Thursday, June 24, 2010

Star Wars Prequels Remake

These days the world of cinema is beset with a seemingly endless run of terrible remakes of movies I love.  You take a perfectly fine movie, beloved by its audience and often considered to be a brilliant classic.  Then you try to make the same movie again, only with a different director, script, cast, and purpose.  And what do you get?  Garbage.  Let's review for the last five years or so:  "Charlie and Chocolate Factory", "Day of the Dead", "Halloween", "The Hitcher", "Nightmare on Elm Street", and "The Omen".  I had to list this in alphabetical order because I could never actually figure out which one I hated more.  And there are so many other mediocre remakes out there - or attempted to be out there.  Every week you hear about another movie being remade like "Friday the 13th" which either result in years of the production struggling in Development Hell, or in an equally worthless result:  a horrible forgettable movie being made that nobody can remember in ten years.  Remember when "Planet of the Apes" was remade back in 2001?  Neither do I.

The sad fact is that Hollywood does not understand the point of a remake.  You don't remake a movie because you want to repeat the success of a previous movie.  The end result is either awful or so incredibly uninspired that your remake has no audience.  No fan of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" wants to sit through two hours of Tim Burton getting every single detail so horribly wrong.  I'm not saying there's some kind of inherent magic to filmmaking that cannot be replicated:  "Dawn of the Dead"'s remake was just as good as the original - keeping almost all of the original's inherent magic*.  But the true purpose of the remake is to find a movie that originally... well, failed.  Take "The Fly".  Originally it was a goofy B-movie starring Vincent Price that really did not bother explore what was truly the most horrible accepts of its plot line.  Then in the 80s, David Cronenberg takes this not-so-good movie and turns into one of the most horrifying movies ever put before camera**.  The things that happen to Jeff Goldblum in that movie... My God.  Remakes can not only be good movies, but they can be great movies.

Which leads me to my point (I knew I'd get to it eventually).  Its about time somebody remade the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy.

Let's get one thing straight: I know this isn't going to happen.  Its sad but true.  Unlike my dream of a Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, which is going to happen whether we like it or not, this one is the pipe dream of a humble blogger, nothing more.  Its Fanwankery at its finest.  Quite simply, even though the Prequels were absolutely terrible movies - even the third one that everybody likes possibly out of some mixed-up Stockholm Syndrome, quite simply they made too much money for LucasFilm to ever consider declaring them all non-canon.  There are too many games, too many TV shows, too many pieces of the current Star Wars universe that depend upon the Prequels in order to continue standing.  You aren't just going to throw out three movies, you'll also throw out thousands of hours of work by over a hundred different creators.  Not to mention all the toys.  Do you think little Tommy is going to be happy when he finds out his Anakin Skywalker poster depicting Hayden Christiansen in all his dull-faced glory is actually from a version of the Star Wars universe that some asshole on the Internet decided wasn't good enough?  Remember, as bad as a movie might be, somebody will always like it.  Even if it is just one person.

Luckily I exist in the semi-imaginary dimension of the World Wide Web, so I can basically give any opinion I want and never have to worry about the consequence.  Imagine having to actually make one of these things that I think up?  But nobody important is listening anyway, so I really have nothing to fear.

If I were to point one a single issue with the Prequels, and it is difficult to find just one thing I don't like, it would have to be just how badly they miss the point of their own existence.  From the start, they're rather unnessary additions to a storyline that was already pretty much complete.  After watching the Prequels, you can watch the original Trilogy and have very little reinterpretation in the actions of the characters.  You don't see Darth Vader any differently after seeing him as a human as you did after finding out that he was Luke's father.  So nothing is added.  Jar Jar Binks is by far not the worst thing about these movies.

If the Prequels in some way made you better understand exactly how Darth Vader could go from a great Jedi Knight to blowing up Alderaans, they might at least have that little worth.  But they fail there too.  There are three major plotlines to the prequels:  Anakin's fall to the Dark Side, Anakin's romance with Padme, and the Galatic Civil War begetting the Evil Empire.  However, 1) the Civil War is a terribly executed with no real explanation for why its being fought while the Empire's rise happens entirely in the background with very poorly thought-out political themes, 2) nobody ever bought the love story as it was so badly scripted that it became little more than a joke, and 3) Anakin's mini Paradise Lost is the worst handled issue of the entire Prequels.  Anakin spends the first movie just being established as a character, and then loses all said characterization in the next movie, so he needs to be established again.  The second movie is nothing but the love story, with a few scenes here and there to keep the Dark Side arc going, while keeping it on backburner.  And so the third movie has to suddenly make up a lot of ground.  In twenty minutes Anakin goes from mildly disgruntled employee to slaughtering children.  Instead of the character arcs being properly spread out over three movies, you get a ton of war sequences, lightsaber duels, and a Pod Race.  In the end, "The Phantom Menace" doesn't actually even contribute much at all to the storyline in the other five movies, and is completely pointless.

As a start, the first thing to do would be to start the plot roughly at the point where "Revenge of the Jedi Sith" starts up.  The original Trilogy began quite simply in the middle of the Rebel Alliance's battle against the Empire.  Why do we need to spend all of "Attack of the Clones" setting up the war?  Just skip right to the war!  More importantly, it should begin quite simply at the point where Anakin is beginning to have doubts about his role in the Jedi, and for good reason.  Not just a whiny teenage angst, it needs to be perhaps even a heroic thing to stand against the Jedi.  This way he can steadily lose faith with the system he used to love and still have the audience's faith.  If by the end of Episode I Anakin was already nearly a rebel Jedi, there are plenty of things that can push him down the road to child-murderer and Obi-Wan dueler.  (Remember that the Prequels have to be a Trilogy is a completely arbitrary designation, so if there isn't enough meat on this bone for three movies, it can only be two - or even one.)

So let's plot summarize here.  Its rough, but I think you really could make three movies out of this.  Three long movies.  Remember LucasFilm executives who are not reading this right now:  any of the things I outline here can be changed if you do indeed hire me to make the new Prequels.  I am a whore.  Pay me and I will love you.  Planet names can come later, as with their single biomes.  Anyway, summary:

Episode I:  It is a time of war (for the first time).  The Galactic Republic has fallen into a state of chaos.  Numerous star systems have grown tired of the Republic's draconian yet inefficient rule and have moved to break away and form independent governments.  They are the Separatist Alliance.  Civil War breaks across the Galaxy, as the Jedi Order finds itself for the first time unable to bring the conflict to a clear and peaceful solution.  From internal corruption they refuse to declare allegiance to either side, proving the fury of both factions and further exacerbating their impudence.  Young Anakin Skywalker is a Jedi Knight in training under his Master, Obi-Wan.  The two are sent off to Planet X to do some Jedi-like thing, only to find the mission is fraught with danger.  They also meet with Princess Padme, whom Anakin will have a romantic fling, though for now it is just a friendly relationship.  The Separatist forces launch a violent invasion, pressing Anakin to act to protect Planet X's funny aliens and lone biome.  However, Obi-Wan refuses to take any action, refusing to go against orders (he has a lot of growing to do during this Trilogy as well).  Eventually Anakin is defeated and leaves the planet and his Master in fury upon seeing the destruction, and moves out to the stars, looking for his own way to the Force.  Obi-Wan returns to Coruscant, finding the Republic's capital under siege from General Grievous*** and the Separatist Army.  It is only the efforts of Mace Windu and the Jedis, with help from Obi-Wan and Yoda, that lead to the salvation of the city planet.  Grevious is serious wounded by he is saved by the Separatist leader, Count Dooku who leads the Separatist forces to a retreat.  But with the Republic in chaos, Mace Windu takes personal control of the Republic government, however Yoda leaves for exile, not wanting anything to do with the new direction the Order is moving in.  Anakin finds an unknown fleet towards the Galactic rim, their base being Planet Y.  Curtains.

Episode II:  The unknown fleet on Planet Y is led by a man named Qui-Gon Jinn, who refers to his movement as the New Galactic Order led by a mysterious man known only as "the Emperor" (or some other title of authority).  Anakin has grown to trust them in the year that has passed.  The Emperor is as of yet unseen.  While the Separatists and the Republic fight across the Galaxy, various local planets are caught in the grips of terror.  Even as the Republic wins, it is the people who suffer.  Qui-Gon offers to train Anakin in the further arts of the Force, a new side of the Force which can be used to bring order to the Galaxy.  The Imperial Fleet makes its first move in liberating Planet X, and the now Queen Padme.  Anakin and Padme meet again.  Love story insert here.  Meanwhile, the Jedi forces continue to fight against the Separatists, now nearing victory, despite reports of a third force in the Galaxy.  Mace Windu begins to lose himself in his position as virtual dictator of the Republic, and steadily more and more systems leave the Senate.  Obi Wan finally chooses to leave following the execution of that Green Jedi Chick (does she have name?) by Windu, taking on a job to negotiate with the Separatist leaders for a truce on Planet Z.  However, during the meeting, Darth Maul attacks killing Dooku but not Grevious.  His role in the story is unknown.  The Separatists are generally completely destroyed.  Inside Coruscant, a rebellion breaks out, lead by none other than Princess Padme.  Anakin appears in the Jedi Temple and kills Windu roughly the same time that the Separatists are defeated.  (Note:  during Anakin's battles he steadily becomes more and more willing to kill, and paralleling this transformation is a physical one.  He takes on more and more injuries, and losing an arm here, which is a robot one.  By the end of the Trilogy, he will be full Darth Vader.)  Imperial forces take Coruscant and Qui-Gon, reading on behalf of the Emperor, declares the Galactic Empire.  Obi-Wan returns, meeting with Anakin and Padme for the first time.  It seems there is peace - for now.  Curtains.

Episode III:  The Jedi remnants are steadily being hunted down by Anakin, and Obi-Wan even assists in one mission.  However, he is horrified by the death of his former comrades, and leaves Anakin to his own.  Obi-Wan tries to join up Jedi remnants on Planet Q? and tries to forge a peaceful surrender.  Padme is very pregnant.  Owen Lars, Anakin's brother from Tatooine, visits the Coruscant on invitation from Anakin (Skywalker is revealed to be an invented name).  Meanwhile, the Emperor finally arrives in Coruscant at night, with only Qui-Gon there to meet him.  The Emperor now says some sinister stuff about "plans".  Qui-Gon then meets with Anakin, revealing that in fact he has serious fears of the Emperor.  Anakin volunteers to meet with the Emperor and become a new apprentice to discover the evil plot.  Inside Coruscant, more riots break out, but stormtroppers break the attack.  More and more military forces are being constructed, even though the war is supposed to be over.  Anakin, now taking on the name of Darth Vader, continues his hunt for the Jedi, with a new partner, Darth Maul.  He starts to even enjoy the killing.  Meanwhile, Padme begins working with several original New Order officers, who have been forced out for a new crop of ruthless Emperor's men.  She has two children now, but due to her scheming, Anakin never knows about them, as she no longer trusts him.  They begin plans to start up local militias across the Galaxy to protect citizens from the endless attacks, this is beginning of the Rebel Alliance.  Her actions, however, are seen as criminal, and she is to be executed.  Anakin moves to save her - still thinking that she's pregnant, even killing Darth Maul along the way (his strength has grown significantly from the first movie).  But as he reaches the execution room, he is met by Qui-Gon and the Emperor himself.  Qui-Gon was always loyal, and manipulated Anakin so as to move him further down the Dark Side.  He is given a choice:  either save his family (he still thinks Padme is pregnant) and join his wife in treason brining chaos to the Empire, or allow his new Galactic Order to live on and let her be executed.  Qui-Gon shows the power of the Dark Side by personally letting himself be killed by the Emperor, his lunatic loyalty stuns Anakin.  Ultimately he choices the good of the Galaxy over his familial obligations, and Padme is killed before his eyes.  Leia is wished away to Alderaan, adopted by the local Rebel-friendly king, while her twin brother, Luke, is sent away to Tatooine to live with Owen.  The first Rebellion forces, now allied with the last Jedis and Obi-Wan try to attack some Imperial forces to save Padme, not knowing that they are too late.  Obi-Wan and Anakin finally meet in the battle, and have a final climatic battle.  Anakin has grown into a very desperate man, willing to do anything to keep his order going - much like Obi-Wan at the beginning of the series, while Obi-Wan has taken on Anakin's belief that people must be protect no matter what.  Ultimately Obi-Wan wins, but though he has nearly killed his apprentice, he cannot finish him.  Obi-Wan leaves him in a medical ship, where his body is kept alive.  At the end of the movie, the Rebellion is at full retreat, Obi-Wan leaves to Tatooine to watch over the son of his best friend, as Darth Vader appears in full suit.  Thus the scene is set for the Original Trilogy.  Curtain.

Now how awesome would that be?

Just assume that somplace in there are a couple of comic reliefs, maybe R2-D2, as he does belong to Obi-Wan.  Jango Fett can have a minor part, as can a young Han Solo and Lando if the fans need fanservice.  I'd like a place for Peter Cushing's character too.  The story is quite dark, but there's no way around that.  The Original Trilogy starts in a very dark place.  There is still at least one plothole, but hilariously in just about an hour I've typed up an outline for a Prequel Trilogy with far less plotholes than what George Lucas actually made.  And there will be no Jar Jar.

So LucasFilm, my phone is always open.  You know where to find me, you guys who have clearly not read a word of any of this or never will.

* By the way, in 1990, a remake of "Nights of the Living Dead" was also made, directed by the great special horror effects wizard Tom Savini and starring the Candyman.  For some reason, nobody on Earth remembers it - except for me.  And I only know it because I accidentally rented the 1990 version instead of the groundbreaking 1968 original that literary invented the zombie genre.  The remake is actually quite good, and is technically just as good as the original in my opinion.  I like recommending obscure and underrated movies, so I'll recommend this one.

** And then ironically everything turns full circle here as there are plans to remake this remake.  Suddenly this entire subject because very depressing for me.

*** I could invent new characters, but instead I'll just recycle old ones and recast their roles.  It saves me a lot of trouble of naming characters, doesn't it?  Of course, any and all characters can easily be changed to whatever I want.


  1. Yes, Blue, the green Jedi chick's name is Luminara. And I know this just because I watched an episode of the new Star Wars show (the CG-i one), and she was in it.

  2. Holy crap, that actually sounds good. At first I wasn't so sure this would work at all as I didn't think you'd be completely changing the plot, and I doubted you're ability to make a kick ass film, but this really delivers.

    Also nice that you strayed away from the basic "hope, enemy wins, good guys kick ass" formula set out in most movie series like Star Wars. Overall very well done, but I don't think it would happen, lol.

    One major complaint I have is Qui-Gon Jinn being a Sith. He was established as a Grey Jedi, even if they completely remade everything George would keep him that way, so your plot would have to be changed. Overall though I think that if this were to be done well, and with enough epic fights, it could shine as much as the original trilogy.

  3. Oh, and I loved the "Planet Q?" you slipped in there.

  4. I have to say, the idea of a prequel trilogy remake is intruiging to say the least. I rather liked parts of your version over certain parts of the existing prequel movies, but somehow, I just felt it lacked the star wars feel a bit.

  5. Don't forget that they need to do a much better job of technology continuity. The starships in the prequel trilogy just seemed much more advanced than the ships in the original trilogy, which just didn't make sense. Plus, the ships looked completely different instead of precursors to the original trilogy stuff (with the exception of the Acclamtors and the ARC fighters), and they didn't even attempt to include EU stuff like the Z-95 and Victory cruisers and Dreadnaughts. Just sayin... Overall your ideas are much more well thought out and have better continuity than the Lucasfilm garbage they whipped up. Also, make sure that no one under any circumstances hires Hayden Christiansen or Natalie Portman for the remakes.

  6. I personally would like to see them do a trilogy based on Knights of the Old Republic. A lightsaber duel between Revan and Malak on the big screen would be epic.

    P.S I think Revan would kick Vader's ass

  7. WTF? Okay, so you have me believe that Anakin, the power hungry man that he is and has become, suddenly decides to bow down to the Emperor in the third movie, after two movies without any mention of him? Personally, I agree a remake of the trilogy is important, but you have done just as much slaughtering as Lucas and Anakin have done in the prequel trilogy. Qui-Gon Jin cannot be sith, if anything he needs to be Anakin's guidance to the light side of the force. He simply cannot be an evil character. Also, since Anakin has become selfish and power hungry by the end of this new trilogy, he would care only about himself, as well as his wife, and not the universe. He was willing to betray the Jedi Order to learn the dark side to save his wife in Lucas' version. Mace Windu should be replaced with the Emperor for your story to make sense, and if you wanted to keep Mace Windu, then he could either replace your current Qui-Gon character, or have to be one of the Jedi who remain loyal with Yoda. Also, Yoda cannot simply show up in this series, you have to take what Lucas gave you and build with it. Yes, everybody wants to see why Master Yoda is so wise. Yes, everybody wants to see him in action. No, do not let him have a jumping around lightsaber fight, but rather allow him to use the force and defeat an enemy in that fashion. Also, two very important notes about lightsabers. Reduce the number of lightsaber appearances to three per movie, never more. Note two: show Anakin creating his lightsaber in movie one, and the importance of each Jedi's own lightsaber in the second movie, and see why Luke's lightsaber should be special to him, even though he was never given the opportunity to make his own, as a right of passage in Jedi Knighthood.

  8. I would like to point out they straight up called the war the Clone Wars in A New Hope so you have to work those clones in there somewhere. As far as explaining the rise of Darth Vader the prequel always made sense to me. Maybe because I have read most of the canon star wars books out there

  9. I like the way the story you tell and how characters unfold. To be honest, and not the main reason, because it IS different then how Lucas has told the story. But also your script makes me think of all the characterbased movement the original prequels missed out on. The original prequels are slow, uninterresting when it comes to dialogs, so out of focus. Heck, after every movie I thought...' what the hell just happened, is this good or is this bad?" -> I couldn't even clearly tell friends about what happened when I saw the movie.

    Anyway. If I had like 50 billion dollars I'd give you 500 million dollars to create it from this base you just wrote. But it would surely need some tweaking like Anonymous (before me) told you.

  10. One of the things I think the prequel trilogy and yours is missing is Alderaan. I always wanted some sort of emotional connection with Alderaan to give more weight to its destruction. Make is kinda like Hobbiton in Lord of the Rings or the mansion in X-Men.

  11. well it good story ( i likeit it better then epi II&small partof the epiIII) but this is fanfic so there no way in hell this would become a film sooo yeah there lotof a hole in it there my friend sorry but in epi IV it say there was a clone wars in the past and there also was old republic but there no rebellion in in the clone wars . but good story man that ever better then mine lol

  12. I think it would be a great idea to re-write the prequels from a fan's perspective, perhaps in graphic novel form? Apparently, there is talk Lucas had outlines written for the prequels by the time JEDI came out in 83, it would be interesting know what they were like (this was before he lost his spark after all).

    You're on the right track BUT...this storyline is way too compact, too dark (nothing wrong with dark, but lets not get overboard), and complicated for a starwars film (okay yes you wrote it in an hour but still).

    Chances are you probably have seen these, but this guy wrote his own versions of episode I & II. The writing isn't the greatest but he has some great plot points.

    Personally, I think Obi-Wan should have been the older Jedi, and Qui-Gon the apprentice, because his age doesn't match up to his gray self in A New Hope. Assuming he's only 25 in episode I, he's 58 in Hope, I don't buy it.

    Anyway, that's one fan to another. Good luck (but I guess there's no such thing....)