Ladies and gentlemen, I present for your consideration The Clone Wars Trilogy and its final installment, Episode III: Fall of the Knight.
Act One: The Home Front
It has been a year since the Mandalorians’ victory at Kiros and now their forces are poised to strike at Coruscant itself. In a surprise move, the Supercommandos have invaded the Senate and abducted Palpatine. Obi-Wan and Anakin arrive with their own fleet to retake Coruscant and rescue the Chancellor.
Stationed on Coruscant, Padme uses Threepio to find the cruiser where Palpatine is being held and directs the two Jedi toward it. Anakin and Obi-Wan fly their way onto the cruiser and then fight their way through waves of battle droids in the interior. The two Jedi are in perfect coordination.
They locate Palpatine, but Tyranus is already waiting for them. He quickly knocks out Obi-Wan and holds Anakin at bay. Slowly, Anakin lets goes of his self-control and taps into his rage, especially when Tyranus claims that he’s looking forward to meeting and personally executing the famous resistance fighter Padme Amidala. Anakin disarms him (literally) and then proceeds to murder Tyranus with a single stab of his lightsaber. Although horrified at what he’s done (murdering a prisoner of war), Palpatine commends Anakin for his actions.
Once Obi-Wan regains consciousness, he and Anakin escort Palpatine to the bridge. The enemy cruiser has taken several hits and is falling toward Coruscant. Anakin takes the controls and manages to safely land the burning front half of the ship outside the Senate Building.
While Anakin and Padme share a joyful reunion, Obi-Wan meets privately with Senator Bail Organa and Mon Mothma. They reveal that Palpatine has just installed Sector Governors and taken more power away from the Senate. Mon Mothma wants Obi-Wan to help persuade the Jedi Council to stop Palpatine from slowly disbanding the Senate altogether. Obi-Wan can’t promise much, but offers to make their case to the Council anyway.
Meanwhile, Anakin is overjoyed to learn that Padme is pregnant, but knows that he can’t be both a committed father and an active Jedi Knight. And after years of war, Anakin feels no confidence in the Jedi Council. He refuses to let them take his unborn child into the Order.
On the planet Mandalore, High Commander Jaster Mereel receives a message from Darth Sidious. He is rebuked for letting the Jedi kill Tyranus and escape with the Chancellor. Mereel promises a retaliatory strike on Naboo, Palpatine’s homeworld, but Sidious instead orders him to tighten his defenses for the Republic’s invasion of Mandalore. He tells him that a Jedi General is coming and promises him the most glorious battle yet.
Act Two: Falling Shadows
On Coruscant, Palpatine asks Anakin to resign his commission to the Jedi Order and become his personal bodyguard and security chief; after his abduction, he would feel much safer with Skywalker at his side. Anakin is tempted by the promise of actual power in strategy planning and accepts, putting him in direct opposition to the Jedi Council. Padme congratulates Anakin, but Obi-Wan is mortified at how easily Anakin has left the Order.
With the Republic attack on Mandalore underway, Obi-Wan is assigned to lead the assault. Anakin regrets not going with him, but Obi-Wan reminds him of his duty to the Chancellor. They share one last embrace before Obi-Wan leaves with his fleet.
At the Chancellor’s Office, Palpatine explains to Anakin that he fears that the Jedi and a handful of Senators are plotting to remove him from power. When Anakin denies that, Palpatine simply says, “Then ask your wife.”
Confronting Padme, Anakin suspects that her work with the planetary militias on enemy-held worlds is a cover for the Rebellion that Palpatine warned him about. He accuses her of treason and demands that she pick a side for the sake of their child.
Meanwhile, Obi-Wan leads the fight on Mandalore. He engages Jaster Mereel in single combat, taking several wounds but still able to strike him down all the same. He then sends a message to the Jedi Council, declaring the enemy capital to be under the’s Republic control even though the enemy is still fighting.
Anakin goes back to Palpatine and swears his loyalty to the Republic above his loyalty to the Jedi, asking for help to protect his family. Palpatine reveals that he knows about Anakin’s unborn child and offers him a new path: the Sith path. Anakin is outraged to learn that Palpatine is in fact Darth Sidious, the mastermind behind the Clone Wars, but Sidious explains that he has saved the Republic from corruption, manipulating the Mandalorians to a false sense of victory while letting the Jedi prove themselves to be weak and deluded. Anakin is forced to agree.
However, Mace Windu and three other Jedi Masters arrive to ask Palpatine to step down as Chancellor. When Anakin exposes him as a Sith Lord, Windu attempts to kill Palpatine rather than have him stand trial. Sidious defeats the other Masters easily, and Anakin intervenes and kills Windu himself.
Sidious promises Anakin a chance to protect his family from the Jedi and put a final end to the war. Anakin agrees to become his new apprentice and accepts the name Darth Vader. As Vader, he says his first act will be to destroy the Jedi.
Act Three: The Long Night Begins
Palpatine sends a coded transmission to every clone trooper across the galaxy: “Execute Order Sixty-Six.” The clones turn on their Jedi commanders, slaughtering thousands at once. Yoda himself escapes the devastation on Kashyyyk with the help of a Wookiee named Chewbacca. Obi-Wan is saved from execution when Padme’s resistance team on Mandalore shows up and covers his retreat.
After leading the assault on the Jedi Temple, Anakin goes to Padme and tells her that he has been given an assignment to end the war by destroying the Mandalorian control tower on Mustafar. Padme can’t bear to hear that he killed Mace Windu and thinks her husband has gone mad. Anakin warns her to stay on Coruscant and not get involved with traitors like Obi-Wan and Bail Organa.
Meanwhile, Bail and his crew on the Tantive IV fly across the galaxy to collect fugitive Jedi like Obi-Wan and Yoda. They make plans to infiltrate Coruscant and learn what is to be done about the clones’ treachery.
As the two Jedi infiltrate the Temple, Bail meets Padme at the Senate, where Palpatine denounces the Jedi as traitors and declares himself Emperor. Padme feels the pull of the new Emperor’s will on the Senate (a Jedi mind trick on a vast scale) and knows that he’s poisoned Anakin’s mind as well. She asks Bail to hold off on his Rebellion and publicly support the new Empire while their resistance forces gather strength. In the meantime, she has to go to Mustafar.
Obi-Wan and Yoda enter the Temple and learn about Anakin’s fall to the dark side. Yoda orders Obi-Wan to go and put an end to the man who was once his friend, while Yoda himself will go and face Sidious. When Obi-Wan meets with Padme, she offers him safe passage off Coruscant and onto Mustafar.
As Sidious faces with Yoda inside the empty Senate chamber, Anakin singlehandedly slaughters the Mandalorian civilians and shuts down the control signal for their entire army across the galaxy. He is furious when Padme and Obi-Wan show up to confront him, especially when Padme says she will deny him any chance to see their child if he continues down this road. Anakin tries to strangle her with the Force, but Obi-Wan steps in. As Threepio and Artoo carry Padme back to the ship, Obi-Wan duels Anakin across Mustafar, showing him no mercy. In the end, Obi-Wan cuts off Anakin’s limbs and leaves him to burn beside a lava flow.
Bail Organa helps Yoda escape from Coruscant and organizes a rendezvous with Obi-Wan on Polis Massa. There, Padme gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia. She lives, but is too weak to fight anymore. Yoda agrees that, for her own safety, her presence in the Force is sealed to prevent the Emperor from tracking her or her children.
Sidious, meanwhile, goes to Mustafar to find Anakin’s ruined body and take him back to Coruscant. After weeks of reconstruction, Darth Vader is sealed into a life-support suit and told of Padme’s death. Vader attacks Sidious, but finds he has lost much of his power. Sidious tells Vader that he has nothing left but the Empire that he helped bring into being and his old life is gone forever. Reluctantly, Vader kneels and asks, “Then… what is thy bidding, my Master?”
As Yoda goes into exile on Dagobah, Bail adopts Leia as his daughter and takes Padme into his home as a handmaiden, along with the droids Artoo and Threepio. Obi-Wan takes Luke to be raised by Owen and Beru Lars on Tatooine, where he will spend his own exile until the children have grown and are ready to be trained.
This concludes my extensive rewrite of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. I appreciate that not everyone is going to like all the changes I made, and I imagine there are fans who actually enjoy the prequels as they are. All that is perfectly fine. This is normally more than a thought experiment, one that I’ll hold dear as we await the beginning of the Star Wars sequel trilogy in 2015.