Upon watching the train wrecks that are the Star Wars prequels, I began to understand how Lando felt when shafted by Vader in Empire.
To begin with, how can it be that Owen Lars met the droids in Episode II when he showed no discernible sign of previously seeing them in 1977’s Episode IV?
How can, when Anakin, already deep in the thrall of the dark side, echoing the words of George W. Bush, hisses at Obi-Wan, “If you’re not with me, you’re my enemy,” Ben responds “Only a Sith thinks in absolutes”, when the whole point was that both the Jedi and the Sith had fallen into a trap of believing absolutes, with Luke’s task being to restore balance to the Force? The clear implication was that the Force had a yin-yang aspect, which both the Sith and Jedi had lost sight of. The core story arc thus was to be Luke’s restoration of that balance despite opposition from both the remnants of the Jedi and the Emperor. In choosing to put those words in Obi-Wan’s mouth, Lucas betrayed his own creation.
Mon Mothma should have been a young woman on the Senate (Gillian Anderson would have been perfect). The backstory on Mon Mothma was that she was a young Chandilaran politico within the Galactic Senate during the rule of Chancellor Valorum and was opposed to Palpatine being elected. Despite this she remained a senator after Palpatine’s disbanding of the Republic into the Galactic Empire and his self-declaration of Emperor.
Episode Three should also have kicked off the plot of the Bothan spies in the final.
Anakin picking up with Sith Pirates (i.e. Mandalore Red Guards), whom he would draft into service for the Emperor, was also overlooked.
Since “A New Hope” practically took the plot of Kurosawa’s “Hidden Fortress”, the prequel should have included a tribute to his other great film, “Seven Samurai” with a band of Jedi attempting to take back a planet from the Trade Federation and their mercenary Mandalore Pirates. Otherwise, since Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” spells out the template that Lucas utilised for the Star Wars Trilogy perfectly, it also includes a section on THE HERO AS A CHILD, so this could have been used for Anakin’s infamous rise.
There was also no need for a Rebel Alliance in the prequel.
Howard Kazanjian, the producer of Return of the Jedi, on the parallels between the original trilogy and the prequels:
“In the trilogy, there is a competitive love triangle that develops between Luke, Leia and Han. This love triangle ends peacefully when Luke learns that Leia is his twin sister. In the prequels, George has planned a love triangle involving Luke and Leia’s mother, Anakin Skywalker and Ben Kenobi. The consequences of this love triangle are devastating with great betrayals and forever changes the fate of our heroes and villains in the films. So those who watch the trilogy for the first time after seeing the prequels will be scared to death that the same horrible fate that beset the heroes in the prequels will happen to our beloved heroes in the trilogy because of a dangerous love triangle that divides and destroys close friendships, but fortunately this does not come to pass.” 27 October 1997
I would therefore have developed this love triangle along the lines of King Arthur, Lady Guinevere and Sir Lancelot of the Camelot legend. Arthur = Ben (the oldest of the three), Guinevere = the Young Queen (younger than Arthur/Ben, but older than Lancelot/Anakin) and Anakin = Lancelot (the youngest of the three).
In Episode II a 30-ish Ben would court the young Queen, who would then be in her late 20’s, and asking for her hand in marriage, she accepts. The young Queen was the focus of Ben’s life and would be the only woman that he would ever love (that is why he lives all alone as a hermit on Tatooine because he never gets over the loss of the young Queen).
Enter the conquering hero in Episode II: The young, hot-shot Anakin (in his early 20’s) becomes one of the most decorated warriors of the Clone Wars and catches the eye of the young Queen. It is love at first sight for Anakin and the young Queen and they carry on an affair behind Ben’s back.
The young Queen consequently leaves Ben for Anakin, completely devastating Ben, who considers this to be the ultimate betrayal at the hands of his two closest friends (the young Queen and Anakin). Consequently, Ben and Anakin’s friendship is destroyed. Palpatine takes advantage of this situation and lures Anakin to the dark side. By the time Ben realises what has happened to Anakin, it is too late. As a result of his turning his back on Anakin and the young Queen, Palpatine uses Anakin in his rise to power. Ben carries the guilt of Anakin’s fall from grace and the demise of the Republic for the rest of his life. And tries to resurrect his mistakes vicariously through the young Luke Skywalker.
Further ties to Arthur’s story could be drawn with the Jedi Council being the equivalent of the Knights of the Round Table, with perhaps Yoda as Arthur, Coruscant their Camelot, Anakin their Mordred whom they refuse to advance, and Palpatine as his mother.
Or alternatively, after Luke and Leia’s mother becomes pregnant, Anakin begins to become cold and cruel (like Michael Douglas to his wife in Falling Down) and she falls in love with Obi-Wan (Greek Tragedy).
Speaking of their mother, in the Empire Strikes Back when Luke says “there was something familiar about this place,” I would posit that he and Leia were born on Dagobah, and became separated soon after. Whilst Obi Wan’s brother Owen Lars was to watch after Luke, Leia was sent to Bail Organa on Alderaan. Luke and Leia’s mother must have survived the birth and came under the protection of Bail, since Leia recalls her mother in Return of the Jedi. Alderaan would have been a better substitute for the cloning technology to have been developed upon.
I also hated what was done with Boba Fett. My favourite revelation was his charging Jabba a higher amount than the original bounty price, on the basis that the frozen Solo had become a unique work of art created by Darth Vader. But I digress… considering Fett had a string of Wookie scalps on his shoulder and his ship was named Slave I, perhaps he was originally a slave-trader for the Empire.
Why did he and his crew exclusively get the Empire’s contracts? Could it perhaps be that he had assisted Vader in his rise to power.
In Dark Empire II # 2, Zasm Katth and Baddon Fass, two Imperial Dark-Side warriors, state that Boba Fett was a former Imperial stormtrooper guilty of murdering his superior officer.
You’ll recall Han Solo had also been at the Imperial Academy, but was sent packing for some unknown infraction. Had Vader perhaps noted Fett’s mean streak, and made a deal for him to assassinate an Imperial Officer? I would posit that the Imperial Officer in question was going to sabotage Vader’s position at the Emperor’s side, so Darth promised he would set Fett up with a sweet deal as a bounty hunter if he did this one little job for him. To ensure Fett was not hunted down for the crime, Vader manipulated circumstances so the young recruit, Han Solo, who had a record of insubordination, took the blame for the murder. This leads to Han escaping the Academy, and stealing the slave Chewbacca away with him.
Otherwise, the braids Boba Fett has on his shoulder are not Wookie scalps, but are instead from young Padawans he killed during the “cleansing” of the Jedi temple.
The Battle Droids in the prequels should have been the “kick-ass” chrome war droids, akin to IG-88, thus further tying in continuity.
I would also eradicate Naboo, retain a planet with underwater elements, but make the aquatic race the Mon Calamari, from which Admiral Akbar originated. This would explain why his race was sympathetic to the Alliance… perhaps even have a Mon Calamari end up being a Jedi.
You could then have the Quarren/Squid Heads (who destroyed their own planet) team up with the Trade Federation. As part of this alliance, they are promised the planet of the Calamari, since they need an underwater world to birth their children in. The planet consequently falls into a Civil War, hence why the Jedi are called in to start negotiations.
Palpatine should have had the Jedi hunted down and carted off to encampments to be mass murdered/ sacrificed, ala the Holocaust, so he could harness their energy via a Sith ritual to power himself up to become the Emperor. Those surviving Jedi later develop the technique of dissolving, so he cannot use their energy to become even more powerful.
And I wouldn’t overlook Tarkin’s role in helping Palpatine getting elected.
I would liken the Great Jedi Purge and Palpatine’s secret betrayal of his Separatist Council allies that resulted in their deaths at the hands of his apprentice, Darth Vader, on Mustafar, to be very much like the Night of the Long Knives when Heinrich Himmler’s SS troops attacked the rival SA and killed Ernst Röhm and other leaders, eliminating Hitler’s sole remaining rival and his power base.
I would have Coruscant alternatively named Chandilar.
Another thing that annoyed me was Ben Kenobi being called Ben in the prequel instead of Obi-Wan. IIRC, Ben stated in Episode IV that: “Obi-Wan Kenobi, I haven’t gone by that name, since…oh, before you were born.”
What with Kessel being the planet where spice was mined, like Arakkis, I would have made this the birth place of Palpatine, like the Emperor from Dune.
Since Owen was Ben’s brother, and being a Jedi ran in the family, I would have made he and Beru Lars retired Jedi, using their powers to farm moisture on the desolate Tatooine.
Perhaps R2 – D2 could be revealed as more than just an astromech droid, but rather a Jedi Knight! You’ll recall that a great deal of those coincidences swaying the course of fortune to the Alliance were a result of the Force influencing our little friend, including his knowing exactly where to find Obi Wan Kenobi using the Force, hence the initial argument with Threepio after the escape pod landed and his insistence on where to go. Artoo influenced the weak-minded Jawas to turn in the opposite direction to then pick up Threepio. At the Jawa sandcrawler, when Uncle Owen selects the red droid, Artoo uses the Force to explode the motivator on an otherwise good unit, forcing himself to be chosen. With many of the scenes on the Death Star, Artoo more than just plugs into the main computer, he influences it and works with Obi Wan in forcing the hand of fate, as he does in the final Death Star trench scenes. In Empire and Jedi, the force flows through Artoo like a conduit in many of the scenes. On Dagobah, Bespin, and in Jedi Artoo ejects the light sabre to Luke to rescue his friends from Jabba. It all makes a lot of sense when you watch the movies with this in mind.
In the novelisation of Star Wars, Obi Wan, looking back at the fall of the Old Republic and the Jedi Knights speaks about “the later corrupt emperors,” note the plural. This suggests a means by which Palpatine’s identity could have been concealed with a more obvious evil character in the forefront with Palpatine lurking in the background maybe as an assistant or as a co-Emperor.
You could also build a better third movie than what we actually got from Return of the Jedi with elements from Shadows of the Empire! Imagine, if you will, that the rescue of Han Solo didn’t occur on Tatooine, but instead they had to pluck him out of a squabble between the bounty hunters – that a ‘BlackSun’ sub-plotline lead the action directly to Coruscant – that the second Death Star was being built over Coruscant itself and that Luke’s confrontation with the Emperor happened right in the very seat of Imperial Power! Now THAT would have been a fitting conclusion to the trilogy! *sigh* – if only…
Postscript: In Star Wars, you’ll recall Luke saying, “My father didn’t fight in the Clone Wars. He was no knight – just a navigator on a space freighter.” So he would fly the Falcon. On Mos Eisley, Obi-Wan knew fate was helping them when Han introduced himself as “the Captain of the Millennium Falcon; maybe you’ve heard of her?” “Should I?” answered Ben, tongue pressed firmly in cheek. Ben knew that the Falcon had once been owned by Anakin Skywalker.