Yeah, it’s Lucas’ world, and we just watch it. Still….
Dave has already written a review of Revenge of the Sith, which spurred lively discussion, and even one suggestion that Lucas perhaps shouldn’t write and direct these things. Let’s face it: the visuals are stupendous, and the emotional scenes, generally, stupid.
So…. Just for fun, let’s play Monday Night Quarterback, or How to Unfairly Belabor a Moot Point. Come on! Bureauites’ ideas for Enterprise awhile back were cool. If you were setting up the three prequels (with knowledge of the actual three films, of course), what would you have done?
I’ll go first:
1. Eliminate that stupid, stupid Ep 1, which gave us Baby Anakin who later falls in love with his babysitter, reduces Obi-wan’s account of things from A New Hope to senile confabulations, and features He Who Mussa Not Be Named. Start with the Clone Wars, during which Obi-Wan, already a Jedi Master, meets a young pilot named Anakin Skywalker. Also on board is, (say, a mechanic) Owen Lars, who’s like a brother to Anakin. They come from the same small backwater somewhere that is not Tatooine (Vader never checks up on his home planet in twenty years?), and over the course of the war Lars wonders if he shouldn’t just go back to being a simple farmer somewhere.
2. The big flaw in Sith (apart from Christensen and Portman’s performances, though even exceptional actors would’ve had difficulty doing anything with that dialogue) is the sheer number of things that happen in too short a time. Anakin, life-long Jedi, turns entirely against his order in response to obvious manipulation. The kickass Jedi get wiped out in moments. Palpatine becomes Emperor and suddenly we have the Empire, more or less as we saw it at the beginning of A New Hope. To quote Vader, “Nooooooooooooo!”
I’m thinking, Episode 2 shows us the Rebellion, and Anakin’s gradual movement to the dark side. (Palpatine wouldn’t have to be connected to the Separatists; he could just be taking advantage of things. That’s more true to human history). The film ends with (1) The fight that destroys Skywalker/Vader’s body (great sequence, even if I didn’t buy their proximity to lava) (2) The crowning of the Emperor and the announcement that the Jedi are enemies of the Republic and (3) the birth of Amidala’s children. However, in consideration of those kids growing up now who will watch the six movies in order (or even two friends of mine who like SF but for some reason have never seen a Star Wars film and are finally going to watch them all in order, now that their kids are older), we won’t know the names or even that she had twins. With the Jedi threatened, the decision is made to conceal Skywalker’s offspring. Lars and Organa are both present….
Episode 2 involves the conflict between the Jedi and the Empire and the attendant Civil War, which the Good GuysTM lose. Vader (who soley because I thought his coming out of reconstruction with a cape on was dumb, doesn’t wear a cape yet), leads the extermination of the Jedi, establishing himself as a power with which to be reckoned. Dark film, during which nearly all trace of Anakin disappears and Ebert and Roeper wet their chairs.
3. I dunno, maybe use R2-D2. C3PO served no intelligent purpose in the prequels. I’d have lots of those gonk droids and the bigger-style Artoo units (“This R2 unit has a bad motivator!”) bopping around. Perhaps have R2-D2 meet his fey future companion in at the end of the third film. And didn’t the early novelizations say that the rebels were using refurbished antique ships in the original film? Why don’t we see lots of X- and Y-Wing fighters buzzing about during the last days of the Republic?
4. Yeah, I’ve rambled on about this before but, Separatist Movements aside, Ep 1 shows a chaotic, multi-species Republic and the classic trilogy shows an entirely human Empire. Why not, from the start, have a human Republic, no doubt with affiliations and treaties connecting it to other races? I see Ackbar’s people helping them out in the Clone Wars, but then disassociating themselves as the humans become less and less democratic in response to the war and Palpatine’s machinations.
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