One major issue I had with the prequels is that it did not feel like there was enough story material present to occupy three feature-length films. With that in mind I propose the solution of telling the prequel story as a trilogy of hour-long episodes.
Broadly speaking ATG tells the story of the joining and separation of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Padme Organa, making it as character-centered as the OT. The plot cribs from elements of Legends EU and the existing prequels that I find interesting.
There are some ground rules I must lay down before brainstorming or outlining any further…
No overly complex conspiratorial plots. I get that Palpatine is the perfect character for this, but the extent to which he Rube Goldberged the fall of the Republic in TPM/AOTC/ROTS felt like a nine-year-old’s idea of what a political thriller should look like, where if it is complicated enough then the audience will think the writer must be very smart. Palpatine’s rise should instead portrayed as the actions of a wily opportunist who steers conditions of chaos towards his end of seizing ultimate power.
There are only a few Jedi in existence. I am not sure exactly how many it should be, but it’s definitely less than 50 individuals. The Jedi in this version operate similarly to Marvel’s Avengers, in that there’s only a handful of them and they all look and act very differently from each other. I toyed with the idea of there not being a central base of operations for the Jedi, but then I decided it would be neat if they held ad-hoc meetings in the swamps of Dagobah. It makes a lot more sense (to me) for the Jedi to convene in a lush, natural setting rather than in a bustling metropolis such as Coruscant. It also makes Yoda’s final moments in ROTJ that much more significant; after almost a millennium of training Jedi on Dagobah, he passes the torch to his final student.
The clones fight against the Republic rather than for them. They come from a mysterious Outer Rim world and are commanded by Atha Prime, a dictatorial cyborg. More to come on this part later.
Proficiency in the Force is kind of like proficiency in a musical instrument. There are certain individuals with an innate talent for it, but in any case Force abilities must also be honed starting from a relatively early point in a person’s life. It is possible to inherit Force talent, but there is no guarantee. That being said, there are full-fledged Knights who were not “born talents”. It just took them some extra training to get to that point.
The Republic has a different origin story. The galaxy was ruled by the bloodthirsty Sith aristocracy, until a gang of slaves learned the Sith’s secrets of the Force and used them for good instead of evil. In other words, the Sith Lords existed long before the Jedi Knights, and it was the Knights’ crusade against the Sith which proved integral to the creation of the Republic. How the Sith return to the galaxy after so many millennia is a key part of the tale told in SW:ATG.
As the sequel trilogy is only about halfway done, there is no conceivable way I can try to incorporate them into these stories without unknowingly setting up irreconcilable contradictions. Thus this is an OT-only prequel trilogy rewrite.
Shorty treatment of Episode I coming up soon.