I like the Star Wars prequels, I really do. George Lucas has such an extraordinary imagination and showed us a lot of great things that could only come from a galaxy far, far away. However, enjoying something shouldn’t stop us from using our own imagination to change it, in our own minds, and wonder what it would be like if we made it. After all, the Prequel Trilogy isn’t perfect, with flaws that can be fixed. For example, most of the story that takes place in the prequels is contained in Episode III, which is why that movie feels so bloated while the first two movies feel as if they don’t have a lot of story to them. This can be fixed by plotting out the trilogy so that the story is spread among the three films more evenly. So, in celebration of Star Wars, I now present my version of the Star Wars prequels.
Using my previous post as a template for Episode I, my re-imagining of the Star Wars prequels would focus more on the friendship between Obi-Wan and Anakin. With Anakin a teenager and Obi-Wan around a decade older, in my remake, it would be more natural for Obi-Wan to befriend Anakin while on Tatooine and lean on him during the difficult tasks Obi-Wan must complete, especially as Anakin would be at an age when he feels a strong pull toward going out to adventure and proving himself (like Luke in A New Hope), making Anakin want to help Obi-Wan as much as he can (in my version, Anakin is a skilled mechanic and pilot, which are tasks he commonly performs for his owner, Watto). Plus, with Padme around, of course Anakin would be wanting to impress her at every turn, becoming deaf to his mother’s warnings of trying to obtain too much, too fast (foreshadowing Anakin’s inevitable fall to the Dark Side).
After witnessing Anakin showing hints of Force ability (“He can see things before they happen”) and feeling how unusually strong Anakin is with the Force, Obi-Wan begins teaching Anakin the ways of the Force, to aid Anakin in the podrace Obi-Wan enters Anakin into as they make a deal with Watto that allows Obi-Wan to acquire Anakin’s services for the day. The council would not approve of Obi-Wan training Anakin, but as Qui-Gon said to Obi-Wan in my previous post, “The council is not here.” Obi-Wan must do what he can to fly the queen off Tatooine and to Coruscant, and bolstering Anakin’s ability to use the Force is vital in accomplishing that goal. Plus, Obi-Wan enjoys having a friend and wants to see his friend do well. Obi-Wan and Anakin have the Force in common, and this is what brings them together.
In my remake of Episode II, rather than Obi-Wan training Anakin as his Padawan, I would have Anakin as a full Jedi Knight already, with Obi-Wan and Anakin fighting together throughout the film. Whereas before we saw the start of their friendship in a time of crisis, now we see how that friendship has blossomed and how well they fight as a team, how well they know each other’s tendencies and decision-making processes. Having the two be more equal, but with Anakin still learning while Obi-Wan has things down, having had a full decade more to train, their inevitable clash in Episode III won’t seem so lopsided, though Obi-Wan carries an advantage as he is more in tune with the Force. In my Episode II, Obi-Wan is close to becoming a master while Anakin still has moments of failure, and that troubles Anakin as Anakin believes he should be further along than he currently is because he is so strong in the Force, but though Anakin is sometimes jealous of Obi-Wan’s ability, he doesn’t blame Obi-Wan for his own failure; he blames himself and adds more pressure on himself. After all, Anakin is the Chosen One, prophesized to bring balance to the Force. He will be the most powerful of the Jedi, yet he feels far from powerful at times, and it’s Anakin’s self-driven nature, his outsider mentality among the Jedi, that leads him to search for a quicker path to gaining more power, which opens the door for Palpatine (as he petitions the Senate to build an army to fight a growing Separatist threat to the Republic, a threat born about a decade ago when Palpatine began meddling in the affairs of an outlying solar system) to begin influencing Anakin’s training as Anakin begins confiding in Palpatine about what he’s heard about his mother’s death and the fact that the Jedi wouldn’t allow him to return to Tatooine to take his mother away from the desert planet.
Anakin: “The Jedi only told me everything happened as it should. They rebuked my desire to free my mother by assuring me that her fate was to fall in love with a local farmer who would purchase her freedom. And they excused her death at the hands of Tuskan raiders by calling it her destiny. They said I should see it as a lesson in detaching myself, as showing me the importance of their teachings, how life goes on as it will, how one person’s death doesn’t stop the galaxy from spinning or stars from forming. The stars die as well, they said. What really matters is the light a star shone while it was alive. But I don’t see how it matters. If a person’s light is so significant, then why can’t we hold onto that person for as long as possible? If the Jedi just let me go back to her, I could’ve prevented my mother’s death.”
Palpatine presents himself as an outsider as well, which comforts Anakin not only in his need to express his feelings concerning his view of the Jedi but also in Anakin’s need to express his feelings concerning Padme.
In the original Episode II, Padme’s life is threatened because she’s a senator who is against the formation of a Republic army, but as the film moves forward, Obi-Wan’s investigation of events leads away from a potential assassination of Padme to the revelation of the existence of the clone army. In my Episode II, the assassination attempts are not connected to who is for or against the Republic army. Instead, it’s the Separatists who are threatening the Republic Senators with harm as a method to terrorize Republic planets into submitting to their terms of not supporting the Republic in the brewing war. While a few assassination attempts have succeeded, and a few planets have conceded to the Separatist demands while others debate concession, one assassination is somewhat successful in that Senator Padme Amidala is injured and falls into a coma. As Padme’s life hangs by a thread, Obi-Wan and Anakin are charged with discovering who is behind the threats to the Republic Senators. Anakin, though, has trouble keeping his mind on the task at hand, as he can’t shake thoughts of Padme’s condition. He confides in Palpatine who, while noticing how much Anakin cares for Padme, decides to reveal a bit of his true nature as well…
Palpatine: “Do you remember what you told me of your mother and how the Jedi excused her death as an unavoidable fate? As you said to me, your mother’s light could’ve lived on. Padme’s light can live on. Anakin, did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise?”
Yes, rather than this scene of Palpatine informing Anakin about how Anakin can save Padme’s life appearing in Episode III, it would be in my version of Episode II (remember, we’re stretching out the story across the trilogy: first is the foreshadow, second is the temptation, and third is the fall). This is when Palpatine tells Anakin of the power to save those he loves from dying and the fact that this power cannot be learned from a Jedi. Together, Palpatine and Anakin use their power to wake Padme from her coma. Grateful, Anakin promises to keep Palpatine’s secret while Palpatine further enforces Anakin’s confusion as to which side is good and which is bad.
Anakin: “Why would you do this? The Sith don’t save lives.”
Palpatine: “That’s what the Jedi want you to think.”
Now that Padme is awake, she requires protection from the Senate guards as Anakin joins Obi-Wan on a discovery that leads the duo to a Separatist planet, where they find the source of the threats to the senators, Darth Maul – the Sith Lord who killed Qui-Gon Jinn and defeated Obi-Wan in their previous battle and has since made a deal with the Separatists: “I will force the Republic to its knees if you help me purge the Jedi from the existence they no longer deserve for protecting such a corrupted system.” Meanwhile, the Jedi worry about Anakin’s ability to save Padme with the Force. Believing Anakin, alone, performed this feat, they wonder how powerful Anakin can become. After which, Palpatine reveals to the Jedi that he went ahead and ordered a small army of clones, without Senate approval, as he puts it, “strictly as a precautionary move to guard against a possible Separatist attack, of course.” This revelation comes at an opportune time, when the Jedi need the clone army to aid them as they attack the Separatist planet on which Obi-Wan and Anakin have been captured. Padme accompanies the Jedi and clone army. “Anakin saved me. Now, it’s my turn to save him.”
A ferocious battle ensues; Obi-Wan and Anakin are separated, and by the end of the film, Anakin makes a crucial decision to compromise his morals in exchange for helping the Jedi and the Republic win the day. At least, Darth Maul tells Anakin that he’s compromising his morals by helping the Republic and the Jedi win. Though Darth Maul has taken his hand in a lightsaber battle that ends with Maul mercifully allowing Anakin to live, showing Anakin that the Sith aren’t the murderers the Jedi make them out to be (which is part of Palpatine’s plan to turn Anakin to the Dark Side), Anakin considers that perhaps Maul is right. While others celebrate the victory and prepare for the next battle in the newly dubbed Clone War, Anakin feels a weight on his conscience and wonders if the responsibility of being the Chosen One will require him to sacrifice more than his own beliefs for what he’s been told is the greater good. It doesn’t help him that Palpatine, after assuring Anakin that Darth Maul is acting under his own volition (having left Palpatine’s apprenticeship to seek riches of his own), waters the sprouting seeds of doubt Anakin has developed in his view of the Jedi.
Palpatine: “The Jedi are afraid of you, Anakin. They always have been. They’re afraid of your power.”
Anakin: “What other, greater power could the Jedi be withholding from me?”
Palpatine: “Would you like to find out?”
My Episode II ends with Padme interrupting before Anakin can answer Palpatine’s question. Palpatine excuses himself while Padme thanks Anakin, again, for saving her life, a thank you that he returns as she assisted in saving his. They gaze into each other’s eyes and finally share a kiss, the start of their secret romance.
Yes, the secret romance between Anakin and Padme would not be shown in Episode II. Instead, we only see their attraction toward each other here and there until the kiss at the end. Their romance then blossoms between Episode II and Episode III, though marriage and living together are not a part of it. At the start of Episode III, we see that Anakin and Padme are secret lovers, and part of what troubles Anakin and what keeps him from seeing the Jedi as all good is the fact that Anakin must hide his relationship with Padme from his best friend, Obi-Wan, for fear of the consequences that would be imposed on him by the Jedi High Council.
Does Obi-Wan suspect something? You bet. But he allows the relationship, for the time being, as even he is not sure how to handle a delicate situation that could result in him losing his best friend. While Anakin has developed an attachment to Padme, Obi-Wan has developed an attachment to Anakin that could be just as dangerous. Anakin is not the only one the Jedi are now wary of, but there is no time to concern themselves with such matters as the Clone War is in full swing, and the Jedi have allowed themselves to become the soldiers they swore they would never be, a “temporary” compromise for the good of the Republic, no different than the compromise made by the Senate to vote emergency powers to Chancellor Palpatine and allow certain freedoms removed from all citizens of the Republic to protect them from potential terrorist acts by the Separatists. Everyone is surrounded by feelings of instability, and though the Jedi won’t admit it to themselves, their fear of a bad outcome to it all is growing as the number of Jedi in the galaxy has dwindled, lost to the extensive fighting.
As the Republic borders on winning the war, though, Darth Maul leads a Separatist fleet to Coruscant in hopes of capturing Chancellor Palpatine to strike a fatal blow to the Republic in the Clone War. However, when Maul confronts Palpatine in his chamber, Palpatine asks if Maul has gathered the Separatist leaders into one place. Maul informs Palpatine that the Separatist leaders are hiding on the volcanic planet Mustafar. “You have done well, Lord Maul,” Palpatine says to him. “You have been invaluable as my apprentice.” Stealing Maul’s lightsaber and stabbing him with it, Palpatine growls, “But I have a new apprentice now, one far more powerful than you.” It is then that Anakin stumbles onto the scene, asking if the fighting can now stop. Palpatine uses this opportunity to twist Anakin further against the Jedi as he tells Anakin that the Jedi only want to keep fighting.
Palpatine: “You have the power to end this war, Anakin, you always have, but the Jedi won’t allow it. The Republic has all but won, but they need this war. The Jedi are said to be the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, but have you noticed there has never been peace throughout their reign? There is always a conflict, a reason for them to exist. If there ever truly is peace, then people can ask why the Jedi would be needed, why they simply couldn’t fall into myth. We have the power, Anakin, together. Join me. Help me eliminate the Jedi for good. Once they are gone and the Sith take over, we can crush all conflict in the galaxy, and we will finally have peace.”
After Palpatine explains to Anakin that the Separatist leaders are gathered on Mustafar and that Anakin has an opportunity to end the war and stop the Jedi, Obi-Wan stumbles onto the scene and is informed by Palpatine that it was Anakin who slayed Darth Maul. Anakin asks Obi-Wan if the fighting will stop now that Maul has been killed. Obi-Wan wishes the war could stop, but there are still pockets of Separatist resistance that must be dealt with. As Palpatine offers Anakin a glance that basically says, ‘See? I was right,’ Obi-Wan tells Anakin that there’s a new assignment to engage the last of the resistance. Palpatine gives Obi-Wan the news that he is sending Anakin to Mustafar, where a Separatist regime is strengthening its numbers. Obi-Wan agrees that Anakin should go to Mustafar first, and when he leaves, Palpatine informs Anakin that, sadly, Obi-Wan can no longer be trusted and that Anakin must kill his former master.
Palpatine: “It is the only way, Anakin. The path to the power of the Dark Side requires sacrifice, but the gains are far greater than you could ever imagine. This is your destiny, Anakin. Your former master betrayed you, betrayed the Republic, as have all the Jedi. They let your mother die. They wanted to let Padme die. They refuse to bestow upon you the power that even their own prophecy foretells. I can feel your anger toward them. Use it. Give in to your hate. Strike down your former master, and your journey toward the Dark Side will be complete. Then as my apprentice, you will have the power you desire as you hunt down the last of the Jedi.”
While saying goodbye to Padme, Anakin lets slip that he’s going to end the war and that soon they will be able to love openly, without fear of consequence from the Jedi. Not understanding what Anakin said, Padme catches Obi-Wan as he and Yoda are about to leave on their missions and asks them what Anakin meant. As the Jedi prod Padme into confessing the hidden romance, Palpatine, believing that Yoda and Obi-Wan are with their clone troops, as the other Jedi are with their clone troops, unleashes Order 66 and turns the clones against the Jedi. With the Clone War and the Jedi coming to an end, Palpatine declares victory within the Senate and promises that the corruption within the Republic that led to the Separatist movement will no longer be tolerated. In the best interest of the Republic and its people, Palpatine announces the Republic’s reorganization, declaring himself Emperor of the Galactic Empire. With his order that any remaining Jedi are now enemies of the Empire and will be executed on sight, Yoda flees the Jedi temple, assisted by Bail Organa.
Anakin, having killed the Separatist leaders and officially ended the Clone War, is confronted by Padme and Obi-Wan. Furious that she’s chosen to side with Obi-Wan against him, Anakin Force chokes her, and she falls unconscious. Obi-Wan pulls his lightsaber. Anakin pulls his lightsaber. The battle of the heroes begins.
It all ends with Obi-Wan severely injuring Anakin and leaving him as Obi-Wan can’t bring himself to killing his former Padawan, best friend, and brother. Palpatine senses Anakin is near death and travels to Mustafar to find him, promising to rebuild his body, so he can take revenge on his former master.
Palpatine: “This will be your transformation, my apprentice. You will no longer be weak. You will no longer be hesitant. You will no longer be a mere man. Henceforth, you will be… Darth Vader.”
Obi-Wan receives a message from Bail Organa’s ship, and he and Padme, now conscious, meet up with the ship and board it to talk with Yoda and Bail. Yoda explains that the Sith have taken over the galaxy while Obi-Wan speaks of his failure to kill Anakin. As Obi-Wan declares that everything is lost, since Anakin will soon become too powerful to defeat, Yoda mentions that there may yet be hope. “What do you mean?” Bail asks, desperate for any chance that Palpatine can be removed as emperor. “Hope there still lives in the Skywalker offspring.” Padme never got a chance to tell Anakin that she’s pregnant, and now Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Bail form a plan to hide Padme and Anakin’s offspring from Anakin and the emperor.
Essentially, the Star Wars prequels should be a gradual change for Anakin that we all must watch as it occurs. By the time Obi-Wan and Anakin face-off in their duel, it should be apparent that Anakin has been seduced by the Dark Side, not simply shoved into it. He should be hesitant until that duel with Obi-Wan, when Anakin has turned. Anakin should not be killing children right away, and until their duel, Obi-Wan has to believe that Anakin hasn’t crossed the line, that Anakin can still come back. While he confronts Anakin, we should feel the guilt Obi-Wan places on himself for not preventing Anakin’s fall from happening, that guilt we feel in Obi-Wan’s voice as he explained Anakin’s fate to Luke in A New Hope. And if you noticed, I don’t have Darth Vader in my version of Episode III, Luke and Leia aren’t shown being born, Padme’s pregnancy isn’t showing, and Padme doesn’t die. I connect the Prequels to the Original Trilogy without trying to fit everything together nice and neat as if we have to see everything. We don’t. When Leia talks about her mother in Return of the Jedi, I want to know that there is another story out there that can maybe be told.
So, that’s it. That’s my version of the Star Wars prequels. If you’ve read this whole thing, please leave a comment, so I can congratulate you on making it this far. You are truly amazing. 🙂