Star Wars- The Alternate Prequel Trilogy: Episode Two
The Super Weapon
A Glimpse Into The Future- The Destruction Of Alderaan
Enter Anakin's Love Interest
The Battle Of Alderaan
The Anger Within
Anakin Unleashes His Anger
This is the moment where Anakin first loses control of himself as presented by George Lucas. In this story though, Anakin's explosive temper leads to greater destruction, when he force blasts Lord Maul against a multi-storey building. The resulting impact sends the building crashing down, killing hundreds of Republican and Mandalorian soldiers.
The Truth Hurts
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Episode Two: Balance Of Power
The Star Wars story has lurched forward a total of ten years, and the Clone Wars, the fierce conflict between the warrior race known as the Mandalorians and the Galactic Republic is still raging, although the end is now in sight. The Mandalorians have lost virtually all of their cloning facilities, and most of the clones themselves, due to the fact their average lifespan is only around ten years due to the need of rapid growth. The Mandalorian fleet is shrinking even quicker, its been a war of attrition and it looks as though the Republic will prevail.
Obi Wan and Anakin have both become highly decorated, and deeply respected leaders in the Republican army, and share such a close bond that many people believe them to be brothers. Obi Wan has continued to train Anakin in secret, and has watched Anakin progress alarmingly fast, flourishing in his Force skills, and even managing to build his own lightsaber at the first attempt.
However, Obi Wan remains blissfully unaware that Anakin has in fact already surpassed his master in terms of ability. But they share such a close bond, that Anakin is resolved never to mention this to a man he loves in the same way as a brother. Anakin’s powers though, are reaching a stage where they are beginning to frighten him, and he feels a little lost because he cannot turn to Obi Wan for support. Over the last ten years, Anakin has developed a bond with Palpatine; when we left him he was just another Senator, now he is the Chancellor, the equivalent to the President. Anakin’s relationship with Palpatine is slightly different to the one he has with Obi Wan, while he loves Obi Wan like a brother, Palpatine has become more like a father figure, a father that he did not have when he was a child.
Meanwhile, intelligence gathered by Republican spies seems to suggest that the Mandalorians are aware that the end is nigh. Therefore they intend to carry out one big last all out assault against the planet of Alderaan. Star Wars fans may recall that this was the planet destroyed by the Death Star and also, was a planet known for being peaceful and totally without weaponry of any kind. But in this era, Alderaan is a militarised planet and producer of some of the Republic’s most sophisticated weapons. The Republic initially think that the Mandalorians wish to destroy the planet’s military facilities as retribution for the destruction of their cloning facilities. But soon, something even more disturbing comes to light. Apparently, the Alderaanians have been developing an apocalyptic weapon in secret, a weapon rumoured to be capable of destroying an entire planet. The Mandalorians want to steal this technology and turn the tide of the war back in their favour.
The Senate, who by now are firmly under Palpatine’s control state firmly that they will not authorise the Republican army to come to Alderaan’s aid. The Republican army has managed to spread the Mandalorian fleet right across the galaxy, if they were to suddenly concentrate the bulk of their forces to defend one planet, based on intelligence that may not be accurate could have devastating consequences. There was an outside chance that the Alderaan assault is a decoy, in the hope that the Republic commit the bulk of its forces, while the Mandalorians seize the poorly defended planets. Plus, Palpatine points out that the Alderaan shouldn’t need extra defence, it should be perfectly capable of defending itself, with the amount of armoury it possesses.
However, Obi Wan is only too aware that the loss of Alderaan would spell doom for the Republic, so elects to travel to the planet himself. This puts Anakin in a rather difficult position, as he must choose between his ‘brother’ and his ‘father’. Fortunately for Obi Wan, Anakin chooses to remain at his side, but only after serious contemplation on Anakin’s part. Obi Wan and Anakin manage to convince the Alderaanian leaders about the severity of the danger they face. It’s at this juncture that our two main characters split up; Anakin remains on Alderaan and assists with the defensive preparations, while Obi Wan travels to nearby planets seeking support for Alderaan’s cause. He appeals to them to remember that they are still sovereign planets, independent of the Republic. He begs them to pull their forces out of the Republican army for Alderaan’s sake.
Meanwhile, back on Alderaan, Anakin has met a female soldier called Padme, who at first displays a cold attitude to Anakin’s rather brash personality. But eventually she warms to him, recognising that underneath all of the bravado, there’s a good man. During rare quiet moments, she takes the opportunity to show him the wondrous things her planet has to offer, and passionately explains why she and her people will fight to the last to preserve it. Both of them, recognise the threat of annihilation hanging over their heads, and their friendship soon turns into love.
Obi Wan’s hard work has brought little reward as only six planets offer their services to Alderaan. Having to be content with what little he has, he proceeds to mobilise the defence force around the planet as best and quickly as he can.
The Mandalorians attack with devastating ferocity, using kamikaze tactics to try and shatter the Alderaanian defences. They manage to create a breach and land an invasion force led by the Sith Lord Maul, who you may remember from Episode one. Anakin and Obi Wan are the only two men who can possibly stand up to Maul, so endeavour to engage and destroy him. However, Obi Wan barely escaped with his life last time, and Maul has had ten years to hone his skills as a fighter. He easily defeats Obi Wan knocking him unconscious. But Anakin is a different proposition altogether, the young Republic hero unleashes an anger that had previously been buried deep inside his mind. Maul cannot contain him, and struggles to stay in the fight. Anakin then hits Maul with a Force blast so powerful that not only does he kill Maul, but also destroys a multi storey building killing hundreds of people from both sides in the process. Anakin recovers his senses and flees the scene, totally shocked and horrified at what he has done.
The battle ends with the Mandalorians utterly defeated, ending the Clone Wars once and for all. But the once prosperous planet of Alderaan has paid a heavy price. Most of their major cities have been flattened, their population utterly decimated. Still reeling in shock, Alderaan’s leaders, which include Bail Organa pass new law prohibiting the possession and manufacture of any kind of weaponry. Alderaan they declare, is to become a pacifist planet.
With the Clone Wars over, you could be forgiven that everything would just return to normal in the galaxy, but this story still has a fair way to run. Palpatine continues to twist the Senate around his little finger by proclaiming that the Jedi committed treachery by ‘forcing’ planets loyal to the Republic to disobey the Senate. However, any hopes of leniency being shown to the 'rebel' planet is shattered, when he accuses those planets who complied with Obi Wan’s request of treachery too. He blasts their decision to abandon their Republican comrades, and declares that the Clone Wars had gone long enough and cost too many lives to risk the Republic splitting apart. In a drastic move he declares martial law to bring the so called ‘Separatists’ to heel.
The Senate erupts into noisy protest, with many planetary representatives publicly vowing to withdraw their forces from the Republican army. However, their decision of course, means that Palpatine and those loyal to him will come after them. The excommunicated planets elect to join together to form the Separatist Confederacy. Fearing the destruction of all that he holds dear, Anakin approaches Palpatine and appeals to him to see reason and stop this madness. Palpatine though instead of losing his cool, reveals calmly to Anakin that he knows about his powers, and how they have seemingly grown beyond Anakin’s ability to control. Instead of preaching and lecturing to the young man, he encourages him to embrace the awesome power he has. Power is the path to glory, he states.
He then goes further by revealing that the Clone Wars was just one big massive charade masterminded by himself. He was the one who shared the secret of cloning with the Mandalorians, because he believed that both his and their intentions were compatible. Anakin still fails to comprehend, so Palpatine finally reveals that he is a Sith Master, he tells Anakin about the Sith, who were an ancient race of people who learned to harness the awesome power of the Dark Side of the Force. He also explains how the Republic, blinded by Jedi lies waged war on the noble Sith, destroyed their civilisation and turned them into slaves. Eventually, he explains, the Sith became extinct, but fortunately their magic survived, passed down through the millennia from master to apprentice until the time came for the Sith to reveal themselves and exact revenge for what the Jedi and the Republic did. He tells Anakin that he knows that he killed Maul, but instead of anger, he smiles and explains that with Maul now dead he needs a new apprentice. He openly offers Anakin the chance to replace Maul, offering him the chance to teach him things that Obi Wan wasn’t even able to conceive. Anakin though, is not so easily seduced and bluntly refuses to join, and attacks Palpatine. But the Sith Master is far too powerful and defeats Anakin without barely lifting a finger. With a simple, almost lazy gesture he tosses Anakin out of the window. The young man survives barely, but somehow he’s aware that if Palpatine really wanted to destroy him he could, he knew that the Chancellor had spared him. Shaken and battered he retires to Alderaan, finding comfort in the arms of Padme. Thus concludes Episode Two.
More to follow…