About a few years back (dang, has it really been that long?), I came up with an idea to rewrite the PT to fit with the Star Wars: The Clone Wars cartoon (which you can see here: http://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Rewriting-Prequels-for-TCW/id/16915). Of course, I dropped the idea altogether, with only (you guessed it!) the prologue for each installment of this PT. The prologues are more or less a flashback to events that happened before the PT, and each one is somehow connected to the main plot of its its respective episode (meant to, anyway-it could have been laughably bad for all I know).
That being said, here are the prologues for the TCW Rewrites of Episodes 1, 2, and 3!
Tatooine, Ten years ago (32 BBY)…
Shmi panted as her feet clapped on sand and rock. Tatooine’s twin suns bore down on her from high above, its heat entering through the many tears in her rags. Her skin and hair perspired and stained the fabric with stink of sweat. Up ahead of Shmi was a small formation of a dune.
It was only a few steps away when Shmi let her sore legs give way onto the ground. She scooted under the dune’s shade and sat there, giving in to her tired body. Her feet swelled, her chest pounded, and her lungs wheezed. Shmi wondered if she could go on, let alone go any faster.
Through her pains, Shmi heard a small voice whisper, “Mom?”
A panting Shmi glanced to her boy clinging close to her. Though the rags covered his face, those beautiful blue eyes stared at her with fear. Shmi hugged her son and rested her chin atop of his scalp. She whispered back in a soothing tone, “Don’t worry. Mos Espa’s not fair away now. We’ll be there soon.”
While her son looked away, Shmi’s heart ached. It hurt to lie to her child. It hurt more that he saw the truth behind it. He always had that way with her, bless him.
He had to be given some hope, something to keep him calm. The port city of Mos Espa was still a long ways away, and running for so long and so fast in broad daylight left Shmi’s body taxed. Though she wasn’t as fast or strong as the others, she kept her son and herself safe. Now, all she wanted to do was rest.
When Shmi’s pains faded, her son’s small hands tightly gripped at her tunic. “Mom! It’s them!” she heard.
Shmi’s mind rang in alarm. Did they catch up so soon? She thought she lost their trail awhile back. “Wait here,” Shmi said and rose on her sore feet to leave the boy alone.
She peeked over the dune’s edge to see a large creature, a Bantha, slowly trail its wooly body on the desert. Its tusks stuck out threateningly, much like its riders with their desert robes, rifles and gaffi sticks.
Tusken Raiders, Shmi fearfully recognized. Tuskens, or more commonly known as Sand People, were the feared natives of Tatooine often hunted the ‘invaders’ of their planet, which happened to include the two humans hiding at the dune.
There was only one Tusken. Its bandaged-wrapped face and goggles turned right and left, but nowhere in the direction of Shmi, her son, and the dune they hid by.
She retracted back into the dune, back to her boy. “Mom, they’re…”
Shmi cut him off. “I know. We have to run now. Can you make it?” A nod answered her. “Good. We’re going!” She grabbed the little hand into hers, and began to run…
The ground at their feet exploded in a loud pop of sand particles, stopping mother and son in their tracks. Surprise shortly flashed then Shmi went in the other direction. “This way!” she exclaimed.
Again, Shmi stopped short of a shot that would have blown off her foot. She looked around, freezing at the sight of a Bantha rising atop another dune that was in the distance. Though some meters away, Shmi saw more Sand People atop; one taking the reins and the other aimed it rifle at the two humans.
Shmi’s fearful gaze turned slightly from the second Bantha. The first one from before crawled forth from beyond the dune’s edge. “Stay close!” was the first thing Shmi said.
She felt her son’s hands trembled in hers. She tried to do everything to keep her own arms from trembling and failed when the two Bantha crawled closer and closer to the dune’s shadow. The gunners on each kept their goggles intently on the two humans under it, and their rifles rose to take aim on their prey. Shmi could only hug her son close to her body, somehow to protect him. Staring at the barrels with watery eyes, Shmi’s eyes watered, and a couple tears wetted her dusty cheeks.
This was it. There was no way out. She would die in the middle of nowhere. And yet, she was frightened for her son. If he survived by some miracle, he would be all alone with no one to care for him. No friends. No mother. ‘I’m sorry, Ani,’ Shmi thought with regret and waited for the shot to fire.
It never did. The rifle had tilted upwards, as if it had a will of its own, and fired, sending the projectile and powder into the air.
The Tusken rifleman howled in shock, and the other two looked at each other for answers. Their bantha snorted and huffed from their large nostrils, jittering rather nervously. Shmi kept her eyes on the Tuskens carefully whilst they talked in their unintelligible language. The one holding its now-ruined rifle seemed angry, uttering a jumble of irritated grunts and growls. Its calmer comrades sounded more urgent, and even fearful.
Their glances fell onto the humans, and the fear returned to Shmi. Were they making up their minds, or were they going to finish what they started? Shmi did not know, and she found the wait was scarier than staring down the barrel.
Then, the Tuskens let out another howl, and to Shmi’s surprise, the banthas turned around. They were leaving! The three of them rode off, away from the dune and back from whence they came.
It was not until the Tuskens were a haze that Shmi turned her eyes downward. Her son, still holding on tight, shivered frightfully so much she had stroke his head. “Ani?” she said to him.
‘Ani,’ her little Ani, stopped shivering and those blue eyes were back on her. “Are they…” his voice squeaked before it trailed off.
“They’re gone, Ani,” Shmi said soothingly. “We’re safe now.”
Why though? The Tuskens were supposed to be ruthless killers with no fear, so what could have scared them to the point that they would give up their hunt?
A new thought soon came to her. Actually, it was not a thought but a voice that came out of nowhere. “Are you two alright?”
As warm and gentle as it was, the question nearly made Shmi jump. She whirled around and saw a figure standing at the edge of the dune. A long robe, brown and beige in color, covered the body of the man–she assumed it was so from the voice–and a hood protecting him from the scorching heat.
Shmi held onto her child protectively and warily eyed the stranger. “Who are you?” she questioned, despite her weariness.
A hand, human in nature, stuck out from a huge sleeve. “It’s alright,” the stranger assured, “I don’t mean you any harm. I’m here to help.”
The voice brought new Shmi’s suspicions. It was too formal, and the accent gave a slight deep roll of the r’s. At the same time, there was something to it. A sense of calm and honesty Shmi had not heard in many years.
The stranger slowly stepped over to Shmi and her boy, both of who watched the newcomer. The robes had no stain or a speck of sand on them. They were too clean to belong to a native of Tatooine. There was something off, however. Nothing menacing to be sure, but it boggled Shmi’s mind to the point she gazed up and down the stranger to find anything else.
That was when she saw it, hanging from a brown belt. It was a long cylinder, elegant in its design that clashed with the technological material that comprised it. Shmi recognized it immediately. She remembered the many stories she heard from the visiting spacers and smugglers, stories of people with strange weapons helping others in need, no matter who those people were.
Now, Shmi raised her head back up, and the stranger stood a few feet from her. Hidden from the sun’s glare, Shmi saw a fair face under the hood. The blue eyes gave a kindle of kindness in them, and the brown beard surrounded a small smile.
“Y-you’re…” Shmi’s voice left her throat, but she could not finish the sentence.
Her mind, on the other hand, had brought a decent picture of what happened.
The man, the Jedi, did not nod or say anything to answer that. Instead, he told her, “I am Qui-Gon Jinn. What’s your name?”
This time, Shmi did not hesitate to answer. “I’m Shmi Skywalker. This is my son,” she replied.
The Jedi’s eyes, then went from her, to her boy. She glanced down to him, too. In her shock, she had almost forgotten about him. ‘Ani’ was hiding behind her legs, still shivering a little. “It’s okay, Ani. We’re safe now,” she whispered to her son, this time with no lie.
“Where are you heading?”
Again, Shmi glanced back up to the Jedi, Qui-Gon, whose gaze was back on her. “Mos Espa,” she answered. “That’s where my master lives.”
“Your ‘master?’” The tone was confused, as was the Jedi’s eyes. They became stiff when the realization sunk in. “You two are slaves.”
A nod from Shmi confirmed as much. For a brief moment, there was only silence, and in that, Shmi swore the Jedi remained frozen stiff. At last, he spoke, more softly and warmly, “And your master sent you out here? All alone?”
“No, I have…” Shmi stopped and swallowed, “… I had a guard with me. He was with me while I was scavenging for parts when… when the Sand People a-attacked…”
She had to stop herself from saying more. Her voice had cracked, and the memories from the last hour poured in. The images of the charging Tuskens and their guard staying behind to buy her and her son time to escape. The brave man had told them to run and head before he met the Tuskens’ charge.
“Don’t worry,” the Jedi assured. “I have a transport nearby. I can take you back safely.”
“T-thank you,” Shmi managed to say before she gave a gentle tug on her son’s hand. “Come on, Ani.”
Her little ‘Ani’ did not move. He stood close to his mother’s leg, refusing even budge a little. Shmi, trying to be patient, placed a hand on his head and caressed it, speaking in the soft tone to sooth her boy. “It’s alright. He’s helping us to get back home,” she told him. “Trust him, Anakin.”
After a while of waiting and thinking, Anakin came from behind his mother’s side. Shmi gave a smile at him then nodded her head at the Jedi. Her new protector turned around, leading the pair to his transport. Anakin trod alongside his mother, still a little cautious of the newcomer. As for Shmi, whose weariness and state of near-fatigue was a memory, could not have been happier.
The danger had passed, and they were safe. That was all that mattered to her.
Coruscant, Fourteen years ago (33 BBY)…
Master Dooku kept his arms tucked under his Jedi cloak as he strolled down the long halls of the Jedi Temple. His steps, once loud stomps to announce his entrance, were now light taps against the red carpet, and he bore a troubled brow. Dooku gazed around, hoping to ignore his troubles.
Fellow Jedi walked to and from the many corridors, attending to their daily duties. In one room, a Jedi Master gave a lecture on the history of the Republic; in another, a group of Padawans meditated to center themselves in the Force; and laughter came from another as Younglings played with toys under the supervision of a Jedi Knight. The life in the Jedi Temple was filled with life and energy that many would find it peaceful.
Once, Dooku saw that, but not now. Where others saw peace and serenity, he saw something else; weakness, illusions, zealots who served a decadent government made up of fools. Such ideas were dangerous, but Dooku could not stop such them.
Something stirred in his mind. A small echo as he remembered something he heard from Dathomir:
“The Dark Side offers many paths of power. The Jedi know this, yet do not use it. Why? Because they believe themselves to already be powerful. They believe they serve the Republic for the ‘greater good.’ But the Republic continues to debate and argue over insignificant issues, and with no progress. The Jedi are nothing more than the Senate’s puppets and they enjoy the power they have.”
A small shiver ran down Dooku’s spine. There was a small part of him that hated it, but the rest knew his doubts were right. It was the reason Dooku did not tell the Council, and he wondered if staying in the order was illogical.
Dooku came out of his thoughts when he noticed another Jedi. The Jedi, a man with dark pony tail, wore dark Jedi tunic similar to Dooku’s own uniform. He stood tall and proud with his arms clasped behind his back, but the light from Coruscant’s setting sun showed a troubled look.
As he walked up to the Jedi, Dooku smiled. “Ah, Master Sifo-Dyas. It’s good to see you.”
“Master Dooku. It’s good to see you, too,” Sifo-Dyas returned, but his smile was a pained one, which Dooku noticed.
“Is everything alright, old friend?”
Sifo-Dyas’s smile faded as he looked back to the sunset. His voice was unusually soft when he spoke. “No… no, it’s not. I just came from a meeting with the Jedi Council.”
Dooku frowned in exasperation and leaned a little against the window sill. “What was it this time? Has a trade agreement gone sour, or perhaps Chancellor Valorum has requested us to guard for the Hutts again?” he inquired in his “grandiose” fashion.
Sifo-Dyas didn’t laugh, despite his friend’s attempt at humor. “I’m afraid it’s more serious than that,” he said sadly. “I… I’ve been removed from the Council.”
Dooku’s eyes widen. “What? Why?”
“Recently, I’ve been calling for… certain measures,” Sifo-Dyas explained, somewhat hesitantly, “Measures the Council believe to be extreme.”
“You mean raising an army,” said Dooku. It was no secret; almost every Jedi Master outside of the Council knew about it. Dooku personally thought it the idea was like giving a blaster to a child.
“Yes,” Sifo-Dyas said. “The council may think my proposal is ludicrous, but I believe it’s necessary.”
“For what? Sifo-Dyas, what happened?”
Sifo-Dyas turned away, and Dooku concern grew when he heard his friend’s tone turned dark. “I recently had a vision. I told the council and…”
“… and they didn’t listen,” he finished, not surprised.
Sifo-Dyas gave his friend a soft, sad smile. “I can’t really blame them. The future always is in motion, as Yoda would say.” The smile turned into a frown. “But I fear dark times are coming for the galaxy.”
For many moments, Dooku stared at Sifo-Dyas, feeling the fear and horror lingering in his friend’s mind. It took his courage for him to speak. “What did you see?”
The lines creased Sifo-Dyas’ face. “A conflict. One too terrible to imagine…”
As Sifo-Dyas gave every detail he could recall, Dooku eyes widen with every spoken word. It wasn’t unheard for a Jedi to have visions of the future, and most were harmless to the galaxy. Even the worst only affected the individual themselves. But this… this was something beyond anything Dooku could ever dream of.
Once Sifo-Dyas finished, Dooku managed to ask, “Do you know how soon this is?”
“I don’t know for sure. It may be years, decades perhaps, but I know it will in our lifetime, and I can’t do anything to stop it.”
Dooku considered it for a moment. Then, he said quietly, “Actually, you can. The rest of the galaxy doesn’t know about you not being on the Council. You can use your old title to request for an army, which I will provide.”
“And how will you get this army?” Sifo-Dyas humored Dooku.
“I have more than enough money in my family household on Serenno. I need to only ask, and they will give it to me.”
“What about the Council? You know they won’t approve.”
“The Council doesn’t need to know.”
Now, it was Sifo-Dyas’ turn to be shocked. “Go behind the Council’s back? Dooku, that’s extreme, even for you!”
“Like you said, dark times are coming, and we must be prepared to face them, my friend,” Dooku replied. “My old student Qui-Gon would say the Force has given us an opportunity. I say we must take it.”
Sifo-Dyas thought about it. “This is a dangerous path, old friend…” he said with uncertainty, “but if it will help secure the future, then I will do it.”
Dooku, noticing a passing duo of Padawans, stepped closer. “We’ll talk about this another time. Tell no one about this,” he whispered to Sifo-Dyas. With that, Dooku left his friend by the window without looking back.
He dared not after what he just heard. It boggled Dooku that the Council even ignored such a vision. Sure, visions could be misinterpreted but Sifo-Dyas had the most clarity in the entire Jedi Order, and Sifo-Dyas was surer than ever of what he saw. But why did Dooku believe Sifo-Dyas in the first place?
The answer was obvious: His doubts of the Council, of the Jedi Order, were fully realized. His mind reeled at his anger that he did not notice anything, not even his ‘fellow’ Jedi passing him. Not until he reached the entrance of the Jedi Temple.
When he did, Dooku’s feet stopped as did his thoughts. He stood there like the statues of great Jedi lined outside. Through the Force, he felt something. A presence he had not felt since…
Dooku walked down the steps, careful to look as calm as possible and avoid notice from the Temple guards stationed outside. To Dooku’s fortune, the guards remain silent and sure as ever while he continued away from the giant ziggurat until he reached one of the large statues at the edge of the Temple grounds. There, Dooku thought his aging eyes were deceiving him.
They weren’t, for a man, dressed in a black robe and hood, greeted the Jedi Master with a warm smile. “Ah, Master Dooku. I have been wondering where you were.”
Dooku quickly approached the man, his anger masking the shock. “Sidious, what are you doing here? If I sensed you, it won’t be long before the Jedi do!”
Neither Sidious’ expression nor tone changed. “You’ve only sense me because I let you. There’s no need to worry,” he waved it away and began walking, “but enough of that. Have you thought about my proposal?”
Dooku glanced around for a moment. They were on the edges of the Temple, where there was barely anyone. No one would be watching, and it’s as Sidious said, only he noticed. “I have,” Dooku trailed as he joined his accomplice. “I’ve been thinking on it for some time… and I believe that you are right.”
Sidious was silent for a moment. “Interesting… but I’m curious, why the sudden change of heart?” There was a glint under the shadowed gaze. “Would it have something to do with Sifo-Dyas’ vision?”
Dooku was surprised but recomposed himself. “Yes, he did. He told me he foresaw a terrible conflict to me.”
“As he did to me,” Sidious nodded. “He also mentioned he wanted to raise an army for the Republic. Has he talked to the council?”
“He has,” Dooku said indignantly. “They’ve removed him from the council. But I have a plan.”
“The Jedi won’t approve of it. They won’t support any action without approval from the Senate,” Sidious said in his usual tone, which meant he was toying with him.
Dooku, annoyed at the words and patronizing tone behind it, tried not to snarl. “I’ve found that the Jedi way to be insufferable. The corruption in the Senate has already led to an uprising on Thyferra and Yinchorrr. It won’t be long before more worlds will rise up again.”
“And you believe that the Jedi’s need to serve the Republic will lead to this?”
“It’s as you said, the Jedi have become the Senate’s puppets.” Dooku paused, and admitted, “With all that I have learned, I’m not sure if I can stay here any longer, let alone follow the Jedi Code.”
“Well, there is another path. There are other mysteries of the Force that the Jedi do not know of. I can teach them to you.”
Dooku’s eyes narrowed. “You speak of the Dark Side. What would make believe I wouldn’t turn you over to the Jedi?”
Sidious simply smiled. “If you truly believed that, you would have already told the council about our encounter on Dathomir.”
Despite himself, Dooku agreed with Sidious. He already confessed his doubts of the Jedi and he just conversed about coercion with him. Yet, this person, this Lord of the Sith, was willing to share his knowledge… knowledge that could help Dooku in his endeavor.
Dooku inwardly sighed and with a heavy heart, he bowed his head. “I accept your teachings. I am willing to learn the secrets of the Dark Side.”
“Excellent!” Sidious clapped his hands together. “I must leave you now. However, I shall see you again, very soon. We will need to work quickly if we’re to succeed.”
Dooku nodded and said the words he thought he would never say: “I understand… my master.”
Naboo, Twelve Years Before the Invasion of Naboo (44 BBY)…
Darth Plagueis hobbled out to the balcony, breathing heavy breaths through his respirator masks. He stopped short of the perch and leaned against his large staff to enjoy the light of Naboo’s moons reflecting in the rippling lake. Out of the entire estate and its servant droids running about, the balcony was the only place where Plagueis could think in solitude, aside from his own laboratory.
His eyes trailed down the lake to other side, where the great lights of Theed shone like the stars above it. Plagueis could sense them; the commoners toiling through the night to work as the nobles rested in their beds. Their hopes, their dreams, were almost at him… and he pushed them away from his own mind.
Pathetic creatures, Plagueis thought with disdain. They believed themselves to live harmony and peace. They believed themselves to be safe, but all they had was nothing more than a ruse.
A soft hum turned Plagueis’ attention to a slug-beetle buzzing about. His eyes fixated on it for a moment before he held out a skeletal hand–too long to be a human’s, and he stretched out, sensing the lines of the Force in the beetle. His bone-like fingers moved on the lines, as if touching the silks strings on a tapestry. Though they were thin, the Force swirled in its tiny body, giving the beetle life it needed to buzz around, happily ignorant of the world around it.
Closing his hand, Plagueis ripped those lines to shreds.
The beetle dropped onto the perch in front of Plagueis. Within minutes, the bright blue color dulled, the wide wings corroded, and the legs bent in directions not natural to its design. The beetle clicked its mandible in panic, buzzing while it lied on its side, hopeless to do anything until it stopped moving.
The lines creased Plagueis’ elongated head when he studied the husk. Five seconds, he counted. Five seconds for the insect to wither and die. It was slower than he calculated.
Plagueis had experimented on many creatures in the past. There was always the satisfaction, the curiosity, and the wonder of studying the process of life. Plagueis felt none of that, now. His powers waned long ago, taking away his joy of discovering the Force’s mysteries. But the Dark Side always offered more paths to power. Perhaps, more studying would allow him to regain what he lost…
A presence in the Force pushed Plagueis’ thoughts away and he turned to a figure strolling towards him, black robe covering him from head to toe. Under the hood was a human face Plagueis recognized immediately.
“Welcome, Sidious," he greeted, his voice rasping through his respirator.
“Master,” Sidious returned, his shadowed gaze studying him. “I see your power has not waned since we’ve last spoken.”
“I’m afraid it is not enough,” Plagueis muttered before waving his thin and almost skeletal hand, “but enough of that. We have more important things to discuss. What news in the Senate?”
Sidious came beside his master, standing half a meter to the tall Muun. “There is much unrest among the Outer Rim. The Hutts crime family is gaining more control with their underground spice trade. The Senate is currently trying to make a deal with them.”
“No doubt they’ll send Jedi,” Plagueis snorted. “The fools send more fools to do their work.”
“But it presents an opportunity,” his apprentice stated calmly. “I’m trying to become the broker to the Hutts. If all goes well, I shall receive a permanent residence on Coruscant and I will be closer to the Senate than ever before.”
The Muun stared down at Sidious. “I see you continue to toil in politics, Lord Sidious,” he spoke evenly.
“Just as much as you continue with your experiments, master,” Sidious returned, glancing down at the dead beetle.
The verbal jab struck, but Plagueis did not show it. “You’re pursuit of power is admirable,” he began as he turned to the calm waters. “You’ve managed to hide your presence from the Jedi, but make yourself too well-known, and you will be hunted by them.”
“I will take your advice with great care, master.”
“I know you will,” Plagueis nodded, looking back at him. “However, my apprentice, we can’t afford to make any risks. That is why you will resign from office after you’re done with you deal.”
Plagueis sensed Sidious’ surprise through the Force. There was no indication on his face as Sidious kept calm as usual. “Master, we can’t hide forever.”
“I have told you this before. Politics is a dangerous game, one the Sith have no time to play with,” Plagueis warned. “Our mission is to grow strong in the Dark Side and wait for the right moment to strike. Interacting now will only reveal us to the Jedi.”
Sidious was silent then answered, “… I understand, master.”
A lie, Plagueis immediately noted. No doubt, Sidious would try to delve more into the workings of the Republic. He learned the Sith techniques of hiding his presence from even the most powerful of Jedi, but Plagueis’ caution warned not only the Jedi would try to look into his apprentice’s life.
Sidious was trying to make his move. Plagueis was not sure whether it was because Sidious knew of his fading powers or if his apprentice was merely trying to grab more power. Plagueis was never sure with his apprentice. What he did know was that his apprentice had great ambition.
Too much for one Sith Lord to have, Plagueis thought, slightly chastising himself. He should have tempered his student’s ambition long ago…
Gripping his staff, Plagueis began for the estate. “I shall retire for the night. My droid will escort you out when you’re ready to leave." Upon reaching the door, Plagueis turned to add, "And remember, Darth Sidious. There is still much for you to learn. There are many secrets of the Dark Side that have eluded even the Sith. One day, you will realize the Sith must remain in the shadows if we are to grow strong.”
With that said, Plagueis left the balcony. He strolled down the long corridor, passing the many doors that each led to a laboratory with a specific experiment inside. Plagueis paid no mind to them and entered the bedchamber’s entrance on the far side.
The Muun lied in his bed, preparing himself for the next day to come. It had been a long day in his laboratory and Plagueis found himself needing rest recently. The transpirator’s loud clicks slowly deafened as sleep approached and took Plagueis from the world of the living.
Just before Plagueis went over the threshold of sleep, he felt something. There was a presence in the Dark Side, more powerful than Plagueis himself.
Suddenly, pain jolted the Muun into consciousness. Plagueis screamed as his body writhed in the intense heat and pain swarming over him. The snapping and hissing of electricity filled the air along with a burning smell of flesh.
The torture quickly ceased and Plagueis’ limbs sprawled all over the bed. The transpirator, once functioning at full capacity, stopped completely. Plagueis’ lungs demanded for air that now entered through narrow paths and he barely kept himself alive with the Dark Side.
Opening his eyes, Plagueis saw his apprentice standing over him. The lines creased Sidious’ face and his eyes brightened at the Muun’s torment.
Plagueis’ eyes widen as he realized what happened; Sidious had betrayed him. He ignored the Sith tradition of frontal combat and went about on his way. All Plagueis could do was stare at Sidious, his eyes pleading for mercy from his apprentice.
Sidious simply snarled. “I’m afraid our alliance is at an end. There is nothing more you can teach me, Plagueis, thus leaving you as a hindrance,” he said with contempt. “I have plans for the galaxy, and nothing will stop me from making them come to fruition… not even you.”
Sidious raised a crackling hand once again, and in a flash of blue lightning, Darth Plagueis knew no more.