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In light of the "Plagueis" novel, how would you rewrite the prequels? *SPOILERS*

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Just FYI, I posted this topic at TF.N, as well.

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First off, let me just point out that I've been away from these forums for a considerable amount of time, so I apologize if this topic has already been discussed. Also, as noted in the thread title, this post contains major spoilers for those who have not yet read James Luceno's "Darth Plagueis" novel, so be warned.

Now, let me clarify that I very much enjoy the prequels. However, I feel that in a perfect world, Lucas would have sat down and planned out the events of the entire PT at the outset of writing "TPM". It's painfully obvious that most of what he came up with after "TPM" was on the fly. By this, I mean that many of the trilogy's more intriguing elements and plot points (Sifo-Dyas, Dooku) are either short-changed or left entirely unresolved. I think it's safe to say that had Lucas conceived the entire PT from the beginning, most of these subplots would have been given the justice they deserve.

On the one hand, I kind of enjoy that "TPM" possesses this sort of disconnect with the other prequels; it takes place a full decade before the second film in the trilogy, there's no real political intrigue beyond Palpatine's ascension to Chancellor and the bad guys (excluding Sidious) all lose in the end. Much like "ANH", it kind of exists in its own bubble and could potentially work as a standalone film. On the other hand, even though I cherish "TPM" for what it is, I know that for the good of the entire trilogy, the Clone Wars should have begun at some point in that film to set the stage for the rest of the trilogy. Obviously, with the Original Trilogy, the sky was the limit, since there were no preconceived notions as to what had to happen to the characters. Lucas could have kept Darth Vader alive as long as he wanted and kept creating new adventures, new characters etc. but he wisely, in my opinion, decided to wrap up the story in three films.

Enter Luceno's "Plagueis" novel. What stood out to me most about this book is the rich backstory it provides for many of the events of "TPM", as well as the entire clone army mystery from "AOTC" which it unravels in superb detail. I don't think anyone can argue that had Lucas established the clone army conspiracy, characters like Darth Plagueis, Sifo-Dyas, Jedi Master Dooku, etc. and Darth Plagueis' "experiments" before writing "TPM", they would have all played much larger roles in the first two films, if not in "ROTS", as well.

I've always felt that the character of Count Dooku is one of the greatest missed opportunities of the PT. I would have loved for Christopher Lee to appear in all three films; Dooku and Qui-Gon Jinn were obviously kindred spirits in many ways, and it would've been a treat to see Lee and Liam Neeson interacting on-screen. There are a few scenes in "Plagueis" in which Dooku expresses his disillusionment with the Republic and his thoughts on Anakin and the Prophecy; these types of scenes could have gone a long way towards planting the seeds of Dooku's fall to the Dark Side between "TPM" and "AOTC". (And don't get me started on how ridiculous it is that the Lost 20 scene was cut from "AOTC").

Then there's the subject of Sifo-Dyas and the mystery of who deleted Kamino from the Jedi Archives. Originally, Sifo-Dyas was called Sido-Dyas, a pseudonym Palpatine/Sidious used to place the order for the clones and subsequently peg it on the Jedi. However, it was, I believe, nothing more than a typing error that resulted in the inception of "Sifo-Dyas" as an actual Jedi Master, yet this character neither appears on screen in any of the films, nor is he mentioned again after "AOTC".

I suppose it could be argued that the issue wasn't important enough to dedicate any screen time to in "ROTS", since it's obvious that it was either Sifo-Dyas or Dooku who did it, but I would have liked some actual confirmation. Am I the only one who feels it was incredibly reckless oversight on Lucas' part to completely abandon this storyline in "ROTS", especially considering it was one of the driving forces of "AOTC"? Come to think of it, the mystery could have been resolved as early as the end of "AOTC". Dooku could have given a conclusive answer during his duel with Obi-Wan, at which point he could have also dropped the bombshell that it was he who murdered Sifo-Dyas. The film would then end with the Jedi in possession of the unsettling knowledge that not only was Sifo-Dyas killed by a former Jedi-turned Sith, but that it was one of their own who essentially thrust the Republic, and in turn the Jedi, into the war. On top of all this, could the Jedi even see fit to divulge this information to the Senate? What would the Jedi accomplish by revealing that one of their own went behind their backs and placed the order for the clones? It would be a PR nightmare. It would be the ultimate catch-22.

Last, but certainly not least, there is the subject of Hego Damask/Darth Plagueis. Short of performing a drastic rewrite of the "TPM" script, there's probably no way to really develop the Plagueis character a great deal without turning "TPM" into a three-hour movie. However, I think incorporating him into just a few key scenes would make a drastic difference. One way to accomplish this is by having him as part of Palpatine's senatorial entourage on Coruscant. I picture his presence being similar to Lobot's in "ESB" in that he'd be this somewhat creepy character who doesn't appear to do or say much but is always present when his employer/friend is on screen. I don't think I'd even make it clear that Plagueis is a Sith (he would never be referred to by his "Darth" title); however, I would definitely retain the fabled scene from the novel in which Palpatine kills his master.

There's the argument that showing Senator Palpatine doing "Sithly" deeds (including, as I mentioned above, killing Plagueis) in "TPM" would destroy the mystery of his duel identity prior to the 'big reveal' in "ROTS". Now, I saw "TPM" in theaters when I was eleven, and not once did the possibility cross my mind that Palpatine and Darth Sidious could be two different people. I cringe at the thought of some of the "Palpatine/Sidious is a clone" theories that were bandied about before the release of "ROTS". I suppose the only actual drama that could be had by trying to preserve Palpatine's hidden identity would be for first-time viewers who are watching the films in chronological order. My point is, I'd rather forfeit the so-called "mystery" of Palpatine's alter ego in favor of some more exposition and insight into Palpatine's machinations.

Below I've described a few key scenes I would campaign for to be included in a hypothetical "TPM" rewrite. Were I a talented enough writer, I would attempt this myself; perhaps one of you budding writers is up to the challenge? wink

* The death of King Veruna - In this scene, Plagueis infiltrates Veruna's hidden castle in the Western Reaches of Naboo and murders him by essentially disassembling his midi-chlorians. Ideally, this would be done without it being made obvious that Plagueis is a Sith Lord, as I wouldn't want to blow the lid on Demask's secret identity so early in the film. This scene would put the film's primary plot into motion as Veruna's death leads to the Trade Federation's attempted invasion of Naboo. It would also serve to bring to light the corruption that runs rampant on Naboo and would explain how and why Padme Amidala became Queen at such a young age.

* Demask's proposition to Sifo-Dyas - Unfortunately I do not currently have the book at my disposal to go into greater detail, but for those who have read it, some iteration of the scene that has Demask at a gathering with Sifo-Dyas, suggesting to the beleaguered Jedi that he seek out the cloners on Kamino and place an order for a human army to defend the Republic.

* Sidious and Maul - The scene wherein Sidious and Maul converse on Coruscant would be the exact same as it is in the film, except that the scene would end with Plagueis spying on them from a distance through macrobinoculars, his concern over his apprentice's growing relationship with Darth Maul visibly apparent.

* The death of Darth Plagueis - Obviously I don't really need to describe this, as Palpatine himself does so in "ROTS". I picture a much more toned-down iteration of the scene from the novel. I'm not sure where in the narrative of the film it would slot in, though, as the novel mentions that Plageuis' death occurs almost simultaneously with Maul's.

* Palpatine courts Dooku - The death of Qui-Gon should be the final straw for Dooku's decision to leave the Jedi Order. This scene, which occurs at the end of the "Plagueis" novel, sees Palpatine and Dooku at The Works on Coruscant, with Dooku voicing his disenchantment with the Republic and declaring his decision to leave the Jedi Order.

I know there are probably several other noteworthy scenes from the novel about which I'm currently forgetting. Now, I'm curious--What are your ideas?

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To be honest, none of the EU is really a factor when I rewrite the prequels. That way the script doesn't get bogged down with unnecessary stuff.

<span style=“font-weight: bold;”>The Most Handsomest Guy on OT.com</span>

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The same way I was re-writing the prequels already: ignore everything except for the OT.

No offense, but I tuned out at "I very much enjoy the prequels".

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Most of us wish to start fresh, ignoring virtually the PT and EU sources. Only EU books I've read in the past...many many years...were the Bane series and they were a gift. It sounds like this Plagueis novel was quite enjoyable for you. How would you see it providing much fodder for Episodes I-III, since it's a prequel to the prequels? Maybe it was a more interesting story to tell?

Originally, Sifo-Dyas was called Sido-Dyas...

I once read or watched something that claimed it was an intentional change because Sido-Dyas seemed too obvious and that the Jedi should (at least) be able to unravel a simple word game.

Do you feel that the novel provides a more interesting and relevant backstory to Episodes IV-VI?

The blue elephant in the room.

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I no longer have any desire to thrust many PT-derived elements into any rewrites I make in the future. For me, any portrayal of the Sith I make will be based on the Sith as they were portrayed in the EU prior to the release of the PT - so that means no Darth title, no Rule of Two, no silly red-lightsabers-only rule, an emphasis on the Sith as masters of sorcery and alchemy, etc.

“Okay, I’m goin’, takin’ off. See ya… bye….” — Chip Douglas

“This concludes our broadcast day. Click.” — Chip Douglas

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 (Edited)

Most of us wish to start fresh, ignoring virtually the PT and EU sources. Only EU books I've read in the past...many many years...were the Bane series and they were a gift. It sounds like this Plagueis novel was quite enjoyable for you. How would you see it providing much fodder for Episodes I-III, since it's a prequel to the prequels? Maybe it was a more interesting story to tell?

The Plagueis novel may be a prequel to the prequels, but it contains a great deal of interesting events that play out over the course of "TPM", since Darth Plagueis is alive well into that film and dies right around the time Darth Maul is killed.


Do you feel that the novel provides a more interesting and relevant backstory to Episodes IV-VI?

It certainly provides a more interesting and relevant back story for "TPM", as well as the clone army conspiracy from "AOTC". It also adds a lot more substance to Palpatine's story about Darth Plagueis the Wise in "ROTS".

McFlabbergasty said:

The same way I was re-writing the prequels already: ignore everything except for the OT.

No offense, but I tuned out at "I very much enjoy the prequels".

I wasn't aware that this forum is dedicated mainly to rewrites that involve tearing everything in the prequels down and starting from scratch.

Surely there must be a few people on this forum who can find at least something redeeming about the prequels? I don't love them, but at the very least I feel they boast a lot of good to great albeit poorly executed ideas.

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Weezer12 said:


Surely there must be a few people on this forum who can find at least something redeeming about the prequels? I don't love them, but at the very least I feel they boast a lot of good to great albeit poorly executed ideas.


Some do, some don't. It all depends on whom you ask. I, myself, consider many PT characters, places, and things - retooled though they are - as existing in my personal SW universe.

“Okay, I’m goin’, takin’ off. See ya… bye….” — Chip Douglas

“This concludes our broadcast day. Click.” — Chip Douglas

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I've got an original backstory for the entire galaxy that channels into the prequels I am writing and is (hopefully) a better prelude than anything made under Lucas after 1999. This even applies on a technological level; such elements we took for granted in the OT like lightsabers, hyperdrives, and sentient AI simply did not exist until late in the Republic era.

So basically nothing before ANH matches the canon of the Lucasverse. Some things like Coruscant have been retooled somewhat, and certain background elements like the Trandoshan race and the planet Taris also factor in. But anything that is directly and specifically reminiscent of any of the three PT films or anything that branches off of the PT films is a no-go for my rewrite.

Though I must admit the basic concept of Plagueis has some merit, the grand-daddy of evil if you will. Or was that supposed to be Bane?

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McFlabbergasty said:


Though I must admit the basic concept of Plagueis has some merit, the grand-daddy of evil if you will. Or was that supposed to be Bane?


The EU has countless "grand-daddies of evil", so that's an impossible question to answer unless you've got a particular era in mind.

“Okay, I’m goin’, takin’ off. See ya… bye….” — Chip Douglas

“This concludes our broadcast day. Click.” — Chip Douglas

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One of the problems I have with the Plagueis novel is that he should be long dead by the time period before TPM. The EU contradicts too much. Sidious has Maul at this point. What happened to the rule of two?

Also, it makes Palpatine seem weaker. Plagueis is coming up with the idea for Palpatine to use the Naboo situation to become Chancellor. That's weak.

I don't need Plagueis coming up with the plans for Palpatine. In the attempt to fit Plaguies into all of this, Palpatine gets neutered. I know that the book tries to say Palpatine was just playing along, biding his time, but I think the damage was done.

I'm no big lover of the rule of two, but it is explained well in Terry Brooks novelization for Episode I and as to why the Sith went this route.

I don't tend to follow much EU, so I don't even know which came first anymore. Unfortunately, the EU tends to do more damage than it helps. To me, the whole thing seems based on the idea of the fallen angel, a Lucifer-type thing. A Jedi that goes bad, becomes a Sith, disrupts the Force, throws off the balance, etc. I think the Jedi should have existed first.

It seems that even ROTS screws over Plapatine’s success.

“Once more the Sith will rule the galaxy.”

Once more? So … what? It was just Plapatine’s turn in line?

Not only did Lucas screw Anakin/Vader. He also screwed Palpatine/Sidious.

Palpatine should be the first (and only) Sith to actually succeed in taking over the galaxy.

“Anakin had those qualities so rarely seen, exuding an unmistakable confidence and yet still able to touch one’s heart in simply knowing how he was so flawed… wounded.”

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Now having said my peace, I do agree that if Lucas had written all three movies before he started on TPM, the PT would have been vastly improved… maybe even great.

Many years before this novel, I had written two scenes for Dooku for Episode I. He runs into Jinn and Kenobi in the Jedi Temple. It would have established his existence, some of his history, and a few of his beliefs. He even sees Anakin and inquires as to who he is.

I felt this would add to his larger role come Episode II. The same for Grievous. I had an idea to show Grievous in Episode II as his alien self before the accident. And guess what? He worked for the Republic. He was the head of the Galactic Republic’s Security and Defense forces. There isn't much to it, and with the Separatist movement swelling, he wants a clone or robot army for the Republic along with a huge increase in military spending. I made it so that he was a General on his home world which was rife with war, first amongst themselves, then with neighboring planets before they became part of the Galactic Republic.

When he gets frustrated with the whole affair, he jumps to the Confederacy. He has no loyalty. In his eyes, The Separatists will do things the right way. We see his ship get shot down during the Battle of Geonosis and that’s why he ends up like he does. See, he was at the secret meeting with Dooku, selling out the Republic. Obi-Wan sees him there along with the others and reports back to Coruscant.

Oh, and no lightsaber use either. That was crap. I make him this great shot, an unbelievable marksman. He'll kill Jedi, but he picks them off from distance. In close, with his four arms going all at once, he still manages to kill some lesser Jedi, but he won't get too close to a true Master for obvious reasons.

“Anakin had those qualities so rarely seen, exuding an unmistakable confidence and yet still able to touch one’s heart in simply knowing how he was so flawed… wounded.”

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Those ideas sound fantastic, Hade. Have you posted your rewrites online before? I'd love to read them in full.

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Thanks for the compliment.

Unfortunately, I never ended up writing my screenplays.

I still think about doing them though. For some reason, I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.

It’s funny to type this, but I still have this bag with lots of papers and notes with specific ideas scribbled on them. I wrote some new scenes like the two Dooku scenes in Episode I. A number of others. I know that I have kept everything, all of my ideas… plans. When I started to take notes and began to organize years back, I knew it was going to be a huge task.

One of the problems I quickly realized was that any rewrite would most likely have to be a combination of a screenplay and a novelization in order to relay details that would be tough with just a basic screenplay. That’s a lot more work.

Also, I was going to have something like an opening statement to kind of explain my plans, intentions, goals, etc.

Then I was going to have a section where I would I would specifically mention a change that I thought might stop someone reading it. For example, I might change someone’s home world or how a planet’s name is spelled. I would mention this in this numbered list so that I wouldn’t have someone saying… “Oh, so-and-so was born on __, not __. This guy doesn’t know what he is talking about.”

There would be a lot of changes to be sure, but a lot would stay the same.

I was also going to hire an artist to draw stills of certain scenes I created from scratch. I figured it would’ve been something cool to add to the project. A visual companion as it were.

Someone I knew from back in the day said that the prequels were like a beautiful chessboard with the pieces in all the wrong places. I tend to agree with that. I think there is a pretty decent amount of stuff there that can be used.

My PT rewrite, if I ever do it (LOL), has big roles for Organa, Mothma, Tarkin, and moderate roles for Black Sun and Raith Sienar.

“Anakin had those qualities so rarely seen, exuding an unmistakable confidence and yet still able to touch one’s heart in simply knowing how he was so flawed… wounded.”

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Very interesting stuff, Hade. Did you ever put together any semblance of an outline, or was it just scattered ideas?

If you ever get the bug to write again, I'm always interested in collaborating with others and bouncing ideas off each other. It sounds like your project was something really worthwhile.

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Thanks.

I have a decent outline for Episode I. It’s mostly unorganized notes for the others, but I definitely remember what goes where.

This section of the site is good for voicing one’s opinions and bouncing ideas off of each other. It used to be more active though. Like myself, fans get all excited and then that initial energy wanes. You start to think that, in the end, it’s not worth all the effort.

Just remember that you’re not going to please everyone. Even people who like your work will probably have problems with some of it. That’s just life. Don’t let it dissuade you.

In the end, you have to do it for yourself. You do it because you love Star Wars.

“Anakin had those qualities so rarely seen, exuding an unmistakable confidence and yet still able to touch one’s heart in simply knowing how he was so flawed… wounded.”