A Mulligan for the Phantom Menace
Star Wars…the greatest trilogy of movies ever created. Lord of the Rings fans, I hear you. That was an amazing set of movies, but without the success of the Star Wars Trilogy, Peter Jackson would never have been able to convince a studio that 3 books written in the ‘40s that had their own Elf language would be successful. They were so good that the bar was raised, even for other Star Wars products. We, the children of the 70’s and 80’s, speak of the Star Wars Trilogy with a certain reverence. It’s shocking to us when someone actually says “I’ve never seen them.” How could you NOT have seen something that had such a profound impact on my life?
If you ask any Star Wars fan about the prequels, they most likely have the expected “if I could change just a few things about the prequels, they would have been better” response. And this Star Wars fan is no different. So without further adieu, here is G.C. Rodriguez’s Star Wars Prequel Mulligan.
We’ll start with Episode I. Phantom Menace had a lot of potential, and one of the coolest villains we’ve seen in a Star Wars movie…and he was only around for one movie, but we’ll get to that later. Let’s start in sequential order.
1. Make the story simpler
Ok, we can all agree that Phantom Menace was far too convoluted. If it takes you more than a sentence or two to describe a movies basic plot, there’s an issue. A simplified story that focuses on a galaxy already at war and a beleaguered Jedi Corps trying to end the war peacefully is much more exciting than…a robot army fighting fish people? That’s my point. The Jedi are supposed to be the guardians of peace first, warriors second. Their arrival to mediate makes more sense for an invasion as a precursor to war and not some strange thing dealing with intergalactic trade or whatever.
2. ANAKIN MUST BE OLDER!
The reason for having Anakin introduced as a child makes sense…in a very simplistic way. It’s the easiest way to show how far he truly falls when you see him as a precocious innocent child that becomes Darth Vader. But give us some credit. You don’t have to beat us over the head with the imagery. Instead of him being a kid, you make him a teenager. He still can do the Pod Racing thing (which I hated, but I can concede that a lot of people liked it) and Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan still take him along. The Jedi are already being run ragged with the beginnings of this war with their leadership and guidance being needed on planets everywhere. They meet a kid who is off the charts when it comes to Jedi potential and natural ability (and seriously? Microscopic lifeforms? That’s awful. That pretty much says that no matter how hard someone works, if they don’t have the magic STD, then they’re not cool enough to be a bad ass Jedi). They recruit him and yada yada yada…we move to the climactic fight with Darth Maul. Now, back to the aforementioned twist…
3. Darth Maul DOESN’T die!
I know, right? He still kills Qui-Gon though. Obi-Wan instantly engages Darth Maul and the fighting is intense. The fight marks the first time Obi-Wan feels the power of the Dark Side as he attacks Maul in anger. Maul goads him into releasing his anger to be just like him…but Obi-Wan hesitates, which allows Maul to escape via a quick kick to Obi-Wan’s midsection that knocks him off the platform they were fighting on. With Maul still alive, this makes Qui-Gon’s death more impactful because there is no closure and now you have a REAL villain for the 2nd prequel that doesn’t wait to show up until half way through the movie. Anakin still saves the day with his awesome piloting skills and they are actual skills, not just dumb luck. Plus, we have a parallel of Episode IV where Anakin/Luke get a little taste of the Force and end up saving the day. They liberate Naboo and save the Queen and everyone rejoices. But that brings me to another point to change our story line.
4. We see that Queen Amidala is awkward and isolated
Let’s look at the facts here: She was elected queen as a teenager, she never gets to have a normal life, be around normal people her age, or have normal interactions. In non-nerd terms, I think of her like a child actress; there’s no way she can ever have a normal well adjusted life. She’s always been in the limelight and doesn’t know how to cope with any of it. In comes this young, hot shot pilot who is the “chosen one” and they immediately start giving each other the googly eyes. We’re going to have to watch out for those two.
So…to sum up my changes: The Jedi are there to stop the Seperatists from invading but oh no, they’ve already started. The planet is under lock down so the rest of the galaxy doesn't even know. They escape with the Queen (aka Amanda Bynes) and whisk her away to inform the Senate that the Seperatists are dicks. We meet this hot shot pilot named Anakin who they bring along because apparently being a Jedi isn’t just cool tricks and a laser sword, it’s a damned religion. They liberate the Queen’s planet with some nifty flying from Anakin but they lose Qui-Gon when Darth Maul stabs him to death. Obi-Wan can’t finish the deal and Maul escapes bumming everyone out at the freedom party. We see the Queen and Anakin making stupid faces at each other and the newly elected Chancellor of the Republic mentions that they’re really going to need an army to fight the Seperatists. FORESHADOWING!!!!
My name is G.C. Rodriguez and thank you for listening to my improvements on Phantom Menace. Stay tuned for Episodes 2 and 3.
But wait...You didn't think I would miss Episode 2 did you? Of course not. Here it is. Click the picture of ol' orphan Annie below to read the episode 2 rewrite!