As Batman Begins and now The Amazing Spiderman have shown us, franchise reboots have the potential to transcend their previous incarnations and create an entirely new film mythology.
As we all know the Star Wars Prequel trilogy was a series that disappointed on many levels. From the slapstick of Jar Jar Binks, to the wooden Jedi Knights and some god awful dialogue, the films in many ways even had a negative effect on the original trilogy (does anyone else have issues knowing that a middle aged Haden Christensen is under Vaders helmet in The Empire Strikes Back?)
So what if they remade the prequel trilogy to not only improve on the previous efforts but to have the films fit better with the original films? What follows is my pitch for episode 1 of this reboot. I’m trying to stick roughly to the story structure of the Lucas films and I’m also keeping a number of the new characters such as Darth Maul, and Mace Windu, who, lets be honest, are just pretty cool.
So here’s Star Wars Episode One 2.0.
First off the original Naboo storyline revolving around Amidala and the trade federation could remain mostly the same (although more on that later). It can be seen as a good example of the kind of potentially violent conflicts that the Jedi can be called in to resolve during the time of the republic. In my version I would the Jedi to be less spiritual in their focus and be seen more as galactic UN peacekeepers or police to a certain extent. (To quote Obi Wan from Episode 4 ‘For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the old republic’)
Another major change is that I would have the trade federation use clone soldiers instead of robots. These clones will have been genetically engineered to take away their free will in order to make them ‘the perfect soldier’. There should be a ongoing moralistic argument throughout the trilogy as to whether it is right to use these clones for war.
So the film would open with Obi Wan arriving at Naboo to negotiate an end to the blockade. This would be Obi Wan’s first solo mission as a newly Knighted Jedi who has not yet had enough experience to have an apprentice. (Qui Gon Jinn as played by Liam Neeson still exists in this version but more on him later). This makes Obi Wan a bit more human and relatable. The idea of a nervous young Jedi on his first mission is far more appealing from a character point of view and would immediately establish an audience connection with a character much like Luke’s introduction in episode 4.
The Naboo storyline can remain relatively in tact from that point including the invasion and occupation of the capital city although lets forget Jar Jar Binks and the gunguns.
In place of the underwater sequence (which was largely unnecessary CG spectacle) it would be good to have the story cut to Anakin on Tattoine.
One of the key things missing from Anakin’s origin is the exploration of the life of a slave. I think therefore there should be a scene depicting two young boys working in the dark and gritty world serving a wealthy Hutt (the slug race of Jabba) before going back to their small room which they share with their mother. This family would later be revealed to be Anakin Skywalker, his half brother Owen and their mother Shmi.
By including Owen (uncle Owen from A New Hope) early on we establish a family dynamic where Anakin lusts for power and escape and Owen simply wants to keep his head down and work his way to freedom. It also provides another key link to episode 4.
Cutting back to Naboo Obi Wan sneaks into the capital and saves the queen although their ship is damaged during the escape.
Darth Sidious (who has previously been established to be in control of the TF) introduces Darth Maul to the leaders of the Trade Federation ensuring them that ‘he will find your lost ship’.
Obi Wan arrives on Tatooine, hoping to find the repairs for the ship. He begins to walk to a nearby town.
Meanwhile Anakin is out on the street. A young boy (who is also a rival podracer) in a group of children bullies Anakin, insulting his mother and implying that she is a prostitute. This is a dark interpretation but it seems to me that its obvious that prostitution would be the main function of a female slave in this context. Anakin’s anger flares up and a fight breaks out.
As Obi Wan enters the the town he breaks up the fight pulling the boys apart using the force. The rival and his cronies run away, scared of Obi Wan’s power. This scene establishes Anakin’s anger as well as a his yearning for the power of a Jedi, he feels that if he was a Jedi he could have the power to punish those who have wronged him and his family. Anakin hurriedly takes Obi Wan into a nearby shelter as a sand storm is coming in.
The shelter is a bar similar to the cantina from episode 4, when the barman sees Anakin he protests, ‘you know we don’t serve your kind (i.e. a slave) here’ (a line similar to episode 4). Obi Wan uses a Jedi mind trick to calm the man and allow them to stay, he also orders him and Anakin a drink.
Obi Wan and Anakin share a drink together. This establishes a level of camaraderie, like having a pint with your best mate. During the conversation Obi Wan learns about the boys’ situation while keeping his own story close to his chest. Anakin then senses everything that has happened to Obi Wan and retells the story to the Jedi in remarkable detail. Obi Wan is astonished by how strong the force is with him.
Anakin tells Obi Wan that the Hutt he works for may have the parts he needs.
Anakin goes home and has a excited conversation with his brother about the Jedi where it becomes clear what he wants from the power and Owen is apprehensive.
Obi-Wan goes before the Hutt (the scene is reminiscent of the scene in Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi). He tries to use a Jedi mind trick but it doesn’t work. This explains why Luke can’t use a mind trick on Jabba in Return of the Jedi (Jabba tells his second in command ‘fool he’s using an old Jedi mind trick’).
Anakin interrupts and offers the hutt the race bet. If Anakin wins the race the Hutt will get the parts for Obi Wan, if Anakin loses, Obi Wan interjects, the hutt will get his ship.
Anakin’s prepares for the Podrace while Obi Wan asks Shmi about her sons. While there is no telling who their fathers were Anakin had a father, the whole immaculate conception thing is bollocks, lets get rid of that.
Obi Wan renegotiates and makes the deal for Anakin’s freedom.
The Podrace sequence should be darker and more dangerous. Anakin continues to battle with his rival from the earlier fight until he violently kills him in the final lap running him into a cliff face. The imperial march could play at this point hinting at Anakin’s future.
Obi Wan asks Anakin what happened after the race (question as to whether it was necessary to kill the other racer in order to win) and Anakin doesn’t answer.
Anakin is told he is free.
Anakin says goodbye to his family promising to become the most powerful Jedi ever and free them. As he walks away Shmi comments to Owen that Ani could indeed become that powerful and Owen says ‘thats what I’m afraid of’ (the same line from episode 4).
On the way back to the ship Obi Wan is attacked by Darth Maul but escapes.
The ship travels to Coruscant.
Senator Palpatine tells Amidala that the republic is corrupt and that they won’t help and sure enough there is too much money from the trade federation and the republic is corrupted by financial interests.
Obi Wan takes Anakin to the Jedi Council. The council debates as to wether to train him.
Qui-Gon Jinn is now on the Jedi council and seeing the dark side in Anakin helps to swing the decision and allows Obi Wan to train him.
After Amidala realises the corruption of the republic she decides to handle the situation herself.
The group all travel back to Naboo to confront the Trade Federation.
It should be made clear that the Trade Federation only has a force large enough to hold the capital city. Freedom fighters from around Naboo (similar to the Rebel alliance) can gather for a counter attack slowly as the TF controls the skies and all communication and as such only ground transport can be risked.
The Naboo plan to hold the head of the TF hostage until he orders his troops to stand down and signs a statement revealing what he has done to the republic, incriminating himself and causing an end to the occupation/blockade.
During the planning scene Obi Wan catches Anakin staring at the young Padme Amidala and explains to him about his dedication to the Jedi and how he cannot share a life with a woman, although Anakin may be too young to understand this.
While the Naboo fight for the city Anakin recklessly joins the space fighters who are tasked with holding off the trade federation air support. Anakin kicks ass during this battle scene using his Jedi reflexes and podracing skills. As Obi Wan later describes him – ‘the best star pilot in the galaxy’.
Obi Wan engages in an epic duel with Darth Maul. Maul badly injures Obi Wan during the fight but Obi Wan finally gets the better of him and Maul is thrown from a great hight, possibly a waterfall, leaving some ambiguity as to wether he survived or not.
On Naboo a few members of the Jedi council as well as Palpatine and republic security arrive to oversee the arrest of the trade federation heads and the return to peace.
Obi Wan walks in on a dodgy looking conversation between Palpatine and Qui Gon (what we’re they talking about?). Qui Gon suggests to Obi Wan that his new apprentice could change everything.
In a conversation with Amidala, Senator Palpatine suggests that he could use the Naboo crisis as a key issue in his campaign to become head of the republic as it provides evidence of the corruption at the heart of government.
The film ends with a celebration of Naboo’s freedom.
And thats episode one. Let me know what you think and my ideas for episode two will emerge soon.