Topic: The Alternate Star Wars Prequels
I suppose this needs little introduction to anyone who's listened to the show. I'm Dorkman and the Star Wars prequels give me stress hives. I originally wrote these up over on TheForce.net's fanfilms board as an idea for one way to "fix" the prequels. I only meant to do a sentence or two per film but then it got out of hand. These were subsequently posted on the [REDACTED] blog, but since that was nearly four years ago and we have gotten a lot of new community members since then, this may well be new to many of you.
My goals with this version of the story were as follows:
1) Use the titles. I'm big on the power of a good title, and I actually like the titles of the Star Wars prequels. So as part of the experiment I wanted to keep the titles and find a way to thread the new story in such a way that they applied as much or more than they do in the official films. It also helped give me some focus rather than completely starting from scratch.
2) Preserve "I am your father." It's one of the great moments in cinema, and despite the fact that everyone already knows it, I don't think the prequels should behave like it's a foregone conclusion that you know it. You should be able to watch it chronologically and not know until that moment. I'll be the first to admit my solution is less than completely elegant, but it's the best I could come up with. It's a tough problem.
3) You can watch it in either order. Corollary to the above, ideally if you already know the OT, the PT would give you a new perspective on events. At the same time, if you've never seen a Star Wars film, you should be able to watch them chronologically without the films assuming you already know the rest of the story.
4) It's Obi-Wan's story. While ultimately the six-film cycle is still about the rise, fall, and redemption of Anakin Skywalker, as the OT saw that story through Luke's eyes, the PT would see it through Obi-Wan's. Not only does this create a sense of symmetry (as Brian said in one of the commentaries, first you see the story through the eyes of his "father," then through the eyes of his son), but it hopefully resolves the Plinkett Problem.
5) GTFOH with that prophecy shit. I'm so, so tired of this Chosen One nonsense in every fantasy story these days. There wasn't a prophecy about Bilbo or Frodo and there doesn't need to be one about Anakin, Luke, or anyone else in this story. They're just players in galactic history, sometimes for good and sometimes ill.
I'm posting the treatments below, or you can download them in PDF form here.
THE PHANTOM MENACE
A mysterious fleet of ships carries out a campaign of attacks against planets on the Outer Rim of the Galactic Republic. They appear out of nowhere, decimate the planet and then vanish once more into the black. The Jedi OBI-WAN KENOBI is drawn into the conflict, dispatched from the Jedi Temple on the jungle planet Yithian to investigate the mystery.
His investigation leads him to discover that the fleet is comprised of the remnants of the Mandalorians, a civilization that was destroyed by the Republic during an expansionary phase millennia ago. A small contingent of them went into exile, trying to rebuild their army to take revenge. But they were too small a contingent, their army building too slowly, and they were soon forgotten by the Republic, relegated at most to legend, and only on a handful of fringe planets.
But the Mandalorians -- a spacefaring but relatively primitive culture -- have somehow obtained cloning technology, which has allowed them to build their army exponentially, and finally begin their campaign of vengeance against the Republic in earnest. On the Outer Rim planet of Utapau, Obi-Wan discovers their primary cloning facility, and leaves to warn the Senate. But as he makes his escape he is attacked by Mando ships and barely gets away, his ship badly damaged. He limps to the nearest inhabited planet -- Tatooine -- for repairs.
Planetside, it is determined that the ship will take weeks to repair. Obi-Wan knows that he doesn’t have weeks, and seeks out alternative transport. Obi-Wan has never been outside the Jedi Temple, and he sticks out like a sore thumb, leading to trouble in the local cantina. Before things can get out of hand, a young moisture farmer named OWEN LARS comes to his rescue and gets him out of there. Obi-Wan tells Owen his plight, and it just so happens that Owen knows someone who can help.
Owen introduces Obi-Wan to his brother-in-law, ANAKIN SKYWALKER, a pilot with his own ship (Owen’s wife, BERU, is Anakin’s sister). Upon hearing that Obi-Wan wants to go to Coruscant, Anakin refuses, but Obi-Wan offers him so much money he can’t turn it down. He agrees, on the condition that they take a one-day detour so that Anakin can make a delivery that’s just come in. Desperate to get on the move, Obi-Wan accepts.
The delivery takes them to another Outer Rim planet, Nimban. On arrival, instead of arriving via the standard approach, Anakin activates a scanner-scrambler, and with a bit of fancy flying evades planetary security without their even realizing he’s there.
When Obi-Wan asks him why he did this, Anakin responds that it would not do to have security scan the ship, as the contents are not exactly legal.
Scandalized to realize he’s been traveling with a smuggler, Obi-Wan gets all up on his high horse and Anakin tells him that if he doesn’t like it, he can take his money and find other transport.
Obi-Wan disembarks at Nimban as Anakin makes the trade, but Nimban is somehow even more hostile than Tatooine. The other pilots regard Obi-Wan’s offers of money as more suspicious than enticing, and pretty soon they’re all giving him a wide berth. He quickly realizes that they’re ALL smugglers here.
Humbled, he returns to Anakin, who is not interested in flying the long journey to Coruscant with a self-righteous stick in the mud. But when the Mando fleet appears and attacks the planet, Anakin lets Obi-Wan back into the ship and they make their escape.
Obi-Wan co-pilots with Anakin, and they manage to get out of the fray, the only ship that escapes unharmed. Obi-Wan is impressed, to say the least. Anakin is the best pilot he’s ever seen -- so good, in fact, that Obi-Wan is certain his abilities are supernatural. He believes that Anakin has the Force.
For Anakin’s part, having now seen the scale of the Mando threat, he agrees that the Senate has to be informed, and they set course for Coruscant.
Meanwhile, in the Senate, a nobody Senator named PALPATINE argues passionately that the Republic -- currently a diplomatic body comprised of individual, sovereign planets and/or systems -- cannot survive this new threat in its current form. The military might of any individual planet is insufficient to combat the encroaching army. One by one, they will be defeated. He proposes that a unified army -- the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) -- be formed from a voluntary alliance of member nations, to go on a combined offensive against the conquering marauders. They must stand together, he urges, or they shall fall apart.
Upon their arrival at Coruscant, Obi-Wan seeks an audience with the Senate and, as a Jedi, his request is granted. Obi-Wan and Anakin are both out of their element among the crowds and skyscrapers of the city planet, and they bond through their shared new experience.
Obi-Wan tells the Senate of what he has discovered. The size of the threat, combined with the fact that the Mando forces are increasing in number on an almost daily basis, turns the tide of debate. Now that they know what they’re up against, dozens of planets agree to add their might, however great or small, to the GAR.
Obi-Wan and Anakin are recruited to help lead the offensive against the primary Mando cloning facility -- Obi-Wan because he is a Jedi, and all nations trust their wisdom and neutrality, and Anakin because Obi-Wan requests it.
The battle at the Mando facility -- into the heart of the Mando fleet -- is suitably huge and climactic. Anakin leads the air fleet while Obi-Wan leads a force on the ground to shut down the planetary defenses.
Shockingly, Obi-Wan finds himself face to face with a Sith Warrior, DARTH MAUL, the likes of which -- like the Mandalorians -- many including Obi-Wan believed to be mere myth. A LIGHTSABER BATTLE ensues. Maul is incredible and Obi-Wan nearly falls at his hands, but the ground contingent succeeds in shutting down the planet’s defenses and Obi-Wan is able to escape as the airstrike destroys the facility.
After the battle, Obi-Wan returns with Anakin to the Jedi Temple, asking that Anakin be admitted for Jedi training. But the Council refuses, saying that he is too old to begin his training.
Dejected, Anakin prepares to leave the Temple and go back to his old life. But Obi-Wan, unwilling to lose the best (really, the only) friend he has ever had, and unwilling to see Anakin’s potential go to waste, says that they should both accept the Republic’s offer to join the GAR. Obi-Wan will teach Anakin the ways of the Force himself. Anakin agrees.
Meanwhile, the Jedi Council deliberates, attempting to decipher what part the presumed-extinct Sith are playing in these events, and in the Senate yet more planets commit their military forces to the GAR. The Mandos no longer have their primary cloning facility, but their fleet is still the greatest threat the Republic has ever seen.
The Clone Wars have begun.