This is a bit of a different post. We all know the Star Wars prequel trilogy did not live up to expectations. Here, I have transcribed a number of ideas one night I had in the shower to make a more entertaining Episode I. Subsequently, I altered the entire trilogy, and will post my versions of Episode II and Episode III in future posts. I apologise that this is a series of disjointed thoughts, but I am sure you will get my picture.
Episode I : A Dark Dawn
- Naboo is still a planet of two races, the Naboo and the Gungans. However in my version the Gungans are not CG idiot cousins of the humans. Rather they are more of a barbaric race, leading to a cultural clash between the races, such as perhaps the Gungans have practices such as eating the flesh of their dead to gain their wisdom (maybe a bit too dark for a wider audience, but I still think it would be cool).
- By extension, Jar Jar (in my version Jarvan) is not an idiot among idiots. He is banished from his people for forming a relationship with a Naboo woman, and despite respecting his people, he is labelled a traitor. In this way he can still act later as a bridge between the races, without being so freaking annoying!
- Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan stay as is, I must admit I had no quarrel with them.
- I would make Padme older, say 17, I was never convinced with the child queen idea, especially as there was no indication that a younger person would be the best ruler in society, such as a race where intelligence decreases with age.
- I would age Anakin older as well, 14 would be ok. There was never any need for an age gap between the two, and when they do become romantic later, it makes more sense they have a similar age perception at the very least. Also, a 14 year old would be more likely able to play quietly self-assured rather than Jake Lloyd’s precocious performance.
- No midichlorians, no immaculate conception. Have Shmi a married woman, and then you don’t need convoluted plot twists to work in how Luke can have an Uncle Owen. Anakin’s family could simply be strong with the force, but have gone unnoticed by the Jedi council due to their residence in the Outer Rim. There can still be a prophecy of the Chosen One, but it can avoid the “no father” bit and just require the Chosen One to be in tune with the Force to an unprecedented degree.
- Keep the pod-race. It might be heavily Ben-Hur influenced, but it establishes Anakin as a good pilot (for continuity, ghost Obi-Wan tells Luke in Jedi that his father was already a brilliant pilot when they met). And without some of the annoying CG characters, there were a number of fun moments in that sequence.
- Qui-Gon meets Anakin’s father in the market, whom offers assistance and takes them to his residence, where they hatch the pod-race scheme. When deciding a pilot, a shy Anakin quietly asserts “I can do it”. As opposed to Jake Lloyd’s “Oh yeah, sure, easy” bravado.
- While preparing for the pod race, Qui-Gon realises this family has strength with the force, the father and both sons, though Anakin is clearly the most in tune with the force of them all. As such, when betting to try to take them away, and only being able to select one of the family, there is some actual anguish in the choice rather than “That is the only one I wanted anyway” style acceptance.
- First encounter with Darth Maul plays out as it did in the original.
- Jedi Council – Anakin is of an age where he can be trained, the only dark blight is his obvious fear for his family back on Tatooine. Indeed, he may have a latent resentment against Qui-Gon, and by extension, Obi-Wan, for not having tried harder to liberate them all. Needs subtle acting, so the need for the older Ani again evident.
- The rest of the film plays out similar to the Lucas version, with the Queen forming an alliance with the Gungans through humility, big final battle with no needless Gungan slapstick, and the death of Qui-Gon at the hands of Darth Maul. Anikin actively joins the space battle as he sees his allies needing the droid army diffused, and uses the Force actively for the first time to do so.
Keep watching for my next instalment, Episode II: Rising Storm.