the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy?

star-wars-maz-kanata-700x300

You’re thinking it’s a little early to be considering fixing the new Sequel Trilogy when only a third of it has been released. However, while it’s true the recent release of the first instalment, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, is meeting with commercial acclaim (even now firing photon torpedoes on Avatar’s record), once the dust has settled it is likely to not maintain the reactive critical acclaim it has to date received and in hindsight will be acknowledged as a hugely entertaining but extremely derivative entry into the saga.

I won’t be getting into debates via comments to this article about how this new sequel trilogy might be derivative but will at least be better than any new move that George Lucas has made in the past twenty years, or would likely have made if Disney had allowed him to share custody of the franchise going forward, as we’ve already heard any number of fans reviling the Prequel Trilogy and Clone Wars (just as original fans not only found the Ewoks insufferable, but Yoda before them).

My aim in this article is to consider alternatively how a happy medium might have been reached with Disney moving the franchise forward, while at the same time acknowledging how they would not have such a successful franchise had it not been for George Lucas in the first place, through thereby respecting his original vision for the Sequel Trilogy, instead of him ending up having nothing to do with the production of The Force Awakens or its frequently evolving script and the recent news from Lucas himself that his ideas were at least partly scrapped.

And so my theory begins with the following statue/ idol in Anakin Skywalker’s bedroom on Tatooine in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, firstly shown in the scene where R2-D2 rolls through the doorway when Anakin shows Padme C-3PO…

Maz Kanata-Phantom Menace-1

…and as Anakin later leaves the bedroom for the last time to travel to Coruscant with Qui-Gon Jinn to be trained as a Jedi…

Maz Kanata-Phantom Menace-2

Then recall back in 1983, how Return of the Jedi director, Richard Marquand, spoke to Prevue magazine…

Prevue magazine Jun-Jul 1983

…after completing his work on the final instalment of the original trilogy about George’s plans for Episode VII-IX:

“If you follow the direction, and project into the final trilogy [i.e. Episode VII-IX], you realise that you’re going to meet the supreme intellect, and you think how is it possible to create a man who has such profound cunning that he can not only control Darth Vader, but the fate of Luke Skywalker? Control the destiny of the whole galaxy? You’ll be amazed!”

So it’s clear that even as far back as the 1980s, Lucas had envisioned there being another player behind-the-scenes of the Original Trilogy story who had been in control the whole time.

In addition, Dale Pollock, author of the 1984 George Lucas biography, Skywalking: The Life And Films Of George Lucas, spoke with The Wrap back in October, 2012 and revealed his thoughts on the original dozen stories Lucas wrote treatments for. When writing the biography, he was able to read all of the stories but signed non-disclosure agreements on their contents:

“It was originally a 12-part saga. The three most exciting stories were 7, 8 and 9. They had propulsive action, really interesting new worlds, new characters. I remember thinking, ‘I want to see these 3 movies.”

While in this interview, Pollack called the Prequel Trilogy “dreadful”, he had very positive things to say about the ideas behind the next two trilogies, stories he confidently believed Disney would use, claiming they represented one of the reasons Disney made the acquisition of Lucasfilm in the first place.

Now while Lucas had obviously intended this character of “profound cunning” to be male, with Disney redirecting their stories in these new films to feature females in more prominent roles (although to give credit where credit is due, Lucas set the precedent in the Original Trilogy by establishing Princess Leia as one of the earliest examples of a female character whose power came from her political conviction and acumen and whose passion influences the two male leads, Luke and Han to take their places as full participants in the Rebellion), is it that they haven’t entirely abandoned Lucas’s original vision for the Sequel Trilogy but have chosen Maz Kanata as this “supreme intellect”, this “Phantom Menace” (and not Jar Jar Binks as has previously been proposed by fellow theorist Lumpawarroo)?

We know from the flags shown hanging from the exterior entrance of her castle (on the planet of Takodana) below…

Boonta Eve flags hanging from Maz Kanata's castle

…are identical to those used in the procession at the start of the renowned Pod Race on Boonta Eve in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, that she has some connection to Tatooine.

Boonta Eve flag parade from The Phantom Menace

What that connection is intended to be isn’t clear yet…

…but did Kanata, or one of her agents, gift the idol (that resembled her) to a very young Anakin, or his mother Shmi…

…and was it imbued with her Dark Side energies for the purpose of influencing him from as early an age as possible?

Think about it too, Maz Kanata slyly watching over Anakin Skywalker on Tatooine a dark parallel to Ben Kenobi’s watching over Luke Skywalker.

Of further interest in this new film is that in addition to the introduction of Maz Kanata, we are also introduced to another new character earlier in the film played by Max von Sydow (Lor San Tekka), an actor renowned to fans of science fantasy/ horror as Father Lankester Merrin, veteran Catholic priest (rather than Church of the Force priest;) from the classic film, The Exorcist. Recall his character in that film finds the amulet resembling the statue of Pazuzu on an archaeological dig in Iraq, the demon he defeated years earlier (as shown below).

Pazuzu statue and Max von Sydow in The Exorcist

It’s interesting that the statue of Maz Kanata in Anakin Skywalker’s bedroom on Tatooine appears to have the one flat tone, just as does the statue of Pazuzu above.

As for who Maz’s agent on Tatooine was, recall that when young Anakin met Qui-Gon Jinn he recognised him as a Jedi almost immediately, suggesting he had previously encountered one (somewhat unusual given the Jedi were not tending to interfere in events in the Outer Rim prior to their realisation of the re-emergence of the Sith).

So was that agent perhaps Quinlan Vos, the dreadlocked dude sitting outside the Cantina shown below observing the conflict that broke out between Sebulba, Jar Jar Binks and Anakin (who was later revealed to be a Jedi in The Clone Wars).

Quinlan Vos in The Phantom Menace

Or, given Kanata’s castle is meant to echo the original “hive of scum and villainy” that was the Mos Eisley Cantina, with its primary patrons being smugglers, might this suggest that Maz doubled as a smuggler herself, or better yet a slave trader in the years leading up to The Phantom Menace?!

Was she the one who first sold Shmi Skywalker to Gardulla the Hutt to ensure the Force-sensitive child, Anakin, was raised in an Outer Rim Territory where it would be less likely for him to end up identified by the Jedi Council and trained in the ways of the light side from an early age?

Was she perhaps the Sith Master of Darth Plagueis, and compelled him to manipulate the midi-chlorians to create Anakin? She is after all even older than Yoda, having been revealed by J.J. Abrams to have lived “over a thousand years”!!!

And is Max von Sydow’s inclusion in the film as priest of the Church of the Force meant to make us recall the demon Pazuzu with whom his character was said to have done battle with in The Exorcist?

Need further convincing?  It’s not only interesting that Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana, according to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary…

Star Wars Force Awakens Visual Dictionary

…was built on an ancient Jedi and Sith battleground, but that the working title of the film during production was “The Ancient Fear”.

Ancient Fear - original working title of Episode VII

While this “ancient fear” could be interpreted as Supreme Leader Snoke, he hasn’t been referred to as such yet, whereas J.J. Abrams has made an effort to point out that Maz is over one thousand years old.  Also, according to the visual dictionary, she is Force sensitive, but not trained in the Jedi arts! This immediately brings to mind Palpatine’s own background as a Force user who was recruited by the Sith Master, Darth Plagueis, before the Jedi had an opportunity to train him.

Another interesting part of her character is her collection of old relics – one of which is Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber, the one passed down to Luke in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope by Ben Kenobi on Tatooine…

Obi-Wan handing Luke his father's lightsaber

…and which he lost (along with the hand he wielded it with) in battle against his father on Cloud City in the overture to that most famous of scenes in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

Luke loses lightsaber along with his hand

Given Vader left a garrison behind on Cloud City…

Imperial garrison Vader left behind on Cloud City

…might this not suggest he had also left strict instructions for them to collect it (as he’d not likely want his old weapon to fall into the hands of a Jedi again), after which he passed it onto his own master, Darth Sidious?  And after the Emperor’s own death, one of his Imperial Dignitaries…

Imperial dignitary that remained behind on Coruscant

…who remained behind on Coruscant contacted Maz, as per Palpatine’s instructions in his last Will & Testament, for her to come to the Imperial Palace to retrieve it along with his treasure trove of Sith artifacts, including those shown decorating his chambers in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith?

Recall here the Jedi Order forbade attachments, which would not only include emotional ties but attachment to physical objects also.  So an obsession with collecting artifacts would be frowned upon by the Jedi.  However, this wasn’t an issue for the Sith, who were renowned for their preoccupation with Force relics (much like Hitler’s known obsession with holy relics).  Now cast your mind back to Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith where we were treated to numerous scenes of Palpatine’s collection of Sith artifacts on display in the Chancellor’s Suite, including…

Chancellor Palpatine's suite on Coruscant

…the bronzium statues of the Four Sages of Dwartii…

Four Sages of Dwartii

…and those retrieved from the archaeological excavation of Massassi territory on Yavin 4…

Massassi temple on Yavin IV

such as the Sith Chalice (a metallic incense burner used by the Sith during their initiation ceremonies) and…

Sith Chalice in Chancellor Palpatine's Suite

…the frieze depicting a battle between the Jedi and Sith during the Great Hyperspace War.

Great Hyperspace War bas-relief

Recall too that the location of the catacombs beneath Maz’s castle on Takodana, similar to the Sith shrine beneath the Imperial Palace…

emperor-throne-hadabbadon-art

…which the Emperor used as his private sanctum, are rumoured to have once been a battleground between the Jedi and the Sith.  So she perhaps had her castle erected over it to ensure she could get first dibs on any Sith relics left behind on the battlefield, which could go a long way to explaining her secret treasure room where Rey retrieved Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber (previously lost by Luke, along with his hand, when doing battle with Darth Vader on Cloud City) and which also included a mask that looked a lot like those worn by the Knights of Ren (along with robes seen sitting on the floor).

Postscript: Finally, in the new Tarkin novel…

Tarkin novel cover

…considered as canon by Disney, it is revealed that the Jedi Temple on Coruscant was constructed over a Sith shrine, and it was the dark side energies emanating from it that were clouding the Jedi’s vision the Prequel Trilogy. So if Maz Kanata’s castle was similarly built on an ancient Sith battleground wouldn’t it similarly cloud any Light Side visions? So wouldn’t that mean if Rey’s vision was so strong that it was influenced by the Dark Side? And when Maz says of the vision to Rey, “The Force, it’s calling to you. Just let it in”, isn’t it more likely it is the Dark Side of the Force that would let itself in? Now why would Maz, who displays an innate understanding of the Force, be suggesting to Rey that she “let it[the Dark Side] in” unless her claim that she is “no Jedi” is meant to subtly suggest that she is a Sith who would of course want an untrained Force-sensitive user to open themselves to it.

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…Call-Out!

Call-Out

Due to the ongoing nature of my health issues, I’ve been privately approaching bloggers to contribute guest FIXES of their own to maintain interest in this site while I need to be absent for long periods.

While I’ve had wonderful contributions from Plok, Tony of The Wastebasket and fnord12 at SuperMegaMonkey’s Marvel Comics Chronology, this has obviously not been enough.

I’m therefore calling out to writers across the Comics Blogosphere who feel a burning urge to make public a secretly held FIX for a retcon they hated or an abandoned plot they felt they could resolve better than the “top-flight industry johnny-come-latelies” who tried and failed miserably.

If you’re interested, please Leave a Reply to this Post indicating a topic from the list below, or suggest your own which you’ve been desperate to get out there (also remembering to include your email so I can get in touch):

…the origin of Homo Mermanus;

…Janet Van Dyne’s resemblance to Maria Pym;

…the true origin of Space Phantom (and Limbo’s to boot);

…Rick Jones’s resemblance to Bucky Barnes;

…the true origin of Doctor Doom;

…Lucifer’s origin (not a Quist);

…the Savage Land’s origin – pending;

…Stranger’s origin – pending;

…the origin of the Merlin Stones;

…why Quicksilver had to return to Transia to recharge his powers;

…Galactus’s origin;

…Silver Surfer’s origin (retconning Norrin Radd);

…Vision’s origin (what caught Ant-Man’s eye if his innards weren’t those of the original Human Torch);

…the origin of the Black Knight’s Ebony Blade;

…Magda’s whereabouts;

…Thanos’s origin (i.e. why was a Skrull colony hiding on Uranus);

…Omega the Unknown’s connection to James-Michael Starling;

…Immortus’s origin (if he’s not Kang) – pending;

…the identity of the Mantis’s son, Quoi, to be Groot;

…who was the true master of the Magneto-robot and Mesmero behind the Demi-Men plot (retconning Machinesmith);

…the true origin of Eric the Red;

…Wolverine’s origin;

…the origin of The Hand – pending;

…the origin of the New Salemites;

…Jessica Drew’s origin (addressing her being a Childe of the Darkhold);

…the true origin of the Eternals and Deviants in the Marvel Universe – pending

…the true origin of the Asgardian Destroyer;

…Luna’s origin (to be daughter of Crystal and Johnny Storm, not Quicksilver);

…Nebula’s origin (not the granddaughter of Thanos);

…Nightcrawler’s mother (without resorting to Irene Adler);

…Selene’s connection to Magma;

…Callisto(and Lila Cheney)’s origin;

…Beyonder’s origin (Quoi or Ahura, son of Black Bolt and Medusa);

…the Demon Bear’s connection to the Adversary;

…the Beast of the Hand’s origin – see above;

…the Devil in the Marvel Universe;

…the Kingpin’s hired goon in the Daredevil graphic novel, Love and War, looking a lot like Garrett, the SHIELD/ CIA cyborg;

…the Scourge of the Underworld’s true origin;

…why Earth has been the focus of so many alien races in the Marvel Universe;

…Mister Sinister’s origin;

…Mr. Sinister’s “real” reason for wanting the Morlock’s massacred;

…the X-Men’s invisibility to cameras;

…Roughhouse and Bloodsport’s connection to Asgard;

…the identities of the Twelve (retaining their original purpose to lead mutantkind into the future);

…Firebird (Bonita Juarez’s) origin;

…what happened to the REAL Terminus (referred to in Uncanny X-Men Annual #12);

…The Dane Curse;

…what became of Thomas & William Maximoff (i.e. Cable and Stryfe)?

…Psylocke’s transformation into an Anglo-Chinese (as originally intended by Chris Claremont);

…Ahab’s origin (including how he’s related to Rogue);

…Gambit’s origin – pending;

…Cable’s origin;

…Askani’s identity as intended by Chris Claremont;

…Shatterstar’s origin (you know you can do better than PAD);

…X-Traitor plotline;

…Darkhawk’s origin (without resorting to the Fraternity of Raptors);

…Emma Frost’s origin;

…Doom 2099’s origin – pending;

…the Crossing (without resorting to reveal its characters as Space Phantoms);

…Exodus’s origin (recalling the original Shi’ar features);

…Deathcry’s origin;

…Monet and Penance’s origins;

…Blink’s origin;

…the ending of Marvel 2099;

…Xorn’s origin;

…Blade’s origin;

…Deadpool’s parentage (can you say Terror Inc.);

…Fantomex’s origin;

…the truth behind the Green Flame that transformed Alan Scott into a Green Lantern;

…Wonder Woman’s origin – pending;

…Spectre and Phantom Stranger’s origins;

…Qull’s prophecy (without resorting to the Sinestro Corps War);

…Bane’s origin;

…the Valiant Universe after Jim Shooter left;

…what occurs to Hellspawn during the Ordeal of the Dark Carcass;

…Boba Fett’s origin;

…the origin of Master Sifo-Dyas from Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones; or

…suggest your own!

…Boba Fett’s origin?

star-wars-bounty-hunters-570x427

In the famous bounty hunter scene in The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader says, “you are free to use any methods necessary, but I want them alive… no disintegrations.”  The “no disintegrations” comment is specifically directed at Boba Fett, who simply responds, “as you wish.”

No Disintegrations

While most fans feel that this scene was intended to infer Vader had previously engaged Fett’s services to obtain the plans stored within R2-D2 by “any means necessary”, and disintegrations had occurred (the bounty hunter killing Luke Skywalker’s Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru to prevent any competitors from obtaining the same information and collecting his reward)…

Boba Fett was on Tatooine during the search for the droids

Boba Fett was on Tatooine during the search for the droids

The bodies of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru having obviously undergone "a change in composition…an atomic nucleus that disintegrates because of radioactivity"

The bodies of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru having obviously undergone “a change in composition…an atomic nucleus that disintegrates because of radioactivity”

…there is another obvious clue that fans have completely overlooked from the “meeting with bounty hunters” scene in Empire.

That clue comes with Boba Fett’s response to Vader’s directive.

Yes, the original identity for who George Lucas had intended Boba Fett to be, before stupidly opting to make him an altered clone, has been RIGHT THERE… and yet none of us saw it, but how in the hell could we have MISSED it?

The clue to who this is lies in the romance novel, The Princess Bride written by William Goldman in 1973.

350px-Florin_Guilder_map

In the novel’s fantasy world a beautiful young woman named Buttercup lives on a farm in the country of Florin.  She delights in verbally abusing the farm hand Westley, whom she refers to as “farm boy”, by demanding that he perform chores for her.  Whenever she gives him an order, he answers “as you wish” and happily complies.

As You Wish

Westley leaves to seek his fortune so that he can marry her, going on to become the Dread Pirate Roberts’ valet and then his predecessor.

clever

It is obvious Westley did not acquire the fortune from his piracy he required to marry Buttercup, so moved into the more lucrative pursuit of galactic bounty hunting, and the rest as they say is history;)

…the Star Wars prequels?

star-wars-series-604x272

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.