palpatine is not unambiguously, cartoonishly evil. He is not merely lying and manipulating for his own ends. He leads the Republic well and successfully in the clone wars and slowly turns it into what will be the merciless Empire throughout the three films. It is his genuine success as a leader that allows him to assume dictatorial power later.

*In D&D terms, the Sith are, as they are portrayed in the OS, lawful evil. There is no apprentice killing master BS as a matter of course, although intrigues, etc., are fine. Also, the EU story of the Sith (Dark Side-using humans that enslave an evil race of primitives) is fairly stupid. It would be better just to have the Sith be an order of Dark Jedi that come out of hiding and assume power. Further, they are not exceptionally numerous, but there should be at least a handful of them.

*Other elements to build on are the Hutts and other smugglers, planets like Tatooine that lie outside the Republic, and, of course, a nice enemy that creates the clones that attack the Republic.

Speaking of that, I do wonder if the original idea was to have Anakin using the force to realize Qui-Gon had died, and instead of being a “shucks I got lucky and the laser blast destroyed the space base” moment, it was going to be a “bastards! I will kill all the trade leaders in this base by using (instinctively) the evil side of the force now!” But I think that very early Lucas decided to soften the character, a “Greedo shoots first” like maneuver.

Episode II becomes I…episode II is all Clone War…is very dark.
Here is my Episode III-

I would have rather seen Anakin’s turn occur when he killed the current apprentice…since Lucas said the entire story is about Anakin’s tragic life, his turn should have been a sympathetic one…I think he should be seen as reckless and impatient, always on the good side, but prone to spells of rage where his mind goes black. His final turn should be an immediate one, that happens in one of these spells.
The Senate is fracturing into two sides…one side led by Amidala and others…the Jedi are basically on their side, however both sides have merit to their points and most Jedi are torn, and wish for a quick resolution to the issue(I haven’t thought about this enough to actually come up with an issue…maybe some of the systems want a peaceful end to the clone wars). Palpatine begins mentoring Anakin. The peace movement gains momentum within the Senate. Palpatine is a leader of this movement

1)As the coalition of systems supporting the war breaks apart, a vote is proposed that will end the war. Knowing that the peaceful group will win, Palpatine orders Dooku to kidnap several senators…he takes them to the lava planet(name?) Palpatine takes more control of the Senate, and nudges them toward a more warlike stance again. Palpatine orders Dooku to never let the hostages go alive, since they could push the senate back into a more peaceful stance.

2)Obi-wan and Anankin are off on some mission. Amidala organizes an escape attempt. Anakin and Obi-wan discover the location of the hostages, but Obi-wan delays the rescue(to finish the mission, or take the info to the Jedi council, who debate a course of action, before finally allowing Obi-wan and Anakin to go)

3)Dooku seriously injures Amidala in the escape attempt, and kills the other hostages. Our heroes arrive just as the last hostages are being gunned down.

4)Anakin sees Amidala, and assumes she is dead. His mind goes black, he kills Dooku, and at this point becomes the new apprentice. Then, unable to revive her, turns to blame Obi Wan for delaying the rescue attempt, and they duel, and Anakin falls into the lava.

5)Obi-wan realizes she is still alive and gets her safely to someone who can deliver the babies before she passes.

6)Palpatine rescues Anakin. The peace movement(rebellion), the droid army, the Jedi Council, Obi-wan, Dooku, and the Senate who couldnt vote one way or another are responsible for Amidalas death. Palpatine tells him to join him and they will exact revenge on everyone and everything left. Vader is born, blinded by hate for everyone he blames.

Anakin should have built R2D2, not C3P0: why would a kid who likes making and fiing stuff build a prissy protocol droid and not a cool astromech who goes on to fix every damn thing in the original movies? It would also make the fact that he gets handed down to Anakin’s son more resonant, not to mention the irony that Artoo’s the only one who really knows the whole score throughout all the movies.

C3P0 can be an accidental hand-me-down from Padme to Leia: a one-time Queen and senator would be more likely to have a robot translator and butler anyway. Jesus, George, do I have to spell this stuff out for you?

I’m the only one to suggest removing Jar-Jar Binks and the Gungans completely from existence?

Oddly enough, that’s exactly the plot of the game Knights Of The Old Republic, which was far better written. Revan was a noble and charismatic, if headstrong, young Jedi who rallied the failing Republic under his banner in the war against the invading Mandalorians, against the wishes of the Jedi Council, whom Revan saw as dithering while people died.

He succeeded in defeating the Mandalorians, but his hubris also saw his downfall to the Dark Side as he became Darth Revan, and returned from fighting the Mandalorians to himself wage war against the Republic whom he now wished to supplant as a decayed anachronism. Perfectly good plot right there.

From the OP, I see I’m not. It’s been a long day. :smack:

But come on, guys! Gungan extermination here! Nobody has any ideas how to get rid of Jar-Jar Binks?

Swiftly and silently before the movies even begin?

No plot points to add, but can I suggest that, in our new and improved prequels, someone other than Lucas’s children get to pick names? I mean, Jar-Jar? Dooku? Naboo? Really?