George Lucas is an old man. He will die soon. I’m addressing this open letter to the future holders of his estate. You dear Sir and/or Madam will one day own the rights to the very popular Star Wars franchise. Let me ask you a question – have you seen the Star Wars prequels? Did you like them? If you did, then stop reading right now. I probably won’t be able to reach you. If you found them a little bit lacking, keep on reading.
Most Star Wars fans consider these prequels to be an atrocity. A horrible, horrible rape committed on our beloved fictional universe. These 3 movies were a deliberate slap in the face for all long time enthusiasts of the original trilogy. Prequels were crap. Ever since they were released Lucas has been trying to integrate them into the Star Wars continuity. This of course does not work, because of the huge plot holes, and inconsistencies. Nevertheless he keeps on ret-conning, and re-writing parts of the universe to make this possible. He is soiling the Star Wars universe with the cancer that is the prequel trilogy. But he won’t live forever. In fact the two trilogies are so divergent that making them into one consistent whole is a job that would take many life times. Soon George Lucas will be dead and you will be in a position to undo all the harm he caused and re-invigorate the Star Wars franchise.
This post is a suggestion of what you could do once this happens. Naturally you will do as you please, but if you follow this advice you will not only make Star Wars fans across the globe really happy. You will also make quite a bit of money. You will need to spend some money, but the return will be huge because people will want to see Star Wars on the big screen again. In fact I assume that you would not be opposed to making a new Star Wars movie at all. The only problem is where to place it in the current time line. You could place the new movie before the prequels but I don’t believe that there is any interesting lore to explore there. You could put it after the original trilogy, but then you would be stepping on the toes of various novel writers who explored this area thoroughly.
Here is what you do: you listen to the loyal fans. The prequels are a piece of shit. They are what Highlander 2 was to the Highlander franchise. They are what Batman and Robin was to the Batman franchise. Blockbuster success but a complete and utter cinematic crap. What you need to do is to take Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Return of the Sith and toss it. Declare it non-cannon! Yes, I said it. George Lucas has been desperately trying to bridge the prequels with the original trilogy but it can’t work because prequels are a square peg and original trilogy us a round hole. No matter how much you try, the two won’t fit together.
So you branch the franchise into two continuities. One line would be Star Wars Classic™ which would include the original trilogy and the expanded universe stuff that was created before the prequels, or which ignores some of the radical changes they introduced.
The other one would be The New Star Wars™ which consist the prequels and all the licensed stuff is based on them. This would probably include the excellent “Knights of the Old Republic” games which I believe alluded to the prequels in some ways. In The New Star Wars™ force has biological underpinnings so you can technically create Jedi via blood transfusion, Darth Vader is an angsty teenager who built C3PO on Tatooine and etc…
The point is that if you split them this way they can both be consistent and no one will need to fret over the huge plot holes and inconsistencies. For example, have you ever wondered why Ben Kenobi does not recognize R2 in A New Hope? Did you ever wonder how coul Leia remember her real mother? Or how come it took the empire 18+ years to build the first Death Star (we see it being constructed at the end of ROTS, but it becomes operational in ANH when Luke and Leia are already grown up) but only a tiny fraction of that time to build the second one.
Solution is to stop trying to integrate the two. Just split them in half and declare both continuities are valid but not compatible. When you are trying to license or adapt the SW franchise you can now go with either continuity. It may be confusing at first, but it is not as confusing as the plot-hole clusterfuck we have right now.
Your next step is to hire a team of best writers you can afford, supply them with as much of Star Wars Classic expanded universe materials as you can and task them with doing for Star Wars prequels what Batman Begins did for Batman. Write a darker and more serious tale about the fall of the Jedi order and the rise of one of the most infamous and recognizable villains in existence. Forget everything that George Lucas wrote in the prequels. Give them free reign, as long as they tell a compelling story about Darth Vader’s origin. They don’t need to split it into a trilogy like Lucas did. They can do it in one movie if they can and want to. The aim is to still keep it somewhat the spirit of the Classic continuity but the Vader parts ought to be darker and more serious for obvious reasons. Make sure that R2D2, C3PO, Chewbacka and Fett family do not appear in this movie at all.
Keep in mind that you do not need to use Tatooine as Anakin’s place of birth. I don’t believe his planet of origin was ever specified before the prequels so you can skip that planet altogether and create something different. Keep the force powers low key and lightsaber combat simple. Avoid acrobatics and heavily choreographed sequences – it should be more static and poised and technical – basic cuts, thrusts, parries and feints. It should look like samurai katana duels rather than the crazy, whirling nuttiness of prequels. Yes, that stuff looks awesome but looks weird comparing the fighting styles from the classic trilogy.
Hire actors who can actually act and cast them as characters fans can actually care about. The original Star Wars gave us Han Solo, Darth Vader, Luke and Leia, Yoda. The prequels re-hashed most of the original characters and gave us… To tell you the truth the only character that fans feel strongly about is Jar Jar and that’s not a good thing. Well, there is Mace Windu but he is marginal – sort of like Bobba Fett. The new prequel should introduce original characters we could actually care about. And for God’s sake, Anakin does not have to be likable. He needs to be bad ass!
All that teenage angst and love crap needs to go. Anakin needs to be a strong guy with a big ego and an iron will. He never backs down, he is never humble and he makes no excuses. He is direct, focused and ambitious. When he wants something he will get it. If you happen to be in his way he will treat you as an obstacle and remove it. This Anakin does not need to be tempted into the dark side – he chooses it freely and willingly because it gives him strength.
Above and beyond all the new prequel must be consistent with the original movies. Seriously, invite few dozen of SW geeks to go through the script line by line hunting for plot holes before you actually shoot it. Barring that, leak the script out and observe the forums. Then go back and re-write and re-write until it works.
Think of the money you could make here. I’m writing about this right now so that you have time to think about it. You can weigh the pro’s and cons and make preparations. We all know that George Lucas will die one day. To most of us he is already dead because of what he did to Star Wars and Indiana Jones. You will be able to fix this. You will have a chance to make a lot of money, and become a hero to millions of SW fans at the same time. Think about it. There is still plenty of time. Just remember this post when that fateful day comes.