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In this thread I will detail my outline for a new film entitled "Star Wars Episode I: In the Age of the Jedi". Before I do that, though, I thought it might be appropriate to give short biographies of the most important characters in the film. Here goes nothing...
Ben Cortel (born 55 BBY) - The protagonist of the trilogy. A half-Chiss, half-Human captain of the smuggling freighter Belisarion. Ben is down on his luck because the threat of galactic war has shut down all the usual spice trade routes. He is a wily character who cares for little except for amassing credits through the use of his knack for defying the odds. This changes when he starts to realize his place in the order of the Jedi. But little does Ben know that his latent Force-sensitivity will let him shape the destiny of the galaxy in ways that no-one can foresee...
Jeni Lars (born 50 BBY) - Navigator of the Belisarion. Her long and complex relationship with Ben has put the pair at odds with each other. Jeni turned down a potentially-promising career in politics alongside Bail Organa in favor of free-wheeling about the galaxy as an independent star pilot. Like her cohort Ben, Jeni is not one to be loyal to a greater authority. The crew of the Belisarion takes what it needs, when it needs, with little regard for the Republic's reaction. What Jeni does not yet realize, is the role she will play in the fate of the galaxy and the Jedi...
Legate Ceres (born 66 BBY) - The supreme leader of the League, a union of secessionist alien worlds bent on exterminating Humanity. Her war against the Human race accompanies her crusade against the light side of the Force, putting her at odds with the Jedi, those she once called her comrades. It is realized only too late that her hatred of the Human species stems from being abused by her Human father, who killed her Zygerrian mother. She personally issues the order that begins the Clone Wars, the seminal conflict of the galactic chronicle...
Anakin Skywalker (born 59 BBY) - A powerful Jedi Knight who hides a fiery, vengeful soul under a placid exterior. Anakin's torn past is betrayed by his mechanical right arm. His bitter vendetta against Ceres will have long-reaching consequences, not just for the course of the Clone Wars, but for the fate of the Jedi and the galaxy at large...
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*cheers you on* I look forward to reading more. Good character descriptions, reminds me I need to think more about motivations.
This is not a lightsaber. Nor a euphemism.
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Thank you for the encouragement, Mrebo!
As much as I am averse to the "floating head" school of movie poster design, I must concede that Ben, Jeni, Anakin, and Ceres would be the perfect characters to display should this project ever be realized in such a format.
Oh, and uh.....more coming soon!
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Bail Organa (born 67 BBY) - The Senator representing Alderaan. Bail has shown a growing discontent with the militant, xenophobic ways of Antior's reign. He senses more acutely than any other Senator that all-out war with the League is nigh. It is at the beginning of Episode I that he sees the unequivocal death of liberty. Ever the philosopher, Bail can forsee the one possible outcome when two massive forces collide...
Zero (built 45 BBY) - The engineering droid aboard the Belisarion. Zero is a capable assistant, programmed to manage astrogation, damage control, and encrypting and decrypting sub-space signals. He sometimes displays a comical mis-understanding of basic biological principles, as well an aloofness towards the emotions of sentient beings. But Zero is always there for Jeni and Ben, through thick and thin...
Chancellor Antior (born 85 BBY) - The self-important and highly paranoid leader of the Republic, elected into office with the help of widespread pro-Human sentiment throughout the Core. He earnestly believes that he is doing the right thing by passing into law a new order requiring the internment of "suspicious non-Human individuals" throughout Republic space, including any non-Human Senators who speak out against him. But even his bloated ego cannot sustain the state for long. Indeed, Antior will prove to be as clumsy as he is foolish...
Commander Cev'ko (born 80 BBY) - Esteemed leader of the Republic's 22nd Naval Defense Task Force, veteran of numerous brushfire wars and attempted insurrections. Cev'ko believes in defending the rights of the Republic citizenry, regardless of individual creed or species, putting him ideologically at odds with the militant Humanocentrists who have recently taken power in the Republic's military. When the drums of war beat anew, Cev'ko hears his calling. Fight the foes of liberty, until you can't...
Five more descriptions to go. Then the story begins. I'm doing it this way because I had a hard time writing a concise story outline while also describing the characters' personalities. So instead I chose to do those two things separately.
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Obi-Wan Kenobi (born 124 BBY) - The de facto leader of the Jedi Knights; though there exists no official hierarchy, the other Knights respect Kenobi enough that they follow his directives anyway. Kenobi has provided training and counsel for all of the order’s Jedi for the past fifty years, but his final apprentice Anakin proved to be a unique case. Obi-Wan was in awe at the amazing potential for both goodness and cruelty contained in a single person. Though he has tirelessly kept peace and justice throughout space for decades, the prospect of a galaxy-scale conflict is testing even for a venerable old Master like Obi-Wan...
Commander Hossk (born 103 BBY) - A League fleet officer of Trandoshan origin. Hossk is a ragged, cruel being who believes in survival of the fittest. After clawing his way out of the litter, he saw little but cruelty at the hands of Outer Rim slavers who passed him between Human masters for a number of years. This was all the motivation he needed to take up arms against Humanity. Hossk's years of service in insurrectionist fleets gave way to being crowned a fleet officer in the League navy, as well as a mechanical prosthetic leg resulting from battle. Hossk has a habit of consuming the raw flesh of those enemies that are unlucky enough to be his prisoners...
Three descriptions remaining. Palpatine will not be one of them; he is not seen or mentioned until Episode II.
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Kaalib (born 73 BBY) - A male Human Jedi who always wears a cloth band around his eyes. Harboring a disdain for cybernetics, Kaalib passed up the opportunity to regain his vision through mechanical prosthetics. Instead, he chose to hone his Force sensory abilities to such an extent that he can now detect things that would be impossible to see, as well as react to events almost before they happen. Kaalib has a crusading personality; he has buried himself in his lifelong journey of bringing light to those who need it, and confronting the dark ones wherever they rear their heads...so that he can forget the family that he lost as a result of bigotry towards his Force sensivity. "My eyes deceived me. Only after I lost them was I truly able to see." It is from Kaalib's example that Obi-Wan placed the blast shield helmet over Luke's head decades later, as a lesson in how to perceive with the Force.
Orannu (born 61 BBY) - A male Mon Calamari Jedi. Orannu is the most brazenly humorous of the Jedi, leading to him getting along very well with Ben. His Force-influenced perspective on life has given him a zen sense of light-heartedness, even in the most dire situations. Though he also feels very strongly about using his powers to help those in need, Orannu does not take the same heavy tone to the task as most of his fellow Knights. He is an adept star pilot, in addition to an expert in telekinesis.
Hirala (born 94 BBY) - A female Anzat Jedi. Obi-Wan may have introduced the audience to the Jedi mind trick, but Hirala elevates it to an art form. Because of this, she is the most inclined to psychoanalyze others. Her powers are effective at peacefully mediating disputes between belligerent parties. She wishes to bring her former apprentice Ceres back from the dark side by these means, putting her at odds with the vindictive Skywalker. Although she carries a reputation for diplomacy, Hirala is not afraid to use her considerable telekinetic ability and piloting skills to eliminate foes in self-defense.
That's it for character bios. I'll post the first part of the story next. I am spreading the comic relief aspect between Orannu, Ben, and Zero.
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The year is 25 BBY. War is brewing between the Galactic Republic and the League of Sovereign Planets. Our saga begins on Coruscant, with Senator Bail Organa entering the office of Chancellor Antior.
Antior has called Bail to his presence in order to request the Senator's support in a new law requiring the internment of non-Humans throughout the Republic on the suspicion that they may be collaborating with the League. Bail is outraged by the racist measure and, after some heated argument with Antior, storms out of the office, tossing aside his senatorial brooch as a sign of his resignation of the senatorial position.
Bail realizes that all-out war is imminent because of the extreme measures being resorted to on both sides of the issue. He realizes that his capacity as a Republic Senator is no longer useful...so he would rather be with his wife Breha on Alderaan when the unthinkable (but inevitable) happens. Bail makes his way to a bar in the nether-regions of Coruscant, where his friend Ben Cortel can provide passage to Alderaan, bypassing the planetary blockade...
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I was really excited by your character descriptions, but then immediately felt lost with your first post of the actual story. I felt like I was being thrust into tax disputes all over again, okay, maybe not that bad. What war? Who is the League of Sovereign Planets and why are they in opposition to the Galactic Republic? What is the war over? What extreme measures were taken? Why? What is their relationship to each other? What are their motivations?
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What war? Who is the League of Sovereign Planets and why are they in opposition to the Galactic Republic? What is the war over? What extreme measures were taken? Why? What is their relationship to each other? What are their motivations?
Those are all perfectly logical questions. I will do my best to answer them.
The League of Sovereign Planets is a coalition of alien worlds that have banded together in order to combat the perceived Humanocentricism of the Republic. Most of the League's members believe that the playing field ought to be leveled, with regards to the power that the various races have in the galaxy. The more radical types want to see Humans exterminated altogether.
The League sees itself as having been disenfranchised (economically, politically, and socially) and taken advantage of by the Humans overseeing the Republic. As an aside, not *all* non-Human species have joined the League. But because of the League's military buildup (through the use of cloning technology that has been banned in Republic space), aliens in the Republic are looked upon with fear and suspicion, with certain elements of the Core (such as the Chancellor) calling for their systematic internment.
Others still want the aliens to be enslaved and eventually wiped out...these people will form the nucleus of the Empire.
So as you see, the Clone Wars turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. The hatred and xenophobia on both sides provides the tinder with which one spark will immolate the entire galaxy.
The "extreme measures" are the Republic's buildup of military forces coupled with an increasingly potent attitude of xenophobia in the higher circles of authority. For the League, the extreme measures are the recent induction of a hundred worlds in less than two years and the synthesis of armies of genetically-engineered supersoldier clones, copies of the greatest warriors of so many races.
I put quite a bit of thought into the causes of the Clone Wars. I demanded that they be as different as possible from the causes suggested in the Lucas prequels. Hell, I'm still not sure why those were fought. Something about tax disputes, I think.
But my attempt at rationalizing the Clone Wars involves a lot of Third Reich-style drawing of battle lines based on race. It reinforces the "us vs. them" atmosphere needed for a titanic existential conflict that ultimately ends in the destruction of both factions...only to have the spoils ruled over by an even greater menace: the Empire.
I hope that clears things up. More of the outline will come soon.
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Aboard the Fire of Exodus, flagship of the League fleet...
Commander Hossk stands at attention on the bridge of the starcruiser, officers of many species working at the consoles around him, performing essential star-craft duties such as astrogation. Hossk speaks to a hologram of his commander-in-chief, Ceres. She orders a sit-rep, to which Hossk replies that all ships in his fleet have amassed at the rendezvous point above Kessel and are awaiting her command. Ceres orders a commencement of attack and bids the commander farewell. Hossk complies, and the warships jump into hyperspace...
In the seediest bar on Coruscant...
Ben Cortel has just used the Force to cheat in a Sabacc game against rival smuggler Hal Dagman, earning a large sum of credits and spice in the process. Hal stomps away dejectedly after giving a thinly-veiled threat to his competitor.
As Ben is counting his winnings, Bail shows up and greets his friend. He requests passage to Alderaan that can avoid any "Republic entanglements", promising to pay Ben a sum when they get to Alderaan. Ben waives the fee entirely, not just because of his recent winnings, but also because he is on good enough terms with Bail.
The two men go to the hangar bay where Ben has docked his freighter, the Belisarion. Inside Bail tells Ben about goings-on in the higher political circles, with no fear of consequences after having relinquished his Senate position. Ben cares little for the over-arching political machinations at work, focusing instead on Bail's remarkable brazenness when he threw away his Senate brooch.
We see Zero making last minute flight checks before Jeni returns from an arms dealer, newly-modified blaster holstered at the thigh...not unlike another smuggler who will one day help decide the fate of the galaxy.
With Bail and the crew aboard, the Belisarion takes off. But as the freighter leaves the skyscraper-laden stratosphere, a massive fleet of alien warships jumps out of hyperspace just outside Coruscant's gravity well. The League force is far larger than any of the Republic's military strategists had predicted.
Furious pillars of plasma and light rain down from the sky and vaporize thousands of beings each second on Coruscant. The defensive detachment in orbit scrambles to put up a fight, but it is ultimately not enough to hold off such a concentrated assault.
Ben and Jeni expertly weave through the battle, sustaining only a single hit on a starboard maneuvering thruster. Zero hovers over there to patch up the damage with whatever parts he can bring to his disposal. There is chaos and warfare all around the Belisarion. Ships on both sides plummet to fiery deaths, exploding like a hundred suns. Bail really hated being right about the war.
The Fire of Exodus moves into position above Coruscant's seat of government and lets loose with every weapon at its disposal. All of the Senators and other officials on the planet perish in flames, the government complex rendered a smoldering crater.
As Zero finally makes the necessary repair, Ben and Jeni have moved the Belisarion to the edge of Coruscant's gravity well. The battle is essentially over at this point, and League gunships are mopping up any survivors. Two gunships then pursue the Belisarion through space. Evasive maneuvers give way to a decisive jump into hyperspace, on to Alderaan...
On the Fire of Exodus...
As the last pockets of resistance on Coruscant are being wiped out, Ceres shows up in person via shuttle to greet her subordinate Hossk. She congratulates the Trandoshan for his victory. As a reward, Ceres orders a pair of Red Nikto clone warriors to bring the captive Chancellor Antior to Hossk...for consumption.
The Republic is dead. The Clone Wars have begun.
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So what do you folks think thus far? How does the new setting appear to you?
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You are obviously a very good writer and it also makes me smile when others have a few of the same ideas that I do for my prequels -- it lets me know that I'm on the right track in my vision.
My only qualm is the war is not very interesting and I'm not getting any political intrigue. Even though you explained it to me, I still don't see why races that co-existed in a peaceful Republic for thousands of years would just grow to hate each other and end up going to galactic war. Especially if Jedi are in place to resolve disputes. There has to be some impetus, an event or something that divides them. Especially if both sides are essentially good in nature, as it seems yours are. Neither the humans nor aliens are particularly evil are they?
As it is now, it doesn't seem believable and that there is a war, just because it is in the script. Lucas! The reasons why someone would go to war, when it is supposed to be a last straw, are very interesting.
But there is no doubt that there is something there and you have a knack for writing. That's just my opinion anyway.
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VideInfra78 said:... the war is not very interesting and I'm not getting any political intrigue. Even though you explained it to me, I still don't see why races that co-existed in a peaceful Republic for thousands of years would just grow to hate each other and end up going to galactic war. Especially if Jedi are in place to resolve disputes. There has to be some impetus, an event or something that divides them.
That's a good angle, VideInfra78. Reminds me that I need to think more about broader social motivations in addition to the ones of individual characters. My backstory for the whole aliens-vs-humans thing was inspired by Joe Haldeman's "The Forever War".
Hyperdrives and cloning are both relatively recent inventions (175 BBY and 135 BBY respectively). These innovations were what spurred the major conflict of the PT, and thus led to the war of the OT.
My story goes that the Core Republic (before it was the Galactic Republic) ruled an area of space mostly consisting of the Human-dominated Core and some of the immediate surrounding regions of space...this was achieved through the use of "hypergates".
The hypergates were stationary FTL ports that sprang from a "gate nexus" constructed in orbit above Coruscant thousands of years BBY.
The invention of the hyperdrive in 175 BBY promised a new era of mobility and freedom for all species, as well as a golden age of peaceful expansion for the Republic. The hyperdrive was far less energy-intensive and could propel a ship far faster through hyperspace than could a hypergate, not to mention that it essentially removed the upper limit in size with regards to starship design. The hypergates were all dismantled as a new era of galactic community was to dawn.
But even that was not to be. At least not for now. The hyperdrive was also an enabler for ever more destructive star wars.
Republic merchants signed off on colonization ventures designed to gather resources from the new worlds and absorb the natives into the Republic. Not every species encountered by Republic explorers wanted to be assimilated. Some were taken in by force, in an "ends justifying the means" manner. On many worlds, the aliens violently retaliated.
Not being able to comprehend that the galaxy's myriad of species did not desire to be governed by a single polity run in the Human manner and by Human aristocratic overlords, a variety of Core politicians demanded military action in order to "civilize" these "savage and brutish" aliens.
It should be noted that the hyperdrive was invented by a Corellian engineer and a Twi'lek physicist, but the role of the non-Human was downplayed and often completely ignored in Core propaganda.
The Unification War began in 150 BBY with a outward surge of Republic troops and ships to "pacify" the outlying settlements and protect Republic colonists. This long and brutal war of attrition between technologically-asymmetrical forces took its toll on the non-Human community's opinion of the Republic.
Throughout the conflict, the secretive Jedi Knights took advantage of new hyperdrive ships to travel the galaxy and locate more of their number. They also educated the populaces of border worlds on how to coexist with their neighbors. This had a considerable effect of reducing the number of battles being fought at any one time, and arguably delayed the collapse of the Republic by over a century.
But eventually atrocities were committed on both sides. In this war, the alien belligerents never united the way they would for the Clone Wars. Their militias were just that: armies. No real navy to speak of.
While the insurrectionists of many worlds were eventually defeated, great unrest was felt in the Republic towards the vast expenditures going to the war.
As the war carried on, the Jedi were increasingly burdened by the pressures of the conflict. Starting in 140 BBY, the Knights llessened the efforts they put towards negotiations with the disparate populaces, and began to bring their own brand of justice to belligerent individuals of both sides.
Leaders on the planetary and sector level recall the appearance of "robed phantoms" sweeping in and personally defeating enemy forces in melee combat, as well as exhibiting strange powers of telepathy and kinesis. They were seen to use "laser swords". This was the Jedi doing their duty as guardians of peace and justice.
The breakthrough of cloning in 135 BBY brought new fuel to the fire of military innovation. The first clones were of Human soldiers, further augmented to gain superhuman strength and reflexes and an unquestioning loyalty to the Republic.
But these clones were not cost-effective to replace due to the difficulty of cloning Humans, thus ending the initiative only three years after its inception. Some of the indoctrination methods for the clones would later be used by the Empire for its Stormtroopers.
It was discovered that some species were more difficult to clone than others. In later years this would give way to a racist belief that the difficulty in cloning Humans was because they were better and "more evolved" than other species. In reality, this was not at all the case. It was easier to clone species that reproduced in large litters, which almost invariably tended to be non-mammalian species.
The endgame of the Unification War was on the planet of Barab I, where Barabel insurrectionist forces had gotten a hold of cloning technology through Bothan spies. Between 132 and 129 BBY, the Barabels' newfound numbers allowed them to outman and outgun the Republic detachment on the planet. As the Barabel king's clone army was poised to overrun and cleanse the last Republic outpost on the world, the Republic was ready to retaliate with an orbital bombardment, willing to kill even the colonists on the planet.
But the Jedi were once again able to intervene with mental powers to bring commanders of both sides together and calm their minds with the Force, after which both parties agreed to a peace proposition. The Jedi had again succeeded in one their key mandates: the prevention of genocide.
By now, the year 129 BBY, the other belligerent worlds had been beaten into submission or convinced to settle differences through alternative means by the Jedi. The Knights faded back into the uncharted star system from whence they came. And the Republic was utterly exhausted from the decades-long conflict. The Unification War was over.
Yoda was the only Jedi who never took a life and who always stuck to the notion of peaceful resolution. He was one of the facilitators of the peace agreement on Barab I. "Wars not make one great." After the conflict subsided, Yoda returned to his homeworld of Dagobah, where he remained until the end of his days.
It seemed that peace had finally come to the galaxy.
But anti-alien sentiment in the Republic would linger.
And the Jedi were no longer as mysterious to the galaxy as they were before the War.
That was not the last time the Jedi would be involved in total war. But by the time of the Clone Wars, circumstances had changed. Cloning technology, banned in the Republic at the end of the War, flourished in the newly-formed League. Also, the League could not have existed in the era before hyperdrive ships became ubiquitous. It was only through this innovation that the malcontent elements of so many worlds could band together and organize a massive front against the Republic...as demonstrated by the League's conquest of Coruscant in 25 BBY.
But perhaps the biggest difference was that by the start of the Clone Wars, there were two Force-sensitives who practiced the ways of the dark side and (either openly or secretly) worked against the Jedi: the ex-Jedi Ceres and Admiral Palpatine. Anakin Skywalker would eventually fall to the dark side as well, and the rest is history...
VideInfra78 said:Neither the humans nor aliens are particularly evil are they?
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I must admit, I never thought about the above points before a couple of days ago. The Unification War was improvised as I wrote my previous post. It's fun to delve further into the past, not to mention it allows an even greater separation from the Lucas-verse.
For periodization purposes, it goes...175 to 150 BBY: Expansion Era, 150 to 129 BBY: Unification War, 129 to 31 BBY: Pax Republica, 31 to 21 BBY: League Era, 21 BBY to 4 ABY: Imperial Era
Basically the only other Star Wars material that would be canon with this PT rewrite would be the OOT and any closely-related spinoffs that were released before 1999.
In fact, *nothing* before the Devastator's capture of the Tantive IV in this canon matches the canon of that era in the Lucas-verse, with the exception of any references to said era in the dialogue of the OOT. And even those were often contradicted by Lucas when it came time for him to write the PT.
Re: In the Age of the Jedi: More to come soon, including Ben's adventures on Alderaan and our first encounter with Anakin Skywalker.
And as always, I invite constructive criticism.
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Sounds good, I guess you just need to reflect the motivations in the story?
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The crew spends two days in and out of hyperspace. Normally the trip from Coruscant to Alderaan would take the better part of a few hours, but Jeni plots a circuitous path to avoid hostile League patrols.
The Belisarion finally gets to Alderaan. The League attacked this world at around the same time they did Coruscant, but the Republic detachment here fared better than the one at the capitol planet.
It is 22nd Naval Defense Task Force, led by Commander Cev'ko, still with many cruisers, frigates, bombers, and other vessels at its disposal. The fleet hovers at Alderaan's exosphere. Small ships are ferrying supplies and personnel between the fleet and the planet, aiding in recovery efforts. At the Commander's request, the Belisarion docks inside his flagship, the battleship Aegica.
On the Aegica...
Ben, Jeni, Zero, and Bail are escorted to bridge. On the way there we see military officers trying to establish communications with nearby surviving Republic forces and giving orders to send pre-fab shelters and bacta tanks to the planet, sounding wary that supplies might run short.
When the four get to Cev'ko, the Commander recognizes Bail immediately and suggests that he take leadership over recovery on Alderaan not only because Bail is the highest-ranking royal but because that would be a sorely-needed morale boost. Cev'ko brings the group up to date on the war.
Cev'ko's last orders from on high were to use his army to detain the aliens on Alderaan in isolation camps. The commander's reluctance to act on the order was answered by a League attack on almost every world in the Core and many in the Expansion Zone. Since then, Cev'ko has been in charge of all military affairs on Alderaan. No-one has been detained in camps.
Friendly communications ceased only a few hours after the attack. The 22nd has sent scoutships to report on findings in nearby systems, always on the lookout for friendly reinforcements.
Bail does indeed take over managing the recovery duties. He needs to know the whereabouts of his wife Queen Breha. Cev'ko replies that security feeds last spotted her in the Royal Palace at the time of the attack. However, the Royal Palace was targeted by the League's turbolaser cannons. Though the structure is still recognizable, many parts have been turned to black smoldering dust and mangled metal supports.
Bail expresses anxiety over the possibility that his wife might been caught in the attack, and asks Cev'ko what he could do. Cev'ko already sent a reconnaissance droid to the ruins, but it has yet to report back. One of Cev'ko's subordinates thinks the droid might currently be surveying the subterranean levels, where commlink signals cannot pass through the rocks.
Ben takes it upon himself to find Breha for Bail. It was part of their contract on Coruscant. Ben may be a rogue, but he is a rogue who keeps his word with close friends.
Cev'ko discourages this, but Bail insists that Ben be allowed to go so that Cev'ko can deploy his already-limited manpower elsewhere on the world. Cev'ko relents and warns Ben that if he encounters substantial resistance at the Palace, the fleet won't know about it soon enough to send reinforcements in time.
Bail stays behind. Ben and Jeni are given demolition charges by the quartermaster to help clear away any rubble obstructing their path. The two and Zero board the Belisarion.
The freighter unclamps from the Aegica. In minutes, our heroes are descending upon the ruined Royal Palace...
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Something I forgot to mention: Jeni's past, particularly how she knows Bail.
Jeni Lars was born on Tattooine in 50 BBY, Owen Lars being among her siblings. Unlike her older brother Owen, Jeni had aspirations beyond her home planet. She idolized the semi-mythical Jedi Knights and had a knack for flying and exploration. Jeni always dreamed of traveling to every moon and planet in the galaxy, and witnessing all of the native cultures, learning their languages, and collecting their art.
Jeni was accepted into a civil flight academy on Corellia in 34 BBY, the youngest recruit ever. She spent the next few years on Corellia honing her navigational skills. But in 31 BBY, the year of the League's formation, the Republic re-instated conscription. Numerous Senators went on a campaign to try to turn back this measure.
The delegation sent Senator Bail Organa to the Corellian academy to protest and try to lobby against the act. When the academy headmaster proved unyielding, Bail had nothing to do but report back to Coruscant. So he took off in his shuttle, only to find that Jeni sneaked aboard as a stowaway.
Jeni explained that her name came up on a Navy conscription detail. She was an objector, so she decided to flee. Bail, initially apprehensive, now understood her plight. Having witnessed her piloting skills, he offered Jeni an opportunity. He decided to drop her off at Coruscant with a small sum of credits so that she can find her way as a private pilot.
Jeni did just that for a few years with a number of ship captains. Some were underworld crews, smuggling massive quantities of spice. Others were legitimate passenger vessels for those who needed transport...but with no questions asked. Sometimes Bail would be the client. It is in this way that the two got to know each other.
In 28 BBY, when Jeni agreed to join the Belisarion in exchange for shares of the profits, she met, fell in love with, and later fell out of love with Ben Cortel. It was through Jeni that Bail met Ben, and the two became fast friends as well.
By 25 BBY, Jeni was living the spacer's life she had dreamed of, though she had never imagined in her academy days that she would experiencing it as an outlaw.
Then came the Clone Wars.
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More of Episode I to come soon. I'm trying not to let it all too quickly because I'm still unclear about the course of Episode II: The Dark Times Begin. This happens to me a lot, though. The middle part is generally the one I find to be the most difficult to write. What I do know, though, is that the linchpins of Episode II are the debut of the Empire and the turning of Anakin Skywalker. Its closest counterpart in the Lucas PT is Revenge of the Sith.
But strangely enough, I know Episode III: War of the Skywalkers like the back of my hand. It is the farthest removed from the Lucas prequels of all three of my films. If anything, III's closest narrative cousin is A New Hope.
Before I post more of Episode I, though, I might as well get out some of Ben's backstory...
Ben Cortel was born on the harsh steppe world of Ambria in 55 BBY. He never knew his Human mother, who died in childbirth because of the poor medical care on the world. Ben's father was a former Chiss noble who was exiled because of the part he played in a feud between competing siblings in the Chiss royal family.
In his early years, Ben was faced with little opportunity in life except for working as mineral prospector on Ambria, the work his father had to take up as a necessity. Ben's restless spirit was dissatisfied with this notion. To escape his trappings, Ben enlisted as a marine in the Republic Navy in 38 BBY.
Ben spent the next few years serving with distinction, holding the rank of sergeant by the time he was assigned to the troopship Anarkilion. On the cusp of being considered for officer training, Ben's life would be changed forever. In 33 BBY, Ben refused to obey an order to open fire on anti-Human, anti-Republic protesters (all unarmed civilians) at Elom. His commanding officer had him incapacitated and interned on the Anarkilion's brig.
Ben was sentenced by court-martial to six years of confinement on the prison world of Despayre. One year into his sentence, 32 BBY, Ben and thirty other prisoners formed a complex escape plan. However, only Ben and four others made it out due to the group's detection by security forces.
The five escapees stole a transport and set a course for Nar Shaddaa, the nearest world with any substantial commercial opportunity. While the ship was in hyperspace, one of the crew members staged a mutiny to change the ship's course to Ord Mantell because a Nar Shaddaan crime syndicate had put a price on his head. The mutineer murdered one of the ex-cons before being killed by Ben and the other two escapees.
Upon landing at Nar Shaddaa, the three men collected the bounty on the mutineer's head and split it evenly. Then the three went their separate ways.*
Ben decided he could best get by as a spice smuggler. He was already handy with a gun and had learned a lot about small unit leadership from his time as a marine sergeant. He started out as a second-in-command and first mate for a few freighters before graduating to become the captain of his own ship.
In 30 BBY, Ben found an engineering droid, "Zero", in salvage on the planet Kelada. He paid an engineer there to reprogram the machine to serve as his assistant. Ben won the Belisarion in a sabacc game in the year 29 BBY, finally getting a vessel under his captainship. He had a brief relationship with his navigator Jeni in the year 28 BBY, after which they were mostly platonic.
Ben had carved out a living as smuggler for seven years before the Force came to him in 25 BBY. He did not know it at the time, but he had become another conduit for the energy field.
One day he noticed that he had the ability to see very slightly into the future. Another day he realized that nearby objects would occasionally move a few millimeters for no discernible reason. At first, Ben believed that he was either going insane or that his mind had been permanently addled by spice. But it wasn't until his sabacc game in the bar at the start of Episode I did Ben realize that he could use these new powers to his advantage.
Over the course of this trilogy, Ben's powers will propel him into the galactic arena in ways he could never have imagined before.
*One of these men was Hal Dagman, who would have a few run-ins with Ben in the ensuing years. Yes, this is the same Hal Dagman who was mentioned up there at the start of Episode I, where he is cheated against in a sabacc game. That's not the last we see of him.
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Now back to Episode I:
The Belisarion lands outside the ruins of the Royal Palace just when the sun is beginning to lay on the horizon. Zero is left on the ship while Ben and Jeni cautiously proceed, blasters at the ready.
The two make their way past ruined statues, dance halls blackened and shattered by turbolaser impacts, and large gaps in the structure allowing cold breezes to run through carrying the smell of the Belisarion's engine exhaust. There are also the remains of the recon droid sent by Cev'ko strewn across the floor. The machine looks like it was torn apart rather than targeted by blaster fire as Jeni expected.
Eventually Ben and Jeni happen upon a passage leading to a subterranean saferoom. Ben unwittingly tunes his Force senses to the other side and feels life forms there. Life forms with voices crying out. These must be the survivors. If Breha is still alive, she must be here.
The way is blocked by fallen rocks and the remnants of League armored personnel carrier. Ben and Jeni deploy the demo charges, but there is little effect on the barrier. The two try this several times over before realizing that they are almost out of charges and the barrier has hardly been affected.
But just as the two start on the way back to their ship, they are attacked by a hornagaunt, a large flying wolf-like creature conditioned to serve as a living weapon for the League. Being a creature of the shadows, Ben and Jeni are constantly on edge and the creature itself stays hidden, attacking only where his prey might least expect it.
Ben throws his remaining demo charge towards where he thinks the hornagaunt is and shoots the charge in mid-air. For a fraction of a second, the bright blast illuminates the ghastly creature. It is injured by the explosion and must resort to crawling on the ground instead of flying.
Ben and Jeni try to flee to a more well-lit area. The monster is closer behind them than they realize. Just before entering the light, it seems the hornagaunt is about to claim them both...but then a streak of blue light appears in the darkness. The energy blade swiftly takes off one of monster's arms, followed by a plunge into the beast's heart.
Walking back into the light, Ben and Jeni are greeted by Anakin Skywalker.
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Here's a condensed history of the Republic. The first part of the timeline covers some of the pre-Republic era. The last bits have some extra info about Anakin and Ceres' earlier lives, as well as the outbreak of the Clone Wars.
One assumption I make is that Obi-Wan's line in ANH about "a thousand generations" refers to 10,000 years. I tried to rationalize each generation as being 10 years instead of 25 by positing that each successive "generation" referred to the average amount of time it took for a Jedi apprentice to ascend to the rank of Knight, who is thus able to take on an apprentice(s) of his/her own...thus allowing for the next "generation" of Jedi.
I did that because I had too much trouble trying to justify 25,000 years of space-faring civilization with regards to the technology level seen in the OOT. Ten thousand years is still quite ridiculous, but I couldn't make it any shorter than that out of concern that I might contradict Obi-Wan's line in ANH. I suppose something's gotta give.
Here is the history of the Republic; as usual, feel free to critique...
ca. 12,500 BBY - A golden age of technology on Coruscant that promises such innovations as faster-than-light travel and sentient droids is brought to an end by the invasion of a hostile race called the Taung.
From the little of what can be together this era's history, it is believed that the alien battle force embarked for Coruscant from an unidentified world in the Unknown Regions as part of a pilgrimage foretold by their primary religion.
Having cast aside their ancient Sith foes a thousand years earlier, the Jedi Knights of Coruscant, the planet of both their origin and of the Human species, lead the charge against a strange new foe. Their powers allow them to turn the tide in an extraordinary manner against an unrelenting and seemingly technologically superior foe.
ca. 12,400 BBY - The Taung War is brought to a climax as a hyperspace rupture, a kind of technology that would not be properly harnessed for another eleven thousand years, is opened in Coruscant's upper atmosphere as a last-ditch attempt to eliminate the invaders.
Enormous amounts of radiation are thrown outward, a deluge that could not be controlled by pre-Republic technology, killing every Taung on and around Coruscant. But this also greatly damages Human civilization on the world, killing billions and destroying much of the planet's advanced civilzation.
ca. 10,000 BBY - The newly-formed Republic of Coruscant has now reclaimed all of the battered territories of its homeworld and looks to the stars for a new beginning.The first sleeper ships are loaded with colonists and Jedi Knights sent out to make contact with or settle other systems. It was only after the Taung War that the Jedi settled into their capacity as peacekeepers rather than super-warriors.
ca. 9,750 to ca. 4,500 BBY - Many Core worlds such as Alderaan and Corellia join the Republic, either through colonization and Coruforming of uninhabitable worlds or through absorption of existing populations into the Republic’s structure.
The Jedi Knights, with their lengthened lifespans, are the perfect companions for the colonists. They help spread the message that the Force is to be used in a constructive and benign manner.
The Jedi of this period are open in their activities, even occupying positions in the Republic’s government, both on the homeworld and on her colonies and ally planets. Over time, the notion of the Jedi being a Coruscant-based organization is lost, replaced instead by a more cosmopolitan order composed of equals parts the many different races inhabiting the Core.
ca. 3800 to ca. 3650 BBY - Many Jedi who grew corrupt from their governing power attempt to stage a coup of the Republic’s government and install themselves as god-kings known as “Sith Lords”.
The dark Jedi seek to carry on the legacy of “the strong ruling the weak” as their forbears in pre-Republic times had done. They believe that their extraordinary abilities give them the means and the right to conquer and dominate others. The dark Jedi are resisted against by their light-side counterparts.
The Sith-controlled territories are known collectively as the Sith Coalition. The Coalition functions as an ad-hoc leaderless compact, united not by common currencies, armies, or citizenry, but by an dark ideology strong enough to bridge the interstellar depths. Such is the only possibility in an era before hyper-travel.
Asynchronous bouts of slower-than-light interstellar warfare occur, with autonomous cells of Force-users in mortal combat on far-flung worlds. Many worlds execute suspected Force-users out of fear and paranoia.
The Sith Wars end with the dark Jedi’s eviction from the galaxy under the eye of Jedi ambassadors. The Knights thereafter act as a secret peacekeeping group rather than an official organ of government. The Sith War also provides cause for the antipathy and suspicion many beings in the galaxy would feel towards Force-users in later years, in addition to being the longest continuous conflict in galactic history.
Lightsabers are developed during the war after the discovery of special crystals on a moon that would later be known as "the Sanctum". The Sanctum becomes the base of operations for the Jedi after their post-war retreat into secrecy.
2,270 to 1,344 BBY - A second wave of colonization occurs due to advances in artificial intelligence that allow the first truly sentient droids to act as overseers on starships and perform many more tasks on colony worlds.
Though there is fear that the droids will conduct an organized rebellion against their “meatbag” predecessors, no such event ever comes to pass.
By the end of the Second Expansion, all of the Core Worlds and a handful of systems a dozen lightyears outward have joined the Republic, which has rechristened itself the Stellar Republic.
1,138 BBY - First iteration of hypergate technology allows the transmission of messages at superluminal speeds. A network of hypergate nodes begins to form in the Republic’s systems.
1,004 BBY - Hypergate technology now allows the transport of entire starships at many times the speed of light. This marks the start of a truly galactic era. Coruscant gains even more importance due to the construction of the hypergate nexus at a Lagrangian point just outside the world’s gravity well.
997 to 313 BBY - The network of hypergates expands. More worlds and species are absorbed into the Republic, typically taking the form of economic partnerships. Little large-scale colonization occurs between the Core zone and the galaxy outside.
Eventually the upper-bound is reached in the feasible size of the hypergates, causing starship designs to stratify into a number of strictly-defined classes based on the sizes of hypergate apertures.
The frontier mentality disappears due to the drastically reduced travel times between systems linked by hypergates.
Yoda is born in the early part of this period. He is Force-sensitive at birth.
280 BBY - The Republic's first contact with the Chiss race occurs. The Chiss are an independent stellar civilization living in an out-of-the-war cluster near the edge of the galaxy. They use a unique form of FTL dubbed by Republic scientists as the hyperspace cannon.
The Chiss royalty sees the incursion of the Republic as a threat to their legitimacy as absolute divinely-ordained rulers of the state.
They also realize from the accounts of Republic explorers that hyperspace cannon technology is more flexible than that of hypergates because it removes not only the upper limit of starship size but also promises travel to anywhere the cannon can be pointed rather than between fixed nodes. The downside, however, is the great fuel expenditure required to slow the vessel down, limiting travel to within a defined sphere of space.
269 BBY - When the Republic fails to acquire hyperspace cannon technology from the Chiss by diplomatic means, they try to steal it. One of the Republic's spies is exposed by the Chiss' counter-intelligence force and this sparks the Chiss War.
264 BBY - All but one of the Republic's hypergates in the Chiss sector has been destroyed by the native fleet. The Republic Navy cuts off the route to that last remaining gate, known thereafter as Death's Door, effectively stranding the detachment in enemy territory. The force contains a Jedi ambassador, a venerable old Master sent to settle the dispute by peaceful means rather than through the cleansing of the Chiss.
After holding off an onslaught of Chiss marines, the detachment leaves Death's Door for the Chiss homeworld of Csilla in a slower-than-light troopship that was docked at the hypergate. The Jedi Master takes command just before the crew enters stasis. They are not expected to reach the Csilla for another two decades.
257 BBY - After years of failed diplomatic communications, the Republic reactivates Death's Door and sends a fleet through the aperture. The expeditionary force begins skirmishes with local defenses.
248 BBY - By now the Chiss have deactivated or destroyed all of their hyperspace cannons as the Republic onslaught sweeps through their systems. This is enacted as a scorched earth policy.
247 BBY - A decade of fighting leads the Republic expeditionary fleet to Csilla, where the battered forces finally stand down and accept the Republic's terms of surrender.
243 BBY - The Death's Door detachment finally arrives at Csilla. They find that the war they were going to end through peaceful means has been over for four years.
175 to 129 BBY - I have detailed the events of this time in post #13.
The hyperdrive is developed, followed shortly by its proliferation among almost all of the galaxy's species. Some of the device's inner workings were reverse-engineered from the remains of Chiss hyperspace cannons.
The Republic enacts a third wave of colonization. The Unification War occurs, spurring the development of sentient cloning.
After the war, the Stellar Republic signals a new era of brotherhood by renaming itself the Galactic Republic.
66 BBY - Ceres is born on Zygerria to a native mother and a Human father. She is Force-sensitive at birth. Ceres' father, a mercenary hired by a group of slavers, leaves her on the planet with her mother soon after carving the mark of his syndicate into the skin of her back.
59 BBY - Anakin Skywalker is born on Taris. He and his mother suffer physical abuse at the hands of his father.
53 BBY - Ceres is sold into slavery as a dancer and concubine.
47 BBY - Anakin Skywalker gains Force-sensitivity.
44 BBY - In a fit of rage, Anakin's father kills his mother. Anakin finally retaliates by killing him in return. With no personal attachments left, Anakin is forced to subsist in the underlevels of Taris.
43 BBY - By now, Ceres has ascended from a common working girl to a high-class courtesan. For months, her movements are tracked by the Jedi Knight Hirala, who believes that Ceres needs to be inducted into the Jedi and the slavers need to be brought to justice.
Hirala uses her Jedi mind tricks to pass as a captive, allowing her to organize a breakout from the slavers' holding cells on Socorro. The ring is indeed disbanded and the captives freed, while the Jedi gain another ally.
44 to 37 BBY - Anakin makes a living as an underground swoop racer. His skills attract both fame and notoriety, making him a prime target of rival gangs and the authorities.
37 BBY - Obi-Wan Kenobi tracks down Anakin's Force presence on Taris. The Master convinces Anakin that his powers can be used for good, that those abilities give him a duty to uphold justice. Anakin relents because the prospect of being a Jedi allows him to gain some control in life, countering the helplessness he felt when he found out that his father had killed his mother. Obi-Wan takes Anakin under his wing as an apprentice.
35 BBY - In the first instance of sentient cloning since the Unification War, the ranks of the Togorian secessionist army are bolstered with duplicates of their finest warriors. Back at the Sanctum, Anakin and Ceres start to take an interest in one another.
33 BBY - Ceres takes the Oath of the Force, becoming a proper Jedi Knight after a decade of training under Hirala.
35 to 31 BBY - Rioting and protests on many worlds over the Republic's failed promise of just treatment of aliens after the Unification War leads to the formation of the League of Sovereign Planets. A prisonbreak at Despayre frees Ben Cortel.
29 BBY - Anakin takes the Oath of the Force. In the same year, he takes on an apprentice of his own.
27 BBY - After hearing a certain revelation from Anakin and deciding that the League fights for a just cause, Ceres defects from the Jedi Knights. While investigating ruined archives on the formerly Sith-dominated world of Korriban, Ceres finds herself drawn to their belief of power, over the weak, above all other ends. Tired of the reserved and meek ways of the Jedi, she decides that it is her calling to rule the galaxy.
Anakin and his young apprentice pursue Ceres to Korriban in an attempt to draw her back into the Jedi Knights, but her corruption is too severe. Anakin and his apprentice fight the traitor. Ceres kills the apprentice and cuts off Anakin's arm, leaving him alive for reasons that would not be clear to him for several years.
After this, Ceres travels the Outer Rim to gather the support of insurrectionist leaders, including Commander Hossk. Together, they depose the established League leadership, which was isolationist in nature. Ceres and her cohorts hold a vision for the League that calls for confrontation with the Republic.
25 BBY - Military tensions between the Republic and the League are at an all-time high. Many Repulic worlds have locked down all but the most essential hyper-routes. Some planets enact martial law.
Admiral Palpatine is placed in charge of all defensive and emergency duties on Anaxes. The planet houses the Navy's most prestigious war academy as well a number of heavy shipyards.
Unable to discern the League's next move, Chancellor Antior orders an even spread of naval resources across the Republic, putting Coruscant at great risk.
After more than a century of peace, the Galactic Republic is decapitated by a League attack on Coruscant and many other worlds. The Clone Wars begin with the Republic in tatters and the League triumphant.
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More to come: leaving Alderaan, Ben training his Force abilities with the Jedi order, and Anakin and Jeni growing close together.
How is the story going so far? I'm kind of concerned that the next part might be a little too slow as far as cinematic pacing goes. The climax of the film, though, is meant to be a non-stop high-octane roller coaster ride on par with the finale of ANH.
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Stupid connection. I can't make an edit to my previous post.
I did not mean that the next part I'm going to post will be the climax. "The climax of the film, though, is meant to be a non-stop high-octane roller coaster ride on par with the finale of ANH," has nothing to do with the previous sentence.
We still have a ways to go before the film's climax.
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I'm waiting for the pieces to all come together for me. I feel that lots of this would work well for a novelization. A Star Wars film is thematically simple and what some call "campy." Your writing does provide lots of great background that could be adapted into the action-oriented and sometimes silly Star Wars feel. To that end, I wonder how to present the complex story of xenophobia and humanocentrism in the most basic and understandable terms without getting into the weeds and making things overly political.
I remember as a young child being impressed with the realization that the Empire was the government and that the "good guys" were the minority of people fighting the government. It was never explained what precipitated the rebellion or what the Empire had ever done that was so bad. Merely depicting the Empire as evil (choking people, willing to blow up planets) and the rebellion as heroic, we never had to care exactly why this was all happening. An older audience could draw conclusions based on ideas about democracy vs empire, but the movie itself never felt preachy. We were given little tiny windows into the government and politics through snippets of dialogue (eg "senate will never stand for this"), but it was never the focus of the film.
What you've developed is excellent. I'm just trying to see how it works out in the fun and punchy Star Wars universe. I look forward to more!
This is not a lightsaber. Nor a euphemism.
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I totally get that, Mrebo. It's something I've done my best to take into account in writing this: that Star Wars is Star Wars, not Tom Clancy-world. If this were actually made into a film, we wouldn't know all those thousands of years of history that I posted up there or the planet Ceres was born on or the history of the alien secessionist movement. I'm thinking of sneaking in a little reference to the Unification War of 150 to 129 BBY but if I can't do it sensibly then I won't try to crowbar it in there.
What's left of the Republic after the film's opening battle is either enslaved or exterminated by League forces or coalesces into two different remnant groups, which are the embryonic forms of the two factions seen in the OT. The Alliance to Restore the Republic is formed on Alderaan by Bail Organa and Commander Cev'ko in the early days of the Clone Wars. The Galactic Empire (a name which was a gross misnomer during the early days of its existence) was formed after Admiral Palpatine defended his homeworld of Anaxes with the naval fleet entrusted upon him by Antior.
In an attempt to avoid being "overly political", I destroyed the Republic's governing structure near the very beginning. You can't have those boring Senate scenes if the whole Senate has been vaporized by turbo-lasers, can you?
We would just see that the humans in charge of the Republic were pretentious and racist (kind of a parallel to the early twentieth-century notions of social darwinism and white man's burden)...who then got blasted to bits by vengeful aliens and now our rag-tag band of heroes must escape to the stars.
Then the question must be asked: What happens next?
Star Wars happens next.
As an aside, I estimate that the point where Anakin kills the hornagaunt is about twenty minutes into the film. Ben and Jeni's first encounter with him is what starts us towards the film's second act.