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Star Wars prequels as a time travel story?

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Imagine the story of the prequels told from the point of view of Luke Skywalker.  Let me explain:

The story would begin after ROTJ where we find luke by means of the force traveling back in time to prevent his father from turning to the dark side and stopping the empire from ever being formed. 

Do you think this idea would have worked as an effective way to tell the story?

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The Star Wars OT is about the Skywalker clan. That's it. That's who we focused on, that's who we followed. Lucas himself established this pattern with A New Hope which starts off  with Vader and Leia, then we go to Luke, then back to Leia, then Luke again, some stuff with Vader and back to Leia and so it goes. Thats it. We see the same pattern in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. All the major points of all the films deal with a Skywalker. So the PT dealing with Luke traveling back into time to see his father fits into that pattern so it should work as long as its not too hokey. 

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What kind of time travel do you have in mind? Would there be different timelines or just one? If only one timeline, would Luke be able to change the past, like in Back To The Future, or would his actions ultimately lead to the events of the OT?

I think all of these concepts for time travel have their flaws, so I don't think any of them would have been adequate to use for official prequels. They would ultimately devalue the originals.

As for a fan-made story, any of them might work, if it doesn't take itself too seriously.

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 (Edited)

In my mind, history in any SW universe is immutable; travel through time cannot change what has been and what will be. So, if Luke were to travel into the past, he would

A. Do nothing which could alter the timeline

B. Actually cause Anakin to become Vader and the Empire to come into existence

Of course, if he were to travel into the past of an alternate universe with a timeline identical to his own prior to his point of arrival, he could prevent Anakin's fall/Palpatine's rise in that world, which would circumvent the whole "immutable timeline" deal while effectively simulating the effects of actually having altered history.

TL;DR: My answer is no, not really, but yes, from a certain point of view, provided the idea was executed plausibly.

I can no longer call myself a Star Wars fan. I’m sick of the same played-out aesthetics/tropes being remixed/regurgitated time-&-time again; I’m sick of the deteriorating characterization/worldbuilding which have been in play since 1983; I’m sick of the toxic fanboys from all ideological camps; I’m sick of the capitalist pigs who refuse to allow this IP into the public domain where it rightly belongs. So while I may still admire the first two films for their technical achievements and characters, I’m no longer capable of enjoying Star Wars in any capacity due to the reasons delineated above.

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Well what if this idea started out in ROTJ where we find a different ending where the rebels fail and are wiped out by the empire.  The film would then end with Luke (by way of instruction of the spirits of Obi-Wan and Yoda) managing to use the force to go back in time to stop the empire's formation.  It could work as kind of a"X-Men Days of Future Past" kind of story.  We follow him tagging along the journey of Anakin and Obi-Wan (possibly going by an alias if it would be preferred to keep Anakin and Obi-Wan unaware of who he is).  By the end we would find Anakin in a situation akin to the end of ROTJ where the Palpatine has revealed himself and is about to kill Luke.  Anakin ultimately kills Palpatine, thus not turning to the dark side and preventing the empire's formation.  Luke ends up in a peaceful future where the Jedi knights are still protector's of the Republic, Leia is a diplomat, Han is a well respected general, and he himself is undergoing proper Jedi training.  Ben and his father are both still alive and good friends.  The future is left open to other stories and everything that has come before ends happy.

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Well, it could work technically, but I'm not a big fan of it. By introducing different timelines (or parallel universes that differ only in one key decision), the original timeline loses more and more of it's significance and uniqueness.

If you allow infinite parallel universes, the victory of the rebels wouldn't mean anything anymore. Since they "tried" to win infinite times, it's not surprising that they succeded a couple of times. And ultimately, there are still infinite other universes where they didn't win and the empire destroys them. So the series of events from the OT is just one of many and there's no real reason why it should be more important than any other timeline.

There should either be a plot device, that allows for only a certain number of alternate timelines (which could be hard to introduce without logical errors) or it should be an easygoing "what if" story that can just as well go the BTTF way, as it's only imaginary and doesn't have to care for plausability of time travel.

I know that I sound very negative, but I really think these are important points that have to be considered before writing such a story.

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Frank your Majesty said:

There should either be a plot device, that allows for only a certain number of alternate timelines (which could be hard to introduce without logical errors)

I think it's relatively easy to make a finite SW Multiverse -- that's what I've done for my own personal canon, limiting the multiverse to 1000000+ universes only. You've just got to take care not to violate the first law of thermodynamics when working with the idea.  

I can no longer call myself a Star Wars fan. I’m sick of the same played-out aesthetics/tropes being remixed/regurgitated time-&-time again; I’m sick of the deteriorating characterization/worldbuilding which have been in play since 1983; I’m sick of the toxic fanboys from all ideological camps; I’m sick of the capitalist pigs who refuse to allow this IP into the public domain where it rightly belongs. So while I may still admire the first two films for their technical achievements and characters, I’m no longer capable of enjoying Star Wars in any capacity due to the reasons delineated above.

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Psst, first law of thermodynamics: Don't talk about thermodynamics ;-)

How many times did the rebels destroy the first death star in your multiverse? If they succeed most of the time, it would take away the tension for me, as they are kind of "meant" to win; If they fail most of the time, there are hundreds of thousands universes left where the empire wins, which would, in my eyes, make the few victories of the rebels pretty much meaningless. (If it's only one time, it would literally make it a "one in  a million" shot, like Han said :-D)

At the same time, 1,000,000 is still a very small number to explain how so many universes developed exactly the same except for one event. In my opinion, a big amount of branching points in a relatively short time (~100 years around the OT) doesn't seem very likely.

In the end, it depends if you're writing a dead serious chronicle or if you allow for some fun with "bizarro universes". In the former case, everything has to be thought through and plausible, in the latter case, smaller inconsistencies aren't that much of a problem.

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Frank your Majesty said:

How many times did the rebels destroy the first death star in your multiverse? If they succeed most of the time, it would take away the tension for me, as they are kind of "meant" to win; If they fail most of the time, there are hundreds of thousands universes left where the empire wins, which would, in my eyes, make the few victories of the rebels pretty much meaningless. (If it's only one time, it would literally make it a "one in  a million" shot, like Han said :-D)

I like to think most of the universes are very different from one another, kinda like how the universes of the original DC Multiverse were portrayed. "Very similar" and "nearly identical" universes exist, but as far as I'm concerned, they're few and far between.

At the same time, 1,000,000 is still a very small number to explain how so many universes developed exactly the same except for one event. In my opinion, a big amount of branching points in a relatively short time (~100 years around the OT) doesn't seem very likely.

In regards to my multiverse, I don't use a branching system; all universes -- all naturally created universes, that is -- came into existence at the same time during the Big Bang; any similarities between worlds would have came about through chance, not any division of timelines.

In the end, it depends if you're writing a dead serious chronicle or if you allow for some fun with "bizarro universes". In the former case, everything has to be thought through and plausible, in the latter case, smaller inconsistencies aren't that much of a problem.

JFTR, I like to play around with both. =P

I can no longer call myself a Star Wars fan. I’m sick of the same played-out aesthetics/tropes being remixed/regurgitated time-&-time again; I’m sick of the deteriorating characterization/worldbuilding which have been in play since 1983; I’m sick of the toxic fanboys from all ideological camps; I’m sick of the capitalist pigs who refuse to allow this IP into the public domain where it rightly belongs. So while I may still admire the first two films for their technical achievements and characters, I’m no longer capable of enjoying Star Wars in any capacity due to the reasons delineated above.

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I think pulling off something like this would be very difficult for this simple reason: If Luke is successful and circumvents the creation of the Empire, then the OT loses its significance. If he inadvertently spends the PT trying to prevent the Empire, but somehow does things that cause it to be created anyway, then the PT loses its significance because its events didn't change anything. The latter, though, could be an interesting narrative on destiny or the nature of the Force, depending on how you wanted to spin it.

That was my big beef with X-Men: Days of Future Passed. The only purpose of the movie was to bring back characters that were killed off several movies ago. Likely, Fox realized "Hey, we can't have any new stories with these characters because they're supposed to be dead. Let's put Wolverine in a time travel story so we can undo the dumb choices we made in writing the previous movies." In other words, it was a big **** you to the fans and to all of the movies that followed X-Men 2. Not exactly the best way to manage your film franchise, IMHO.

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I see it more like the planet of the apes movies.  Essentially what ends up happening when they travel back in time changes the future into a peaceful one, and (at least personally) I don't think it took significance away from the events of the previous films, even though it basically undid everything that happened in the first two films.

I understand the beef with X-Men as it was basically just ret-conning the previous canon because people didn't like them and to make way for the future stories they wanted to tell, but I don't see this as being that way.  It would be the ending of the story of Luke's journey and more the idea that the events of the OT were essential to getting Luke to the point where he could do this and helped prepare him for the trials he would face in the PT era.