So. You have your time machine. You could try to change major world history, prevent terrible disasters, and so forth, but let’s face it: you’d probably just futz it up. I, for one, do not want to suddenly find myself speaking Japanese and wearing a beret and kilt whilst typing on my Underwood Pentium just because you stepped on the wrong butterfly when you stopped the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. No, you’re heading for 1990, where you will advise George Lucas on the future of Star Wars.

Star Wars belongs to Lucas. He created the original and made the series possible. Anything we say here is wishful thinking and second-guessing. That said, any artist is open to criticism, and fans have railed against the perceived flaws in Episodes I and II, railed against some of the changes made in The Special Edition and have debated the changes made to the forthcoming DVD, which will be released and reviewed later this week.

Some of these criticisms reflect genuine problems; it really doesn’t make sense, in terms of character development or dramatic impact, to have Greedo shoot first. Some reflect personal preferences; didjya like Mos Eisley as a desert backwater, or as a larger, crazier port town? Some result from expectations; fans had a lot of time to think about what they wanted to see in Eps I-III, and those visions necessarily differ from Lucas’s official ones. Others reflect personal whims. Heck, if I were advising on the original films, I would’ve made Lando Calrissian female. That’s just me.

Other than maintaining cantina shot integrity and altering Jar Jar “Stepin Fetchit” Binks, what other changes would you suggest, for the Special Edition, Eps I-III, or the DVD?

Here are my top four, most of which aren’t terribly original:

1. Why, oh, why, is Anakin a kid in Episode I? He can just as easily be a wide-eyed innocent youngster, as his son Luke is in Ep IV, and still give us an effective fall into darkness. It would be even more effective, since we’d have had the chance to know him as a youth/adult who was basically good. The characters in Eps IV-VI had three films over which to develop. Remember, characters? They mattered in the original film. The audience connected with them, and they mattered as much as the look and the effects.

Also, yeah, I know Pod Racing would require considerable skill, but I cannot watch that scene without thinking that Obi-Wan’s line from A New Hope, “when I first met your father, he was already a great pilot….” will be changed on the DVD to, “when I first met your father, he was already a highly skilled go-kart racer.”

2. The Force worked as a Pagan, mystical element, possibly available to all of us. Midichlorians, “measurable force,” and the Jedi as an Aryan elite kind of wreck that.

3. I liked the idea of Artoo and C3P0 just happening into the adventures in the original film. Why give them a complex history, which will have to be erased in or after Episode III?

I’d’ve droided Eps I-III with the larger R2 units and Gonks.

4. This is a tricky one, since we won’t see Revenge of the Sith until 2005. Perhaps it will explain what happens to non-humans in the political sphere. I always watched the trilogy assuming that the Republic had been a human thing. After all, the Empire and the Rebels consist of homo sapiens (yeah, a few aliens help out here and there). Now, I suppose Episode III could show a separation of the different species, so that the Empire is a human endeavour.

So, what happens to the interspecies political entity that we see in the Eps I and II? If humans simply take over all aspects of the Empire, it rather suggests we’re inherently superior to all other species. Remember, we’re talking about all of those species in the Senate, each with roughly equal technology. And why aren’t there alien Rebels? All of those species we see in Eps I and II, combined, assisted by Rebel humans, can’t overthrow an Empire which only advances humans to its top spots? Only permits humans to become Storm Troopers?

Why not just make the old Republic, and the later Empire, the human alliance within the galaxy? It’d solve a lot of problems set up in Eps I and II.