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How would you restructure Anakin's turn to the dark side in the Prequels?

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One of the biggest critiques of the Prequel trilogy, and one that I’ve come to agree with more and more overtime, is that Anakin’s turn to the dark side wasn’t structured the best in the Prequels.

It’s too convoluted. George Lucas insisted on starting Anakin as a child, and it takes until the 3rd movie for him to be a Jedi Knight. Compare this to Luke’s arc, in which it takes place over the span of 4 years. We shouldn’t have an arc of Anakin growing up from a 10 year old boy to a 23 year old man, with his character changing radically off-screen each movie. It should be just about how he went from a good, selfless Jedi Knight to an evil Sith Lord. Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader. That’s absolutely 3 films worth of content.

My inspiration for my version will be two masterpiece with similar stories: Breaking Bad and The Godfather. Both Walter White and Michael Corleone have shared points that help make their turn feel gradual and organic (The Godfather Part I and II and Breaking Bad Spoilers ahead).

  1. Starting Point - Walter White is a good, yet meek, high school chemistry teacher and family man. Michael Corleone is a good man, an honest Italian-American who served in the military and keeps his mafia family at an arm’s length.
  2. The Catalyst - Big change in the protagonist’s life that makes them change course. Cancer Diagnosis for Walter, attempted murder of Vito for Michael.
  3. Desperate Decision - A choice the protagonist makes because they feel they have no other after the catalyst. Walter first deciding to cook meth to provide for his family. Michael choosing to save Vito at the hospital after he’s left unguarded, involving himself in the family business.
  4. First (reluctant) Dark Deed - Killing Krazy 8 for Walter, Killing Sollozzo and McClusky for Michael.
  5. Chance at Redemption - Walt leaves meth business out of guilt for killing Krazy 8, is offered Gretchen and Elliot’s money. Michael retreats to Sicily and marries Apollonia.
  6. Redemption Destroyed - Walt refuses the money out of pride, Apollonia killed (only difference is one is self-inflicted, the other is external).
  7. Full Commitment to the Dark Path - Protagonist regresses and starts on the dark path once again. Walt returns to meth business, Michael becomes the new Don. However, they’re still reluctant to do outright evil things, and has a lie they tell themselves (“I’m doing this for the family”, “In 5 years we’ll be legitimate”).
  8. Gradual Descent to Further Darkness - Protagonist gradually does worse and worse things over the course of the movies/series, justifying each one as they go along. Friends, family, and wife either don’t know or go along with the lie.
  9. Complete Monster - Protagonist has eventually done things that are completely unjustifiable and 100% selfish to the point where the audience and the people they love have turned against them. They are now completely the villains of the story. Walter poisoning Brock, killing Mike, and getting Hank killed, Michael killing Fredo.

Another thing they share in common is a backstory that gives context to their choices. Walter White’s past with Grey Matter and Gretchen counts as this, as does Michael Corleone, having served in the military (he has experience killing) and caring about his family. These things are either kept off-screen and alluded to or are in flashbacks. No flashbacks for Anakin though, as flashbacks go against the serial style that makes Star Wars feel like Star Wars.

The way the Prequels did it would be like if 1/3 of Breaking Bad was about Walter White’s past with Gretchen and working at Grey Matter and as a result his actual turn to being Heisenberg was condensed. It contributes to the arc but it’s the backstory. You don’t need to see it.

I think from here it’s pretty easy to come up with an arc for Anakin becoming Darth Vader.

Backstory: Anakin was once a slave. This was traumatic and makes Anakin naturally power hungry. He left his mother behind, the Jedi questioned him joining the order due to his natural repressing of his own feelings. Chancellor Palpatine encourages this by undoing the mental help the Jedi provide for Anakin, encouraging him to give into his dark impulses.

  1. Starting Point - Anakin is a kind, courageous, loyal Jedi Knight with a close friendship with his Master Obi-Wan. He’s somewhat hot-headed, impulsive, and reckless but this sometimes comes in handy and it compliments Obi-Wan’s personality traits in a way that make them work well together. He’s well-loved by his Jedi family.
  2. The Catalyst - Anakin receives visions of his mother and himself dying (in succession; he knows his mother is the first to die, then himself in a few years; he sees himself burning in a lava pit and assumes it’s a depiction of his death). He goes to Yoda for help, but he says that there’s nothing he can do and that death is a natural part of life that needs to be accepted.
  3. Desperate Decision - Anakin learns that the Sith’s ultimate goal has always been to cheat death. He (with the encouragement and help of Palpatine) gets access to ancient Sith holocrons behind the Council’s backs from the Jedi archives, breaking the rules (he has to be a Master, and he’s only a Knight). He learns that he must indulge into the dark side in order to achieve the power to cheat death. As such, he starts force choking his enemies more and generally using the dark side in combat/being more brutal. He gives into his anger and hatred. Anakin also abandons an important mission to find his mother (thus putting others in jeopardy for his own personal problems).
  4. First Dark Deed - Anakin murders the Tuskins in revenge for his mother’s death. Anakin also later murders Darth Maul in cold blood while unarmed. Technically two, but hey, I liked both and I couldn’t figure out which one to use.
  5. Chance at Redemption - Anakin feels guilt for his deeds and decides not to continue using the dark side. He ascends to the rank of Jedi Master after killing the first Sith Lord in 1000 years (nobody knows Maul was unarmed). Anakin also finds love in Padme.
  6. Redemption Destroyed - Anakin receives visions once again not only of himself dying, but of his wife eventually dying. Anakin cannot stand the thought of the thing that pulled him from darkness being taken from him.
  7. Full Commitment to the Dark Path - Anakin regresses back to the ancient Sith holocrons. He tells himself he’s doing it for Padme and that he won’t become a Sith. He’ll just use the dark side enough to gain the power to cheat death, and after that will go back to the light side. The truth is, he’s doing it for himself.
  8. Gradual Descent to Further Darkness - Anakin uses the dark side oftentimes on missions, becoming cold and ruthless to enemies and POWs and letting his rage consume him. He assassinates rival politicians to Palpatine by his command after being told they’re corrupt. Anakin starts accepting Sith ideology and supports Palpatine’s politics. Palpatine props up Anakin as a war hero constantly to the public, feeding his ego and further aligning Anakin with Palpatine. The Council notices some of Anakin’s behavior on the battlefield and he is demoted back to Jedi Knight. Anakin eventually kills Count Dooku the same way he killed Maul.
    At some point, Anakin commits a crime and a fellow Jedi witnesses it. They tell him that they’ll tell the Council (this is a crime that would get him expelled), and to prevent it, he kills them.
    Anakin isn’t just using the dark side to save Padme, he’s using the dark side because he loves it, and it makes him feel powerful. In other words, “I did it for me. I liked it”.
  9. Complete Monster - Anakin gets kicked from the Jedi Order after his secret marriage is exposed, and the Jedi catch onto his usage of Sith holocrons and the dark side. They ultimately believe his banishment is for his own good. He can live a happy life with his wife, and it prevents him access from the Sith teachings, thus possibly allowing for him to recover.
    Palpatine tells Anakin that he’s the Sith Lord and that he cannot complete his dark side training without his help. As this is happening, the Jedi realize Palpatine is the Sith Lord and go to arrest him. Anakin kills the Jedi that went to arrest Palpatine. Anakin fully commits to being a Sith Lord and Palpatine’s apprentice. He is finally knighted Darth Vader. The rest of Revenge of the Sith commences as is.

I incorporated ideas from my Anakin/Vader and Morality thread.

I hope you guys like my idea and I’m interested to hear yours.

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I really like your version of events. Especially how Anakin dabbles with Sith knowledge for a while before fully committing to it. It fits better with the idea of Anakin being seduced by the Dark Side rather than just being duped into it.

For a while, I considered cutting out Anakin’s discovery by the Jedi altogether, and just having him start as a padawan or knight at the beginning of Episode I. But I decided it is still important to show Obi-Wan meeting him for the first time, so I’ll have their meeting occur very early in the movie. And midway through, Anakin will already be Obi-Wan’s padawan, at least in an informal sense. Anakin will be nineteen, and an indentured servant living on Tatooine, when Obi-Wan meets him. Anakin ends up saving the day at the end of the movie, and is celebrated on Coruscant as a hero of the Republic.

Anakin can be knighted early in Episode II. Make it clear that a lot of people look up to him, but that the pressure of that is starting to get to him. He tries to put up this front of a stoic, selfless hero, but privately, he’s wracked by self doubt and PTSD. He tries to hide his problems, but the stress of the Clone Wars and all the death he’s surrounded by is keeping him up at night. Despite that, the soldiers under his command have great respect for him, and Anakin is shown to have a stern, commanding presence and a strong tactical mind.

Anakin’s mother dies near the end of Episode II, in a way that Anakin narrowly fails to prevent. Anakin goes into a whirlwind of emotion, and almost massacres the people responsible, but is stopped and calmed down by Obi-Wan.

Either at the end of II or the beginning of III, Coruscant is attacked and large swathes of the city are destroyed. Anakin and Padme work to rally the planet’s defenders, but Padme is then injured in the attack and is bedridden in a hospital. This throws Anakin further off balance. Anakin fights Darth Maul in the Chancellor’s office, and Maul taunts Anakin about how everything the Jedi have fought for is crumbling around him. Maul then senses Anakin’s distress about his wife, and taunts him about how she will be dead soon. This causes Anakin to finally snap and overpower Maul in a fit of rage, killing him as he begs for mercy.

From this point onward, even though Anakin isn’t technically a Sith yet, he’s already essentially on the Dark Side. When we see him again in III, he’s leading a bloody campaign of vengeance against those responsible for Coruscant. He’s soon expelled from the Jedi Order for committing war crimes and being driven by hate and revenge. Instead of Anakin becoming more unstable or fiery as he turns to the Dark Side, he becomes callous and cold. A ruthless general of the Republic/Empire.

It’s then that, per Palpatine’s subtle suggestion, he begins to dabble in Sith knowledge, looking for ways to destroy the enemy and end the war. He learns that Palpatine is planning to have the Jedi killed to solidify his power, and he decides that this is a necessary evil to restore order to the galaxy, and that the Jedi have become a liability, so he agrees to go along with it. When he confronts Obi-Wan on Mustafar, neither of them wants to kill the other. Obi-Wan begs Anakin to come back with him, while Anakin demands that Obi-Wan stand down. So with that impasse, they’re forced to fight. And you know the rest.

But we can’t turn back. Fear is their greatest defense. I doubt if the actual security there is any greater than it was on Aquilae or Sullust. And what there is is most likely directed towards a large-scale assault.

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Watch Lost Highway.
Do this.
Change certain characters.
Palpy is Mystery Man
Anakin is Fred Madison
Padme is Renee Madison/Alice Wakefield
Samuel Jackson is Mr Eddy/Dick Laurent
Ewan McGregor is Pete Dayton

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regularjoe said:

Watch Lost Highway.
Do this.
Change certain characters.
Palpy is Mystery Man
Anakin is Fred Madison
Padme is Renee Madison/Alice Wakefield
Samuel Jackson is Mr Eddy/Dick Laurent
Ewan McGregor is Pete Dayton

Okay, but if the Max Rebo Band covers “Rammstein”, I’m fuckin’ out.

“Mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth — penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words. Beyond images, beyond that bounding rim of the Buddhist Wheel of Becoming. Mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told.”

― Joseph Campbell

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We’d start out with Anakin as a Padawan learner getting ready for his exam to be a Jedi knight starting out with the scene from the Obi-Wan Disney+ Show with their training. We establish his relationship with Obi-Wan, Mace Windu, Palpatine, and Padme. I also love the idea that a few people have thrown about before about not having Yoda in the films so I’m lifting that with him being an inactive member of the Jedi order with his feats being legendary amongst the Jedi. Anakin and Obi-Wan have a much warmer relationship in the movie with their relationship feeling much more like that of brothers than Jedi Knight and Padawan, which has garnered criticism from those in the Jedi Council, chief amongst them Mace Windu who was against Anakin joining the order as he was too old. The plot is somewhat similar to Attack of the Clones, but with major differences, I’m lifting some elements, concepts, and characters from The Clone Wars CG series to replace characters from the Prequel we got. Keeping the Padme assassination subplot, and Anakin being told to protect the senator as his final mission before being tested to be a Jedi Knight, after Obi-Wan continually pushes for him to be allowed to get the chance. Anakin would still be impulsive and go off on his own, with the difference that Obi-Wan seems blind to or willingly ignorant of those flaws. The Jedi council wants to wait before moving Anakin up to temper his rebellious and impulsive attitude. While Anakin is bringing Padme back to her home, Obi-Wan is investigating the person who attacked Padme, who is Pre Visla of Death Watch from Mandalore, who is now the model for the clone Army. Anakin and Padme fall in love believably without the cringe dialogue, and without them denying their feelings to each other due to their positions. Jedi still are not allowed to participate in romantic relationships, but Anakin and Padme don’t care. Anakin has his vision of his mother again and goes to Tattooine. This time he and Owen are actually cousins who grew up together like brothers, and Owen resents Anakin for leaving them behind to become a Jedi alone and abandoning them. We keep Anakin hunting down and killing the Tusken Raiders, which is now an incident that he keeps to himself. Anakin gets the message from Obi-Wan, and Mace Windu is livid that Anakin abandoned his mission, and orders him to remain on Tattooine and not go anywhere and that they’d deal with Anakin’s transgression later. Distraught and worried about whether or not he’ll be expelled from the Jedi Order he goes back into the Lars Homestead where Owen asks Anakin to stay here and abandon his life as a Jedi. It’s presented as a legitimate conflict where Anakin is choosing between his two “Brothers” the one he grew up with and the one he forged via his relationship with Obi-Wan. Padme encourages Anakin to return back to help Obi-Wan against his orders because it is the right thing to do and he can’t abandon his duty to the galaxy. Anakin decides to go back with Padme and Owen and Anakin have a blow-up fight right before he leaves and their relationship is shattered. The rest of the movie plays out similarly to how it usually plays out in most fan edits, although Yoda is not present and Pre Visla doesn’t die so he can be a villain in the second movie and is portrayed as Dooku’s apprentice. At the end of the movie, Anakin is promoted to Jedi Knight against the wishes of Mace due to the beginning of the Clone Wars, and he and Padme get married.

Episode 2 is completely original and mostly takes place during the clone wars and it’s a reconfigured version of the Mandalore plot line from the Clone Wars cartoon. Anakin get’s his visions of Padme dying at the beginning of the second film. Obi-Wan has been promoted to Master on the Jedi Council, and Anakin has been promoted to Jedi Knight and their relationship is more fraught than it was in the first movie. Obi-Wan suspects that Anakin has betrayed his oath and married Padme, but he doesn’t say anything about it. Anakin is bolder and brasher, continually gives in to his anger, and uses dark side powers, unknown to the rest of the Jedi. Padme, Bail Organa, and Mon Mothma are attempting to lead a coalition to negotiate peace with the separatists throughout the movie. Obi-Wan and Anakin liberate Mandalore by defeating Pre Visla who is presumed dead after Duchess Satine is killed. Anakin confides in Obi-Wan about his feelings for Padme but doesn’t reveal that their married confirming Obi-Wan’s suspicions. Obi-Wan a talk about his previous feelings for Satine and how he eventually chose the Jedi Order over her saying that he doesn’t regret his choice in an attempt to teach Anakin to accept loss. This has the opposite effect on Anakin who becomes even more determined to stop Padme from dying. At the end of the movie, he confides in his quest to Palpatine, who is continuing to manipulate Anakin and drive a wedge between him and the Jedi Order, as his political maneuvering gets him closer to full control from the Senate. And Bail, Mothma, and Padme, realizing Palatines attempts to gain power resolve to stop him

Movie 3 is really similar, but Grevious’s role is replaced by Pre-Visla and Obi-Wan gets Ashoka’s plot line from the finale of the Clone Wars TV Series instead. I really tried to fit Ahsoka into my version of the prequel trilogy, but that’s just way too many characters for 3 films. The opening doesn’t have general Grievous and is a lot shorter, being contained within the first 10-15 minutes, with much less humor throughout. Padme’s subplot to start the rebellion with Mon Mothma, and Bail Organa gets a more central focus in the plot, as well as Anakin’s getting suspicious of her relationship with Obi-Wan, due to her frequent leaving to go meet with them to save the republic. Obi-Wan is also throughout the first act acting as Padme’s confidant and giving her advice, without knowing she plans to start a rebellion. Near the end of the first act, we get information that, Pe-Visla is alive and that the bulk of the separatist’s fleet has taken back Mandalore, sending Obi-Wan to take care of him. Anakin’s political motives of getting tired of the slow process of the senate has more screentime, and it also drives a wedge between Anakin and Padme, and serves as an extra motivation for him to join the dark-side. The finale is pretty much the same, but Yoda isn’t present.

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I really like Mocata and screams in the void’s ideas from https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Anakin-Skywalkers-turn-to-the-darkside-your-alternatives/id/85631

Mocata said:

From what’s actually shown in the movies I always assumed Anakin enjoyed being aggressive to win battles. He would have naturally grown impatient with the Jedi teachers and taken the easier path. It’s a far more human response to their doctrine. Instead of all that “I need the secret to preventing death” nonsense. The only part that makes any real sense is his anger against the Tusken Raiders. But it falls down because we don’t ever see how that anger gives him more strength, and there are no repercussions. Where is the fallout or his anger towards Obi-wan and the council for letting this happen, or letting the slave trade continue? What does he learn from the experience, did he enjoy killing or see how rage is a powerful ally? It’s basically forgotten instead of being a genuine part of his character development.

screams in the void said:

^ good points ! Letting the slave trade continue on the part of the Jedi and Anakin’s anger over it could have been great character development ,especially if he expressed his feelings to them towards it beforehand and they dismissed him out of hand and he felt gas lighted as result . What happened subsequently with his Mother and the Tuskens would have made his fall to the dark side, the perfect impetuous for it . He would have been more easily taken in by Dooku’s views , more sympathetic to Qui Gon’s defiance of the council , and Palpatine would have had the perfect route to manipulate Anakin’s conflicted emotions for his own gain and cement the process .

It makes a more compelling story across the Prequels and also as a more believable and reasoned basis for Anakin’s turn to the dark side than the “I need the secret to preventing death” nonsense. Followed by his lightning quick turn to it as we saw in ROTS.

The Imperial need for control is so desperate because it is so unnatural. Tyranny requires constant effort. It breaks, it leaks. Authority is brittle. Oppression is the mask of fear.

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I don’t see how the “finding the secret to prevent death” is nonsense considering mortality is a big theme to the films. Force ghosts? “I’ve become more powerful then you can possibly imagine?”. Luke saying to Yoda that he can’t die and Yoda responding that that is the way of things?

As Lucas said, the epitome of greed is the desire to cheat death. The Sith are defined by being greedy and selfish. There’s nothing more greedy then wanting to take away a fundamental aspect of the nature of living things because you can’t accept the natural course of life. Therefore, it makes sense that the ultimate goal of the Sith is immortality. And as I said in another thread, having Anakin’s turn be about cheating death creates a nice retroactive arc when Vader accepts his death in ROTJ (“Nothing can stop that now”).

It’s an inherently fantastical concept, but this is Star Wars. The Force and lightsabers and stuff. Star Wars has mythological architypes all over the place, and mortality is a huge theme in all mythology. It was literally created to be a modern myth.

I do like the idea of Anakin becoming addicted to using his own anger in combat though, as well as wanting to control the galaxy using the dark side as he sees it’s more effective. That should be a part of his arc. But there should still be some big personal motivation and not just, “Being angry is cool and the Jedi are getting in the way of my groove”.

Also, in my opinion, I hate the idea of pinning the blame on the Jedi. Darth Vader should be a villain with agency who made his own choices. Palpatine should contribute and manipulate him, but it should ultimately be because of his choices. One of the reasons Walter White is so compelling is because he made his own choices. If it was just “Poor Walt, he has no choice but to cook meth, he just needs to provide for his family”, he’d become a weak and pathetic villain. Don’t strip Darth Vader of all his power by just pinning the blame on everyone around him.

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Just my personal opinion, I don’t expect you guys to share it:

Episode I: Attempt on Padmé’s life. Obi-Wan is tasked with finding out who the killer is, and Anakin is tasked with escorting Padmé to Naboo. The Jedi are free to have romantic relationships, so Anakin and Padmé are free to be in love. Obi-Wan’s investigative plot is the same as in Attack of the Clones, but with more clarity (the Syfo-Dias plot is explained better). The Clone Wars begin, and Anakin, though initially uncertain, is convinced that the war will end very soon. But before leaving to fight, he and Padmé get engaged officially (no marriage, just a normal engagement).

Episode II: Anakin has a traumatic experience during one of the battles, similar to what he experienced on Jabiim in the “Star Wars: Republic” comics. This traumatic experience leds him to become increasingly desperate and to want to stop the war at any cost. He also begins to think that the Jedi are not efficient enough and that their rules will never allow the Republic to win the war and the chaos to end.

Episode III: Padmé is pregnant. More war PTSD for Anakin. Padmé tries to comfort him as much as she can, but it doesn’t work. Palpatine seduces him and tells him that embracing the Dark Side is the solution to stop the war, to restore order and peace. So, Anakin falls to the Dark Side, then we have Order 66, the duel on Mustafar (Obi-Wan tries to bring Anakin back, though), and Padmé dies after giving birth because of the injuries Anakin gives her on Mustafar.

AND YES, YODA IS PRESENT.

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G&G-Fan said:

I don’t see how the “finding the secret to prevent death” is nonsense considering mortality is a big theme to the films. Force ghosts? “I’ve become more powerful then you can possibly imagine?”. Luke saying to Yoda that he can’t die and Yoda responding that that is the way of things?

I can’t speak for Mocata, Screams In The Void or others. For me it was nonsense because it was so poorly executed and poorly shown in ROTS, and I believe there were other better ways to have Anakin fall to the dark side. You think so too in creating this thread and your opening post: “Anakin’s turn to the dark side wasn’t structured the best in the Prequels.”

As Lucas said, the epitome of greed is the desire to cheat death. The Sith are defined by being greedy and selfish. There’s nothing more greedy then wanting to take away a fundamental aspect of the nature of living things because you can’t accept the natural course of life. Therefore, it makes sense that the ultimate goal of the Sith is immortality. And as I said in another thread, having Anakin’s turn be about cheating death creates a nice retroactive arc when Vader accepts his death in ROTJ (“Nothing can stop that now”).

I do not care too much for what Lucas said later, because if he needs to explain things afterwards he likely did not do a good job explaining them on screen at the time. Lucas is also not a reliable person to listen to so I do not take his words seriously as some others do, even as the creative genius behind all of this. I do like to listen to creatives talk about their work and intentions, what worked and what didn’t, but in the end what matters is what happens on screen.

As others say “show, don’t tell”.
 

But I do like reading your and everyone’s thoughts on restructuring Anakin’s turn to the dark side in the Prequels.

Spartacus01 post above is interesting and has potential too.

The Imperial need for control is so desperate because it is so unnatural. Tyranny requires constant effort. It breaks, it leaks. Authority is brittle. Oppression is the mask of fear.

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There was a prequel edit called The Blackened Mantle (which edited all three prequels into one long movie with flashbacks) which had a great take on Anakin’s fall. It basically ditched the Chosen One stuff, as well as the ‘cheating death with Sith magic’ stuff, and hinged the entire premise on Anakin’s reliance on prophecy (against Jedi advice to the contrary). This meant that Anakin, in his desperation to unravel his vision of Padme’s demise at supposedly unknown hands, became the one who facilitated it. It was very powerful and basically showed what the prequels could have been.

For me personally? Well, I’ve become something of a Star Wars/Empire purist in my grumpy old age, and I envisage a hypothetical film in '83 called Revenge of the Jedi that follows the alleged Gary Kurtz model. In that film Luke, before wandering off into the sunset like Clint Eastwood, states that there is no ‘dark side’ - there is simply something called the Force and it’s up to us how we use it. It’s powerful and poignant and no prequels exist. The mystery of Vader’s descent into evil remains…forever…

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Emre1601 said:

I can’t speak for Mocata, Screams In The Void or others. For me it was nonsense because it was so poorly executed and poorly shown in ROTS, and I believe there were other better ways to have Anakin fall to the dark side. You think so too in creating this thread and your opening post: “Anakin’s turn to the dark side wasn’t structured the best in the Prequels.”

We’re talking about ideas here, not the execution. They (and you) were saying that the idea of Anakin wanting to turn to the dark side to cheat death is a fundamentally bad idea. That was my argument that it’s not.

I do not care too much for what Lucas said later, because if he needs to explain things afterwards he likely did not do a good job explaining them on screen at the time. Lucas is also not a reliable person to listen to so I do not take his words seriously as some others do, even as the creative genius behind all of this. I do like to listen to creatives talk about their work and intentions, what worked and what didn’t, but in the end what matters is what happens on screen.

As others say “show, don’t tell”.

And again, I was just discussing the idea of Anakin turning to the dark side 'cause he wants the power to cheat death, and not how it was executed on screen.

Also Lucas is only “unreliable” when he’s lying about things as they were depicted in the special editions or prequels always being the intent even when he was making the original trilogy even when there’s evidence against it. This quote is from The Making of Revenge of the Sith in which he has no reason to lie because it was literally from when the film was released.

Everybody has lied in their life, you can’t just dismiss everything everyone says as a lie because they’ve lied before. You have to look at the reason why they did it and see if it applies.

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G&G-Fan said:

Emre1601 said:

I can’t speak for Mocata, Screams In The Void or others. For me it was nonsense because it was so poorly executed and poorly shown in ROTS, and I believe there were other better ways to have Anakin fall to the dark side. You think so too in creating this thread and your opening post: “Anakin’s turn to the dark side wasn’t structured the best in the Prequels.”

We’re talking about ideas here, not the execution. They (and you) were saying that the idea of Anakin wanting to turn to the dark side to cheat death is a fundamentally bad idea. That was my argument that it’s not.

I do not care too much for what Lucas said later, because if he needs to explain things afterwards he likely did not do a good job explaining them on screen at the time. Lucas is also not a reliable person to listen to so I do not take his words seriously as some others do, even as the creative genius behind all of this. I do like to listen to creatives talk about their work and intentions, what worked and what didn’t, but in the end what matters is what happens on screen.

As others say “show, don’t tell”.

And again, I was just discussing the idea of Anakin turning to the dark side 'cause he wants the power to cheat death, and not how it was executed on screen.

Also Lucas is only “unreliable” when he’s lying about things as they were depicted in the special editions or prequels always being the intent even when he was making the original trilogy even when there’s evidence against it. This quote is from The Making of Revenge of the Sith in which he has no reason to lie because it was literally from when the film was released.

Everybody has lied in their life, you can’t just dismiss everything everyone says as a lie because they’ve lied before. You have to look at the reason why they did it and see if it applies.

Of course everyone lies. But George not only lies, but also retcons and tries to rewrite and change history. He would have done this again if he had made the Sequels with his treatments, not that this is important in this discussion.

I already said I do not dismiss everything George says, but again what matters more to me is what is onscreen. “show, don’t tell”. Explanations off the screen do not interest me very much.

It was his poor execution of the idea that made it nonsense to me, it happened so quickly it was not believable and was jarring. If it had been given more time to brew it would have been better. I think a bad idea done well can make it a lot better and more enjoyable. And a good idea done poorly can have an awful effect to a story in film.

I am not here to have an “argument”, as we are just discussing different ideas that we like and could have been better. I very much liked Mocata and Screams ideas from the other thread. And Spartacus01 post above was interesting too.

The Imperial need for control is so desperate because it is so unnatural. Tyranny requires constant effort. It breaks, it leaks. Authority is brittle. Oppression is the mask of fear.

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Well, I disagree with you on one point. I think having young Anakin was crucial. But I don’t think the story had enough in it. I think AOTC is the weakest point. I think that film should be totally reworked into something that shows that a key point to his turn was the many years of mentoring by Palpatine. And more needed to be done with the lines Kenobi first uttered in A New Hope. AOTC should be them coming back and this mission delays Anakin’s trials to be a Jedi Knight. So he is ready and needs no more teaching. We should see the friendship and camaraderie between Anakin and Kenobi. I would weave more about Darth Sideous manipulating the events the pull him to the dark side. So I think TPM could stand as is, AOTC needs a total rework, and ROTS a partial rework. We should know Darth Sideous is behind these things all along. Hide the reveal (not such a reveal to us longtime fans) but in such a way that when Palpatine reveals the truth, Anakin already knows. I’d have Mace arrive and have a huge battle between the Jedi Masters trying to arrest him and Palpatine with Anakin fighting by his side, horrified that they are trying to illegally seize power.

One of the biggest issues is that Anakin is still the whiny kid in AOTC, and he should be more solid and on the verge of his knighthood. It should be events that Sideous is orchestrating that pull him to the dark side. 13 years of mentoring, a feeling in Anakin that the Jedi don’t serve the Republic, make it more an outcome of his core beliefs. We only get a tiny hint of that when Anakin and Padme talk in the meadow in AOTC.

Lucas was too subtle and it hurt the trilogy.

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The way I see it, Anakin should be a mirror of Luke, one who turns dark where Luke will avoid doing so.

Over time I’ve realized my mental picture is something to the effect of this:

Episode I:

Anakin lives on Tatooine w his brother Owen (& parents?). He’s around the same age Luke will be in ANH. Obi-Wan is a general in the Alderaanian military, about ten years older than Anakin (compare Han & Luke). Alderaan is part of the Republic, which is threatened by invading armies of clone warriors from some other culture. Obi-Wan is also a Jedi Knight, a practitioner of understanding and using the Force to do good works in the galaxy. He is on a mission from one planet to another (ferrying info, or recruiting for war effort, something like that) but his ship comes under attack and he’s forced to crash land on Tatooine. He makes contact w the locals, including Anakin, and asks for help repairing and restocking his ship.

Anakin is a mechanically-minded person, who has vague dreams and ideals like wanting to make a difference in the galaxy, and ‘do good,’ but until now has had no chance to express them. He helps Obi-Wan, and wants to accompany him off planet, to fight in the Clone Wars and even become a Jedi. Owen thinks this is foolish and reckless. He’s a more provincial thinker.

Long story short, Anakin goes with Ben to fight in the wars and to train as a Jedi. Ben hasn’t taught before, but he’s confident he can do just as good a job as his own teacher did. He sees his own idealism and do-gooder nature in Anakin, and wants to nurture that.

Episode II:

Anakin is now a Jedi Knight, and he and Ben and other Knights patrol the spacelanes in the wake of the Wars. Anakin sees the horrors of not only the aftermath of the Clone Wars, but the turmoil and internecine strife (some of it deliberately engineered to cause division, it may later turn out) of the post-war period. Planets burned, children orphaned, species genocided. His confidence in the power of democracy (the Republic), fair play, treating others as ends unto themselves - basic humane ideals - to deal with threats, is shaken. He craves strength, to use his will on behalf of others.

In the central systems, a charismatic politician is rising, one who promises to take a hard line on dissent and anything else which could threaten safety and security in the Republic. Anakin is drawn to this, and becomes an ally. Perhaps he (and Obi-Wan?), acting to protect the social order, foil an assassination plot on this Senator Palpatine?

(This plot might have been engineered by Palpatine as a test?)

At some point Anakin has a romantic interest here, though exactly who Mrs. Skywalker is, I’m not sure.

Episode III:

Anakin is an agent of now-Chancellor Palpatine. Encouraged by the Chancellor, he takes more and more inspiration from old exotic Force traditions like the Sith, who prized power and judgment over all - even styling body armor for himself. In the course of some mission (which Obi-Wan understands to be to investigate a rumor of malfeasance on behalf of some of Palpatine’s political opposition but is really an engineered takedown), Anakin inadvertently discovers the true goals and background of the Chancellor - that is, he’s a dark sorcerer, much older than he appears, and he wants an Empire.

(He’s been building a splinter political group - agency? party? -, whose agents have been taking more and more power and restructuring the systems of power around themselves.)

Obi-Wan is immediately at Defcon 1. Anakin sees how he should be troubled by this revelation, but he isn’t. He only cares that Palpatine will institute a New Order in the galaxy.

He might know his wife is with child, or speak in terms of making the galaxy safe for future generations… he sees the Republic, and the Jedi way, and Obi-Wan, as too weak to do what must be done. Strength and dominance are the highest virtues, and any means are worth it in pursuit of those ends.

Obi-Wan means to warn the galaxy and other Jedi, and Anakin means to protect Palpatine’s plan, and they clash on the volcano.

At some point, after some battling, and as a result of his domineering approach, Anakin is knocked onto or falls onto a dangling gantry or unstable platform, and needs assistance to escape falling into lava or burning, melted rubble. But he can’t bring himself to take Ben’s outstretched hand - symbol of weakness. Vader chooses to fall to his death rather than admit he was wrong or that he might need help.

Of course, Vader doesn’t die, but is instead rescued by Palpatine’s Imperial forces. He is kept alive by additions to his armor in the form of the walking iron lung, and by a burning hatred and disdain for the weakness of the Jedi mindset and for Obi-Wan in particular.

.

Things I do not include or really care about:

  • the Rule of Two
  • Palpatine being definitely a Sith (as opposed to just a Dark Sorcerer)
  • anything about a Chosen One created by the Force
  • the Force being in or out of balance
  • the power to cheat death (except in the form of Jedi/light siders becoming ghosts who can take no or vague action on the mortal plane (Obi-Wan’s “I cannot interfere” and Yoda summoning weather-related lightning in Ep 8 are good examples) & dark siders being able to tie their spirits to places or objects & take actions, but not be tied to the cosmos while doing so)

I’m also not sure if Yoda appears or we only hear about him, saving his reveal for ESB.

"Star Wars films are basically silent movies. And they're designed as silent movies, therefore the music carries a -- has a very large role in carrying the story, more than it would in a normal movie."  -GL

"NOO! NOOOOOO!!" - Darth Vader

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American Hominid said:

  • Palpatine being definitely a Sith (as opposed to just a Dark Sorcerer)

Palpatine has been a Sith since TESB. Vader calls him his master in both TESB and ROTJ. He can’t be his master if he’s not even from the same Order. Vader has also always been a Sith since ANH’s first drafts.

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G&G-Fan said:

American Hominid said:

  • Palpatine being definitely a Sith (as opposed to just a Dark Sorcerer)

Palpatine has been a Sith since TESB. Vader calls him his master in both TESB and ROTJ. He can’t be his master if he’s not even from the same Order. Vader has also always been a Sith since ANH’s first drafts.

Eh… the word ‘Sith’ is not mentioned onscreen til TPM (since it was cut from ANH - I think at one point Tagge or Motti said it?) and IIRC only Vader was called ‘Dark Lord of the Sith’ in public-facing materials of the time. GL had a lot of ideas and intentions, some of which are old and some which evolved over time. I’m going with what I feel would be cool.

‘Master’ could mean a lot of things. I think the most obvious interp is ‘master - apprentice,’ but that does not necessitate an institutional allegiance, more an expertise-sharing dynamic. It could also mean ‘master - servant,’ which is kinda suggested by some of Palpatine’s lines (“with each passing moment you make yourself more my servant”) - and Vader’s (“I must obey my master”).

If GL can get away w retconning Obi-Wan’s “master” to be Qui-Gon (as opposed to Yoda), I think I could get away w a similar stretch. I mean, I’m already doing away with the whole notion of a super organized Jedi Order & The Council. This seems small potatoes in comparison. At the same time, if Palp were a Sith I don’t think it’d change much in this outline - it’s just not necessary for him to be so, for this story to work.

"Star Wars films are basically silent movies. And they're designed as silent movies, therefore the music carries a -- has a very large role in carrying the story, more than it would in a normal movie."  -GL

"NOO! NOOOOOO!!" - Darth Vader

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American Hominid said:

At the same time, if Palp were a Sith I don’t think it’d change much in this outline - it’s just not necessary for him to be so, for this story to work.

Or any story imo.

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American Hominid said:

G&G-Fan said:

American Hominid said:

  • Palpatine being definitely a Sith (as opposed to just a Dark Sorcerer)

Palpatine has been a Sith since TESB. Vader calls him his master in both TESB and ROTJ. He can’t be his master if he’s not even from the same Order. Vader has also always been a Sith since ANH’s first drafts.

Eh… the word ‘Sith’ is not mentioned onscreen til TPM (since it was cut from ANH - I think at one point Tagge or Motti said it?) and IIRC only Vader was called ‘Dark Lord of the Sith’ in public-facing materials of the time. GL had a lot of ideas and intentions, some of which are old and some which evolved over time. I’m going with what I feel would be cool.

‘Master’ could mean a lot of things. I think the most obvious interp is ‘master - apprentice,’ but that does not necessitate an institutional allegiance, more an expertise-sharing dynamic. It could also mean ‘master - servant,’ which is kinda suggested by some of Palpatine’s lines (“with each passing moment you make yourself more my servant”) - and Vader’s (“I must obey my master”).

Indeed. Besides, in both the Legends and Disney continuities, we have non-Sith darksiders who answer to Vader/Palpatine, even receiving training from them. The most notable example’s probably Mara Jade. And then there are all the inquisitors. So the notion that even masters/apprentices have to belong to the same order was never in play.

It’s probably difficult for some folks to wrap their heads around Vader being the Dark Lord of the Sith whilst being subservient to a non-Sith Palpatine because since 1999, the Sith have been portrayed as apex predators who have a monopoly on dark side mastery. But this is purely an invention of the prequels.

“Mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth — penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words. Beyond images, beyond that bounding rim of the Buddhist Wheel of Becoming. Mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told.”

― Joseph Campbell

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Superweapon VII said:

It’s probably difficult for some folks to wrap their heads around Vader being the Dark Lord of the Sith whilst being subservient to a non-Sith Palpatine because since 1999, the Sith have been portrayed as apex predators who have a monopoly on dark side mastery. But this is purely an invention of the prequels.

You do realize that the fact that Vader calls Palpatine his master obviously means Palpatine was a Sith in TESB and ROTJ? Like yeah you can rationalize a different explanation but it’s clear that’s the intention. There’s no need to jump through hoops for another explanation. The scripts for all three call Vader a Dark Lord of the Sith and the Emperor is his master.

“Master” obviously does refer to their relationship as Sith Lords because none of the imperials are calling him master, so it’s not just a term recognizing his authority. Vader is his apprentice and he tries to replace him with Luke, as he calls him his apprentice twice.

There’s literally no reason to not make Palpatine a Sith other then to just be different for no reason.

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G&G-Fan said:

Superweapon VII said:

It’s probably difficult for some folks to wrap their heads around Vader being the Dark Lord of the Sith whilst being subservient to a non-Sith Palpatine because since 1999, the Sith have been portrayed as apex predators who have a monopoly on dark side mastery. But this is purely an invention of the prequels.

You do realize that the fact that Vader calls Palpatine his master obviously means Palpatine was a Sith in TESB and ROTJ? Like yeah you can rationalize a different explanation but it’s clear that’s the intention. There’s no need to jump through hoops for another explanation. The scripts for all three call Vader a Dark Lord of the Sith and the Emperor is his master.

Eh, I don’t think it’s as open-and-shut as you’re suggesting. The early conception of the Sith leaned more into the warrior aspect, which Palpatine, as a sorcerer, lacked completely. All that’s implied in the OT is that Vader the Sith swore fealty to the Emperor, who’s powerful in the Dark Side, but seems dismissive of lightsabers.

But we can’t turn back. Fear is their greatest defense. I doubt if the actual security there is any greater than it was on Aquilae or Sullust. And what there is is most likely directed towards a large-scale assault.

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G&G-Fan said:

Superweapon VII said:

It’s probably difficult for some folks to wrap their heads around Vader being the Dark Lord of the Sith whilst being subservient to a non-Sith Palpatine because since 1999, the Sith have been portrayed as apex predators who have a monopoly on dark side mastery. But this is purely an invention of the prequels.

You do realize that the fact that Vader calls Palpatine his master obviously means Palpatine was a Sith in TESB and ROTJ? Like yeah you can rationalize a different explanation but it’s clear that’s the intention. There’s no need to jump through hoops for another explanation. The scripts for all three call Vader a Dark Lord of the Sith and the Emperor is his master.

If it was so obvious, Tom Veitch, the man who for all intents and purposes invented the Sith, would’ve went with it. But he implicitly denied Palpatine was Sith in Empire’s End.

“Master” obviously does refer to their relationship as Sith Lords because none of the imperials are calling him master, so it’s not just a term recognizing his authority. Vader is his apprentice and he tries to replace him with Luke, as he calls him his apprentice twice.

None of the officers in the Imperial Starfleet are trained Force users.

There’s literally no reason to not make Palpatine a Sith other then to just be different for no reason.

I can think of a reason. Creating dissonance between Sith philosophy and Palpatine’s, aggravating already existing tension between Vader and the man holding his leash.

“Mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth — penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words. Beyond images, beyond that bounding rim of the Buddhist Wheel of Becoming. Mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told.”

― Joseph Campbell

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G&G-Fan said:

Superweapon VII said:

It’s probably difficult for some folks to wrap their heads around Vader being the Dark Lord of the Sith whilst being subservient to a non-Sith Palpatine because since 1999, the Sith have been portrayed as apex predators who have a monopoly on dark side mastery. But this is purely an invention of the prequels.

You do realize that the fact that Vader calls Palpatine his master obviously means Palpatine was a Sith in TESB and ROTJ?

Sith was never uttered until TPM. All we know is that Palpatine is Vader’s master. It could be that they’re both part of a dark Order where Palpatine trained Vader, but we have no reason to believe Vader’s a part of any order based solely off the OT. It’s worth mentioning that Timothy Zahn wanted to name the Noghri species “Sith” to explain what “Dark Lord of the Sith” meant. Palpatine only really needs to be someone powerful in the dark side, what the Sith are and whether or not Palpatine is one of them isn’t as important.

Not that Palpatine’s relationship with Anakin should be like Snoke and Kylo Ren, but in a prequel rewrite, their relationship could be something like that. Kylo Ren is a Knight of Ren, Snoke trained him and is his master but is not a Knight of Ren. The Knights of Ren are just an order that Kylo Ren is also a part of.

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In general, a story like the Prequels is very hard to write. A “good guy turns evil” script is not easy to pull off in a believable way, especially in only 3 movies. Yeah, the Godfather pulled it off, but that’s why its revered as a classic. Also, Michael Corleone went from a normal every-man to a very unforgiving mafia boss. Anakin has to go from an honorable, likable hero, to a genocidal fascist cyborg in only 3 films. This kind of story is hard to pull off, and I almost wonder if The Phantom Menace was Lucas’ way of unconsciously procrastinating on all that difficult dramatic writing.

Anyway, I think the best way to implement Anakin’s fall is to tie it in with his experiences in the Clone Wars. Anakin constantly sees his fellow soldiers die as the Republic takes losses, but the Republic and the Jedi insist on maintaining high moral standards during warfare. Meanwhile, the other side regularly commits war crimes. At some point, in desperation, Anakin begins indulging the Dark Side by doing something like force choking a prisoner during an interrogation. Things just escalate from there. A turning point could be when Anakin defeats a major antagonist in a lightsaber battle by fully embracing the Dark Side in a moment of rage/desperation (like when Luke flips out at Vader), except Anakin just kills his opponent in cold blood after they surrender. Anakin begins to rely on the Dark Side more and more, realizing how powerful a thing anger can be. Obviously, Palpatine takes notice and begins to encourage this. By Episode 3, Anakin is regularly running clandestine missions for Palpatine where he often assassinates people. But at this point we can still consider Anakin more of an “anti-hero” than an actual villain, since he’s mostly only killing bad guys… for now.

I think it would be cool if Episode 3 opened up with a sequence that sort of contrasts with the beginning of Episode 6. In Episode 6, Luke does everything he can to try and peacefully resolve the situation with Jabba, turning to violence only when Jabba leaves him absolutely no other choice. In Episode 3 we could have a contrast, where Anakin has to resolve a problem with some third-tier villain. But instead of attempting to bargain and resolve things peacefully like Luke, Anakin just shows up and murders everyone.

Episode 3 needs some climactic event that really pushes Anakin over the edge. I think it would need to be something like Padme dying - perhaps in a way that causes Anakin to blame the Jedi for her death. (Maybe she dies during an attack on Coruscant, and Anakin resents that the Jedi were too devoted to their peaceful philosophy to effectively protect the populace.) Anakin starts to believe the Jedi don’t really understand the Force, and sees their fear of the Dark Side as foolish and narrow-minded. Eventually, the Jedi realize Palpatine is a secret Sith, and they attempt a coup, which Anakin thwarts. We can then have Anakin lead the assault on the Jedi temple, and eventually, confront Obi Wan (who really needs to be setup as Anakin’s closest friend/mentor early on in Episode 1).

Anyway, I think that’s the best way to write this. No need for weird prophecies or fun with Darth Plagueis or whatever. Just a slowly escalating addiction to power and control, that begins with desperation and fear brought out through war, and culminates in total megalomania.

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Channel72 said:

In general, a story like the Prequels is very hard to write. A “good guy turns evil” script is not easy to pull off in a believable way, especially in only 3 movies. Yeah, the Godfather pulled it off, but that’s why its revered as a classic. Also, Michael Corleone went from a normal every-man to a very unforgiving mafia boss. Anakin has to go from an honorable, likable hero, to a genocidal fascist cyborg in only 3 films. This kind of story is hard to pull off, and I almost wonder if The Phantom Menace was Lucas’ way of unconsciously procrastinating on all that difficult dramatic writing.

Lucas briefly toyed with the idea of a 12-episode saga. Episode I would’ve been the prelude to the Clone Wars trilogy, with Episode V serving as an interquel between the Clone & Star Wars trilogies. That would’ve given us 4-5 films in which to explore Vader’s rise and fall.

What could’ve been. But this is why I’m partial to rewrites/fanedits which jettison the episode numbers altogether.

“Mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth — penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words. Beyond images, beyond that bounding rim of the Buddhist Wheel of Becoming. Mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told.”

― Joseph Campbell

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Channel72 said:

In general, a story like the Prequels is very hard to write. A “good guy turns evil” script is not easy to pull off in a believable way, especially in only 3 movies. Yeah, the Godfather pulled it off, but that’s why its revered as a classic. Also, Michael Corleone went from a normal every-man to a very unforgiving mafia boss. Anakin has to go from an honorable, likable hero, to a genocidal fascist cyborg in only 3 films. This kind of story is hard to pull off, and I almost wonder if The Phantom Menace was Lucas’ way of unconsciously procrastinating on all that difficult dramatic writing.

Very true. It’s very hard to write a good person becoming a bad person in a way that feels natural, doesn’t feel out of the blue and would make sense in their head, while at the same time making sure you don’t make them pathetic and without agency either by having it feel like they were practically forced into it.

I love yours ideas for the trilogy btw.

Superweapon VII said:

Lucas briefly toyed with the idea of a 12-episode saga. Episode I would’ve been the prelude to the Clone Wars trilogy, with Episode V serving as an interquel between the Clone & Star Wars trilogies. That would’ve given us 4-5 films in which to explore Vader’s rise and fall.

What could’ve been. But this is why I’m partial to rewrites/fanedits which jettison the episode numbers altogether.

Where would episode 6 have gone then?

But yeah I’m completely sympathetic to people who want there to be more then 3 films.

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