There are a couple of things in the Star Wars Universe that are very divisive – the first big divisive point is the Special Editions. The specific item in that is Greedo shooting. Not even that he shot ‘first,’ but that he shot at all. Originally, Han had a ‘preemptive strike’ against his would-be assailant. Now, well… let’s not get into that.
The other big rift, and you could say a by-product of the Special Editions, is the prequels.
Truth be told, all Star Wars fans were excited to be getting more Star Wars. I’m not going to lie, I never questioned the movies while I was watching them. I just soaked them in and loved them. Not all of them, and they didn’t seem as magical as they should have been. Later on, I became a bit more critical.
I wouldn’t say that these movies were all horrible – but they sure lack in the magic department.
Say what you will, but the signs were there. Lucas went crazy sometime in the mid-80’s I think. If you list the things you dislike about the prequels, do yourself a favor and go back and watch Return of the Jedi. All that stuff was there – it just wasn’t magnified. A recent interview with Gary Kurtz shows that by the time Jedi rolled around, Lucas was much more interested in toy sales than ‘artistic integrity.’ With that in mind, look back at the prequels, and you’ll see that there are TONS of characters in the movies. Why? Because more characters equals more toys which means more money. I even recently saw a “Clone Wars” tank that was based on some stuff from the Galactic Battlegrounds game. But I digress – Lucas went nuts before he started writing the prequel scripts.
I recently had a thought about the movies. The thought was that the prequels should have all been done in one, single, epic, possibly 3 hr movie. All questions could have been handled, loose ends wrapped up, and we could have all walked away with a smile.
Unfortunately, Empire Strikes Back gave us Episode V, and subsequently Episode IV: A New Hope. Therefore, that means we have to have 3 movies, er, episodes that come before what I still call “Star Wars.” So what did we get? A bunch of nonsense and filler. Why do we need 30 minutes of pod-racing? Why is there a distinct absence of warring in the stars in a movie that is specifically titled, “Star Wars?”
If you look at the 3 prequels, you’ll see a very limited amount of space battles. Even though there is quite a bit of space travel, there’s very little actual “Star Wars.” In the original “Star Wars,” we OPEN UP THE MOVIE with a giant ship being chased and gunned down by an even MORE GIANT STAR SHIP! What do we get in the prequels? An obligatory star shot. Of a ship. Landing on a planet. Or a space station. Oh, yeah, I’m sorry. We delve right into battle in Episode III, but at that point it was more like, “Hey, we almost forgot to have space battle. Here’s space battle!”
Something tells me that a lot of “We’ll fix it in post” was used during the “filming” of all three movies.
Now I’ve told you all that in order to give you my thoughts on what the three prequels should have been.
Remember that scene in “Star Wars,” where Old Ben is talking to young Luke about Kenobi and Anakin being Jedi Knights and such? Yeah, me too. And it’s that scene that really gives us the prequels. If it weren’t for that scene, we wouldn’t have gotten the prequels. So in my version, it’s this particular conversation that becomes lies.
In my prequels, it’s this line that turns out to be nothing more than Kenobi trying his best to get Luke to fix the problems of the Jedi that turned the Galaxy into ‘turmoil.’
Think about it – what do you see of the Empire? They blew up Alderaan. That’s about it. Everyone else in the galaxy seems to be doing just fine. In the cantina scene, there’s a good chance that the stormtroopers could have really just arrested everyone in there – but they didn’t. They just moseyed on like everything was cool. Which is my point – except for blowing up a planet (Crazed rogue military commander), the Empire really wasn’t that bad.
Luke points out that his dad was just a navigator on a spice freighter. Which Lucas made sure was ‘sorta’ true by adding some things to the “Clone Wars” series to make sure that even that wasn’t a lie.
Here’s where I make my changes – not to “Star Wars,” but to the prequels.
Anakin really is a navigator on a spice freighter. It’s a bit convoluted, but Watto’s operation is bigger, and an older Anakin (about 12-13) is a navigator in Watto’s recently expanded cargo operation. Qui-Gon recognizes Anakin’s ability, and cons Watto out of Anakin. In my head, he trades Jar-Jar for Anakin. Yeah, that’s about right.
Qui-Gon takes Anakin to the council, but they don’t approve his training – because Anakin’s not quite as adept in the Force as Qui-Gon believes. They do bring him into the Jedi fold, but more to fine tune his abilities and have him fly the larger craft for the Jedi. Qui-Gon is able to request Anakin as his ‘personal driver’ and introduces him to Kenobi. Kenobi doesn’t like Anakin, because Kenobi thinks everyone who isn’t a Jedi is beneath him.
Episode I pretty much happens the way it does, but not with Anakin blowing up the control ship. Rather Anakin is able to fly a transport into the control ship and have commandos blow it up from the inside. Anakin gets recognition, but only as an after thought.
This starts Anakin down the path of the darkside. Palpatine begins to understand what is going on and by the time we get to Episode II, we find that Anakin has become more of a personal driver for Palpatine. Occassionally, he flies for the Jedi. Palpatine gives Anakin some rudimentary training in the ‘jedi’ arts, and sees the potential. Palpatine makes sure that Anakin is very in touch with the Jedi Council – making him a sort of driver for Yoda and Mace. Palpatine is also making sure bad things happen so that he can get his cloned army approved.
Oh, and it’s not Padme, the Queen, that Anakin falls for, but one of the handmaidens. It makes it a lot less awkward for him to have a relationship. Since he’s not really a Jedi, he pretty much runs around undetected.
In Episode III, we see that Anakin has gotten good, and the council is starting to consider allowing Anakin to become a Jedi – mostly because the war has started to thin resources.
In a final turn, we see that the council changes their minds, and continue to treat Anakin as hired help. Palpatine reveals himself to Anakin and invites him to turn to the dark side. So he does. And then we get pretty much the ending of “Sith” like it plays out, but not with that stupid Padme bit. No, Anakin’s hate and training with Palpatine turned him into a killing machine. Kenobi shows up and is able to defeat Anakin because he’s more patient, trained as a Jedi, not as a Sith. When Anakin is revived as the Vader we know, he vows to destroy the Jedi.
And then we get a much more vicious Vader, because he’s out killing Jedi because they denied him his glory as a Jedi.
Then when we get to Kenobi trying to seduce Luke, we see that it was Kenobi’s lies that brought down the Empire, not the redemption of Vader.
Hey, it may not be great, but it’s better than what we got from Lucas.