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Fall to the Dark Side? — Page 2

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The unfortunate truth is that Lucas was simply trying to make an americanized version of The Hidden Fortress back in 1973, and intended to have it as a one-shot deal. The SW became one wildly sucessful and then he decided to spend the rest of his life milking it into a franchise, adding the Paradise Lost element betwwen SW and ESB.
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Originally posted by: xhonzi
So... in pondering how poorly and unconvincingly the Prequel Trilogy handled Anakin's "Fall to the Dark Side," it got me thinking: What stories have convincing depictions of a character's fall to a dark side of sorts? I quickly thought of 2:

1) Luke in RotJ (for all of 5 minutes) as he destroys Vader with the Dark Side

2) Lex Luthor in Smallville. Others may not agree, but he's been our favourite character on the show (early seasons, at least) and we really enjoyed seeing the seeds of his future dark side being sown. At some point it seems that he became the typical villain, but up until then he was really interesting.

Who/What else?

xhonzi


I'd say Luke's "dance with the Dark Side" really came about when he took his weapons into the cave, so it was even before he left Dagobah. Yoda was an ancient Jedi Master and he still wouldn't listen to him. I wouldn't even call his "turn" in ROTJ a real turn. More like a dance on the Dark Side.

As for Lex, he definitely exhibited a slow turn. Again, that comes from the direction the actor was given. They told him to ignore everything he knew about Lex Luthor and just play him like a normal guy. He comes off as being the perfect friend in the beginning and by Season 5, you're really starting to hate the guy.

Now with Anakin's turn, I remember thinking that it was going to happen when Palpatine revealed himself to be the Sith to Anakin. I kept thinking 'He's going to turn and offer to protect him' or something along those lines. When he didn't turn in that scene but later did in another scene, I was one of those going "WTF?!" Then to hear the commentary on the ROTS DVD where Lucas says "I was going to have Anakin turn in this scene where Palpatine reveals himself, but I decided that it just wasn't going to work" Again, "WTF?!" Wasn't going work?! How was it not going to work? It was the perfect moment! The actual turn scene is like a tacked on bit that makes no sense at all!
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Gotta disagree with you there. From what I've observed, most people here (myself included) seem to think that the biggest problem with "the turn" is that it happened too suddenly, that there wasn't enough setup, incentive, etc. Whatever the case, it just happened too fast. So I have to give Lucas credit for not having Anakin follow Palpatine as soon as he revealed himself to be a Sith. At least there was some internal debate going on. Not nearly as much as most would like, but at least it was something.

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I think the 'turn' would have been more convincing if Anakin had been 'expelled' or at least 'suspended' from the Jedi Order early in episode 3, upon his marriage to Padme being revealed/exposed. it really could have been done without effecting too much of the rest of the events in the film and could've driven a greater wedge between Anakin and Obi Wan and pushed Anakin closer to Palpatine/sidious.
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If Anakin had offered to protect Palpatine when he first revealed himself, there would have been more time for Anakin to have second guest himself. It would have made the turn slower, not faster. He could have still been asking himself if he was doing the right thing or not, then when it got down to the Mace Windu fight it wouldn't have seemed like such a quick turn.

buddy-x-wing is right that the turn being more convincing had Anakin been expelled or given a better reason to fall. George played around with the idea of Anakin suspecting that Obi-Wan and Padme were having an affair. There was a scripted scene were Palpatine mentions to Anakin that he had heard rumors of Obi-Wan having some sort of love affair with some young female senator. Had he gone with that idea more fully, it really could have made a huge difference. I think for Anakin to have convincingly turned to the dark side he really needed to have a reason to hate Padme. The idea of him becoming evil for her sake, then killing her, then later trying to turn her son evil or kill him is kind of silly.

Let's say she really did have an affair (kind of heavy subject matter for a movie aimed at preteen audiences) or at least Palpatine truely convinced Anakin that she was cheating on him with his best friend, even though she wasn't, after all these years of being pushed toward the dark side by his close friendship with Palpatine he comes home after finding some pretty convincing evidence and is in a fit of rage. Padme tries to convince him that he doesn't know what he is talking about and that she loves him and would never do anything to hurt him, but he is so enraged that he doesn't listen to any of it. He starts kicking over furniture and squashing things with the force and Padme flees fearing for her life, and runs to their mutual friend Obi-Wan for help. Obi-Wan and the Jedi take her in to protect her and hide her someplace. The fact that she ran to Obi-Wan only makes him more suspicious, Palpatine adds in a few more facts and rumors he has heard in order to gently rub salt on the wound and to confirm to Anakin that what really has not happened has happened. No killing children, no order 66. Padme has disappeared, Anakin goes to Obi-Wan and attacks him, the two have their first fight, Obi-Wan is heart broken and tries to confince his friend that he could never do anything to hurt him, that he was like his brother. This could have been the point where Anakin looses an arm. Obi-Wan only tries to defend himself, but in the process accidently takes off Anakin's hand. Obi-Wan stares on dumbstruck at what he has just done, and Anakin escapes clutching his stump to fight again another day. Anakin is suspended from the Jedi order for his violent attack against another Jedi. Anakin goes to the Jedi to demand information on his wife's location, they refuse to tell him, this confirms to him that there is something up with Obi-Wan and that the Jedi are helping him hide his misdeeds. Anakin looses his temper and maybe kills a few Jedi at this point. And so on.

That is a much slower turn, with much more convincing motives. I don't think Anakin should have known about Padme being pregnant. Neither should the audience. Padme goes off to live on Alderan, fearing that if her husband should ever find her he will kill her. There she discovers she is pregnant, and Obi-Wan decides that it is better that not all three of them should be in the same place in the event that they are found, Padme reluctantly hands her son off to Obi-Wan so he can hid him and raise him to be a Jedi. This part doesn't have to happen on screen, it is implied well enough in the first movie. If we had Padme still living at the end of episode three, what more is there to explain in episodes four, five, and six. It becomes obvious Anakin is the father of them and easy enough for us to put two and two together and figure out that she was pregnant when she left him. Obi-Wan clearly explains the separation of the twins and the hiding of Luke. Leia remembered her real mother, so it would all make a lot more sense. We don't even have to have Anakin hunting down and killing all of the Jedi in episode three. It would be a lot better if we knew that was what Palpatine intended for him to do and see him start to do it. Then when episode four comes along we see, ah, Obi-Wan made it! Then when episode five rolls along and we hear Obi-Wan mention meeting Yoda we will realize he survived the purge as well.

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How about this:

Anakin realises that being a strong in the force can be pretty cool. He abuses his power. His friend Obi-wan tries to warn him that he is straying towards the dark side. They fall out. Anakin gradually becomes more and more of a dick. They fight. The end.

War does not make one great.

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If the whole PT story wasn't centered around this moment, many fans wouldn't have been so down on it. Lucas's whole reason for the PT was why did Darth Vader turn to the darkside, so logically you are watching the movies figuring it will be some climatic scene that will make 22 years, and 3 more movies worth the wait. Instead it is anti-climatic, and I believe if Anakins turn was more a plot point instead the WHOLE point of the PT, there wouldn't be as much anger as there is towards it. The PT could have essentially been more macro, as the Clone Wars could have been the main story of the 3 movies, and Palpatine seducing Anakin could have been just a plot point along with all the other stuff we waited for to fill in the blanks.

I guess what I am saying is Anakin's turn should have been just as important to the story as Padme starting the rebellion, which was deleted from ROTS, or Yoda/Kenobi learning the force ghost trick. Instead all those plot points were shoveled aside for the new saga title 'The Tragedy of Darth Vader' so of course people are going to expect the turn to be something memorable!
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Originally posted by: C3PX
If Anakin had offered to protect Palpatine when he first revealed himself, there would have been more time for Anakin to have second guest himself. It would have made the turn slower, not faster. He could have still been asking himself if he was doing the right thing or not, then when it got down to the Mace Windu fight it wouldn't have seemed like such a quick turn.

buddy-x-wing is right that the turn being more convincing had Anakin been expelled or given a better reason to fall. George played around with the idea of Anakin suspecting that Obi-Wan and Padme were having an affair. There was a scripted scene were Palpatine mentions to Anakin that he had heard rumors of Obi-Wan having some sort of love affair with some young female senator. Had he gone with that idea more fully, it really could have made a huge difference. I think for Anakin to have convincingly turned to the dark side he really needed to have a reason to hate Padme. The idea of him becoming evil for her sake, then killing her, then later trying to turn her son evil or kill him is kind of silly.

Let's say she really did have an affair (kind of heavy subject matter for a movie aimed at preteen audiences) or at least Palpatine truely convinced Anakin that she was cheating on him with his best friend, even though she wasn't, after all these years of being pushed toward the dark side by his close friendship with Palpatine he comes home after finding some pretty convincing evidence and is in a fit of rage. Padme tries to convince him that he doesn't know what he is talking about and that she loves him and would never do anything to hurt him, but he is so enraged that he doesn't listen to any of it. He starts kicking over furniture and squashing things with the force and Padme flees fearing for her life, and runs to their mutual friend Obi-Wan for help. Obi-Wan and the Jedi take her in to protect her and hide her someplace. The fact that she ran to Obi-Wan only makes him more suspicious, Palpatine adds in a few more facts and rumors he has heard in order to gently rub salt on the wound and to confirm to Anakin that what really has not happened has happened. No killing children, no order 66. Padme has disappeared, Anakin goes to Obi-Wan and attacks him, the two have their first fight, Obi-Wan is heart broken and tries to confince his friend that he could never do anything to hurt him, that he was like his brother. This could have been the point where Anakin looses an arm. Obi-Wan only tries to defend himself, but in the process accidently takes off Anakin's hand. Obi-Wan stares on dumbstruck at what he has just done, and Anakin escapes clutching his stump to fight again another day. Anakin is suspended from the Jedi order for his violent attack against another Jedi. Anakin goes to the Jedi to demand information on his wife's location, they refuse to tell him, this confirms to him that there is something up with Obi-Wan and that the Jedi are helping him hide his misdeeds. Anakin looses his temper and maybe kills a few Jedi at this point. And so on.

That is a much slower turn, with much more convincing motives. I don't think Anakin should have known about Padme being pregnant. Neither should the audience. Padme goes off to live on Alderan, fearing that if her husband should ever find her he will kill her. There she discovers she is pregnant, and Obi-Wan decides that it is better that not all three of them should be in the same place in the event that they are found, Padme reluctantly hands her son off to Obi-Wan so he can hid him and raise him to be a Jedi. This part doesn't have to happen on screen, it is implied well enough in the first movie. If we had Padme still living at the end of episode three, what more is there to explain in episodes four, five, and six. It becomes obvious Anakin is the father of them and easy enough for us to put two and two together and figure out that she was pregnant when she left him. Obi-Wan clearly explains the separation of the twins and the hiding of Luke. Leia remembered her real mother, so it would all make a lot more sense. We don't even have to have Anakin hunting down and killing all of the Jedi in episode three. It would be a lot better if we knew that was what Palpatine intended for him to do and see him start to do it. Then when episode four comes along we see, ah, Obi-Wan made it! Then when episode five rolls along and we hear Obi-Wan mention meeting Yoda we will realize he survived the purge as well.


This would have definitely made for a much better and more rewarding story!
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Originally posted by: CO
or Yoda/Kenobi learning the force ghost trick.
eeuuurrggh. I just puked. What a heap of crap the prequels were.

War does not make one great.

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I love the signature, CO! And ditto on making Palpatine's seduction of Anakin to the Dark Side a plot point in a larger context; would've been that much more OUT-like.
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Originally posted by: xhonzi
I read all of the EU until about '99, so I've never read the New Jedi Order or other books in that vein. Are any of the characters that explore the Dark Side in those books done well?

xhonzi


Jacen Solo

there you go, his fall was done so insanely well its unbeleivable that lucas was even involved. you see the roots for his fall at the begining of NJO and then a huge hint half way through, and now in the legacy series he is all big and bad.
nice guys finish last
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Originally posted by: C3PX
That is a much slower turn, with much more convincing motives. I don't think Anakin should have known about Padme being pregnant. Neither should the audience. Padme goes off to live on Alderan, fearing that if her husband should ever find her he will kill her. There she discovers she is pregnant, and Obi-Wan decides that it is better that not all three of them should be in the same place in the event that they are found, Padme reluctantly hands her son off to Obi-Wan so he can hid him and raise him to be a Jedi. This part doesn't have to happen on screen, it is implied well enough in the first movie. If we had Padme still living at the end of episode three, what more is there to explain in episodes four, five, and six. It becomes obvious Anakin is the father of them and easy enough for us to put two and two together and figure out that she was pregnant when she left him. Obi-Wan clearly explains the separation of the twins and the hiding of Luke. Leia remembered her real mother, so it would all make a lot more sense. We don't even have to have Anakin hunting down and killing all of the Jedi in episode three. It would be a lot better if we knew that was what Palpatine intended for him to do and see him start to do it. Then when episode four comes along we see, ah, Obi-Wan made it! Then when episode five rolls along and we hear Obi-Wan mention meeting Yoda we will realize he survived the purge as well.


I'm with you up till the end. 1) I think the scene of Obi-Wan passing off Luke to Owen Lars is one of the better moments of the sequel. 2) I think some explanation would have to be given about Yoda in the PT. Otherwise, it should come as a surprise not just to us but to Obi-Wan that Yoda is alive.

Otherwise, a hearty thumbs-up for this.
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Originally posted by: kmcherry


I'm with you up till the end. 1) I think the scene of Obi-Wan passing off Luke to Owen Lars is one of the better moments of the sequel. 2) I think some explanation would have to be given about Yoda in the PT. Otherwise, it should come as a surprise not just to us but to Obi-Wan that Yoda is alive.

Otherwise, a hearty thumbs-up for this.


As for the passing off of Luke. It wasn't even that well done, and I still agree with you that it was one of the better parts of the entire PT. He rides up to their home. Breu runs up to him and he hands her the baby, no explaination, no thank you, no oh my goodness what a horrible thing that has happened. It doen't even seem like they are waiting for the kid, they are just out in their yard watching the suns set when this guy they never met before and for some reason will come to dislike (he is just a crazy old man) rides up on a retarded looking animal and hand her a baby. And now without saying anything to the man giving her the baby, she goes back to her husband and judging by the scene I would imagine if you could hear what they were saying it would go something like this,
"What's that dear?"
"Oh, just a baby some crazy guy just gave to me"
"Huh, that was nice of him. Beautiful sunset eh?

Own doesn't even leave the sunset to go meet the guy. If you really think about, the scene absolutely sucks from a story telling standpoint. From a touching moment, good way to end the trilogy standpoint it works, but could have been better. Also I am not sure if Obi-Wan even really needed to know Yoda was still alive, he could have found out after he died and this is why his ghost told Luke to go there. You might say that he would not have let himself die at Vader's hand had he been the only chance for Luke to learn the ways of the Jedi, but at that time Lucas didn't know Yoda either nor did any of the people in the audience and it still worked. Obi-Wan might have intended to continue instruction via force ghost. Maybe Obi-Wan could have been wondering all these year who of the Jedi remained, but never knew. Or perhaps Yoda's survival was not a surprise to Obi-Wan, and that he had been in communication with him some how. A lot can happen in 20 years. Could have been a network of surviving Jedi for a while as they slowly got picked off, and at one point one of them had met up with Obi-Wan to let him know the current status of things and he had found out about the survival of Yoda this way. Surprises in movies are a good thing. Even little one. The PT was a pretty surpriseless mess. Almost nudging us and winking at us all the way saying, "you already know whats going to happen next."

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Breaking Bad.

 

Sometimes, I imagine Aaron Paul (Jesse) as young Anakin Skywalker.

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For me it comes down to, what breaks a good man? Anakin Skywalker has seen a devastating war which has ended the lives of his friends, left a comfortable life which caused him scorn from his family, watched a corrupt senate bicker while civilian lives are at stake, fought a manic enemy determined to dismember the Republic, and all the while he holds back. Tells himself not become aggressive, to show patience for his allies, mercy for his friends, to quiet that voice in his head telling him that so many problems could be solved if Jedi would just take charge of The Republic.

By Episode III he is just barely holding on. They're winning the war and on the road to peace, but so many fundamental flaws in the things around him have Anakin's mind clouded with doubt. And when one of the last remaining Mandalorian forces seemingly kills his wife and child? Something snaps and all the the things he's bottled up, the disdain for those in the Republic not appreciative of the military's sacrifices, the cruelty towards the enemy he should have displayed, his resentment towards Obi-Wan for being more focused on being a leader to the Jedi and his self congratulatory pride at being such a good teacher to Anakin; all of that comes out. 

And the guilty self loathing plays a part too. All his abilities, hours of training, countless dedication, and he still couldn't save the people he loved. Anakin Skywalker can only see failure within himself and that's where Palpatine makes his move. The man who tells Skywalker that all his suppressed instincts are in fact right, that they can build a better Republic, that their enemies will not be allowed a merciful surrender, that they can create a galaxy where no innocent people are allowed to be killed because disorderly scum were allowed to roam. That is the instant where Darth Vader emerges to offer Skywalker a new, better path. And the moment when the young Jedi allows himself to justify the annihilation of the Jedi is the moment where Vader essentially betrays him. 

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"It turns out that your thread here is only mostly dead!"

But yeah, as long as this is being debated again, I'll explain the idea I originally posted here (Post 4)

Anakin's turn should not have happened slowly as people have suggested. It should have been fast, for Luke's near-turn to the Dark Side was fast. It is important that we as the audience not know precisely how Anakin falls only when Luke does, so that we can identify with Luke in the OT and share his fear of the unknown.

The path to Anakin's fall should be subtle, so subtle for the audience watching the prequels that they would at first think it impossible for Anakin to have fallen. It's all in the framing of the story. In Episode 4, Luke displays grief and rage at the loss of his relatives and Obi-wan. We should sympathize with this, not be fearful lest Luke turn to the Dark Side. So the dangers of the Dark side should not be revealed until Episode 5. The prequels show only the light side of the Force, a power without a downside. Naturally the audience would then sympathize with Anakin as he feels anger and as he quests for more power. He has power by Episode 3, yet Obi-wan has failed to sufficiently warn him about the power of the Dark Side, lest it interfere with his development. Anakin's powers are sorely needed after all, and there is no time to do things the "right" way. So Obi-wan fails as a teacher.

Finally Anakin confronts Palpatine at the end of Episode 3, knowing full well that the new Emperor is entirely evil. The Emperor however plays on Anakin's fears, and in his domain of evil, he forces Anakin to fight his own worst enemy, as Luke fought his manifestation of Vader in the cave on Dagobah. This emanation is the sum total of Anakin's fears, and it overwhelms him. The Emperor claims that this mysterious cloaked warrior is the pupil that Obi-wan failed to fully train, and from a certain point of view, this is true. The Emperor gives this figure the most evil sounding name he can think of: Darth Vader, so as to play on Anakin's fears. Finally, as Episode 3 closes, we see a cloaked figure step out from the Emperor's palace, his face darkened and mysterious. We assume that it is Obi-wan's secret apprentice, now revealed as the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy. It is only in Episode 5 that we have the information to understand the truth, for when Luke fights Vader on Dagobah, we realize the illusion of Episode 3 for what it is. The Emperor does not try and pull the same trick on Luke because he knows that Luke has already fought most of his inner demons, and only by goading him to anger will they succeed in turning him.

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NeverarGreat said:

Anakin's turn should not have happened slowly as people have suggested. It should have been fast, for Luke's near-turn to the Dark Side was fast.

I don't think Luke's turn had long term effects.  It was a blip- something that could have been the first step down a long road, or just that single step.  I laid out my thoughts on this in another thread: here

For Vader, this guy serves the Dark Side for 20+ years.  He's pretty devoted to it.  It's not something that happens when he gets mad, it's not something that happens when he loses control.  It's his lifestyle.  He's totally bought into it.  He's trying to bring others into it.  He's not accidentally straying into something- he's converted.

Converted to what, exactly?  I think that has to be backed up with something other than a single moment that strays from that other thing he's previously converted to.

It is important that we as the audience not know precisely how Anakin falls only when Luke does, so that we can identify with Luke in the OT and share his fear of the unknown.

I think I will disagree with this here.  The OT is the story of how Luke didn't turn to the Dark Side.  If the PT is a story of how Anakin mysteriously turns to the Dark Side, but we are not told precisely how, I think you blew your chance to show something new.

The path to Anakin's fall should be subtle, so subtle for the audience watching the prequels that they would at first think it impossible for Anakin to have fallen. It's all in the framing of the story. In Episode 4, Luke displays grief and rage at the loss of his relatives and Obi-wan. We should sympathize with this, not be fearful lest Luke turn to the Dark Side.

I think you're spot on here, but you come away with a different conclusion than I do.  I think it should be subtle, as you say, as with Anakin as it was with Luke.  No one watching Luke thinks he will turn bad.  Part of that is our hope and our trust in the storytellers that they wouldn't do that to us.  Even when he uses the Dark Side to defeat Vader, we're still not terribly worried about him.

If Anakin's fall is subtle, but unclear as you suggest... then we will think that his fall is a requirement of the narrative rather than something driven by the character himself. 

But if Anakin's fall is to a) be believable b) be tragic c) be a warning to all other would be heroes, then I think we need to understand it.  And, as you said, if it starts with anger and sadness and the feelings of loss that any warm blooded human would experience, then we can start to understand it.  I think most of RotJ's audience turns to the Dark Side with Luke in that scene.  And it's only when the bombastic music dies down and the look on Luke's face tells us that he's not so sure he's done a good thing (the gloating Emperor telling him that he's lost doesn't hurt).

It's not when Luke goes into an unknown path that we fear for his immortal soul.  But when we see him retread the steps his father took, though he thinks that this time it will be different, that we fear for him.  And since we know that this story has already betrayed us- the hero has become the villain, then we fear for Luke.

So the dangers of the Dark side should not be revealed until Episode 5. The prequels show only the light side of the Force, a power without a downside.

My above comments should already show my disagreement here.  However I wanted to say that Luke gets an education from Yoda (moreso than Ben) in the Light Side and avoiding the seductive ways of the Dark Side.  As presented by Yoda, I think his argument seems ironclad.  But it's pretty much the only side of the argument you hear in the OT.  I think that Episode 2 of the PT should have shown a similar tutelage, but by a "Yoda-of-the-Dark-Side".  Someone who can present their argument in similarly convincing terms.  That person isn't going to say "Being evil is pretty great, eh?"  But someone (Anakin and the Audience) that thought that the matter was pretty simple will find that it isn't quite so, and that maybe their decision hasn't totally been made yet.

A "Power Without a Downside" seems to be the opposite of what makes sense for a compelling story about Anakin's fall that could possibly cast narrative shadows onto Luke.

Anakin's powers are sorely needed after all, and there is no time to do things the "right" way.

Finally Anakin confronts Palpatine at the end of Episode 3, knowing full well that the new Emperor is entirely evil.

I think you're right about this again.  Just like my other thoughts about Luke mentioned above, I see that Anakin would use the Dark Side to try to accomplish his original, Light Side mission.  To win the War and bring Peace to the Galaxy.  He thinks it's better to the right things, even if it means tapping into Dark powers... but we learn that this is ultimately a mistake.

The Emperor however plays on Anakin's fears, and in his domain of evil, he forces Anakin to fight his own worst enemy, as Luke fought his manifestation of Vader in the cave on Dagobah. This emanation is the sum total of Anakin's fears, and it overwhelms him. The Emperor claims that this mysterious cloaked warrior is the pupil that Obi-wan failed to fully train, and from a certain point of view, this is true. The Emperor gives this figure the most evil sounding name he can think of: Darth Vader, so as to play on Anakin's fears. Finally, as Episode 3 closes, we see a cloaked figure step out from the Emperor's palace, his face darkened and mysterious. We assume that it is Obi-wan's secret apprentice, now revealed as the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy. It is only in Episode 5 that we have the information to understand the truth, for when Luke fights Vader on Dagobah, we realize the illusion of Episode 3 for what it is. The Emperor does not try and pull the same trick on Luke because he knows that Luke has already fought most of his inner demons, and only by goading him to anger will they succeed in turning him.

Interesting approach to the ending.  Is the 2nd apprentice fully developed prior to this point?  Does he also turn to the Dark Side prior to this moment?  Seeing how the apprentice that Anakin thinks he is fighting is an apparition of Palpatine's devising... what actually happens to the 2nd apprentice.  How do you ensure that the audience assumes it is the 2nd apprentice and not a fallen Anakin? 

Or, as you said, you make it so the audience never suspects Anakin's fall and therefore the only dark figure that could surive the fight is the dark figure that entered the fight?

 

As I've thought about this, I think one possible solution is to end Episode 2 roughly where Return of the Jedi could have ended.  Anakin uses the Dark Side to defeat the big bad, who told him (along with Obiwan) that using the Dark Side powers would be his own end.  Anakin comes out of this experience feeling pretty good, like either the Dark Side isn't to be feared as much as he was told, or that he is specially invulnerable to its charms.

Then comes episode 3.  An emboldened Anakin single-handedly starts to win the War, making a name for himself.  He is fighting fire with fire, and his singular goal is to find the leader of the evil army and take him out.  Anakin's the most powerful Jedi ever (or so it would seem) and yet when he finally catches up to this Palpatine guy, he is smacked down.  He is shown that there is more that he can learn. 

And this Palpatine guy isn't so bad afterall- he uses the Dark Side... but so does Anakin.  Anakin uses it to push forward the cause of peace... but that's what Palpatine claims to use it for as well.  Only by joining forces can they stop the war.  Only by ensuring that all forces are joined together can they bring peace to the galaxy. 

The Dark Jedi don't want to kill the Jedi... they want to unite with them to bring peace to the universe.  The Jedi are the bloodthirsty ones who can't abide the Dark Jedi and want to kill them.  The Dark Jedi don't abstain from using the Light Side of the Force- they use the Whole Force...  The Jedi however, are judgemental and divisive and shun the very power that would bring about their so-called goal of "peace and prosperity". 

Why not use the tools that fate has put in your hands to bring to pass the righteous desires of your heart.  To bring peace?  If a planet with a strong military goes to war with a smaller military, don't they use their advantage to bring a swifter, more merciful, end to the conflict.  What if their military was so big as to completely dissuade armed conflict in the first place?  Would it make sense to leave most of their arms at home? 

And so on.  Something that can convert a hero like Anakin to be the villain for 20 years until his kid shows up and shows a better way.

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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Your points are good, and probably more in keeping with the original intent of the story than mine. Obi-wan does say that Anakin was seduced to the dark side, and not forcibly turned in a moment of weakness. It is true as you say that Anakin is very devoted to the Dark Side, I just don't think we need to see that level of devotion twenty years earlier in the prequels. Notice how much darker Vader became between ANH and ESB. He went from simply dealing mercilessly with his enemies to destroying whoever stood in his way, be it friend or foe. It seems to me that if his character could change that much in a few years, tracking that progression back twenty years would show a character who was only on the first steps of his dark journey. However I do think it's important to show that first step, albeit in a way that only becomes clear once the entire saga unfolds.

I imagine the Jedi during the prequels as the last of a noble order, almost gone and far past their days of glory. They are much like the samurai, willing to die rather than compromise their values, which leads to the Yoda-like ideas that one step onto the dark path is enough to condemn an entire lifetime of good works. It's also like Lancelot from The Once and Future King. He has the power to work miracles, but when he besmirches his honor he knows in his heart that it is not his power but the grace of God that allows him to do miracles; he is unworthy of the honor, and this leads him deeper into darkness. Likewise, Anakin must choose whether to admit that his power is tainted, or admit that the Jedi were wrong about the Force. The disconnect is too much for him, and he breaks from the order under pressure of the Emperor. Granted, this should not be stated in such obvious terms, but it's the feeling I'm going for.

Obi-wan is of this old viewpoint, yet in training Anakin he has neglected to tell him all that he should about the Dark Side, for he realizes the absurdity of asking someone to trust their feelings while also making them mistrust these same feelings. In his hubris he believes that he can do better than Yoda and make a better Jedi than he ever was. This leads to Anakin wishing to face the evil Emperor and Obi-wan having second thoughts about his new training method. Obi-wan tries to dissuade Anakin from confronting the Emperor, but Anakin is adamant. It's like the scene from ROTJ where Luke is trying to get Vader to come away with him, and could go something like this:

Obi-wan: "Anakin, please, don't do this."

Anakin: "Before today, I've believed your counsel to be wise. What do you suggest I do?"

Obi-wan: "It doesn't have to end here, like this...come with me..."

Anakin: "Into exile? You have always told me to confront my enemies. Do you think I'm unready?"

Obi-wan: "Anakin, there are things you don't know..."

Anakin: "About the Force?"

Obi-wan: "I...I've failed...as a teacher. I haven't been honest with you."

Anakin: "Don't fear for me, Obi-wan. You've been a good teacher, and a good friend. I know I will always be a student in your eyes, but I am ready. Whatever happens will be my own destiny."

Obi-wan: "May the Force be with you Anakin."

This is the final scene between the two of them, and when Anakin faces the Emperor, the Emperor plays off of Anakin's fears and conjures a story of Obi-wan's previous apprentice:

Palpatine: "Your thoughts betray you, Anakin. Obi-wan didn't tell you about his greatest failure."

Anakin: "What do you know about Obi-wan?"

Palpatine: "In his arrogance, he twisted the teachings of the Jedi to his own devices, breaking every rule of that sacred order to produce a living weapon."

Anakin: "You're lying. Obi-wan has always upheld the Jedi code."

Palpatine: "What do you know of the Jedi code? Yet I see you require proof. Allow me to introduce you to the apprentice Obi-wan doesn't want you to see."

(A dark figure emerges from the shadows of the throne room. The figure activates his lightsaber and attacks Anakin, and they duel, matching themselves stroke for stroke)

Palpatine: "You can see your master's training in him, can you not? Is it clear to you now? You have been lied to, Anakin."

(The figure attacks relentlessly)

Palpatine: "Which of you is the stronger, I wonder? Obi-wan's failure, or his success?"

(The dark figure gains the upper hand)

Palpatine: "I sense fear in you, Anakin. My apprentice, Darth Vader, is beyond fear. He is better than that. Better than you."

(Anakin becomes angry, drives the figure back)

Palpatine: "Good, you have some aggression yet. It may save you."

(Anakin realizes what he has done)

Anakin: "No...I can't..."

(Anakin backs off, realizes that he cannot defeat Vader. He deactivates his lightsaber.)

Anakin: "I am a Jedi. A Jedi. You cannot take that from me."

Palpatine: "So Anakin Skywalker will not serve me?"

(Anakin says nothing)

Palpatine: "So you would die, rather than betray your code? Always the Jedi, even in death. So be it. Henceforth, Vader shall be my servant."

(the dark figure moves in for the kill. He swings his lightsaber and the scene ends)

Obviously Obi-wan has no other apprentice, and Vader is simply an apparition such as in the Dark Side cave. The final scene, which may be weeks or even months later, probably after aggressive mental and physical torture at the hands of the Emperor, Anakin emerges as the cloaked figure of Darth Vader. The torture wouldn't be shown or even implied, but it would be assumed that Vader was a real apprentice who won the fight and serves the Emperor loyally.

You probably don’t recognize me because of the red arm.
Episode 9 Rewrite, The Starlight Project (Workprint V3 Released!) and ANH Technicolor Project (Released!)

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It could work.  It plays better in your synopsis than I thought it would given your summary earlier.

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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Neverar's idea gave me one of my own:

What if Anakin and Darth Vader were two separate pupils of Obi-Wan (this way we don't suspect Obi-Wan is lying when we get to ANH)? Darth would be a Sith with a mechanical limb or two, and he would battle Anakin at some point (the volcano battle). Anakin would be severely injured, having his lost limbs replaced by mechanical ones. His fall to the dark side would be partly due to his desire for revenge. The two of them meet again in a final battle on a starship and they duel. At one point, they force push each other into the vacuum of space and the scene cuts. The viewer doesn't know if either of them survived, and if so, which one, until a while later, at which point the survivor is wearing a black suit which resembles the Darth Vader suit we see in the OT. Palpatine (who would already be emperor at this point) turns out to be Darth Vader's master. What the audience wouldn't know (assuming they watched the movies in chronological order) is that Anakin made it back to the ship and was rescued by medics. Getting back to what the audience would see: this would be an imperial ship, so Anakin in the Darth Vader suit would be transported to see Emperor Palpatine. Palpatine would be angry at what he thinks is Darth Vader and torture him. Anakin, becoming angry, would fight back, nearly defeating Palpatine. But Palpatine would recover and eventually submit Anakin to his will.

The viewers would find out at some point that Darth Vader was merely the title of a Sith apprentice, and never find out the first Vader's true name. Whatever way Palpatine would use to make Anakin submit would turn Anakin into the next Darth Vader. The volcano battle would be in the second movie, while the other battle would be in the first half of the third. The remainder of the third would be Anakin continuing the first Darth Vader's mission to destroy all the Jedi (who would be scattered throughout the galaxy).

Of course, Obi-Wan's conversation with Luke in ROTJ would have to be different, with Obi-Wan saying something like this:

OBI-WAN: What I told you was true, from a certain point of view. Anakin fought and killed my apprentice, [insert name here] who was a darth vader. By doing so, he was consumed by the dark side and became the man he defeated--the next darth vader.

I really like Neverar's idea though, and think that that's what should have happened. If it is at all possible for Adywan to pull off something like that, he should do it. It would probably eliminate many other changes he would otherwise have to make to prevent the ESB surprise from being spoiled for a first time viewer of Star Wars.

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 (Edited)

RicOlie_2 said:

What if Anakin and Darth Vader were two separate pupils of Obi-Wan (this way we don't suspect Obi-Wan is lying when we get to ANH)?

I plan on going this route myself with my PT rewrite.

Basically, my plan is that in the last months of the last Clone War -- shortly after Anakin fell to the dark side and left Obi-Wan -- Ben rescued an orphaned infant named Darth Vader and decided to adopt him as his own son and raise him as a Jedi.

As the years passed, Darth grew to become a skilled Jedi apprentice. For one reason or another, however, he also grew to lack confidence in his own abilities; his greatest fear was that he had failed to properly digest the training and teachings Obi-Wan had given to him, that he was a disappointment to his adopted father.

Eventually, Anakin -- now the Lord of the Sith -- resurfaced and became aware of Darth. Preying upon the young Jedi apprentice's fears, Anakin gradually convinced Darth that he could only realize his full potential and prove himself to his father by embracing the power of the dark side. Thus, Darth Vader left the Jedi to become one of Anakin's Sith apprentices.

Sometime later, Anakin and Darth confronted Obi-Wan on Sullust and engaged him in a lightsaber duel. As the duel progressed, the two Sith beat Ben down, defeating him. Just as Anakin prepared to slay Ben, though, Darth refused to let his father die, and intervened by slicing Anakin's right hand off, disarming him of his lightsaber.

Calling one of Darth's lightsabers to his remaining hand, Anakin turned on his new apprentice, and the two engaged one another in a fierce battle which took them to the edge of a canyon leading down to a violent lava flow below. With a massive eruption, the edge they were standing on crumbled, and Anakin and Darth both tumbled into the magma river.

By calling on the dark side of the Force, Anakin created a protective shield around himself which prevented the intense heat from completely incinerating his body, and he escaped the lava flow with his life. Most of his body has been horribly burnt away, however, and that damage extended to his brain; he had lost most of his memories, including those of his own identity.

Since he had been engaged in battle with Darth when he plummeted into the magma, however, the name "Darth Vader" imprinted itself upon his mind, and Anakin came to believe that that was his own name. Palpatine soon found him and decided to use the Lord of the Sith's near-complete amnesia to his own advantage; using his own dark powers, Palpatine reshaped Anakin's mind, imprinting him with a completely new identity -- that of Darth Vader, unquestioning enforcer of Emperor Palpatine and his New Order.

As the years passed, most of Vader's memories returned to him and he recalled his own true identity. Yet out of a desire to keep this knowledge secret from Palpatine -- and out of a subconscious effort to disassociate the man he once was from the monster he had become -- he continued to use the name of Obi-Wan's second apprentice as his own.

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That's an interesting approach. I like it though. :)

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Like many people said, the way Episode 3 handled his fall was rushed. It's kind of surprising because when I looked at Clone Wars media (comics, both 2003 and 2008 cartoons, and the novels), I thought Anakin was more prone to anger despite of his good heart and loyalty to the Republic. 

I think it would have been better to have Anakin be corrupted by war. As the Clone Wars, he would make controversial choices that lead to his fall to the Dark Side. It's much like how I assumed about the fall of the Jedi Revan from the KotOR games.

Years before the game, Jedi Knights Revan and Malak broke away from the Order to fight the Mandalorians who were attacking the Republic. With their fellow Jedi, Revan and Malak defeated the Mandalorians and saved the Republic.

But there were small hints of Revan's fall. In KotOR 2, his old mentor and one of your companions, Kreia, mentions that the Mandalorian Wars changed Revan to the point he despised weakness. His fall would be complete after the Mandalorian Wars, when he ventured into the Unknown Regions.

Or you could follow the Prequels' idea of having Anakin gaining power to protect his loved ones. However, use a different method. Have Anakin believe he can conquer the Dark Side and let his arrogance grow until he finally falls completely. It can be done like this:

  • As the war rages on, Anakin grow weary of battle and wants to end the war. He believes the Jedi ways aren't enough as the Clone Wars continue and seeks the knowledge of the Sith. Obi-Wan and the other Jedi forbid his research, but Palpatine takes advantage of this and feeds Anakin small snippets of Sith history that twist the young Jedi's mind until he sees the Jedi as enemies.
  • Or Padme's nearly killed and a paranoid Anakin seeks Palpatine's help to protect her. Palpatine gives Anakin Sith knowledge, turning him to the Dark Side.

You could also base Anakin's fall on his own hubris and jealous. In Shakespeare's tragedies of Othello and Macbeth, the titular characters are good men at first but small whispers of doubts and lies from someone they know causes mistrust and brings their downfall. Do something similar with Anakin's fall as Palpatine whispers lies into his ear. 

...But those are just my ideas.