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The Saturday Morning Prequel Trilogy

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Inspired by Episode 1: Jar-Jar’s Big Adventure, I thought, what would the other two prequels look like with the kid-friendly treatment?

Episode 2 seems easy enough - have it focus on Obi-wan and the discovery of the clones, and end much as the original ended with the big battle, Anakin losing his arm, and the wedding. Cut most of the love plot and political meandering and it’s a decent hour-long detective story with a battle at the end.

Episode 3 would be much more tricky. Since these films would be meant to be seen by very young audiences, they would naturally be seen before the OT and thus Anakin’s fall is a poor fit because of how it ruins the reveal in Empire, besides being too dark. So however it happens, it will need to address the perennially problematic ‘other student’ issue.

Here’s a rough idea of how I’d go about it:

Episode III
Revenge of the Sith

As the Clone Wars ravage the galaxy, Anakin has returned home from his long campaign to Coruscant to become a Jedi Master.

Now without an apprentice, Master Obi-wan has become a teacher at the Jedi Temple, but he is eager to return to battle and end the war.

So when the Droid Leader General Grievous attacks Coruscant and captures the Chancellor, the two Jedi gladly embark on one last mission…

The opening battle is much the same, but with Palpatine’s machinations cut. Most of Palpatine’s interest in Anakin has been cut, and perhaps the only scene they share is when Anakin is tasked to inform him that Obi-wan has encountered Grievous. He immediately informs Mace, and then obeys him and stays in the council chamber. This is the last we see of Anakin in this edit. He is cut from the Mace/Palpatine duel, so Palpatine alone defeats the Jedi and enacts his sinister plan. Obi-wan returns from killing Grievous and Order 66 to find that Anakin has apparently been killed in the Jedi Temple, and has confimation of this when he views the (selectively edited) security holograms.

Mustafar doesn’t factor into this edit, as the Separatists are all defeated on Utapau and the war ends. Padme gives birth to the twins without incident. The film ends like the original, with Luke going to Tatooine.

So what do you think?

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I mean, it makes sense? It’s not really a movie I have any interest in seeing though. To me, the whole draw of the prequels was the “Shakespearean tragedy” of how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. Despite problems with the execution in the prequels we got, I don’t have much desire to see a version of the prequels that isn’t that.

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I’m thinking it would be for very young children whose parents want to show them something Star Wars but don’t think they’re ready for the OT (I had to leave the room when I first watched Empire at age 5 or so). It’s designed to fit with the general tone of The Clone Wars and Rebels.

I’m pretty sure that exactly zero people on these forums would want to see this version of the prequels - that’s what the other fanedits on this forum are for. But it might be very useful thing to have for new generations just being introduced to the franchise. It’s a light, abridged version of what is already cartoonish fare, and could potentially make for a fascinating revelation after seeing the OT. Imagine that you were 4 and saw these edits, then saw the OT a year later. Then you could see the real prequels or more complete fanedits, and uncover this whole new darker side of the films, rather like a perfected Machete Order.

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I don’t know, I think you’re underestimating the maturity level of the later seasons of Clone Wars and some of Rebels. There are beheadings and political debates and moral quandaries. The word terrorist is used more than once. What you’re talking about sounds more like the LEGO Star Wars series, which is a squarely kid-targeted affair.

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I haven’t seen much of Clone Wars, or any LEGO Star wars save some short videos, but I have watched every season of Rebels so far, and there is definitely a lot of darkness going on like you said. But I think there’s a difference between violence in a CGI show and in a (partly) live-action movie. The trilogy would still feature at least 3 violent ‘disarmaments’ and at least one beheading, as well as the political dialogue necessary to keep the story coherent. It just stops short of showing our hero maimed and tortuously burned beside a river of lava.

I also remember reading a parent’s reaction to showing their child Episode 3. In short, it was traumatic, since kids have a very binary sense of ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’. Anakin is a ‘good guy’, and to consider that he could become evil can be a very challenging concept at a young age. Furthermore, Luke’s attitude in ANH and ESB is very childish in this sense, since he sees everything in this same binary light. His father was a good guy, Obi-wan was a good guy, and Vader is a bad guy. The revelation is much more powerful when seen in this light, and this edit of the prequels would reinforce that interpretation.

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That’s fair. I totally get where you’re coming from. I’m sure if I ever have kids I’ll want to introduce Star Wars to them. I just feel like the movies that made a lasting impression on me as a kid are the ones that challenged me.

That said, one thing that early Clone Wars seasons did that I liked is established Anakin and Obi-Wan as these swashbuckling Saturday morning cartoon heroes that we really root for. They have playful banter in a way that feels more familial and less like petty bickering than Lucas’s attempts at banter in the films.

I think it’s important to establish that before hitting us with the tragedy. I guess I just don’t know that the material is there in the films to support these kinds of revisions.

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Yes, I very much like the interpretation of the duo as pure heroes. I know that a lot of people (myself included) would have liked to see the Shakespearean tragedy of Darth Vader, but since that was so horribly bungled the next best thing would be to see the two of them before the fall, as brothers-in-arms.

Episode 1 establishes Anakin as a selfless hero, and Episode 2 shows enough of his adolescent drama and growing pains even without him murdering a tribe of Sandpeople. Episode 3 would be Anakin emerging out of this awkward phase as the hero hinted at in Episode 1, who despite his fears and forebodings manages to remain loyal to the Jedi until the end, having a tragic death in the Jedi temple. His true legacy, and the last task of Obi-wan, are Anakin’s children. I could even edit out the birth of Leia, but that might be a revelation worth ruining for its dramatic irony.

I actually think that the edit could work as a 1 hour movie. I can think of one shot that would absolutely need effects work - Anakin leading the Clone troopers into the Jedi temple - but everything else could be solved through omission:

Battle to save the Chancellor
(remove Palpatine’s insinuations - Anakin and Palpatine are acquaintances, nothing more)
Padme’s Pregnancy
Grievous on Utapau
(remove Palpatine’s directive to go to Mustafar, as well as rumblings about a new apprentice)
Anakin’s Dream
(remove Palpatine’s council request scene)
Anakin on the Council
(remove Anakin’s disappointment at not attaining the rank of Master)
(remove scene of council’s plan for Anakin to spy on the Chancellor)
(remove Squid Lake scene. This is the most grievous omission, but it must go.)
Yoda on Kashyyyk
Anakin informs the Jedi of Grievous’s whereabouts
(remove references to Palpatine - Anakin asks to go of his own volition)
Anakin and Obi-wan part ways as friends
Obi-wan confronts Grievous
(remove Grievous sending Separatists to Mustafar - the war ends here)
Anakin informs Palpatine of Grievous
(remove dialogue suggesting Palpatine knows about Anakin’s plight. He lets on just enough for Anakin to suspect that he is a Sith, then confirms it)
Obi-wan defeats Grievous
Anakin informs Mace about Palpatine
Anakin and Padme at sunset - this is the last we see of Anakin in this edit
Mace arrests Palpatine
(remove Anakin’s return to the Chancellor’s office - Mace is destroyed purely by Palpatine’s Force Lightning)
Order 66
(remove/replace shots of Anakin leading the clones into the temple)
(remove Anakin’s return to Padme)
Palpatine forms the Empire
Obi-wan and Yoda return to the Temple
(remove Yoda’s mention of lightsaber wounds, and all dialogue referring to Anakin.)
“If into the security holograms you go, only pain will you find”
“Master Yoda, I must know the truth”
“It can’t be…it can’t be” (remove images of Anakin doing the killing) “I can’t watch any more”
“Destroy the Sith, we must.”
“Send me to kill the Emperor”
“To fight this Lord Sidious, strong enough, you are not"
Obi-wan and Padme
"When was the last time you saw him?”
“Yesterday”
“Padme, Anakin has…”
“Not Anakin!”
“I have seen a security hologram…”
“I don’t believe you. I…can’t.”
“He was deceived by a lie. We all were. It appears that the Chancellor is behind everything, including the war. Palpatine is the Sith Lord we’ve been looking for.”
“You’re going to kill him, aren’t you?”
“He has become a very great threat.”
“I can’t”
“Anakin is the father, isn’t he? I’m so sorry.”
(remove all Mustafar scenes)
Palpatine vs Yoda
(remove references to Palpatine’s new apprentice)
Yoda Meditates
Arrival of Obi-wan and Padme
(remove lines about there being good in him, but all else can stay. This way Anakin’s fears become prophetic)
Denouement scenes
(remove construction of Death Star. All other scenes can stay)

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I have wondered how well it would work to not show Anakin’s turn in a serious edit.

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I’m becoming more and more attached to the idea the more I think about it.

Consider: With the new crawl and omissions listed above, it would be possible for someone to watch the prequels in chronological order and still retain the slow point-of-view shift towards Vader that audiences felt in the 80’s.

Since it is now established that Vader began as merely a “pupil” of Obi-wan who betrayed and murdered Anakin, one can construct a compelling narrative in their mind with the help of the prequels. In this narrative, Anakin was briefly tempted by Palpatine with the power to save his wife, but remained in the Jedi Temple and held it against thousands of clone troops, protecting the children. But then! One young Jedi, wishing to save his own skin, turns on Anakin and stabs him in the back. He quickly surrenders to the clones and becomes an Agent of Evil. Obi-wan sees this in the security recordings, and blames himself for his failure as a teacher.

ANH reinforces this narrative, referring to this Jedi as merely a pupil (notably, not an apprentice or padawan!), and Vader himself saying that he was but a learner.

Then comes ESB, where Yoda says that Vader was Obi-wan’s apprentice. Did Yoda misspeak? Was he using imprecise language? And Obi-wan hints at a more personal connection to Vader than merely student-teacher.

What an idea, that the prequels could turn the OT into a more compelling story through this omission.

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NeverarGreat said:

Palpatine forms the Empire

Would you include the Mustafar slaughter scene, or cut it out so it’s just Palpatine’s speech uninterrupted? I think the slaughter scene could be included in this type of edit; make the lightsaber red, and cut out any times we get a good look at Anakin’s face.

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I think for such an edit any indication of another Sith would create problems, since we have no reason to believe that Sidious has yet another apprentice hanging around, and there’s no indication (yet) that Anakin was betrayed by one of Obi-wan’s students. If I thought there was a way to suggest such betrayal in this edit the scene would probably work with a blue saber, but as it is there’s just not enough to sell that idea.

Also, I don’t think it’s worth it to establish a new location just to show the Separatist leaders being destroyed on screen, since the Jedi state that the war will end with the death of Grievous. It’s cleaner if the Separatists don’t get off Utapau.

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Do you think the Palpatine v Yoda fight could work without cutting away to the Anakin v Obi-Wan fight? The fight doesn’t play out continuously, particularly when in one scene Yoda and Palpatine are fighting on the center stage; and the next, Palpatine is throwing seats at Yoda. Could this be worked around?

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That’s a good question. The only scene that could possibly go there is Obi-wan and Padme, and that wouldn’t work for numerous reasons.

Intercutting the fight with him forming the Empire might be cool since both scenes cut away to events that are no longer shown, but again that may be weird.

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I dont quite understand whats watching Obi Wan watching on the HoloRecord, if its Anakin actually being betrayed by a pupil of him(Obi), then, how Anakin made it alive for OT? Or am I just misunderstanding something?

I like this concept, it would be an interesting way to watch the prequels:)

I don’t really care if it’s in the shape of a movie, or a cartoon tv-series, or if it’s on videogames and books. Neither if it’s canon or legends; I love all my Star Wars (yes, even the prequels).

“Laugh it up, Fuzz ball.”

Oh wait, no, not all of it, don’t count the Holiday Special on it.

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I understand it as we wouldn’t actually see what he is watching, it’s all implied. In fact, if done right, the hypothetical viewer has no idea what Anakin’s status is, so it’s kind of like a mystery, like what did Obi-Wan see in the recordings that is so horrific?

Well, really, it’s either Anakin turns to the dark side, or Anakin is killed. Then, in ANH, Obi-Wan says he got killed, and in Empire, the viewer finds out that he lied.

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Okay, understood. I like the idea so far, I will watch your advance on the edits with great interest. 😉

I don’t really care if it’s in the shape of a movie, or a cartoon tv-series, or if it’s on videogames and books. Neither if it’s canon or legends; I love all my Star Wars (yes, even the prequels).

“Laugh it up, Fuzz ball.”

Oh wait, no, not all of it, don’t count the Holiday Special on it.

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NeverarGreat said:

That’s a good question. The only scene that could possibly go there is Obi-wan and Padme, and that wouldn’t work for numerous reasons.

Why do you say that?

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It would probably create tonal whiplash with a quiet scene intercut with an action scene, as well as the two scenes happening at different times of day. I suppose I could fudge the time, but Yoda would have to be crawling through pipes for quite a while.

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NeverarGreat said:

That’s a good question. The only scene that could possibly go there is Obi-wan and Padme, and that wouldn’t work for numerous reasons.

Intercutting the fight with him forming the Empire might be cool since both scenes cut away to events that are no longer shown, but again that may be weird.

I believe I may have found the solution. Well, I didn’t find the solution. I was browsing through FanEdit.org, and I found this edit called Revenge of the Sith: Reborn by TM2YC (whom I believe is Ryan McAvoy on here). I think he handles the scene really well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ur5ki6EOqPw

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Very good! That’s one less problem to deal with. Of course, their discussion of his new apprentice would need to be cut, but that’s no big deal.

On a related note, Revenge of the Sith: Reborn claims to preserve the revelation that Anakin is Darth Vader, but as the reviewer states, it’s not exactly a dramatic twist to reveal that the guy who turned to the Dark Side in this movie is actually the masked evil guy in the next movie.

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