If you’re a regular follower of my blog, you might know about one of my more popular posts, “My Top 10 Changes to the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy.” I’ve enjoyed all the audience discussion that it generated and I had an equally good time with my other rewrite post, “Rewriting The Dark Knight Rises.”
It’s also worth noting that, around the time of this post being published, Dresden Codak creator Aaron Diaz is running his own rewrite of the Star Wars prequels on Tumblr, Star Wars ’99. So in the same spirit of fandom, I’m spending the next few weeks showcasing another route that these films could have taken. An attempt to get back to the Star Wars we grew up with before 1999.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present for your consideration The Clone Wars Trilogy and its first installment, Episode I: The Saga Begins.
Act One: The First Strike
We begin on the planet Alderaan, where the first wave of Mandalorian Supercommandos has launched their invasion. Padme Amidala and her droid C-3PO make contact with the planet’s Viceroy and Senator, Bail Organa, and urges him to send reinforcements from the Galactic Republic. The Mandalorians follow their commander, Jango Fett, as they take the capital city of Aldera.
On Coruscant, we watch as Anakin Skywalker complete his Trials and is declared a Jedi Knight. He joins Obi-Wan Kenobi for their first assignment as equals: to save Alderaan from the Mandalorians. Yoda, however, expresses concern to Obi-Wan that young Skywalker is still too proud of his abilities and needs careful guidance in the field.
Obi-Wan takes Anakin to a local cantina for a drink to celebrate, but warns him of what Yoda said. Anakin accepts the criticism and then takes a moment alone to call his family and tell them the good news. We learn that he was taken in as an orphan by the Lars family on Tatooine before being recruited for Jedi training. He has a history as a skyhopper pilot and a thief that he hoped to leave behind when he started his training.
The next morning, they leave Coruscant with a regiment of clone troopers and their personal starfighters. Anakin has his astromech droid, R2-D2, lock in the coordinates for Alderaan as they jump into hyperspace.
Meanwhile, in the captured Royal Palace on Alderaan, Jango Fett receives a message from his master, Darth Sidious. The Sith Lord congratulates Fett on his success and informs him that he is sending his apprentice, General Tyranus, to take control of the new regime on Alderaan and announce their presence to the galaxy. Tyranus is a six-foot-tall cyborg encased in alien battle armor, an eloquent and ruthless Sith Lord.
After a practice duel and a shared moment in meditation, Anakin and Obi-Wan get ready for Alderaan. Obi-Wan tries to urge Anakin to use his feelings, but not to be used by them (“Pride isn’t a tool, only a distraction”). Anakin has heard this before, but accepts the rebuke. He’s still cocky when he hops into his starfighter and is the first Republic pilot to break past the Mandalorian blockade.
Act Two: Change of Plans
The Jedi and the Republic’s troops make landfall outside Aldera. Their gunships are able to strafe the city from above. Bail Organa contacts the Jedi to get them access to the evacuation tunnels below the city, where they’ll find his Senatorial aide Padme. Anakin feels her presence inside the city when he sees her face on the holographic transmission; she’s already in danger and fighting for her life.
After encountering a battle droid patrol in the tunnels, Anakin and Obi-Wan lead the assault. They nearly walk into a trap if not the intervention of Padme, who now leads the resistance in Aldera. She thanks the Jedi for their help, but makes it clear that the resistance fighters are her people and not just proxies for the Republic (a bloated bureaucracy, in her opinion). Anakin agrees, much to Obi-Wan’s chagrin, and takes her help in taking a direct route to the Royal Palace.
In orbit, the Republic forces find themselves hit by a surprise attack. A new fleet of ships arrives to replace the blockade forces. During the confusion, a small shuttle slips into the atmosphere and lands in Aldera. Darth Tyranus disembarks, taking command of the occupation while leaving Jango Fett in charge of the Supercommandos. The Sith Lord senses the presence of two Jedi Knights and says he’ll handle them personally.
Meanwhile, Anakin finds himself falling for Padme, though the romance isn’t entirely mutual. She’s not sympathetic to the Senate (Bail Organa notwithstanding) and would rather her planet defend itself than have to wait for a distant bureaucrat’s say-so. But she does accept Anakin’s help when they have to repair a broken airspeeder to conduct reconnaissance.
Despite Obi-Wan’s insistence, Anakin goes with Padme, Threepio, and Artoo on the recon mission, leaving Obi-Wan and Padme’s partner Shaak Ti to defend the tunnels with the rest of the resistance. However, the airspeeder is spotted and Anakin leads a daredevil chase through a mountain pass to shake off the pursuers. Threepio proves useful when he imitates a Mandalorian Supercommando and “orders” the pursuers to cease and return to base. Anakin’s quick application of a Jedi mind trick convinces the Mandalorians, allowing Padme’s speeder to quietly follow them to their staging ground.
Act Three: Last Stand
Tyranus comes out of his meditation chamber to inform Jango Fett of new developments. He senses Anakin at the Mandalorian control tower (which coordinates their battle droids and their blockade fleet) and sends Fett and his forces to stop him. Tyranus says he will face Obi-Wan and the incoming resistance fighters himself.
Meanwhile, Obi-Wan and Shaak Ti infiltrate the royal palace, waiting until Jango Fett and his soldiers depart. Obi-Wan senses a trap, but assures Shaak Ti that he has a “good policy” on traps (“Be the first to spring it”).
At the control tower, Anakin and Padme get separated from Artoo and Threepio. Anakin attempts to take charge, but finds himself overwhelmed when facing an entire squad of Supercommandos. Padme uses a smoke grenade and has Artoo override the building’s defenses to rescue him. Meanwhile, Threepio uses more Mandalorian commands to confuse the occupation forces and break up the blockade in orbit, giving space control to the Republic.
Obi-Wan and Shaak Ti easily take the palace, but Tyranus begins to cut down the other resistance fighters with ease. Obi-Wan faces Tyranus alone, but after cutting off one of the Sith Lord’s hands, he learns that his enemy fights just as well with one hand–and that he has sonic blasts to break the Jedi’s concentration. Obi-Wan barely survives if not for Shaak Ti’s help and Tyranus declares that Kenobi is not the one destined to defeat him. He bids him farewell and escapes on his shuttle. Obi-Wan rushes to his starfighter to give chase into orbit, but the general flees into hyperspace.
Back at the control tower, Artoo breaks the battle droid control signal, but the Mandalorian Supercommandos have Anakin and Padme trapped. Preparing for the end, Anakin lets go of his pride–just in time for Padme to get in one quick kiss. They stand side-by-side, ready to go out like heroes. But fortunately, Obi-Wan and the other Republic troops arrive to rescue them and demand the Mandalorians’ surrender. Jango Fett dies fighting, but the control tower is shut down and Alderaan is saved.
Bail Organa returns to his planet for the victory celebrations, escorted by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. The Chancellor congratulates the two Jedi on their success and awards Anakin the Medal of Valor for his bravery. Yoda, however, warns Obi-Wan to be watchful because of the return of the Sith and the war’s dangerous effect on Jedi Knights like Anakin.
Stay tuned for next week’s edition, Episode II: Revenge of the Sith.
Update: You can also read my revision for Episode III: Fall of the Knight.