How the Star Wars Prequels story could have been improved
With just a few tweaks, maybe the prequels would have been as good as the originals
Written By: Andrew Lowe
Date: 16th February, 2015
The way Star Wars prequels are right now worked in some points but were lacking in others. I personally found them reasonably enjoyable, bearing in mind I wasn't expecting Oscar winning performances. All I was expecting was to be entertained, and have my nostalgia peaked with the birth of Darth Vader.
However with fifteen years of hype to fulfill and with unforgiving, ravenous, die hard Star Wars fans (all demanding that the saga meets their expectations), people were left very underwhelmed. Personally I found them very enjoyable nothing major, realised they had issues but just thought ah well, and focused more on the sections I liked. Before I saw each of them, I bought and read the novels of each film. This I found perfect as I knew what the story was going to be and now I could just sit back and enjoy the ride. Watching as I what I pretty much imagined come to life on the screen.
Now as I have seen them over and over again, I believe there are key things that if changed in the whole trilogy could have made them better. I know everyone else probably has their own ideas but hopefully I have a few that are different enough, and maybe I would even want to keep in aspects that others may want to purge forever.
Let's start at the beginning:
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
The plot of this story would remain mostly unchanged. But I would have started it with Queen Amidala's ship breaking the blockade and escaping Naboo, rather than the Jedi arriving to meet the Trade Federation to negioate. An opening like this could bring parallels to the opening of Episode IV. The scroll could have filled in details about why they had to escape. I believe this would have helped set the tone for the film at the beginning. Dialogue can be added in to help explain why they are leaving Naboo, the Queen could even been treated more like a refugee in this context. I would then leave everything more or less the same plot wise so that the ship gets damaged and needs to land on Tatooine for repairs. Everything else would remain more or less the same during the Tatooine scenes. I would change some lines of dialogue but nothing major.
From then onwards to Coruscent, and again none of these scenes needed to be changed much either. What I would change is the senate scenes by making the Trade Federation far more confrontational on their attack on Naboo, and threaten to leave the Republic complaining of too much bureaucracy, hypocrisy and corruption towards certain members. This would then state the seed of the Separatists. Also we would need a reference to the Republic having no army to fight any war.
Heading back to Naboo, I would leave the battle very similar to what we have in the released film. Except I would have removed the entire space dog fighting sequence. It just seemed so tacked on and unnecessary. I know that it would be strange to have a Star Wars film without a dog fighting sequence but the story just doesn't need it. What should have been done is use the fighters to conduct air support for the Gungan army. I would have had Anakin maybe help with that and take out huge targets. I would have had just two sequences between the Droid-Gungan battle and the Jedi-Sith duel. I would have then seen some break off scenes as the Queen captures the head of the Trade Federation, in a similar vain as in the finished film. Maybe I would have had him maybe deactivate the droids and then maybe escape.
Once this battle has happened, I would have kept the scenes involving Anakin's future and referencing the Sith, but I would also have scenes saying that the Trade Federation has withdrawn from the Republic with many supporters and are building their own army. This leads to the Republic ordering the creation of their own army, a clone army. This would be considered the start of the Clone Wars, with Palpatine controlling both sides as before.
One thing I still can't decide whether I would change though. Do we really need Qui-Gon Jinn as much? Liam Neeson is good, but I feel it could have been better to be Obi-Wan discovering Anakin, and it could have been just after he has been given the status of Jedi Knight. Qui-Gon Jinn could have been on the council, a close friend and mentor to Obi-Wan but does he need to take the Jedi focus? I think it would have been better been just Obi-Wan at least until they reach Coruscant then Qui-Gon could have gone with Obi-Wan to help. I understand that this was the way the story was in a earlier draft.
All of this should make more of a tighter film, with the focus on three things. Anakin, the Jedi/Sith, and the start of the Clone Wars.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
The plot would remain focused on the assassination attempt on Senator Padme Amidala. This should be a part of a plot by the Separatists as part of the Clone Wars. This should lead to an investigation by Obi-Wan with Anakin assigned to protect her, just as portrayed in the film. Anakin pining for Padme, and Padme liking it but not admitting it. Anakin's friendship with Palpatine should be emphasised more as well, to show that Palpatine is capable of manipulating him.
When the trail leads Obi-Wan to Komino, there should be more surprise that Jango Fett is the source of the clones, rather than be surprised that the clone army even exists. This should be the only difference, with the Jedi council lied to concerning who was the source of the clones many years earlier.
The love story between Anakin and Padme would remain pretty much untouched, but the scenes should be heavily rewritten to appear more natural and actually better. But again this should lead them to Tatooine, to rescue Anakin's mother. This should all play out in the same way again, but I think we should see Anakin have joy when killing the sand people, and breakdown alone instead of just telling Padme. Showing how much he has fallen to the dark side. This should be sensed by Palpatine that Anakin has given into his anger and senses that he has much potential.
With Anakin, Padme and Obi-Wan being captured and set for execution, this would all be done in more or less the same way as the film. The lightsaber duel should see Dooku easily defeating Obi-Wan more or less the way he does in the film until Anakin intervenes, after which he defeats and kills Dooku by using the dark side of the Force. This is something that Palpatine can sense through the Force an smile. The Yoda section should be removed completely.
Basically the whole story should be showing how the war has been slowly eroding at Anakin, and the death of his mother is what causes him to tip over and fully start down the path of the dark side of the force. Palpatine can then take advantage of this to make Anakin his apprentice.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
This would start using the same Separatist attack that is in the beginning of the film, but instead of the focus being the rescue of Palpatine, it should be defending Coruscant. Possibly with the building where Padme is located is attacked, Anakin being ordered to protect Palpatine and not being able to go and protect his wife. Adding more fear that he will lose her, making the Jedi more distrustful of him especially sensing how much fear is growing inside him.
Anakin could still find out Padme is pregnant, which would lead to Palpatine to manipulate him into thinking the Jedi will go to extreme lengths to either kill or take away his child, making him even more erratic in the eyes of the Jedi and Padme. All while Palpatine would seem like Anakin's only true friend who would never lie to him.
On Palpatine's wishes, the Jedi will then realise that Palpatine is the Sith Lord they have been looking for. This could be through planting information in their spy network or by making his presence known through the Force as in the films he has the ability to hide it. This can then play out as before with the Jedi coming to arrest him. Anakin would once again come in and save, in his eyes, his only true friend. The rest would play out as before, but with Anakin showing more of his rage.
The only further changes that would be needed is during the two lightsaber duels. With Obi-Wan and Anakin, there should be more rage in Anakin's fighting style, maybe even getting a little dirty here and there, along with Obi-Wan shown to be getting more and more tired. The will show why he jumped on to the hill at the edge of the lava pit. With Yoda and Palpatine, all that should happen is to show that Yoda got badly hurt and barely mad it out of the senate chamber alive. Right now it just seems like Yoda took a huge fall and just decided to give up. There should definitely be more focus on these areas.
This story should revolve around Anakin being more erratic and full of fear, which will then lead to his downfall. The problem with the film currently is that hadn't setup Anakin's turn properly. This should have been planted better in the earlier films.
I believe these changes would help make the films a better experience, all with a lot of setup and hinting to what comes next. There would have to be a lot of dialogue changes but I feel that it would work with a large majority of the scenes that already existed. All in all there were a lot of good things going on in the prequel trilogy, it just was swamped with CGI, bad direction and bad writing. The actors are all first rate, and have all done some truly excellent films. I still say though that these should have just been books.
One day I might even try and edit together my own versions of the films to see what can be done with them. Hopefully that alone could make them better. And I was never really that bothered about Jar Jar as it's a kid film after all...