If I'd been in charge of Star Wars. . .

UPDATED: Sunday, December 27, 2015 00:23
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Monday, January 16, 2006 5:37 AM


Just a warning, I'm not trying to pad my post count or anything, I'm just breaking this gargantuan beast into three slightly easier-to-manage pieces (so you'll know where to stop reading when I bore you, or to start again when I get near a point).

This massive beast is a quasi-fanfic project I've been working on since Revenge of the Sith came out and made me ill. Round that time, I lurked through the RotS threads around here, and found everything worth saying already said. I had a few observations and opinions of Lucas' filmmaking (being generous with the term) style, but the threads were already getting so huge it didn't seem worth adding my two credits.

Then I came across another of Zoid's posts, which started me thinking on how things might have been improved. It started out with minor touches to the first two, but then blossommed out of control into this complete rewrite for Ep. III.

When it comes right down to it, I actually don't have that much of a problem with the overall plot of the first two (I think Sith has the weakest plot, but that's more a matter of Lucas leaving most of the prequels' plot until the last movie, then having to cram it all into 2h-and-change). It's only the details that bug me.

First, of course, is the writing. After getting the script done, Lucas should've done what everyone in Hollywood does; get Beta-readers. There's a reason why multiple script rewrites are SOP in Hollywood. By its very nature, film is a collaborative medium; what reaches the screen is a synthesis of the writer's ideas, the director's ideas, the actor's interpretations, etc. This, OTOH, was pure, unadulterated George "I! Me! Mine!" Lucas. Hell, Lucas wouldn't even be famous if not for the original trilogy being revised by people like Lawrence Kasdan.

Of course, being me, I'd have asked Joss, or Robert Hewitt Wolfe, or Ashley Miller, or Tim Minear to do a quick pass, but I'm sure there're hundreds of writers in Hollywood who'd've loved a chance to get their names attached to Star Wars. Hell, Timothy Zahn has earned it several times over, what with his novels reviving the franchise, jump-starting the EU, and creating some of the most-loved characters in the franchise (Mara Jade! Thrawn! Talon Karrde! Garm Bel-Iblis! Pellaeon!) --and the "Hand of Thrawn" duology proved he can take other peoples' plot threads and run with them (none of this "I'm gonna completely retcon a character 'cause I want to go in a different direction"). Hell, the guy created Coruscant, arguably the most significant planet in the franchise. Most importantly, Lucas should've focussed on someone who can write characters.

I believe that there are two main kinds of writers; those who write primarily for plot, and those who write primarily for characters. Of course, some people (Joss, RHW, and others) can do both proficiently, but for the most part people tend to one or the other. Understand, of course, that this isn't a matter of one being better, it's just a matter of two different ways of doing things.

Myself, I write for characters (and often have the devil's own time coming up with things for them to do). Lucas, it appears, writes for plot (and fills his plots with cardboard cutouts with no real motivation or depth).

Especially after Lucas has admitted that he doesn't write good dialogue. Yet he doesn't seem to care about this weakness --implying that we (the moviegoing public in general and his fans in particular) simply aren't worth the effort it would take to produce a better movie.

I would also have used CGI sparingly (backgrounds, space shots, things that are physically impossible [walking/fighting Yoda, Jar Jar, Grievous' leet saber skillz], etc), and used as many on-set effects as possible (full sets, actual armour for the clonetroopers [instead of having them dressed in blue suits], animatronics for Yoda and non-moving Grievous, and possibly even Jar Jar). See, I like my actors to be able to add subtle and improvised nuance that just isn't possible in front of a blue screen. Also, the animatronics tend to have a subtlety and stillness that the CGI don't have (replacing it instead with overwrought histrionics and pantomime --watch a normal person standing around talking [usually standing still, only their face moving, maybe some shoulder action, or drumming fingers], then look at an ILM digital character [fidgetting, sweeping gestures, cartoonish facial expressions, perpetual motion, slapstick "takes"]).

But all that comes later; what might I have changed in the plot itself? Well, one of the things that first got me hooked on SW wasn't the movies, but the Expanded Universe. As I've said elsewhere, the key to success for anything not set in the "real world" is to give the impression of a living world populated by real people. To me, the Expanded Universe (where we see Jedi, scoundrels, and even individual clonetroopers having personal lives, learning, laughing, crying, and dealing with the thousand tiny cataclysms that make up "life") is the true masterpiece of the Star Wars franchise, and Lucas' true legacy, even (or especially) if all he did was open the doors.

To me then, it seems that if you've gone to the effort of opening up the field, and establishing rules to keep everything cohesive (when it would've been far easier and just as lucrative to pull a "Star Trek" and leave every novel as its own tiny sub-continuity), then it would make sense to follow the same rules. Yeah, I know, it's Lord Lucas' universe and He can do what He wants with it, but completely throwing out the rules to his own game is like. . . well, it's like playing tennis without a net. Where's the challenge? Where's the fun?

(And if it's not fun, then what's the point of telling stories? There've got to be easier ways to make money.)

We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.


Monday, January 16, 2006 5:40 AM


Pt. 2: the Prequel Outlines

The Phantom Menace
Well, I'd've kept Jar Jar, but I feel Jar Jar's character was deeply flawed. I would've played him seriously; a devoted pacifist. A Ghandi-like figure who refused to flee from the approaching droid armies (and was unwittingly rescued by Qui-Gon). He would've been the one to intercede with the Otoh Gunga Council and convince them to aid the Jedi. I also would've toned down the accent and voice a bit (instead, make him a gifted rhetoricist).

Maybe there'd even be a mention via Nute or Rune that they were looking for Jar Jar, as per Sidious' orders (he's a potential disruptor). When they report that he's met up with the Jedi, they're surprised that Sidious doesn't seem upset (all part of his plan. . .).

And the route from Otoh Gunga to Theed is not "through the planet's core." That's stupid. At most it's on the other side of a continent, reachable by tunnels through said continent.

Anakin wouldn't be immaculately conceived, though Shmi would admit to Qui-Gon that she honestly doesn't know who the father is (her life was. . . unpleasant. And complicated). DNA tests would be inconclusive; whoever the father was, he's not on file in the Jedi Archives. I'll even dare to keep the midichlorians, but I'd explain them as a side-effect of Force-sensitivity, not a cause --implying that powerful Force-users with no midichlorians are possible, but very rare.

I wouldn't have had Anakin create Threepio (which flies in the face of some of the better EU material), but would've had Threepio and Artoo already an established team, both working for Queen Amidala (as interpreter and mechanic, respectively). Instead, he works exclusively with podracers, though he likes droids better than he likes "real" people (they're polite to him --R2 [who can only be understood by 3P0 and Anakin --even the Jedi can't speak binary] points out that most droids don't have a choice, and young Anakin admits that that doesn't matter. They're still more polite).

Oh, and in the backgrounds of the crowd scenes: no Quarren or Mon Calamari, because their first contact with aliens is supposed to be the Empire. Again, this is an EU detail that I've always been inspired by: the Empire encountered the Mon Cal/Quarren homeworld, and found a peaceful race of artists and farmers. To the Empire, of course, "peaceful" means "weak." The Empire occupied Mon Calamari, imposing their "protection" on the populace in return for resources and slave labour. The Mon Cals & Quarren took all the "protection" they could stomach, then started organizing peaceful public gatherings, politely requesting changes in working conditions. The Empire responded by bombing the three largest cities on the planet, causing over seven million civilian casualties. This was a mistake. The Mon Cals had nothing more than farm tools, cooking utensils, and artistic implements, but in days, not a single Imperial was left alive on or around the planet. They became the first world to declare open Rebellion, and threw their full support behind the Alliance. Then Lucas put a Quarren into the crowd at Mos Espa, during the height of the Republic, neatly forcing Mon Cal's First Contact into impossibility. I know what Lucas would say, but you can't tell me that a random background squid-head is part of some grand Artistic Vision(tm).

Attack of the Clones
First change here would've been to add more subtlety to the Anakin/Amidala romance --more flirting, and less open declarations of True Love.

I also would've included Luminara Unduli and her Padawan Bariss Offee as characters, to play up the Obi-Wan/Luminara sparkage from The Approaching Storm (again, an EU novel) --it'd be a contrast to Anakin/Amidala's illicit hormone-fest to see how two full Jedi handle a relationship. It'd also highlight some of the problems with the Jedi Order (as Anakin says; they are encouraged to love, but forbidden from forming attachments. Too bad "attachments" tend to happen when you least want them to).

Swearing that you won't fall in love with someone is the best way to ensure that you do fall in love with them.

(Yeah, I'm a shameless romantic. )

When he meets with the Separatist leaders, Dooku has a bodyguard --Aurra Sing (seen briefly in TPM).

Jar Jar (still a wise pacifist) would be a bigger presence, as close a friend to Anakin as Palpatine. Jar Jar, Padmé, and Palpatine would be quite close (the Naboo Bloc), and all of them would agree that the Republic is corrupt and in need of a change. The only difference would be that, while Palpatine urges a strong leader, Jar Jar believes that more must be done to support individual freedoms (taking away the reason for the Separatist movement) --he urges a closer (and more public) alliance with the Jedi (and sides with Anakin when he complains about the Order being stunted and insular --the "protectors of Peace & Justice" are all up in their ivory towers while indentured slaves are dying on Tatooine).

The Jedi would be far more suspicious of the clone army, and would backtrack Sifo-Dyas' doings, revealing their findings to Obi-Wan: Sifo-Dyas travelled throughout the Outer Rim years ago, before returning to die mysteriously in his sleep (massive cardiovascular failure, but he was perfectly healthy) --shortly after someone tampered with the Archives to hide Kamino (and possibly other data as well).

In the Jedi Archives, the librarian would mention that Dooku participated in the Jedi campaign against Dalla Solo's pirate fleet, and fought at the Battle of Corellia. (Hey, folks wanted a Solo cameo, "Dalla the Black" is as close as I can come, chronologically)

Palpatine's nomination for Chancellor would come from another source (perhaps the Bothan Senator [and the Bothans would be a makeup effect --like a cross between Planet of the Apes and the Wolfman]), and we would see Jar Jar aligning with Senators Mon Mothma (as young as Padmé --they'd be unofficially known as "the sisters") and Bail Organa (and perhaps a Camaasi Senator), and even a young reporter (Arhul Hextrophon). Much would be made of Palpatine's sincerity (as opposed to the blatantly-obvious deceit in the actual prequel) --he's right! The Republic is corrupted and too mired in political infighting and bureaucracy to realize that crime and "social disorder" is running rampant. A strong leader is needed, backed by strong Laws.

A third group would arise, under the command of a young Corellian (about Anakin's age, and likely a friend --Anakin's "Han Solo" equivalent, maybe with a crush on Anakin's "sister-Jedi" Bariss), named Garm Bel-Iblis (another EU character). Bel-Iblis would form his own army of volunteers, pledging it to the Jedi to replace the clones (whom he also distrusts). Unfortunately, Bel-Iblis' Irregulars would be too small a group, and would end up as appendages to the clone army.

During Anakin's tantrum after killing the Tuskens, he would give Padmé the sandstone charm his mother wore.

During the Battle of Geonosis, Aurra Sing would be in space (aboard her own custom starfighter), matching wits against Adi Gallia's squadron.

Finally (and from a rumoured early draft of the actual AotC script), R4 would be in the Geonosis Arena. (Note that there are four posts for the execution: one for Obi-Wan, one for Anakin, one for Padmé, and an extra one. Well, apparently that one was originally intended for R4, Obi-Wan's red astromech. Dunno why Lucas took it out, but I'd have left it in.) During the battle, Threepio would keep his head (sparing us the worst sequence in Threepio's existence), and instead, Artoo would rush out into the raging battle (bleeping a digitized version of the Star Wars fanfare) to rescue R4. Later, R4 would stand on tiptoes and bump noggins with R2 in a droid-kiss (yes, it's a parody of Anakin/Amidala. Or Obi-Wan/Luminara. Whichever. It'd be funny).

Plo Koon & Ki-Adi-Mundi's attack on the control ship would be shown, including their "Huh." moment when their highly-organized and carefully orchestrated plan ends up being utterly useless ('cause even Jedi can have Dumb Ideas, and even the Trade Federation isn't completely stupid).

The Jedi present in the Battle would have a variety of lightsaber colours (including orange, yellow, purple, and red as seen in the EU) and styles (at least one Maul-like double-saber, someone using two sabers, maybe a dual-phase saber that extends out to take out a whole phalanx of droids with one slash). Aayla Secura's is red, Plo Koon's is orange, Ki-Adi-Mundi's is purple, and Yoda's is yellow. This hearkens back to the EU, before Lucas decreed that only Evil People use red lightsabers, and that all Jedi use either blue or green.

(Present in the Arena Battle would be Nejaa Halcyon, father of Valin Halcyon, a.k.a. Hal Horn, father of Corran Horn, of the X-Wing novels.)

Yoda would be digital only when walking or fighting. All sitting/talking head scenes would be the puppet.

Revenge of the Sith
I know how Lucas must've felt; there's a lot to cover in this one. Consider this an outline for the novelization/director's cut, with stuff sliced out left and right for the theatrical version.

Start at the same point (to synch up with Labyrinth of Evil, which rocked); a battle over Coruscant to rescue the Chancellor. R4 dies, R2 wails but doesn't have time to mourn. Alpha manages to last a bit longer, enough to contribute usefully to the Jedis' attack. No Buzz-bots, 'cause that's stupid and reduces the space battle to a scrolling background plate (and presumes that two fighters can coast easily through a raging battle and never get hit). Obi-Wan & Anakin duel with Dooku, but Dooku does much more damage before Anakin kills him. Oh, and the ships are under artificial gravity 'cause there's NO GRAVITY IN SPACE!!!
*ahem* Sorry.

Palpatine is imprisoned in a cell deep within Grievous' ship, not out on the end of the biggest target on the battlefield. Grievous wants him alive.

Anakin succumbs to his injuries (broken ribs, punctured lung, trouble breathing --slow, rasping breaths), and Palpatine carries him while Obi-Wan covers their escape.
(This preserves the record for the Skywalker Rescue[tm] --no Skywalker man has ever successfully rescued anyone. Ever. Instead, they end up being rescued, by the person they were trying to help. Seriously, check every previous movie, and everything Luke does in the entire EU.)

R2 doesn't get pinched by the SBDs (who do not have individual personalities anyway), and manages to intercept our heroes and lead them to an escape pod --they escape without confronting Grievous (who walks upright, hidden in his cloak, and doesn't breath, cough, or sound Russian [see the Clone Wars cartoons to see how he looks & sounds]). Really, the only reason for the initial Grievous duel was to show off ILM's CGI model (which, frankly, wasn't all that worthy of being shown off). Characters tend to be much more intimidating when you don't see all their tricks. (Reavers, anyone?)

Meanwhile (using the battle as cover), a pair of smaller (Sith) ships zoom in for a landing on Coruscant.

(Novelization: After the battle, Obi-Wan enters a clonetrooper barracks in time to witness Comander Cody doing a death ritual for his "brother," Alpha ("We are born in water. We die in fire. We seed the stars." --as per The Cestus Deception). Obi-wan admits that he mourns as well for his friend. Cody looks surprised; the clonetroopers exist to serve the Jedi. They're just soldiers, it's their place to die. Obi-Wan says no. Soldiers are what they are made as. Not even a Jedi can tell them what they are. He leaves, but Cody is still confused and pensive.)

Later, there's a formal reception (thrown by Palpatine) to thank the Jedi heroes. As the camera wanders through the scene, we get quick character updates: Obi-Wan has a new Padawan (now that Anakin has graduated), a very young kid (14, 15 at the most) named Vialco. Vialco is a close friend of Anakin and Padmé. Garm Bel-Iblis has been elected to the senate, though he still maintains command over his army. The war hasn't been going well, there've been numerous Jedi deaths (largely thanks to Grievous), which is why Obi-Wan had to take a new apprentice. Without Dooku, the Separatists are crippled; Grievous may be a fierce warrior, but he's no politician. Everyone expects the Confederacy to fracture without Dooku's leadership. Palpatine nominates Anakin for the Jedi Council. We also see Sate Pestage (Palpy's aide) lurking behind Palpatine, as he (Palpy) debates policy with Jar Jar and Padmé. Padmé is unapologetically critical of the Chancellor's recent reforms and measures (which leads to an argument later between her and Anakin, a staunch Palpatine-supporter). It's this argument (in private) that leads to Padmé's revealing that she's pregnant. Anakin wants to go public, but Padmé's concerned about both their reputations.

Later, we see a news report (Republic Holo-Vision) on the security scandal. A Jedi-run investigation couldn't find any reason for the planetary defences to fail (which is what allowed Grievous' attack). However, the Republic Intelligence investigation turned up surveillance footage of the defence control relays being sabotaged by a lightsaber-wielding figure. Media backlash against the Jedi is considerable. Republic Intelligence director Armand Isard (another EU reference) has declined to comment.

Pull back to see that we're watching this in Yoda's quarters (Mace is present). (Yoda's quarters look like personal quarters, with numerous nicknacks and random stuff around --and Yoda-sized furniture & elevator platforms for all the counters ) Both are troubled, and neither can account for how this evidence just materialized on Isard's doorstep. They can't identify the figure in the recording, and the security team they sent into 500 Republica still hasn't been found. Yoda notes that he can lock onto the Sith Lord no more. Mace asks if he's still on the planet, and not even of that is Yoda sure. Mace notes that he could have escaped during Grievous' attack, but Yoda shakes his head. Still here, a Darkness is, but whether or not it is the Sith Lord. . . Know this, he cannot. Mace wonders if Yoda senses another threat. Grievous' attack, a distraction could have been. Approaches, the endgame does.

On Utapau, Grievous kneels in front of a holotank. He abjectly apologizes to Sidious for his failure and Dooku's death, but seems surprised when Sidious shrugs it off. Instead, he tells Grievous to move the Separatist leadership to Mustafar. After the hologram shuts off, Nute Gunray enters and challenges Grievous' leadership (without Dooku, what gives Grievous the right to make their decisions for them?), but backs off a soon as the cyborg rounds on him and threatens his execution.

The Jedi Council's deliberations are much more animated than we've ever seen --even the Jedis' limitless patience is being worn thin by the stress. Obi-Wan is with the Council as they deliberate, grudgingly admitting Anakin (but he's no Master). They also reveal how the Jedi have been spread thin by the war; fighting battles on a hundred fronts --Jedi are dying at an alarming rate, only a hundred or so remain. Finally, Yoda has no choice but to mobilize Bel-Iblis' forces to defend Kashyyyk (they have few real Clonetroopers left either, now that the facilities on Kamino have been destroyed --the Chancellor has had to institute a draft, drawing heavily from the Senate guardsmen). Even with the Holonet nationalized for military traffic, they can barely keep up. The Holonet is part of the problem --the media is effectively crippled, and the public are blaming the Jedi for that as well.

Outside, Obi-Wan (after a brief argument with Anakin about the Council wanting him to spy on Palpatine, after which Anakin storms off) meets Luminara --she wants them to work closer together (yes, she's ready to break Jedi rules about relationships). Obi-Wan, being a complete idiot, turns her down.

Ki-Adi-Mundi is the one who calms Anakin --when he first joined the Council, he wasn't a Master either. He also has. . . connections outside the Order (implying that the Jedi know about Anakin/Padmé, but are turning a blind eye).

As these scenes play out, another Jedi (Halmere) lurks far down the corridor, silently watching Anakin & Obi-Wan.

Elsewhere, Mace visits Yoda (who's packing a travel bag that's big enough to hold him --Mace wonders if he's planning to pack himself up and ship himself to Kashyyyk). Mace is certain now that the Sith Lord is here --he can feel him. Leaving Coruscant at this point is not what Yoda wants, but have a choice he does not. Mace actually growls at that --it's becoming increasingly apparent that the Sith Lord has played them all like dejarik pieces. If he is in the Senate, any move thay make to arrest him would be taken as a Jedi plot. Yoda notes that angry, Mace is becoming. Of the Dark Side that is. Mace pulls himself under control, as Yoda notes that he feels it too. The influence of the Sith, it is. Pushing them. To become like him, they are being forced. Under attack they already are. Mace notes that when they find the Sith, it may be safer to destroy him, rather than take him into custody. Yoda looks at Mace, but can't bring himself to disagree.

Elsewhere, Padmé is in her apartment, with Bail, Mon Mothma, Jar Jar, and the Camaasi. They're discussing Palpatine's latest "Security measure." They all agree that something must be done, but Padmé and Jar Jar try to hold them in check. They don't trust Palpatine, but there is a war on. Can they justify destabilizing the Republic at this point? Bail argues that Palpatine is the one prolonging the war. Mon Mothma agrees; her sources in the newsnets have evidence --its as if both sides know what the other is doing and are planning for it. Padmé insists that it's too dangerous right now (she's holding her belly as she does, thinking of her child growing up in danger).

Anakin arrives (announced by 3P0), and the conspirators immediately fall silent (they know that he's Palpatine's man, but Padmé shoots them all a quick glare nonetheless for their rudeness). Anakin notices and asks about it, and Mon Mothma says simply that they were taking care of some comittee business before tomorrow's session, but they're finished now. They all give Anakin polite greetings as they file out, and he turns to Padmé. He knows he's missing something, and asks what's up. She refuses to tell him, which irritates him. We find out that he's just been assigned as Palpatine's bodyguard (and will be going to the opera with him later), and he realizes that this is the root of their problems. She still doesn't trust Palpatine. Padmé says that she trusts Anakin. If he trusts Palpatine, so will she. He admits that these are. . . difficult times. Everyone's turning on everyone else. Turning on Palpatine. Sometimes it's like Anakin's the only one who believes in the Republic. It's. . . It's almost as if the Jedi are sympathizing with the Separatists. Padmé warns him not to talk like that, but Anakin shrugs her off. He. . . He can't trust them. He can't trust anybody. Padmé swears that he can trust her, and he asks her frankly if she's conspiring against the Chancellor. She chokes for a second before saying no (surprised that he'd accuse her), and he asks her if she'd tell him if she was. She says yes, but sounds slightly unsure. He pushes a bit more, and finally she pushes back --what about him? Does he really think that his blind loyalty to Palpatine is worthy of him? Anakin's better than this --smarter. He should see what Palpatine is doing. The argument escalates until Anakin raises his voice and Padmé recoils. He frightened her. He storms out, ashamed of himself.

Yoda boards the transport to orbit (where Bel-Iblis' ship is waiting), but pauses to look around, sensing something, if only for a second. Then it's gone, and he turns back to his flight. The scene cuts to the view through a set of macrobinoculars, then cuts again as a pair of dark-robed figures turn to exit the balcony where they were watching.

Elsewhere, on Utapau, Grievous is ranting at the delays caused by the Trade Federation --the ships to transport them to their new safeworld are only now beginning to arrive. Nute points out that he could streamline the process if he knew where they were going. Grievous snarls that it hardly matters; they (the politicians) are powerless. Until the crisis is resolved, Grievous is assuming direct command. Nute says that he can't, but battle droids turn to take aim even as the Neimoidian speaks --Grievous already has. Nute would be wise to recall who controls the playing field, and Nute meekly agrees (but the camera catches his eyes, and we see unexpected resolve).

Obi-Wan and Vialco arrive in the Academy briefing room (Mace, Luminara, Aayla Secura, A'Sharaad, and Commander Cody are already there --as are the partially-dismantled remnants of one of Nute's spider-legged holoprojectors [captured in Labyrinth of Evil]), where Mace explains that they've managed to isolate a holo-wave carrier that they think is used to distribute orders to all Confederacy forces. (In the background, Cody picks up a technician's datapad and scans the readout.) The commands seem to be coming from Kubari sector. If General Grievous is there, they'll all be needed (Vialco looks sidelong at his Master). Their orders are simple; locate and destroy the General, and secure the Separatist leaders --they could end this war in one move.

At the Opera, Palpatine notes that Anakin looks bored. Anakin admits that opera isn't really his style, but Palpatine notes that he's distracted. Anakin admits that it's Padmé --he. . . he scared her, earlier. Palpy cautions Anakin; fear could be the sign of a guilty conscience. Is he sure that she can be-- Anakin interrupts, assuring him that Padmé is as trustworthy as he is. Palpatine nods, accepting Anakin's assurances. Anakin wonders if he'll drop it like that, and Palpatine nods. He trusts Anakin; Anakin wouldn't be here if he didn't. Anakin wishes the Jedi felt the same way, and Palpatine defends them: Anakin shouldn't take it personally, the Jedi Council must have their reasons. Anakin isn't so sure, but Palpatine points out that the Council is responsible for the well-being of all Jedi; surely, they have a procedure to obey. Leadership has its own laws. What kind of leaders would the Council be if they didn't follow their own rules? Anakin wonders why they would need to; who has the authority to check the Jedi? Perhaps. . . Perhaps the Sith actually do serve a purpose (unnoticed, Palpatine smiles cunningly before his sincere mask reappears). Palpy notes that Anakin begins to understand --the Law is only as powerful as its enforcement. Without such a code, the Jedi are little better than vigilantes. Even the Separatists have a system of governance in place. If not, they would simply be rebels, easily crushed.

Over the end of Palpatine's speech, we see events on Utapau, as Nute meets secretly with Rune, conspiring against Grievous. Rune suggests contacting the Sith, but Nute reminds him that the Sith is the one who put Grievous in charge. . . and Nute didn't trust the Sith to begin with. Rune marvels --they don't dare betray him. Nute agrees, bitterly: no, they don't dare. They never dare.

On Coruscant, Padmé opens her door, and we see Mon Mothma, Bail Organa, Se'lab of Bothawui, Jar Jar, and the Camaasi, grim-faced. They enter her apartments (greeted by 3P0, whom Padmé sends away). Mon Mothma has more evidence; they should act. Bail and Jar Jar urge her to wait, but she argues that if they delay it may be too late. Se'Lab (sitting at an ornately-carved dejarik board) notes that the moves of both sides are becoming more decisive --when the endgame appears, they might not have any time to react. Even the Camaasi senator agrees; if nothing else, they must put pieces in play. Bail wonders if that's wise; if the Jedi or Palpatine catch wind of this, they could be accused of treason. Mon Mothma notes that it would be more treasonous not to act. She looks to Padmé for support, but Padmé can't help her; she's too worried for. . . for her constituents. On Naboo. The others all share a glance (they know of her pregnancy, if not of the child's parentage).

Obi-Wan & Luminara arrive on Utapau, and Tion Medon warns them of the Separatist forces. After he leaves, they confer briefly. They could call in the fleet now, but it could be a ploy to get them to tip their hands. They need to confirm this first-hand. They carefully infiltrate the Separatist compound (moving like they share a single mind), until they hear Grievous giving orders to his fleet commanders: Coruscant will be off-balance after their previous strike two months ago. They won't expect a follow-up attack. The fleet is massing in three locations (Ansion, Selonia, and Fondor). 1300 ships, enough to take Coruscant, especially with Lord Sidious and his apprentice on the planet. Luminara backs out to send the attack signal while Obi-Wan creates a distraction (destroying vehicles & droids and avoiding Grievous because he knows he can't take him).

Anakin & Palpatine are still in conversation after arriving back at Palpatine's quarters. They're at ease, and Palpatine heads to his desk (checking messages) while Anakin strolls over to the window and takes in the view (talking to Palpatine's reflection). Palpatine notes that the Jedi, as they are now, are isolated. Up in their temple, accountable to no-one, stealing infants to be trained-- Anakin corrects that the babies aren't stolen, and Palpy readily accepts the point: the families are of course well-remunerated. Stolen was too strong a word. The babies are purchased, like slaves. As Anakin reacts, Palpatine stops himself and apologizes. Anakin accepts the apology and grudgingly admits that Palpatine is right. The Jedi have no right to seize any Force-sensitive child, regardless of how well the parents are paid off. Not Force-sensitive, Palpatine corrects, but those with midichlorians in their blood. What of the potential Jedi who slip through the Order's grasp? Are they doomed to lives of mediocrity simply by virtue of their inauspicious birth? Anakin recalls what Qui-Gon once told him, and realizes for the first time that there might well be non-midichlorianated Force-users out on the Rim (even as he realizes this, he gets Palpy's point: the Jedi don't screen for them, so there could be Force-users even here in the Core, but no one. . . would. . . know. . . *lightbulb* ). Palpatine smiles darkly, and tells Anakin that he's correct: there could very well be servants of the Dark Side on Coruscant even now. . . Even here. (For the novelization: Palpatine drops his Force-cloak, and Anakin finally senses the rush of Dark energy that dwells inside the old man's frame.) Anakin whirls and draws/ignites his saber in a single move, anger, betrayal, and fear competing on his face. Palpatine's grin widens, and he spreads his hands, inviting Anakin to strike him down, but warning him to consider the outcome of such a decision. Weakened as they are, the Jedi will come under fire for his death, and without a leader or the Jedi, the Republic will fall to Grievous. Anakin (realizing that if Palpatine is Sidious, and if Dooku worked for Sidious, then Palpatine's been running both sides of the war since the beginning) asks him if this is part of the Sith's vengeance, and Palpatine seems disappointed: he's not about vengeance! He might have been, once, long ago, but not anymore. Palpy's interest is in Law. The strong hand that is necessary for civilization to flourish. The fall of the Jedi is only a step towards a necessary rebirth. Anakin of all people must understand this --he's seen it, better than any Jedi. They're part of the problem, sitting in their ivory tower while slaves are starving and verminous scavengers run riot even here on Coruscant. The Jedi aren't allowed to go where they're most needed.

On Utapau, Grievous manages to corner Obi-Wan, but by then the Republic attack strikes. As clonetroopers (most of whom aren't actually clones) rappel into the caldera, Luminara, Aayla, and A'Sharaad arrive and the four-on-one lightsaber duel is joined! (Aayla's saber is red, and A'Sharaad uses two sabers, red and gold) Vialco runs up (in black armour and with a red saber), but Obi-Wan intercepts him and tells him to help the troopers. Vialco starts to argue, but Obi-Wan reminds him that Grievous has him outclassed --he can't make a difference. Obi-Wan returns to the duel, and doesn't see Vialco's glare before the Padawan turns away.

Anakin wanders through Coruscant, his eyes opened. He sees the beggars in their squallor, the senators in their corrupt, decadent luxury --enough to make him ill. Padmé. He has to see Padmé. He reaches her apartment, but Threepio greets him in the lobby, warning that Lady Padmé isn't present at the moment, but that he is welcome to stay until her return. Anakin is tempted, but can't. There are too many things he has to do. (This sequence will be far more critical in the novelization, showing Anakin's internal torment, and how much Padmé represents everything that he loves about the Republic --and how deeply the thought of betrayal (both hers, Palpatine's, and the one he's contemplating now) is tearing him apart. He finally understands why she's conspiring against the Republic, and how it must be tearing her apart.)

Padmé is conspiring at that moment, reviewing the data Mon Mothma has brought forth as Bail, Jar Jar and the others consider exactly how they'll make their case during tomorrow's Senate meeting (confront Palpatine with everything they have. Make it a matter of public record --he'll never be able to silence them). Suddenly, herself not knowing why, Padmé starts to cry. . .

On Utapau, Grievous is winning (even four on one --he seems to be everywhere). The duel spills out into the open, and the clonetrooper offensive slows as troopers stare, mesmerized by the flawless artistry. It's Cody who snaps them back to work with barked orders --then takes a moment to watch before he too returns to the task at hand.

At the Jedi Temple, Mace is in a meeting with Kit Fisto (present) and Quinlan Vos (via hologram --Quin's fleet has gone after the Separatist fleet at Selonia, after being tipped off by word from Obi-Wan's team) when Anakin arrives. Mace tries to brush Anakin off, but Anakin tells him that he knows who the Sith Lord is. Mace closes the channel to Quinlan, and turns to hear Anakin's report.

On Utapau, A'Sharaad dies. Grievous slices both arms off, then slashes him in half (all while dealing with Luminara's charge and holding Obi-Wan in a saber lock --Aayla has been kicked clear and is rolling to her feet).

Mace asks if Anakin is sure about what he's saying, and Anakin confirms it. Kit suggests waiting to form an arrest team until after the situation on Utapau is resolved, but Mace disagrees. Sidious must know they're on to him, and if they wait, the Senate will be able to use Utapau to demonstrate why the Chancellor must remain in power. They have to act now --this is a Shatterpoint.

On Utapau, Grievous mortally wounds Luminara (stabbed through the torso), and Obi-Wan goes to her while Aayla distracts the General. Obi-Wan tends to Luminara (using the Force to keep her alive), but she pushes Obi-Wan to rejoin the fight. If he leaves her side, she'll die, but if he stays, the Republic will die. They are Jedi; they both know there can only be one choice. Tearfully, Obi-Wan leaps to the attack as Grievous summarily decapitates Aayla (he was just toying with her). As Obi-Wan battles, Luminara watches as her eyes slowly close. The Obi-Wan/Grievous duel is interspersed with the sight of Luminara's body fading (at peace, she becomes one with the Force).

Mace, Kit, and Anakin (the most powerful Jedi left on the planet --that's how thin they've been spread) arrive to arrest the Chancellor. Mace tries to arrest the Chancellor, but Palpatine's eyes are fixed on Anakin. He seems at first hurt, then angry: is this the loyalty that Anakin spoke so highly of? Mace defends Anakin, noting that his true loyalty is to the Jedi, as it should be. Palpatine scoffs that the Jedi know no more of loyalty than Anakin does. But still. . . Palpatine wins. He foresaw Anakin's betrayal. Kit is the first to realize what that means: it's a trap. Palpatine smiles and gestures, admitting that the time for subterfuge is past. It's time to reveal his Hand. Shadows swirl, and Asajj Ventress (from the Clone Wars cartoons & comics) reveals herself --she's changed, and is now clad in sleek black life-support armour (a foreshadowing of Vader). The Jedi tense, but Asajj charges as soon as she's fully visible (she was drawing on the Force to hide herself: even Anakin didn't sense her). She draws Anakin and Kit away, but Palpatine ignites his own saber and attacks Mace.

Kit & Anakin attack Ventress at the same time, but she easily Force-shoves Kit away and turns to lock sabers with Anakin. He's stunned --how can she be alive? He saw her die on Boz Pity. She laughs in his face before twisting away (sending Anakin tumbling) to engage Kit. Sith don't die so easily! Anakin snarls that her master did, and she snaps that Dooku was no longer her Master --it was Sidious who gave her this power! She snap-kicks Kit, and backflips for some distance, ending up in a small corridor (between Palpatine's public and private offices) Anakin charges, but at a gesture Ventress creates a whirlwind, tearing up statuary and furniture and throwing it at the Jedi (same thing Vader will do to Luke years later on Cloud City). Anakin draws on his rage and charges as Kit yells for him to wait. The lapse in concentration leaves Kit open to getting hit with a fast-moving bit of debris, and he staggers, bleeding copiously from the head wound. Asajj sidesteps and pirhouettes around Anakin's lunge (blocking him with one saber), gliding back toward Kit and slipping her other saber through the Nautolan's head, and suddenly she and Anakin are alone.

Anakin & Ventress circle, both wary. Ventress boasts that she's already won --she has vanquished death itself. He asks if she calls this life --imprisoned in a metal shell? She smirks; she hasn't been imprisoned, she's been liberated of her weakness. Anakin should know what that's like. Anakin flexes his artificial hand, growling, and warns that his flesh is what makes him stronger than her. He's still alive. Still a man. She's nothing more than a machine, a tool in the Sith's hands. Ventress laughs --isn't that all he's been? All this time, he's had the Chancellor's ear, and never suspected. . . He's been a pawn since the Jedi found him on Tatooine. Him and that pretty senator. Maybe after this is over, Ventress will go and track her down. Give the Sith's blessings to his child. Anakin attacks furiously, and forces Ventress back, seizing her throat with the Force and lifting her off her feet. He watches as her neck finally snaps, then swings his lightsaber, dismembering the corpse (". . . stay dead this time").

Meanwhile, Palpatine & Mace are ranging around the office as they duel. Palpatine taunts Mace, wondering how many lives could have been saved if the Jedi had been able to see what was right in front of his nose. So predictable. Like Mace's fighting style, his vaunted Vapaad Technique. Curious that a Jedi should draw so heavily on the Dark Side. Why, Mace almost seems to be enjoying this. Mace disengages (briefly) and denies it; he's correct, Vapaad relies on the Dark Side, but Mace uses his anger as a tool. It does not control him. Palpatine laughs mockingly. Please. Mace, of all the Jedi, has been Palpatine's greatest help in this whole sordid affair. The Jedi themselves are nothing but pawns. The Clone army, the fallen Jedi who join the Separatists, Dooku, Sora Bulq --how much blood is on Mace's hands? Mace denies Palpatine's attempt to goad him. It ends here. This place, this time. Palpatine agrees, it is indeed a Shatterpoint, but he is not. Palpatine briefly drops his guard, and Mace (in Vapaad's dark grasp) presses the attack. . .

(The novelization makes it clear that Mace senses the tide turning. Palpatine's right, this moment is a Shatterpoint, but Palpatine himself is not. . . It's Mace. If Mace falls, the Jedi, the Republic, everything falls with him. The realization angers him. Normally, he could release that anger, but instead, he channels it into Vapaad. Turns it into Rage. . .)

Palpatine's saber is knocked away (it smashes the window), and Mace readies the killing blow, but Anakin Force-pulls Palpatine away (the impact against the wall stuns the old man), and steps between them. He tries to reason with Mace, reminding him of the Jedis' mandate as peacekeepers. They don't have the right to play executioner. Mace pulls himself under control, and rumbles (the stress makes his voice deeper --almost Vaderesque) that Palpatine has corrupted the Senate. He'll never be found guilty. He's too powerful, too dangerous to take into custody. It must end here. Palpatine asks "what then?" Will the Jedi admit what they've done? Or try to cover up their wrongdoing? Mace snarls that they don't need to Justify themselves, and Anakin warns that the rest of the galaxy won't see it that way. Mace gives Anakin a final warning to stand aside. Anakin refuses; Mace is breaking the Law! He has to-- If Anakin doesn't move, Mace will attack. Anakin raises his still-lit saber, guarding. Mace reminds him that he's drawing on Vapaad now. If Anakin forces a confrontation, he won't survive. He's not capable of it. Anakin grows angry, then enraged --Mace has no idea what he's capable of!

On Utapau, the duel twists through the wreckage (the clone/droid battle has moved on). Grievous has Obi-Wan on the ropes, savouring the kill. As he taunts the Jedi (he's all alone now), the Force-ghost of Luminara appears behind him. When Obi-Wan sees, his strength is renewed, and he presses the attack. As Grievous is forced back, more spirits appear (lending Obi-Wan strength) --Aayla, A'Sharaad, Kit Fisto (his arm around Aayla ), various others (but Grievous sees none of them). Grievous is shocked; Obi-Wan can't stand against him! Obi-Wan agrees, he cannot stand against Grievous, but he doesn't have to. Obi-Wan does not exist. it is the Force that Grievous is fighting. Even alone, Obi-Wan is every Jedi who has lived (more spectral forms appear --an older and wiser Luke Skywalker, Leia clad in Jedi robes, with her teenaged children, even Mara Jade alongside Luke --even the potential form of her own son. . .) and every Jedi to come! With one final lunge, Obi-Wan passes through Grievous' multi-saber defense, and runs him through. Grievous may hold a half-dozen lightsabers, but he fights alone. And alone. . . he no longer exists. Obi-Wan calmly steps back from the corpse, and the spirits are gone, except for one. Master Qui-Gon Jinn.

Qui-Gon smiles proudly at his apprentice, but Obi-Wan starts to go --he can sense. . . something. He's needed back on Coruscant. Qui-Gon disagrees; that is not Obi-Wan's path. A great darkness is coming, but Obi-Wan can't fight it. His task will be to safeguard the light. Remember, Apprentice: the Force is best used for defence. Obi-Wan hears a voice behind him, and turns (suddenly Qui-Gon is gone). It's Nute Gunray, who quickly surrenders.

On Coruscant, Mace & Anakin argue as they duel. Mace accuses Anakin of having turned to the Dark Side, and Anakin responds that the Darkness is where the Jedi are most needed! Mace shoves Anakin away, and they circle warily: Mace grants that Anakin may be right, but this is not the way to resolve this. The Dark Side knows only Evil. Sidious laughs coldly (he's regained his lightsaber, but doesn't ignite it --his words are far more dangerous weapons). Such a convenient rationale. "Evil," "Good," these are the crutches of a weaker mind --Sidious expects better of a Jedi Master. If nothing else, he expects honesty (with a pointed glance at Anakin). Far more accurate to say that the Dark Side is the power of Destruction, while the Light Side is of Creation. But Destruction itself is hardly evil. Far from it, it is necessary. All growth comes from pain. Pain forges what the Light creates, tempers it, makes it stronger. The weak and the corrupt must be stripped away. Cleansed by fire! At this, Sidious snaps the handle of his lightsaber, hitting a concealed switch. Their slow dance has placed them in a triangle, with Mace behind Palpatine's desk. There's a small explosion, giving barely a clue of what's about to happen, before the desk explodes spectacularly. The shaped-charge engulfs Mace in flames, throwing him toward the shattered window.

When the light and noise clear, Mace is almost unrecognizable. He's hanging by his fingertips from the edge, his face blistered and charred, his clothes still smouldering. Glass crunches as Palpatine stands over him, chuckling. In a way, Palpatine will miss him. Mace was truly the best. . . Apprentice a Sith Lord could have hoped for. Mace growls with unadulterated rage, and starts to haul himself back up, but Palpatine gestures, and a telekinetic shove sends Mace tumbling clear of the building. His clothes flare up again as the wind catches them, and he falls away in flames.

Anakin collapses in guilt, and Palpatine congratulates him. Anakin snaps out of it and rounds on him; Mace's death is nothing to be celebrated! He is still a Jedi --he tells Palpatine about the "Shadows," about the Jedi who touch the Dark side, but still serve the light, and Palpy laughs at him; he knows all about the Shadow Jedi. How does Anakin think the Sith survived this long? Anakin fails to understand; the Dark Side is more than a tool, more than a means to power. The Dark Side is Power. Even if Anakin were to strike Palpatine down now, he would still win! The greater darkness is within Anakin himself, as it always has been. He bids Anakin to come along, but Anakin says no. He is not Palpatine's apprentice. All of his life, he's had people telling him what he is. A slave. The Chosen one. A Jedi. . . No. Not any more. This is his decision --his life! Palpatine laughs at him; Anakin still thinks he has a choice. Fool. He has never had a true choice in his life. Every step of his journey has already been decided. Think about it. The Trade Federation blockade of Naboo, the Jedi's escape and arrival on Tatooine, Qui-Gon's death and Obi-Wan's assumption of Anakin's training. . . Padmé's appointment to the Senate. . . Who has been at the centre of all of this? Anakin gapes at the realization (". . . you. . .") . . . Who does Anakin think made the Prophecy? Who does Anakin think his father was? Anakin was created, just as Sidious himself was created. By Darth Plagueis, who was himself created. This has been the Dark Side's plan all along; the Sith are nothing more than tools. Means to an end, and Anakin is the end. The destroyer of all things.

He's right; he's not Palpatine's apprentice. He is his property. Anakin denies it ("no. . . No! It's not possible!"), and turns, fleeing from the smashed office in confused, panicked denial. Behind him, Palpatine smiles --exactly as he'd planned. . .

The battle of Utapau is over, and Obi-Wan herds Nute into the command bunker, where they are met by Vialco & Commander Cody (helmet off). Vialco angrily reports that the other leaders have escaped, and suggests torturing Nute to determine where they've gone. Nute swears he doesn't know, and Obi-Wan takes him at his word (angering Vialco; during the tense pause before Vialco shuts off his saber, Cody orders his troops to clear the room --bad for morale to see two Jedi arguing) --they have bigger problems to deal with. Vialco asks what, and Obi-Wan marvels that Vialco can't feel it. . . like the entire universe has just changed.

They're interrupted by Cody, who's receiving a holonet transmission. It's from Coruscant. The hologram of Palpatine appears, revealing the Jedi assassination attempt. The attempt was carried out by representatives of the Jedi Council, and Palpatine now has no choice but to consider the entire Jedi Order as enemies of the Republic.

On Coruscant, the Senate is watching Palpatine's speech live (the Senate is in session), and Padmé reacts with a stifled gasp. Jar Jar grips her shoulder, but he's as ashen-faced as she. Palpatine invokes Order 66, placing Stormtrooper commanders in direct control of their armies. All Jedi are to be considered armed and extremely dangerous.

On Utapau, the remaining guard turns his weapon on the Jedi, and Vialco snarls, igniting his blade. Nute flinches, but Obi-Wan and Cody both stay frozen. Vialco prompts his master, even as the trooper asks his commander for orders. Cody says "stand down." The trooper glances at him, and he repeats himself sharply ("That's an order, trooper.") Vialco snarls (to Obi-Wan) that they've betrayed them. Obi-Wan, stunned, asks who. The Chancellor? The Troopers? The Council? How high does this extend? Nute realizes: "all the way." Vialco snarls for the "frog" to shut up, but Obi-Wan shushes his apprentice. Nute explains that Dooku and Grievous both worked for the Sith Lord, and Obi-Wan realizes that Mace would only have attacked the Chancellor if. . . if he was the Sith Lord. Vialco's confused, but Cody realizes it: they've been manipulated since the beginning. Since before the beginning.

Obi-Wan decides that they have to head back to Coruscant to investigate. Vialco asks about the Neimoidian, and Obi-Wan suggests leaving him someplace safe. Nute cowers --Not Coruscant! the Sith Lord will kill him! Finally, the trooper intervenes, he can't let them leave. Cody orders him to stand down, but the trooper resists it; he has his orders, as does Commander Cody. The Commander's actions give the trooper no choice but to consider him an enemy as much as the Jedi. Cody & Obi-Wan share a glance, and Obi-Wan draws on the Force, ripping the soldier's blaster away, then looks startled as Cody pulls his own blaster & shoots the trooper dead. Obi-Wan asks why, and Cody shrugs helplessly. There wouldn't have been any reasoning with him. Troopers, whether clones or conscripts, are too well-trained. Conditioned to obey orders without question, without doubt. Vialco asks why they should trust Cody; he has the same conditioning. Cody explains that clones are also conditioned to learn. To make choices. He's choosing to follow the leader who's earned his loyalty.

As the special session of the Senate ends, Palpatine's podium withdraws into the floor. As it does, he turns, and the camera zooms (Palpatine, like all Sith, has very good eyes) to catch Padmé & Jar Jar, emerging from their pod to meet Bail, Mon Mothma, Se'Lab, and others, all of them looking grim. Palpatine smiles: everything's falling into place.

(The escape from Utapau: Cody leaves a detachment in command, then has Nute placed aboard a transport back to Coruscant. Nute is visibly panicking, but the guards force him aboard. After the transport has launched and cleared the fleet, Obi-Wan & Vialco emerge from hiding and try to take command. Even with Cody on their side, a fight breaks out, and the transport crew ends up dead.)

Anakin (wracked with self-loathing and depression) is deep under Coruscant's surface, sneaking into the Temple as Bariss is sneaking out (using his "secret" exit that everybody knows about). She explains about Callista's (another EU character) order to get all the younglings out and off-planet to safety until the Council can get to the bottom of this. Anakin warns that there is no Council; Mace is dead. They're all dead. Bariss tries to reassure him, assuring him that they're not dead yet. They can sneak out. Regroup somewhere. . . Anakin shakes his head, growing angry (self-loathing turns to guilt, turns to a need to prove himself). It's not over yet. He won't let it be! They have to rally. Arm the younglings, arm everybody! Bariss asks what he's planning, and Anakin swears that the Jedi will walk out of here under their own terms, out the front door, like warriors, not sneaking out through the sewers!

Padmé and the conspirators arrive at her quarters, all talking in hushed tones about the Jedi warrant. Bail was afraid that it would come to this; with Palpatine's flunkies in control of the Senate no one can oppose him. The Camaasi wonders if they can't do something, and Se'Lab doubts that anything short of open revolt would stop Palpatine's march (powerful words from a Bothan). Jar Jar (tellingly) doesn't disagree, but warns that too decisive an action would only get them painted with the same brush as the Jedi. Mon Mothma argues that decisive action may be exactly what is called for at the moment. Padmé learns from 3P0 that Anakin showed up while she was gone, then took off again.

At the Temple, Anakin and Bariss both stride out boldly, a squad of older students behind them, clutching unfamiliar lightsabers and trying to look fearless (Anakin actually does look fearless, Bariss looks alert). The stormtroopers have formed a phalanx ring around the Temple, and reporters (yes, the GFFA has news reporters [Republic News Network, Holonet News, etc]) are massed outside a cordon (out of the way, but within line-of-sight). Anakin confronts the commander, ordering him to step aside. The commander orders Anakin to submit to arrest, and Anakin starts to boil over, growling "don't tell me what to do." Bariss tries to intervene, but Anakin starts to stride forward (intending to body-press the commander out of the way), but the trooper doesn't budge. He orders Anakin to drop his lightsaber or be met with force (he even puts up his rifle to block Anakin's advance). Anakin's getting enraged now, and snarls at the trooper once more, trying to shove him --it works too well. The commander takes a Force-thrown tumble, and a nearby trooper snaps his rifle to aim at Anakin, who reacts with another Force-push (by now Bariss is yelling for him to stop, before--) a third trooper rushes to grab Anakin, who physically shoves him away, igniting his lightsaber as a threat (". . . Someone does something stupid" --Bariss). Other lightsabers flare to life as the students panic, and the troopers respond by opening fire. . .

(Above, a cloaked figure watches the growing firefight. Behind her, a door opens, and Halmere appears, ushering a group of younglings into the room. He tells them to stay here; no one can get into this chamber, he'll be right outside. After he closes the door, one of the children turns to the cloaked figure, asking the Master what's happening outside. After a moment, another child realizes that that's no Master. At the window, Aurra Sing slowly turns to the children, and smiles. A lightsaber flares to life in her hand. . .)

Aboard the stolen prison transport, alarms ring out as the ship tumbles into realspace. Obi-Wan & Cody grab controls, and Cody notes that they hit something Obi-Wan notes that there are no planets here, and Cody realizes that it was a mass-block. Pirates? Obi-Wan leans forward, craning his neck, and smiles. No, not pirates. The ship's spin stabilizes, and we see a Republic Dreadnaught --Bel-Iblis' command ship. Yoda's voice crackles over the comm: waiting for Obi-Wan, they have been.

Padmé and the conspirators watch the news footage in horrified silence. The troopers are breaking ranks, moving around the firefight to storm the Temple (lobbing stun grenades ahead of them). Padmé is sobbing, and Mon Mothma comforts her. Bail grips her shoulder as well, and says that they've got to do something! Mon Mothma asks what, and Bail gets a fierce look on his face and starts to storm off, Jar Jar and Se'Lab trying to restrain him. As they argue, Padmé's sobbing quiets, and she slowly climbs to her feet. When she speaks, her voice rings with command: Bail; find a way to the Temple and help the Jedi evacuate. If anyone gets clear, he's got to smuggle them off-planet. Mon Mothma; it's time to gather up her friends in the news nets and get them off-world. Palpatine has already curtailed the press, and word of this has to get out. Se'Lab (ever practical) wonders where they should regroup, and Jar Jar suggests trying to contact Bel-Iblis' fleet. He doesn't use stormtroopers, so he may still be friendly to the Jedi.

At the Temple, more Padawans are dying, and soon only Anakin and Bariss are left, fighting back-to-back on the Temple steps. Coruscant law enforcement has shown up to usher the reporters away. Between the two of them, they kill the last trooper, and seem surprised to find themselves alone (they're both disoriented and out of breath --it's been a gruelling fight. Anakin's a bit more with it, sustained by his anger). Anakin's the one who notes that the rest of them are inside. They're killing the younglings! He starts to charge, and Bariss grabs his arm, telling him it's too late. They have to escape. They. . . they can't do anymore here (she's crying, but holding herself together). Anakin shoves her away, yelling that it's not his fault. She tries to placate him, but he's having a breakdown, raging so hard his eyes are tearing up. He tried! He tried so hard. . . Bariss misunderstands; no, it's not his fault. He did what he felt he had to do. Now they have to move on. They have to-- Anakin snaps for her not to tell him. Don't tell him what to do. Everybody tells him what to do! The Council. Obi-Wan. Padmé. Palpatine. Anakin is seething now, but Bariss tries to calm him down. She asks him what he wants to do, and he pauses as a look of anguish crosses his face. It doesn't matter. There's only one thing he can do. He looks at her mournfully, apologetic as he raises his lightsaber. . .

For a moment, near-silence descends (there's still faint blasterfire and lightsaber noise coming from the Temple itself, and fires crackle where the battle ignited them). Then slow, deliberate clapping as a cloaked figure detaches from the shadows (escorted by Halmere & Aurra, who share a passionate kiss, forcing Anakin to look away). Palpatine congratulates young Skywalker on finally accepting his destiny. Anakin seems lost in a trance. He turns to Palpatine, looking like a lost child, and asks what to do. Palpatine tells him that the war has outlived its usefulness. The Separatist leadership is gathered on Mustafar. They are vulnerable. A single strike, and the war will truly be over. Perhaps, one day, all of this (he gestures at the Temple) will be forgotten. Anakin falters, and Palpatine orders him to go. He knows Anakin's tired, but his task is not yet complete.

(After they part ways, Halmere asks why he and Aurra couldn't receive that mission, and Palpatine notes that he has. . . other plans for the two of them. Then he offers them his hands. . .)

On the other side of the Temple, Bail arrives, gets attacked by the stormtroopers, and rescued by the sacrifice of a single youngling. There's no one left here to rescue.

(Novelization: Deep inside the Temple, a stormtrooper commander secures the nursery, noting in particular one infant girl, already with a crown of red fuzz on her head. Her name tag reads simply "Mara.")

In her apartment, Padmé paces nervously, hands cradling her belly. Anakin arrives (his fighter is hovering by the balcony), and they embrace. Threepio and Artoo chat, and we see Artoo's dialogue in subtitles (they're trying to puzzle out what's going on, but each of them knows only parts of the story). Anakin seeks solace in Padmé, but she has none to offer. She's horrified by what she sees in his eyes, and she has secrets of her own now. He doesn't know what he is anymore (can't be a Jedi, can't be a general, can't be. . . the Chosen One. . .), and Padmé reassures him (then don't be. Be what you are. What you've always been. A good man. Jar Jar once said that a single good man could change the universe). She says that Coruscant's getting too dangerous. Chancellor Palpatine is out of control (she knows Anakin doesn't want to hear it, but doesn't understand the real reason). They can leave. They can run away now, find someplace out on the Rim. No Jedi. No Senate. Just them and their daughter (he corrects "son," almost able to smile). It sounds nice, but he can't leave yet. He has to try to fix this. Padmé wonders if it still can be fixed, and Anakin looks daunted. He still has one chance. Just one. He has to try. The Jedi --the Republic has given him so much (The Jedi were the ones who let his mother die. . .). Padmé kisses him, and tells him to go. Save the universe one more time, and be the hero she knows he is. He leaves with tears in his eyes.

(time passes)

Eventually, Bail, Jar Jar, Se'Lab, Mon Mothma, and Arhul Hextrophon (Mon Mothma's media contact) join up with Bel-Iblis, Yoda, Obi-Wan, Vialco, Nute, and Cody. The Jedi are devastated to learn of the massacre. Jar Jar reports that Padmé was among those who stayed behind; she didn't want to leave without Anakin. Bail adds that they wanted someone still on Coruscant to be a voice of reason in the Senate. Vialco wonders how the Jedi will recover from this, and Yoda notes sadly that they won't. Over, the era of the Jedi is. Cody looks heartbroken and lost, but Bel-Iblis stresses that they can't give up now. Yoda readily agrees: Still hope there must be, if even one free being lives. Accept nothing less, will the Sith Lord. Regroup they must. Se'Lab wonders how; they have a handful of ships, no safe ports. Mon Mothma interrupts that they have hope. If they start the call, the people of the galaxy will join them. Arhul agrees, and adds that if they fall, the galaxy shall tremble at their passing. Yoda interrupts: enough talk this is, but time it is to act. In flux things are. Strike now they must, and catch the Sith Lord unprepared.

(The novelization includes a scene aboard Anakin's fighter, where he talks to Artoo, trying to find a way out of Palpatine's control. Palpatine wants the Separatist leadership dead. What if Anakin saves them instead? Or is that what Palpatine was counting on, one final act of rebellion?)

Bail's ship emerges from hyperspace and sails toward Coruscant (past a gleaming Victory-class Star Destroyer sitting in a patrol orbit). With him are Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Vialco. The Senate convenes in two hours; that should be enough time for each of them to complete their missions. They all know what to do. Obi-Wan will investigate the temple to see if anything can be saved. Yoda will prepare to confront Sidious, and Vialco will gather the remaining Senators and bring them to safety.

Anakin arrives on Mustafar, and goes before the Separatist leaders. Poggle's two Geonosian bodyguards keep their weapons trained --Sidious didn't tell them he was coming. In fact, the planet's been pretty much out of communication. Anakin explains the situation: General Grievous is dead, and he's learned that Sidious and Chancellor Palpatine are one and the same; he's been orchestrating this whole war since the beginning. The leaders react to the realization that they've been nothing more than pawns, and Anakin tells them that they've outlived their usefulness, and that he was sent to kill them (the guards react, but Poggle gestures them to stand by), but he's decided not to. Sidious --Palpatine has manipulated him as well, and he's had enough. Wat Tambor asks if Anakin is suggesting a rebellion, but Anakin says no; the Republic's forces are too powerful. The most they can hope for is to survive. To scatter, and hope that they'll find ways to survive.

In her apartments, Padmé is preparing for the Senate. As she fusses at her vanity, her hand brushes against a small sandstone charm --given to her by Anakin (in AotC). She freezes, and starts to sob quietly. A shadow looms behind her, and she whirls, thinking it's Anakin. Instead it's Vialco. He calms her, and asks what's wrong. She explains about the Jedi Warrant, and Anakin's conflicted loyalties. She also voices her opinion that Palpatine is corrupt. Vialco explains about Bel-Iblis' fleet, and tells her that they need to find Anakin --they don't know if any other Jedi may have survived, and they need to consolidate their forces before Palpatine can hunt them down. Padmé reveals that Anakin has gone to Mustafar.

In the Senate, Bail searches, but can't find Padmé. Palpatine reports on the demise of the Separatist forces. With both Dooku and Grievous dead, the Separatists are broken, but still the galaxy is not safe. To better safeguard the lives under his protection, Palpatine will reorganize the Republic into the Empire. Under its strong Laws, civilization will flourish as never before. As the Senate erupts in cheers (Palpatine's corrupt supporters), Bail looks ill.

After the meeting, Palpatine waits along in the Senate chamber. He is unsurprised when Yoda enters. Neither moves to attack (in the novelization, they play out a dozen different scenarios in their minds' eyes --in every one, Yoda loses, and they both know this, so Yoda won't bother wasting his energy in an attack). Palpatine notes that time has grown short, and Yoda admits that played them well, Sidious has. Palpatine asks if this is to be the endgame, Jedi versus Sith, and Yoda sadly shakes his head. Won, the Sith have. Balanced, the Force is. Palpy asks if Yoda concedes, and the Master firmly says no. Balanced, the Force is. A level playing field. Now, his own creations Palpatine must fight. Won or lost, this war will be, by the people. Palpatine smiles coldly; this is all he ever desired. Let the people decide who is greater. Creation or Destruction. Light or Dark.

At the Temple, Obi-Wan wanders through the ruins, shell-shocked. He recognizes the lightsaber wounds, and finds security footage of Aurra Sing & Halmere taking out the Jedi (so the stormtroopers can handle the weaker younglings). Vialco finds him weeping, and tries to console him. Obi-Wan pulls himself together, and asks about the senators. Vialco reports that they're all assembled, ready to launch, except for Padmé. Obi-Wan turns, and Vialco explains that Anakin was off-planet when the massacre happened. Padmé wants to go rescue him. Obi-Wan is alarmed (the darkness that he sensed on Utapau --Anakin is at the centre of it, he's certain), and asks where she's gone. Vialco names the planet, but doesn't know the coordinates. Obi-Wan realizes that Padmé must (Anakin would have given them to her), and suggests they follow her, but Vialco reminds him about the senators. Obi-Wan hesitates, then sends his Padawan to escort the senators to Bel-Iblis' fleet. He'll follow Padmé.

As they part ways, Vialco smiles coldly, and Halmere steps into view behind him.

Bail meets up with Yoda, and asks what happened ("defeat him, I could not." is all Yoda will say). They head to where the Senators are waiting, and are just in time to see the Stormtroopers arrest them. There is token resistance (from Jar Jar, saying that there's no need for violence), and the troopers open fire. . .

On Mustafar, the Separatist leaders leave the planet (the novelization explains that they spent days debating; without a leader they're wracked with indecision, which [Anakin realizes] is exactly why Dooku selected them in the first place). Anakin stays behind, planting bombs --he plans to detonate the facility to hide their escape. The first of the leaders' ships are just exiting the atmosphere. . .

Padmé's ship emerges from hyperspace, with herself and Threepio aboard. She sees the other ships rising toward her, then gasps as a Victory-class Star Destroyer suddenly appears behind her. She frantically evades, but blasts of turbolaser fire streak past her, targetting the fleeing Separatists. A stray shot tags Padmé's ship, and she dives into the atmosphere.

Anakin reacts as the fight starts, and rushes out to see the faint sparkles in the sky. He screams in anguish as he sees his defiance come to nothing. He sees a ship streaking in for a landing, and charges out to meet them (he moves past Artoo, who also starts picking his way over).

Above, Obi-Wan's fighter emerges from hyperspace kilometers away from the battle, and he sees the Geonosian yacht exploding. The two escort fighters manage to slip into hyperspace. Obi-Wan heads for atmosphere, hoping to evade notice as the Destroyer prepares to depart.

By the time Anakin reaches the landing site, The hatch is open, and Padmé is carefully climbing out, cradling her belly. She's overjoyed to see Anakin, but he falls to the ground stunned. She came here. Came after him. . . how dare she! She recoils, worried, and he snarls that she's ruined everything! He's frightening her, but he doesn't care. He explains about Palpatine's scheme, and how he was trying to save the Separatists. He realizes that he's betrayed everything he believed in, and he still failed! Padmé tells him that they have to leave, and Anakin screams at her (the stress, the guilt, and the self-loathing are taking their toll, and he's becoming unhinged). He can't leave! He can't escape! Everywhere he goes, everything he touches, he corrupts. He's with him now --Palpatine is here. His servants, his Hands. . . Padmé tries to hug him, to comfort him, but he shoves her away (she falls, and her leg twists), repulsed by her --by what she does to him, what she's made possible. It's her. The Jedi were right, his attachments have weakened him. It's because of her that Palpatine's been able to manipulate him like this. Now Padmé's crying, scared of him, but he doesn't care.

There's a rumble as Obi-Wan's fighter arrives, and he pops the canopy even before he's landed. He yells to Anakin, who rounds on him. Seeing the tableau, Obi-Wan's tense face tightens --he can see the Dark Side controlling Anakin. Obi-Wan tries to reason with him, but Anakin won't hear it, staring at Obi-Wan with feral intensity. It's come to this. The final betrayal. Has Obi-Wan arrived to deal with his former apprentice? Obi-Wan denies it, saying that Anakin is better than this. Stronger than the Darkness within him. For a moment it looks like he's getting through. Obi-Wan reminds Anakin that he's the Chosen One (and realizes the moment he says it that it was the wrong thing to say, but now it's too late [if he'd said "my friend," it would have brought Anakin back --instead, Anakin hears one more reminder of failure!]). Anakin snaps, igniting his lightsaber and charging.

The lightsaber duel ranges throughout the facility (which isn't collapsing, 'cause that would be ridiculous). Obi-Wan is trying to get through to his friend, but Anakin is lost. He's become a monster. Anakin taunts him, telling Obi-Wan that this is his fault. His pride! He's almost as much of a failure as Anakin --how does it feel to have lost two Apprentices to the Dark? Obi-Wan doesn't understand, but Anakin knows. He can feel it. Vialco works for Palpatine. Obi-Wan is stunned, and realizes that he too has been played. Vialco is the one who sent him here. He must have known what would happen. Anakin calms somewhat, and accepts it. So that's how it'll be. He's outlived his own usefulness, so Palpatine sent Obi-Wan here to destroy him. Obi-Wan thought Anakin & Vialco were friends, and Anakin acknowledges that he's been betrayed --as everyone has betrayed him. He redoubles his assault, and their duel sets off the self-destruct charges (now the place starts coming apart). Obi-Wan fends Anakin off; he's never betrayed him. Anakin realizes that that's true. Obi-Wan never betrayed him. He was used. They both were. they all were. Their choices aren't their own; one way or another, this must end here. Obi-Wan denies it, but Anakin insists; choice, free will, it's an illusion. He doesn't have a choice, neither of them do. Obi-Wan has to kill him here, he has to end this! If he doesn't. . . if he doesn't, Anakin will have to kill him instead. They can't both survive. The Sith, the Jedi, it has all come to this!

A final clash of sabers, and Anakin is mortally wounded. Obi-Wan pleads with him to surrender, and Anakin half-chuckles at the parallel (as he told the Separatists to surrender, not realizing that their fate was pre-ordained). He shakes his head; he can't. He tells his friend that it's over for him. The story of Anakin Skywalker ends here. Obi-Wan challenges him, asking if that's it, if he'll just give up. Anakin says no, but reminds him of something Master Yoda once said. That sometimes the wisest thing a Jedi can do is to stand aside. He tells Obi-Wan to save Padmé, to save their son. To give him this (he hands Obi-Wan his saber). Don't tell him. Don't tell him who. . . Don't tell him what I am. Before Obi-Wan can react, Anakin turns and sprints to the end of the catwalk they're on, and throws himself into freefall. An explosion engulfs him, and he vanishes among the flames.

On Coruscant, the Emperor is addressing the Senate, and announces that the war against the Separatists is over (thunderous cheers), but that the crisis is not yet past. Survivors of the Separatist army, and rogue elements of this very Senate, to whom the Republic has given so much, are conspiring even now! The people of the Empire may rest safe, confident that he will not rest until their victory is complete, and their freedom assured! (More thunderous applause, ignoring the empty seats that ring the Senate chamber.)

Elsewhere, Padmé's ship (battered and scored) reunites with Bel-Iblis' rebel fleet, which already includes a pair of Trade Federation warships among its formation.

Later, Yoda, Obi-Wan, Bail, Cody, and Bel-Iblis are gathered in the lobby outside the medbay. Padmé went into labour on the way here, but the doctors say she's doing well. Cody notes that everything's changed now, and Bail agrees. Obi-Wan wonders how they can fight a war against the Empire with a single fleet, and Yoda points out that not the Jedis fight will this be. Too few they are. Too scattered. Leave this, they will, to more apt hands (Cody looks daunted --he's never trained to operate without Jedi oversight) Obi-Wan asks what they're to do then, and Yoda prophesies that Padmé is giving birth to a new hope for the galaxy. To safeguard this hope, to fan the sparks into a lasting flame, is the Jedis' duty now. Bail argues that "they" should be separated. Obi-Wan is holding Anakin's saber thoughtfully, and decides that he'll take Anakin's son to Tatooine. The boy has family there. He belongs where his father grew. Yoda agrees, and Bail says that he'll take "her" to Alderaan. She can pass as a member of the royal house. Yoda nods again. Decided it is. Wait, we will, and hide, and hope that this Darkness shall pass.

Elsewhere in the fleet, techs are hard at work, and Bel-Iblis arrives and asks the Senators if they are ready. Mon Mothma nods, and looks to Nute on one side, and the Camaasi on the other. Arhul is nearby, manning a holorecorder, and he nods and hits transmit. Mon Mothma's voice booms as she begins her speech, compelling the Free Beings of the galaxy to heed her words, and pledging not to recognize Imperial Authority. Too long have fundamental freedoms been ground under the heel of expediency. Too long have good people been used as pawns in corrupt power struggles. Too long has a single leader spoken for those he should be serving. The Empire is based on a corruption and treachery. Though outwardly strong, its core is rotten and it will fall.

As Mon Mothma's speech continues as a voice-over, we see Obi-Wan on Tatooine (time has been compressed for dramatic effect). He carries Luke in his arms as he trudges through the desert toward the Lars homestead. Owen greats him with a shotgun. Obi-Wan tries to explain himself, but Owen hears none of it; he knows better than to trust Jedi. It's Beru who darts past, and accepts the child, sharing a look of compassionate understanding with Obi-Wan. She steps back, and Owen eyes the child skeptically, keeping his gun aimed at Obi-Wan. Wordlessly, the last Jedi turns and walks off into the blowing sand. Alone.

Mon Mothma's speech continues as Bail's transport arrives on Alderaan. In the palace, his wife watches, her handmaids around her. He enters her chambers, and gestures a "follow me." Behind him, Padmé enters, wrapped in a cloak. Off to the side, a toddler with platinum-blonde hair peeks around a doorframe, watching.

(The child is Winter, Leia's childhood friend --a red herring to hide Leia's origin from the audience.)

Cut back to Mon Mothma's speech (witnessed via hologram), as she denies the legality of the Empire, and announces, on this day, her Rebellion against the Empire. A Rebellion to restore the Republic! The holotransmission breaks off, and Emperor Palpatine leans back in his throne, noting with satisfaction that all proceeds as he has forseen. He's addressing someone, and notes that he's glad that he (his audience) survived his unfortunate "accident." Behind him, a cloaked figure genuflects, black helmet gleaming, and a rumbling voice asks about the Rebellion. Will he wish them destroyed? No, Palpatine says. Not immediately. They too have a purpose to serve, he reminds his Apprentice. The cloaked figure nods, and draws a careful breath. . . (fade to black over the breathing).

We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.


Monday, January 16, 2006 5:42 AM


Pt. 3: Conclusion and Rationale

For those wondering why I rewrote most of RotS (aside from the fact that I just didn't like it), it's because of Lucas' main failure in his script, the one that proves he has no idea what makes the OT work, and even manages to retroactively ruin the three good SW movies (leaving the Ewok movies as the filmic high point of the franchise ).

See, the original movies draw all of their emotional force from three revelations, each of which has to hit the audience like a giant spear through the chest (to paraphrase a certain other movie). To wit:

(1) Darth Vader was Obi-Wan's apprentice, and is responsible for the death of Luke's father.
(2) Vader is Luke's father.
(3) Leia is Luke's sister.

There's a reason why That Scene in ESB is one of the most famous scenes in all of film-making, and it isn't the acting or effects. Vader's revelation has to both come completely out of left-field, and yet be utterly obvious in hindsight.

Lucas' original script spells out that Anakin Skywalker is now Darth Vader, and that he has two children, Luke, and Leia (Organa). You can't watch all 6 movies chronologically, or the originals will degenerate into a showcase of bad acting and merely half-decent writing.

We know who Darth Vader is the instant he walks onscreen, and we now have to work to recall that he doesn't know who Leia is. His revelation in ESB is an anticlimax, and Luke's epiphany about Leia is worse; the audience has wandered off to get more popcorn, or watch reruns of Fastlane, or something.

All I really did was hide some stuff and throw in red herrings. Now, Vader is a mystery:

-He could be Mace (big, deep-voiced, uses a Dark Side lightsaber style, suffered an "accident," named by Palpatine as a potential apprentice).
-Maybe it's Halmere, with his skulking around the Temple, sending younglings to their doom.
-No, he's Vialco (Obi-Wan's apprentice, responsible [indirectly, but responsible nonetheless] for Anakin's death, red lightsaber, black armour).
-Meanwhile, the EU reader (who has seen Halmere & Vialco alive and well post-ANH) is chuckling; confident that it's actually Quinlan Vos, who spent the entire prequel trilogy off-camera, wavering on the edge between Dark and Light.

Only in hindsight do we realize that we never actually saw Anakin's death.

As for the Rebellion sub-plot. . . Well, I'd heard that there's gonna be a live-action Star Wars series (apparently, it'll be called Clone Wars, likely retreading territory that the cartoon already did far better). Frankly, I think Star Wars: Rebellion would be a far better direction to go.

It'd chronicle the efforts of the burgeoning Rebel movement, up through the Corellian Treaty (that turns the scattered resistance pockets into the Rebel Alliance, under a centralized command --and causes Bel-Iblis to pull up stakes and move out on his own), through the frantic early battles and the Empire's rise to monolithic power. It'd star Commander Cody, heading up a small strike force (sort of Star Wars does SG-1, with Firefly's haphazard whatever-gear-we-can-scrounge aesthetic). Also, Republic clonetroopers had access to the latest state-of-the-art equipment and training. Now he's suddenly reduced to third-hand scavenged junk. The stormtroopers would be badass, the Rebels would be desperate (and frequently dead), and fallout from the Clone Wars would have everyone on edge. The former Republic clonetrooper now has to work side-by-side with the same (former) Separatists he was created to fight. (Remember those Geonosian bodyguards who escaped Mustafar? They'd be destined to be the first fully-CGI characters in an ongoing live-action show [something I've wanted to see for years].) And they're not too fond of him either. Throw in a few random criminals, drifters, and malcontents (the backbone of any successful terrorist organization) with no real military training between them, and maybe even a fugitive Jedi Padawan who saw her master killed before her eyes (and couldn't do anything), and you've got more drama than you could fit on a Reality Show. Add in the "any one of us could die at any time" sense of a truly good war movie, and it writes itself!

'Sides, who else but Star Wars (with it's multi-trillion dollar marketting juggernaut) could get away with making a TV series about terrorists?

It even has a built-in time-limit: as per the Republic Commando game, clonetroopers have a highly accellerated lifespan (the down side of growing them up to fighting age; they keep aging). Even if he retired today, Cody will be dead in S5 (it'll take makeup effects to keep him aging throughout the show). Of course, in his profession, natural life expectancy isn't really a factor. There may be a way to fix him, but Cody would never request such a mission. He's just a clone; made to be expendable (but what if one of his team-mates doesn't feel the same way --how would Mr. Cannon-fodder react to someone risking their life for him?)

(Just thinking about this is making me want to pick up a Cmdr. Cody action figure, my boycot of RotS merchandise nonwithstanding.)

The title is a pun, BTW. It's not just the story of a political rebellion. It's the story of a professional soldier, bred and programmed to Obey, to Conform, to follow orders without question, forced to fight a war against the very body he was created to serve. He's fighting his own nature.

There's 20 years of stories to bridge the gap between the prequels and the original series --that's ten years before the likes of Solo, Calrissian, Katarn and the like even become factors. Boba Fett is a teenager (15-16, as per the Last of the Jedi books), Han Solo is an orphan child living aboard a pirate cruiser (adopted by the Wookiee ship's cook), Bail Organa is working undercover in the Senate, and Colonel Tarkin is still gathering geniuses and establishing the top-secret Maw Installation. It'll be ten years before Operation Hammertong (i.e., the top secret construction of the Death Star) even gets off the drawing board.

We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.


Friday, September 8, 2006 4:22 PM


America loves a winner!

I'm a plannin' to see read this in full. Given half a chance.

People love a happy ending. So every episode, I will explain once again that I don't like people. And then Mal will shoot someone. Someone we like. And their puppy. - Joss

" They don't like it when you shoot at 'em. I worked that out myself. "


Saturday, September 9, 2006 10:11 AM


You were busy trying to get yourself lit on fire. It happens.

I'm bumping this because you put a lot of thought into it, and it sounds like you know what you're talking about (because I got a little confused with all the names, but it's okay).



Saturday, September 9, 2006 10:43 AM


Skimmed it, it's a lot to get through .

Seems well worked out, and your episode synopsis, for me, would have produced far better films that Lucas could. The prequels make me think that maybe he was just lucky with Star Wars, rather than talented.

Anyway, I'd also have Anakin as a fair bit older (assuming I didn't miss the part where you said this, if so disregard), very nice way of getting the under fives to want their parents to spend money on merchandising, giving them a hero and all, but it's BS. I can't accept a toddler flying a pod racer, let alone bringing down an entire invasion force in a fighter.

I mean what mother lets her young son fly in dangerous races, nor would she say "it's time for to go off on your own". He's 8 for sake, it's not time for him to go off on his own. I mean is this Woman running for the worst mother in the universe award or something?

Besides all backstory I've seen puts the ages of Obi Wan and Anakin MUCH closer together.

I wouldn't keep midichlorians, I just don't see the point of them, besides if they're a side effect of the force wouldn't everyone have them? The force is in all things, but only some individuals can feel it and control it.

Anyway just some thoughts.

More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.


Saturday, September 9, 2006 2:09 PM



Originally posted by Cybersnark:
Most importantly, Lucas should've focussed on someone who can write characters.

I believe that there are two main kinds of writers; those who write primarily for plot, and those who write primarily for characters.

in fact Lucas had huge help with the original three movies (I just hate the whole number thing...but of course I mean #4,5 &6)
from Lawrence Kasden (who is not great at plots, but really does wonderful characters and truly great dialog) without him Princess Leia would have been the same 2 dimensional ninny Padme was...

I guess it was some kind of misplaced pride that made Lucas go it alone for his lame-ass prequels.
Personally he managed to kill the saga for me.


Saturday, September 9, 2006 2:37 PM


Your films would of been better! My only major change to your ideas would be to simplify it a little, particually RoS, there's ALOT of different characters that while they would work in a book, would be a struggle for a film.

Here's how it might of been.... www.stillflying.net/


Saturday, September 9, 2006 6:38 PM


I love my captain

Gorramit! I want to see your version of things!!

It even fixes that annoying little thing about Leia's memories of her "real mother" who died when she was very young (as mentioned in RoT). Most of the people I know didn't even notice that bit but it annoyed the ever loving crap out of me!

There were a few parts that seemed a little far out for me but it was definately better than the version Lucas filmed. And my doubts might just center around the fact that I'm not all that familiar with the EU. I've played a few games and I've read maybe 1 book. Must remedy that.

And oh yes, Thank you sooooo much for giving Jar Jar a point! You do have a fine mind for characters. In my opinion, our dear friend George is far too excited by the pretty pretty lights of CGI. He lets the pretty pictures distract him from making a good film.


Op: You're fighting a war you've already lost.
Mal: Yeah, well I'm known for that.


Saturday, December 19, 2015 8:21 PM


Jar Jar Binks has been the scourge of the Star Wars universe derided as The Most Annoying Character Ever.

But fans can rest easy – Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy has revealed he definitely will not be in the new film The Force Awakens.

Kennedy told a news conference: ‘Jar Jar is definitely not in the movie.’

Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2015/12/07/good-news-star-wars-fans-jar-jar-binks-w




Saturday, December 26, 2015 2:54 PM


So many folks who don't post here anymore. :(


Saturday, December 26, 2015 3:11 PM


I resect your opinion but hide site is always 20/20, and FYI, I didn't think episodes 1 2 and 3 were bad. As a matter of fact I thought episode 3 was excellent. "The Empire Strikes Back" will never be topped, it's too though an act to follow. I'm waiting for after the holidays to see episode 7, I hate crowds, when I do I'll tell all of you what "I" think of it.... as if you guys care what "I" think.


Saturday, December 26, 2015 5:42 PM


The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at https://www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Originally posted by whozit:
I respect your opinion but hindsight is always 20/20 . . .

Here is a short excerpt from the opinion of someone who has enough distance from Star Wars to be analytical:

Our Star Wars Holiday Special

Star Wars shows us entire worlds being destroyed—genocides on a literally unimaginable scale—and then fades the horrors of those holocausts into the background, the better for us to obsess over the Skywalker family soap opera. Will Vader turn good or will Luke turn evil or will Kylo Ren come back home to his parents? Such narcissism is par for the course; the force is with the Skywalkers.

But at the same time, this monstrous ethical myopia is striking because of how a mastery of visual scale has always been one of the franchise’s trademarks; remember Darth Vader’s star destroyer filling the screen as it dwarfed and pursued Princess Leia’s tiny diplomatic ship, or all the great set-pieces of small ships flying inside big ships. At the level of cinematography, the franchise’s mastery of visual perspective is sublime; why, then, is its lack of moral proportion so flagrant? What are we to do with figures like the pacifist Storm Trooper who reclaims his humanity because he refuses to kill, and who then goes on to kill dozens (or hundreds) of nameless Storm Troopers because, as Storm Troopers, they aren’t human? It makes no sense when you stop and think about it.

The real question, then, is whether you should stop and think about it.

Lots of people have done so, laboriously struggling to work out how it all does makes sense, adding stories and details and characters to turn a radically simplistic and mythically shallow set of stories into something that resembles the logic of the real world. For decades, the “expanded universe” was the umbrella term for this enterprise of filling in the gaps, the novelizations and video games and other archives of canon, less canon, and sub-canon material that made a set of flickering films into a universe. That’s all gone now; Disney destroyed it all with as little ceremony as it blew up the Hosnian system, the necessary blank space in which to build its own empire. Millions of voices cried out and were silenced, but now, a new revenue stream flows through the galaxy.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Saturday, December 26, 2015 6:14 PM



Originally posted by second:

Originally posted by whozit:
I respect your opinion but hindsight is always 20/20 . . .

Here is a short excerpt from the opinion of someone who has enough distance from Star Wars to be analytical:

Our Star Wars Holiday Special

Star Wars shows us entire worlds being destroyed—genocides on a literally unimaginable scale—and then fades the horrors of those holocausts into the background, the better for us to obsess over the Skywalker family soap opera. Will Vader turn good or will Luke turn evil or will Kylo Ren come back home to his parents? Such narcissism is par for the course; the force is with the Skywalkers.

But at the same time, this monstrous ethical myopia is striking because of how a mastery of visual scale has always been one of the franchise’s trademarks; remember Darth Vader’s star destroyer filling the screen as it dwarfed and pursued Princess Leia’s tiny diplomatic ship, or all the great set-pieces of small ships flying inside big ships. At the level of cinematography, the franchise’s mastery of visual perspective is sublime; why, then, is its lack of moral proportion so flagrant? What are we to do with figures like the pacifist Storm Trooper who reclaims his humanity because he refuses to kill, and who then goes on to kill dozens (or hundreds) of nameless Storm Troopers because, as Storm Troopers, they aren’t human? It makes no sense when you stop and think about it.

The real question, then, is whether you should stop and think about it.

Lots of people have done so, laboriously struggling to work out how it all does makes sense, adding stories and details and characters to turn a radically simplistic and mythically shallow set of stories into something that resembles the logic of the real world. For decades, the “expanded universe” was the umbrella term for this enterprise of filling in the gaps, the novelizations and video games and other archives of canon, less canon, and sub-canon material that made a set of flickering films into a universe. That’s all gone now; Disney destroyed it all with as little ceremony as it blew up the Hosnian system, the necessary blank space in which to build its own empire. Millions of voices cried out and were silenced, but now, a new revenue stream flows through the galaxy.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

In episodes 1 2 and 3 we knew Anakin Skywalker would become Darth Vader, but how? Disney has nothing to do with this, the story tellers are in control, I hope they don't fuck this up.


Saturday, December 26, 2015 10:35 PM


The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at https://www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Originally posted by whozit:

Disney has nothing to do with this, the story tellers are in control, I hope they don't fuck this up.

I am sorry, but you're too late with that critical insight because in The Force Awakens Luke Skywalker closed his Jedi school when a student went Columbine on everyone else. Luke, like any proper savior of the universe who learned a lot about maturity and responsibility over the years, well...Luke just fucked off after that. You know, Luke told himself, “I saved the universe, but now I'm sad. Blah blah ancient prophecies I'm sure it'll all work out. Sorry nine billion dead people. Later babes.” That could actually be a very compelling character arc for the next episode: Luke the Slacker reopens his Jedi School with only two students: Rey & Finn. Luke teaches them to sing and dance with the teacher learning from his students. Whoops, that's High School Musical.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Sunday, December 27, 2015 12:23 AM



Originally posted by reaverfan:
So many folks who don't post here anymore. :(

To be fair, this thread is near 10yrs old.
What kinda rube sticks around a message board for that long? :p






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