I’m Fixing Star Wars, Everyone Stand Back

No matter how many memes you throw at it or the revisionist history of The Clone Wars series, the prequels were a HUGE mess, an almost unwatchable mess.

The prequels need to be fixed. And that’s what I’m going to do.

A Tale of Two Padawans

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You were my brother, Anakin! I loved you.

Obi-Wan Kenobi, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

What We Have: The relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan is… fraught to say the least. They meet when Anakin is an annoying child and Obi-Wan is a teenager with an unfortunate haircut and by the time Episode II rolls around, Anakin is describing Obi-Wan as “like a father to [him].” Then Episode III overcorrects by trying to sell the “brotherly” angle and a little too hard. It just doesn’t work.

How We’re Fixing It: Make Anakin and Obi-Wan both padawans of Qui-Gon Jinn at the same time. I mean, Qui-Gon was already rebelling hard by taking on Anakin to begin with, having two padawans is just a small step up. Maybe it happens by necessity, with Anakin saving both Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon on Tattoine as a teenager or young twentysomething.

Then, throughout the trilogy, we compare and contrast Obi-Wan and Anakin more closely and on the same level. When Qui-Gon dies (and midway through Episode I this time as an Act 2 turning point), Anakin explodes with rage while Obi-Wan shoves it down and internalizes his grief. They lock horns when Anakin believes Obi-Wan isn’t even grieving at all until the latter finally lashes out with exactly how much he’s hurting.

This moment defines their entire relationship throughout the trilogy and defines them as characters. And it makes the final confrontation sting.

Shut Your Political Pie-Hole

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I am the Senate

Emperor Palpatine, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

What We Have: Meandering, hard-to-understand scenes about alien politics that are barely explained. How much power does a senator have? How do their powers coincide with that of local rulers? Is Padmé ever conflicted between her duties as a queen and her duty as a Senator? What role do the Jedi have in government? It was never exactly fully explained.

How We’re Fixing It: Take a look at the original trilogy. How much government fits into it? We see a little – the Grand Moffs (Moves?) discuss dissolving the senate in the first movie, Tattooine is held under martial law, and Darth Vader has to awkwardly answer to middle-management.

That’s exactly how much government should be in the prequels. No trade federation, no senate, no politically radical Jar Jar Binks. We, the audience, do not need to see how the Galactic Senate fell and became the Empire in microscopic minutia.

The movies should focus on only a few things: the fall of Anakin Skywalker, the relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan, Anakin’s romance with Padmé, and sweet laser-sword battles.

SMH Anakin

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I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.

Anakin Skywalker Episode II: Attack of the Clones

What We Have: Putting aside wooden acting and a clunky script and sand-hatred, let’s take a look at who Anakin Skywalker is as a person. He goes from gawkish socially awkward teen-slash-twentysomething to a homicidal maniac in movie-seconds. He might be an ace pilot and a genius inventor (somehow), he honestly doesn’t have much of a character and things just seem to happen around him.

How We’re Fixing It: The movies already might possibly imply the vaguest little idea of it, so let’s bring it to the forefront. Anakin is unusually strong in the Force and we’ve seen in the past that the Force can influence the mind of others. While we’d only seen it work on “the weak-minded”, is it that much of a leap to imagine a very, very strong Jedi being able to manipulate the mind of anyone?

Imagine it: Anakin is charming and friendly and seems to have a Mary Poppins-like ability to get what he wants. At first, it’s for the good of others, to help other people and to have a good time. Sometimes it might be a little selfish, he gets the best table for his and Padmé’s dates, he makes sure his speeder is well taken care of at the valet. But slowly, it becomes more horrifying.

Palpatine takes Anakin under his creepy cloak wing and teaches the Jedi that not only does he have this power, but he can control it willingly as opposed to the accidental uses before.

He manipulates government officials. He makes Obi-Wan agree with him. He orders Padmé to stop arguing and to say that she loves him. In fact, he may have been manipulating her into loving him since the beginning.

Over the course of the trilogy, we see the charismatic Ferris Bueller-like character become Jessica Jones‘s Killgrave.

That is how you build a villain. George Lucas, pay attention.

A Love Triangle (But You Know, If It Must Be Done)

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What We Have: What we have is an age-old question, “Why in the hey did Padmé go for tiny baby Anakin (awkward) when Ewan McGreggor is RIGHT THERE?!”

How We’re Fixing It: But if we apply the above point of her maybe being Force’d into loving Anakin, we have a good answer. But lest we forget that Padmé is Natalie Portman, one of the most beautiful actresses in our generation.

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Even if you shave her head!

What if a part of what tears apart Anakin and Obi-Wan’s relationship is that Obi-Wan is in love with Padmé too? And now that Anakin and Obi-Wan are around the same age, it’s less awkard.

He sees them together and thinks Anakin doesn’t deserve her. He finds out about the Force manipulation and he gets angry.

This is what leads to the final confrontation, THIS breaks them apart. Obi-Wan learns that he too was being manipulated the whole time and that Anakin had knowingly done it.

The finale is a crushing cavalcade of emotion, anger, betrayal, and yes.

Sweet Laser-Sword Battles.

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I Read a Bunch of Star Wars Novelizations So You Don’t Have To. A Review. (Part 2, Rogue One)

If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 on the Original Trilogy novels

Rogue One is an odd entry in the Star Wars franchise. Even at their darkest moments, the originals and even the prequels always had the bad guys losing, the good guys winning, and as soon as the John Williams score began to blare over the closing credits, you felt somewhat good about yourself.

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Ahh, happiness. I’ve been told they stopped manufacturing that in 1982.

In this film, it really shows the realities of war, the people left behind, the families torn apart. Instead of the shiny Tantive IV hallways and the dramatic chasms of the Death Star, we see the raw and the real. Chipping paint, dust and dirt, a more “lived in” universe.

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It’s pretty gross, to be honest, but I kinda like it that way.

It might be one of my favorite Wars movies and probably the best written of the novels I made myself read, although after the disastrous Empire novelization, just about anything looked good.

One of the bigger changes for the book, however, was that they upped the tragedy hardcore. They wanted to bludgeon any reader unfortunate enough to think this might have a happy ending with the most unrelenting sorrow they could conjure.

When Jyn gets brought into Saw – her foster father’s – hideaway, she starts asking questions about friends and comrades she’d left behind, only to be told they were all dead.

Yowch.

The thing about Big Destruction in action movies is that you kind of don’t think about it. No one looks at a Michael Bay movie and thinks, “Wow, those poor people!”

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Don’t laugh, think about his kids who no longer have a father and WEEEEP

So when the Death Star blows up Jedha, I thought “Wow, that’s sad. And a cool explosion. Look, it goes all the way down to the mantle of the planet! That’s kinda rad!” But Rogue One the novelization pulls no punches. Four pages are spent describing the people in the city, their daily lives, their wants and hopes and dreams and then exactly how painful and brutal their deaths were. This includes STORM TROOPERS that got left behind.

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“Tell… my wife… that I love…. her……… ʳᵒˢᵉᵇᵘᵈ”

In the film, Jyn finally finds her father and ekes out a fragment of a conversation as he lays dying and he tells her he regrets everything, how he loved her, how there was so much he still wanted to do with her. It’s tragic, it’s sad, it’s brutal.

But the book makes it so much worse. His last words are:

“Someone has to destroy it”

This is a significant change. It means that even this was taken away from Jyn by the Empire, by the war. She’s already lost her freedom, her foster father, her everything and now she doesn’t even have one final memory of her dad to call her own.

So with all this death and tragedy, the audience should skew older, right?

But no.

This exists.

This.

THIS.

FOR THE LITTLEST TINIEST BABIES THIS IS REAL.

Because, you know, it’s Star Wars! Pew-pew blasters, Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Power of the Force, yay! And it’s PG-13, just like all the superhero movies, so it must be fine, right? RIGHT? This is certainly not the movie where our “hero” begins by shooting an innocent and unnarmed man in the back because he can’t deal with complications.

Even as I sit here writing this article, I haven’t cracked this book open out of fear of what I’ll find inside. Don’t say I that I don’t love you, readers.

The first thing I noticed is that the whole book is printed with this “gritty”, “grungy” pattern, which is kind of bizarre. Also, the font is weird and looks like it was chosen specifically to take up more page space.

Ew.

They are fully okay with talking about death and dying but when major characters start dropping, they start dishing out some wacky euphemisms like “he was gone”, “they joined the Force”, and “his mind went black” or they gloss it over completely with heavy implications. “The last thing he heard was the grenade’s boom”.

It also dealt more in the physical side of what the characters go through, as opposed to the official novelization that goes DEEP into each and every character’s mindsets.

They also cut out the entire part where Darth Vader starts slicing some fools, which even the toughest critics said was the coolest part of the movie.

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This is the closest we’re getting to a Star Wars horror movie so savor this, people!

I just have to wonder, though, who was this written for? There’s too much violence for it to be a Middle-Grade novel (for ages 8-12), it’s kept firmly in the PG-13 range. But it glosses over and cuts out just enough that anyone older than that who was looking for an easy read would be disappointed and patronized. It’s a strange, strange in between and for a movie like this, probably shouldn’t exist.

What other movies would make awful junior novels? Which of the Star Wars books are your favorite?
Let me know in the comments!