Okay, now that I got the really sentimental reflection of Revenge of the Sith out of the way, I can be a little more cynical. Now that I know how George Lucas did the prequels, I’d like to indulge myself in a little fantasy where Lucasfilms approaches me in the mid 90’s to help write the prequels.
Now I have my issues with Return of the Jedi as well, but I was still in elementary school when it came out. I likely wouldn’t have been much help. But in the mid-90’s I was old enough to be writing, and while I make no claim that I would have done a better job, since that’s far too subjective a categorization, I’d like to enunciate what I would have done different. This is not meant as disrespect to the work of George Lucas. Sooner or later, someone will remake these films, and when they do, I hope they give me a call, not because I hate them, but because I love them!
1. Inasmuch as I thought Jar Jar was funny, he’s unnecessary. Let’s face it, Jar Jar was an experiment on the part of ILM to try making a completely CGI character who shares a lot of screen time with real actors. The Gungans are fine, but Jar Jar goes.
2. Darth Maul should have been around a lot more and presented a greater threat. He mostly looked cool and then got hacked in half. Knowing where the series heads, I would have suggested that you go ahead and let Obi Wan beat the shit out of Maul in Episode I, but that he then get rebuilt as General Greivous for Episode II, giving us even more of the prototype concept of Darth Vader. More on this idea in Episode II.
3. No midi-chlorians. Annakin’s immaculate conception does not need an explanation. You don’t need to have little scanners to tell you how high his midi-chlorian count is. You just need his mom to tell us that she conceived without any male assistance. Mystery is a good thing, and the Force always works better as a mystery.
4. Annakin would have been played by the same actor from the get go. No little kid to start with. I know this complicates the Jedi thing a little, but I’m pretty sure this could have been skirted by having him display some Jedi-abilities in a ‘wilder’ sort of fashion. A young teen podracing seems a lot more feasible. Never mind that it doesn’t leave a huge age gap between him and Padme.
5. Everything else about Episode I is fine. I think it was a good start that needed a few revisions.
1. Where do I start? In a nutshell, I’d have tossed everything about this film except the fact that Annakin and Padme fall in love, and Palpatine ascends to power in the Senate.
2. So essentially, keep the basic story arc but ditch Dooku. Maul as Grievous would have been a better idea. Also, don’t waste your time with Jango Fett. Go straight to Boba. Redeem the galaxy’s most notorious bounty hunter by explaining his untimely demise in the Sarlaak pit at the hands of a blind man as old age! If Boba Fett was in his prime here, then we have a reason why he was such an inept bumbler in the original trilogy. Of course, then Mace Windu wouldn’t have had his cool decapitation moment, but that scene would never have taken place in my version because…
3. I’d introduce the whole clone deal in the opening roll-up. No need to make this army secret. If it’s going to stop the Trade Federation, go ahead and clone an army already! Then, the movie could have started in the middle of the Clone Wars.
4. Throughout this picture, Palpatine would have poisoned Obi Wan’s words in Annakin’s ear, breeding the suspicion and contempt necessary for Annakin’s final transformation in Episode III. This would have eliminated the nag Obi Wan was in Ep2 and helped develop Palpatine as a threat earlier.
5. I would have really played up an element of Jedi arrogance, so that the lie that the Jedi wanted to overthrow the Senate would have a kernel of truth to it.
6. Basically, I’d have done the first half of Sith as the last half of Clones, complete with Padme announcing she’s pregnant. The movie would have ended with the same way the original Clones did, on Naboo with Annakin and Padme wondering about their future.
1. This film would pick up 7-8 months after the last, with only weeks before Padme is to give birth. Seeing as I’ve taken the first half of this film and made it into another movie, how would I start here? I’d begin with the start of the betrayal of the Jedi, where Obi Wan and Mace Windu are away on a mission and Palpatine has ordered their assassination, at the hands of Boba Fett leading a group of clones. They survive, of course, but are stranded on the far side of the galaxy. Why isn’t Annakin there? Because he’s laying his mother to rest on Tattooine, where she has died of natural causes. Yoda still gives the everybody dies speech, but that’s not good enough for Annakin.
2. Thus, Palpatine’s promise of power to prevent death becomes a speech woven into the prophecy. “I’m the chosen one and I couldn’t save her,” might be the tag line for Annakin. Palpatine invokes the prophecy but twists it, asking how he can possibly bring balance to the force and wield the sort of power necessary to preserve life when he doesn’t know anything about the dark side. How can he bring balance if he only knows the one side?
3. If I have any beef with Sith, its there. Annakin’s choice to go to the dark side should have had a more noble motivation. If Annakin is persuaded to dabble in the Dark Side to bring the balance the prophecy states he should bring, then his fall is all the more tragic--as Aristotle said, real tragedy is the result of hamartia, the fatal flaw that is linked to virtue, not vice. Annakin initially refuses, but when Padme falls ill and her fate and his children’s are at stake, Annakin attempts to bring balance. Of course, he fails, and is more possessed by the dark side than Sith implied.
4. Struggling to regain his control, Annakin goes to Palpatine for assistance, only to find the Jedi there to “bring him in”based on Annakin’s accusations, ala the actual film. The seeds of Palpatine’s lies going all the way back to Episode II come to fruition and the scene is played out largely the way it occurs in Ep3.
5. The rest of the film is, as I’ve said, pretty damn good as it is. I wouldn’t make any changes beyond there, save maybe to show Yoda arriving on Dagobah. But maybe that’s in the special edition.
Now there’s a thought that makes me smile. The minor plot holes of Episode 3 may be the result of the dastardly cutting room floor. Here’s hoping there’s as many deleted scenes for Sith as there were for Clones.