Star Wars- The Alternate Prequel Trilogy: Episode One
The Best Review Of The Phantom Menace You'll See Anywhere
Prior to 1999, I had never had a bad word to say about the Star Wars franchise. But all that changed, when I went to see Episode I: The Phantom Menace. I remember entering the cinema expecting to see another classic piece of space opera, but left it scratching my head, wondering what on earth I’d just seen. Had I been watching Star Wars or some cheesy film aimed at little kids? Three years later, I went to see the second film with lower expectations, but still confident that George Lucas was capable of getting Star Wars back on track. How wrong I was, once more I sat through two hours of video game action that lacked any sort of story or any decent dialogue for that matter. I remember the two things that really irked me in that film was the revelation that Boba Fett, a cool and mysterious bounty hunter from the original films was nothing more than a clone created by some long necked aliens on a water world. The other, was watching Yoda jump around with a lightsaber. I’d always assumed that a Jedi of Yoda’s power was above common fighting and instead just used the force. By 2005, my enthusiasm for Star Wars was at an all time low, and yet I still went to see the third film, probably because the critics were saying that this was the best of the lot. I must admit on first impression, it looked a good film, and I remember leaving the cinema thinking ’now that’s a Star Wars film!’
However, as time has progressed my opinion of the third film has declined rapidly. I watched the film again with a dispassionate attitude, and through that all of the faults that had marred the other two films surfaced in this one. The bad dialogue, the bad acting, the overuse of CGI and elements of the story that made no sense whatsoever. It would be easy for me to waste my time venting my frustrations, but I came up with a much better idea, why not get creative and try to re-imagine a prequel trilogy that may have looked good, had it been developed into a film. So here it is:
A Mandalorian Warrior
A Planet Under Siege
The Jedi Temple
The Two Main Heroes
Home Sweet Home
Mos Eisley- A Wretched Hive Of Scum And Villainy
The City Planet
The Battle For Mandalore
Obi Wan And Lord Maul Do Battle
The Greatest Jedi Of Them All
More On Star Wars
Episode One: The Beginning
Our story opens with a huge fleet of space warships gliding slowly towards an Earth like planet called Naboo. They proceed to enter the planet’s atmosphere and carry out devastating bombing raids against the largely undefended cities. Troop carrying ships appear, which deposit thousands of armoured warriors who descend to the surface by sliding down wires ejected from the undercarriage. The warriors look vaguely familiar, they wear similar armour and helmets to the bounty hunter Boba Fett; the helmets even possess the characteristic T-shaped visor. The warriors and the warships devastate the planet’s cities extraordinarily quickly, before rapidly withdrawing back into space.
Meanwhile, on the jungle planet of Yavin, a Jedi Knight called Obi Wan Kenobi is called before the Jedi Council, who dwell inside an ancient temple. They inform him of the disturbing events on Naboo and other similar worlds located on the Outer Rim and dispatch him to try and uncover the mystery.
Obi Wan’s investigations reveal something truly astounding. The mysterious warriors are in actual fact Mandalorians, a fierce warrior race thought to be long extinct, after being supposedly destroyed by the Republic. But apparently not, some must have escaped into exile and built the army up over time.
However, Obi Wan’s findings reveal something even more disturbing than previously imagined. The Republic’s perception of the Mandalorians was that, despite being fierce and violent, they were primitive in terms of hi-tech technology. But through Obi Wan’s findings, that perception was discredited because somehow, they have managed to obtain the technology to create fully functioning clones, which has allowed them to build a large army in a very short space of time. The Mandalorians being warmongers by nature, felt it only natural to seek revenge against the people who very nearly destroyed them, the Republic.
Obi Wan travels to the Mandalorian home-world, Mandalore and to his utter dismay discovers a large town sized factory, which surely must be their cloning facility. However, subterfuge isn’t one of Obi Wan’s strengths and he is compromised, falling under attack from Mandalorian ships. He escapes, barely and manages to limp to the nearest inhabited planet, a desert world called Tatooine.
He lands in the spaceport of Mos Eisley and seeks out anyone who might be able to repair his ship. But even the most confident mechanics he speaks to declare that it’ll be several weeks before his ship will be space worthy. Frustrated, Obi Wan has no choice but to seek out a pilot. He enters a dark and dingy bar, where, unsurprisingly for a man who had spent his entire life on Yavin stuck out like a sore thumb. Within no time at all, he begins to attract the wrong kind of crowd. Fortunately for him, he’s rescued by a young moisture farmer called Owen Lars, who quickly whisks him away. Obi Wan explains the dire situation he’s in to Owen who reassures him that he knows a pilot, who, in actual fact is lodging with him.
Back at the familiar Lars homestead, Owen introduces Obi Wan to a young pilot called Anakin Skywalker who has his own ship and is a freelance trader. Anakin and Obi Wan go inside to discuss business, while Owen helps his wife Beru with some chores. When Anakin hears where Obi Wan wishes to travel to, he refuses bluntly. Coruscant is far too dangerous for a freelance pilot, but Obi Wan wins him over by offering a substantial amount of cash. Anakin, agrees on the condition that they make a slight detour so that he can make a delivery.
Some time later Anakin and Obi Wan approach a backwater Outer Rim planet called Utapau. But instead of taking the standard route, he takes a rather out of the way approach, while at the same activating a cloaking device, which he explains to Obi Wan helps him to evade the security force. Obi Wan becomes suspicious and asks why such a move was necessary, leading to Anakin revealing that some of the cargo is contraband. All of a sudden appalled, Obi Wan elects to lecture Anakin on the wickedness of his ways, and declares that he will not travel with a common smuggler; he intends to find alternative transport once they land.
While Anakin makes the delivery, Obi Wan attempts to seek out alternative transport, but the pilots view him, his offer of money and his destination with justified suspicion. Word soon spreads among the pilots, and they all give him a wide berth. It soon dawns on him, that Utapau is a smugglers moon, and so, sheepishly he returns to Anakin. But Anakin is no longer interested in transporting a man who believes that he is somehow better than himself and refuses Obi Wan’s apology.
However, the matter is taken out of Anakin’s hand, when a Mandalorian battle fleet arrives, bringing a reign of fire down on the planet. Anakin whisks Obi Wan back on to his ship and makes a quick exit.
During the course of the escape, Obi Wan assists with the piloting duties. Somehow they escape relatively unscathed. Obi Wan cannot help but admire Anakin’s piloting skills, he’s easily the best pilot he’s ever encountered. However, Obi Wan quickly suspects that Anakin’s exceptional skills lie far beyond the realms of a normal man. He believes that Anakin is strong in the Force and perhaps has the potential to achieve greater things. Anakin, meanwhile having witnessed the destructive power of the Mandalorians first hand, agrees that the Senate on Coruscant needs to be informed, and plots a course for the capital of the Republic.
The story now switches to Coruscant, a huge planet completely covered in a global city, and to the massive Senate building, where inside the forum, a rather unknown Senator called Palpatine takes the floor and begins a passionate argument that the Republic, which is basically a loose federation of allied planets (basically a Star Wars version of the EU) cannot survive the onslaught of the Mandalorians in its present state. He states no planet can stand up to the Mandalorians alone. He proposes that the Republic form a temporary, voluntary unified army, the Republic Army to try and take the battle to the invaders. He insists that this must be done, or, one by one planets will fall into enemy hands.
Obi Wan and Anakin arrive on Coruscant, and the Jedi immediately asks to be granted an audience with the Senate. As a Jedi, his request is automatically granted. It’s only now that both Obi Wan and Anakin begin to realise just how far out of their comfort zone they are. For both men, it’s their first experience of huge crowds and massive buildings, and the pair begin to form a bond, as they attempt to adapt to their new surroundings. Obi Wan relays his findings to the Senate, placing emphasis on the fact that the Mandalorian forces are increasing in number all of the time. All of a sudden, with that revelation, the bickering Senators suddenly come to an agreement that forming a unified Republican army is the best course of action, and in no time at all, dozens of planets both great and small offer their services. The Senate request that Obi Wan be appointed general, so that he can lead an offensive against the main cloning facility on Mandalore. They believe that as a Jedi, he reserves no bias or favouritism towards a particular planet, plus all planets trust the wisdom and judgement of a Jedi. Obi Wan agrees to the task on the condition that Anakin be allowed to participate, which the Senate agrees.
The story now switches to the primary cloning facility on Mandalore. Two great war fleets face off against each other in a huge and epic battle. On one side, defending their planet the Mandalorians, and on the other, the newly formed Republican army. Anakin coordinates the space and air battle, while Obi Wan takes charge of the action on the ground. He needs to shut down the planetary defences in order for the spacecraft to bombard the facility. But shockingly, Obi Wan gets more than he bargained for when he comes face to face with a Sith warrior, Lord Maul. To Obi Wan, the Sith were a mere myth conjured up by storytellers to frighten children. But the sight of a drawn red lightsaber brings the reality home to the young JedI, and a lightsaber battle ensues. Maul’s skill and speed are breathtaking and nearly succeeds in killing Obi Wan. But, just as he is about to deliver the killing blow, a reign of fire descends upon the facility and surrounding area. Momentarily distracted, Maul loses sight of Obi Wan, who manages to escape, barely. The battle ends in a victory for the Republic, with the primary facility out of action, surely the Mandalorian threat is over.
Anakin and Obi Wan travel to Yavin, where Obi Wan presents the young pilot to the Jedi Council. He requests that he be able to take Anakin as his apprentice. The council members seem shocked, they declare in unison that he is too old. But soon fall quiet as Yoda scrutinises Anakin closely. He agrees that he is too old, but he also reveals that the boy is full of fear and anger, remarking that there is a darkness in him, and fears a great danger during his training. The decision is final, Obi Wan’s request is denied. Utterly dejected Anakin makes preparations to return to his smuggling life. But Obi Wan is unwilling to lose a young man who had become a firm friend. Moreover, he’s not willing to see Anakin’s amazing potential simply go to waste. He informs Anakin, that the Republican Army have offered them both high ranking positions within it. He also promises that he will teach Anakin the ways of the force himself, one way or another he will become a Jedi. Anakin’s spirits lift significantly and he agrees to the proposal.
Meanwhile, back in the ancient Jedi Temple, the council continue to discuss Obi Wan’s revelation about the re-emergence of the Sith and what part they are playing in the strange events that have unfolded recently. Despite the fact, that the Mandalorians have lost their primary facility, they still possess a huge war fleet and represent the greatest threat that the Republic has ever known. More and more planets volunteer their services to the Republican army, in order to safeguard their freedom. The Republic may have won the Battle of Mandalore, but the Clone Wars have only just begun.
More to follow…