Rob Re-writes the Star Wars Prequels

I know.

I know. The internet hates the prequels. Everyone has listed its sins – from poor acting, directing, writing, characters, an overabundance of CGI – and most, if not all, have wondered what would make the prequels worthy of being connected to the Star Wars universe.

I’m going to give a brief outline of how to re-write and fix the Prequels.

giphy-10

See, I can hear you now, screaming far away in the echoing chamber of the internet’s digital hallway. It’s been done before! Everyone has their theory on fixing the prequels! It’s going to be trash!

Probably. But I gotta try.

giphy-9.gif

Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Episode I is probably in the most need of change. Not because it’s bad. In fact, I enjoy Phantom Menace. I know it’s probably the most ridiculed (although I think Episode II is the worst of the prequels), but I like it. It also has some practical effects and sets that were somehow thrown out the window when the rest of the films were made.

The Phantom Menace takes place too far removed from the other films. Anakin is not the main character. It’s a weak ensemble piece. The Prequel trilogy was intriguing to us because Obi-Wan mentioned his relationship with Anakin and the Clone Wars, so we need to get right into that. So let’s fix that.

The Basics

Let’s Start A War

giphy-12

First, Palpatine is already Chancellor. He’s just won election on the back of trade reforms that should spread money around better across the galaxy. The Trade Federation doesn’t like this though, so they blockade his home system of Naboo (so we keep that plot point from OG Episode I). Palpatine sends two Jedi to negotiate. Those two Jedi? Obi-Wan Kenobi and his apprentice, Anakin Skywalker. Anakin is in his late teens, but he is early in his training, and Obi-Wan mentions having to ‘beg’ the council to train him because of his obvious talents. They have a mentor/pupil relationship that is strained by their peer friendship.

The Trade Federation does exactly as they did in the OG Episode I, they invade Naboo after trying to kill the Jedi (at the behest of Sith Lord Darth Sidious/Palpatine). The events carry on much as they do in OG Episode I, except that Anakin meets Queen Amidala here on Naboo instead of on Tatooine. Anakin and Obi-Wan escape with the Royal Party, and hide on Anakin’s home world of Tatooine.

Anakin and Padme

It’s on Tatooine that we get to know Anakin. He was once a slave. He won his freedom after proving useful to a local moisture farmer, Owen Lars, who married his mother. Anakin became a talented pilot, which brought him to the core where he met Obi-Wan and began training. Padme, a teen ruler, identifies with Anakin’s overwhelming feeling of responsibility and inflated sense of importance in the galaxy. Anakin and Amidala bond while Anakin is fixing the ship.

Hunted

giphy-15Enter Darth Maul, the coolest character from the Prequels. He is the apprentice of Sidious and he is sent to find the Jedi and Royals. Sidious uses Darth Maul to hone Anakin’s skills as a fighter. This is how Anakin becomes a great lightsaber duelist. Darth Maul eventually finds them, and Anakin holds Maul off and the group escapes to Coruscant after repairing their ship (this is a similar plot line from OG Episode I).

Politics

Politics in the Prequels can be a rough slog, so we’ll try to keep this concise. Palpatine is struggling to keep the Trade Federation (among other parties) in line. His negotiations are failing because he doesn’t have the military force to back up his demands. Count Dooku stands as the leader of the Coalition fighting back against Palpatine’s reforms. The former Jedi stands at the Senate floor, stating that this blockade is merely positioning to show that the Federation, and its sister nations, are important to the Galaxy and shouldn’t be punished for their prosperity. Dooku rebukes Palpatine for using the Jedi to conduct political maneuvering.

Palpatine, feeling the pinch from both parties, begs Queen Amidala to request forces at the senate floor, to be conscripted from the Cloning world of Kamino. She refuses.

Palpatine speaks with Anakin, telling him the situation in the galaxy. He feels that things will turn to chaos without the threat of force. Padme doesn’t understand this. Anakin promises to talk with her. Palpatine mentions that Anakin truly understands the burden of leadership, inflating his sense of importance.

Padme seeks the council of Obi-Wan and Anakin. Obi-Wan agrees with her stance against clone troops, while Anakin, under Palpatine’s sway, makes a passionate case for the need to enforce the laws. Obi-Wan and Anakin are obviously strained in their friendship by these conflicting ideologies.

The Jedi

Anakin and Obi-Wan visit the Jedi council, where Anakin is reprimanded for speaking out of turn to the Queen. Jedi are not supposed to give advice on political matters. The Jedi are extra sensitive because of Dooku’s words at the Senate.

Anakin sees this as hypocritical, as Obi-Wan also gave advice. Obi-Wan shows a weakness here as he uses the council to admonish Anakin rather than do it himself and hurt their friendship. But Anakin sees this.

They also mention Darth Maul, and a feeling that the Sith are returning. The Council agree that Maul was drawn to the Queen, so Anakin and Obi-Wan should follow her.

Decisions

Queen Amidala, in the end, takes a centrist point of view on the matter of war. She leaves Coruscant, but leaves a hand written letter rebuking the Senate for its inactivity and need to enforce the laws it passes. She travels back to Naboo, with Obi-Wan and Anakin following after her (unaware to her)

Battle for Naboo

Events happen in much the same way as they did in the OG Episode I, except for a clear deviation: Anakin is an expert pilot and a Jedi. Obi-Wan orders Anakin to help with the space battle, while Obi-Wan fights Darth Maul by himself. Obi-Wan holds his own against Maul (he is somewhat older than he was in OG Episode I, so he’s more experienced). Maul is vicious, but he isn’t methodical like Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan, bloodied and bruised, takes high ground (which will make the episode III scene more powerful) and punishes Maul for his hubris (a mirror to Anakin in episode III) by cutting him off at the legs.

giphy-16Obi-Wan tries to interrogate a pained Maul, when Maul is rescued by none other than Count Dooku, aka Darth Tyranus. There is a sense that Dooku feels this task is beneath him, and that he sees little need for Maul’s animalistic nature. Dooku strikes Obi-Wan with force lightning, knocking him to the ground; allowing Dooku and Maul to escape.

Anakin and the other pilots take down the control ships running the droid army, effectively winning the battle. Amidala takes control of the throne room much as she did in the OG Episode I.

Aftermath

Dooku now outed as a Sith, the Council believes it has its 2 Sith Lords – Maul and Tyranus – while Palpatine’s identity remains a secret.

Amidala and Anakin are falling in love. Obi-Wan reminds him that attachments are forbidden in the Jedi Order. Anakin mentions that maybe that is a stupid rule (which it is).

The Senate passes a provisional power for Palpatine to procure clone troops for the emerging war between Dooku’s forces – the Trade Federation, etc – and the Republic. Palpatine, as a measure to appear bipartisan, appoints the Jedi to lead the troops in battle.

Differences: No Gungans, No Jar Jar, No Little Annie, No Podracing (sorry), No Qui-Gon death.

NEXT TIME

Episode II: The Clone Wars

The Hunted – Chapter 2

“What are you doing?” the girl asked with the conviction of a disappointed parent. Alan pulled his hand back from the bubbling air, his arm causing a wave to erupt from the temporal pool in front of him. They had been walking around the fields of the in between for what felt like weeks. Alan finally realized that the pools were points in time. He couldn’t resist trying to help his friends.

 

“I was just,” Alan pointed with the hand he pulled from the temporal pool, but the girl could see that his watch was gone. Alan followed her eye line to his missing watch. Hand in the cookie jar.

 

“What did you do?” she asked with a hushed, angry viciousness that scared Alan a little. Alan was being yelled at by a ten year old girl, and he was second guessing his decision to leave a clue for his friends.

 

“I need to help them,” Alan stammered the explanation. “They need to know I’m still here.”

Alan pulled his body back, and looked at the pool of air swirling in front of him.

 

The girl’s eyes welled up, “You promised me you’d help me find my dad.”

 

“I know, and we will, but my friends-,” Alan explained.

 

“… will be there when we get back,” the girl countered. “That’s the beauty of time travel.”

 

“Ramona,” Alan said like a condescending adult.

 

“Stop,” Ramona snapped, holding a finger up to shush Alan. “You made a promise.”

 

Alan ran a hand through his messy hair, clearly frustrated about being led along by some little girl who couldn’t find her daddy. He tongued his gritty molars and exhaled a frustrated breath. “Yes. Yes, I did. Let’s keep going.”

 

Ramona exhaled a sigh of relief and straightened her white jacket, then she let her arms flow down her periwinkle dress. She pointed past Alan to another temporal pool forming in the field of tall grass that made up most of the surface area of the in between, the strange island found lost in space and time.

 

“Are you sure?” Alan asked uneasily. He didn’t like sticking his head into dimensional wormholes. It tended to scrambled the senses.

 

“I made this place, Mr. Mitchell. I know every inch of the in between. And the nexus to all other time at my fingertips is pointing me in that direction.”

 

“You’re a creepy little girl,” Alan replied, looking back at the wormhole. This was all completely out of his element. Time travel. Babysitting. Ten year old girls talking about nexuses and temporal wakes. Nothing was normal. Everything was upside down and topsy turvy. Alan repeated, “Creepy, little girl.”

 

“Am I?”

 

Alan turned back. Ramona was now older, a full fledged teenager. Her clothes had adjusted to the age change, seemingly by some strange magic. Her long dark hair brushed back to reveal hazel eyes that portrayed a knowing intensity, aware of the age of her new appearance.

 

“Holy shit,” Alan yelped, falling back into the tall grass. He looked up at the blue sky overhead, a golden sheen floating over it and lending an ethereal, light-headed quality to the atmosphere. Teenage Ramona’s face came into view, a smirk plastered on her face. She burst into laughter.

 

“Time is irrelevant here, Mr. Mitchell,” Ramona said. “It’s outside of what we call linear time. Age. Years. Months. It’s all just a construction in these destinations, not here.”

 

“Good to know,” Alan grumbled.

 

“That is, it’s a construction for me. I’ve never pulled another person into the in between. You could die.”

 

“Gee. Thanks,” Alan jeered sarcastically.

 

Ramona held out her hands, and Alan rolled his eyes and accepted the help. He made it to his feet, and fixed his wrinkled shirt. “Good to know I’m your first guinea pig.”

 

“I don’t understand that reference,” Ramona said casually, her eyes studying the rippling air they were walking towards.

 

“It’s about scientific testing. I guess they used guinea pigs? I’m not really sure actually. It’s just something I heard,” Alan explained, a little unsure how to explain some vernacular that he never really learned the lesson for in the first place. Weren’t mice testing animals in labs? It didn’t seem to come up that way. Lab rats? Maybe. “I’m having a hard time concentrating.”

 

“We’ve spent too long in here. It tends to make the mind foggy.”

 

“Worried to follow you, knowing how long you’ve been in here,” Alan joked.

 

Ramona shot Alan an unamused sideways glance from the corner of her eye. Everything was a wisecrack with him. Alan couldn’t just let words stand unopposed by his shallow wit. Ramona cleared her throat, her eyes steadfastly peering into the temporal torrent. A few stray sparks of lightning struck within the swirling mass.

 

“My father leaves a temporal wake behind him. Breadcrumbs. We just have to keep following the trail to him.”

 

“So you know breadcrumbs, but not guinea pigs?” Alan asked in a mocking tone.

 

Ramona cleared her throat and looked at Alan, who was brandishing a sheepish grin. She grabbed his hand and flung him into the pool, sending Alan down the time tunnel and out of her sight. Ramona laughed as she heard a whiny shriek echo through the void, fading off in the distance.

 

Alan tumbled to the ground, rolling along the grass in a small park. He dusted himself off, finding his way to his knees. He coughed a few dust clouds out of his lungs and shook the cobwebs from his brain. Things were starting to get a little clearer in his mind now that he was out of the in between.

 

“I’m okay,” Alan’s voice cracked. He cleared his throat out of embarrassment.

 

Ramona stepped through the pool of swirling air, a big smile plastered on her face.

 

“You’re quite the entertainment, Alan Mitchell,” Ramona joked.

 

“Glad I’m here for your amusement,” Alan coughed, his upper body heaving over his knelt form. Alan looked around the park he had tumbled into. “This place looks familiar.”

 

Alan stood up, using a merry-go-round to pull himself up. The blue tinted slides. The red monkey bars. Alan scratched his head. This place was full of memories.

 

“It should. You played here as a youth.”

 

“What?” Alan questioned.

 

“We’ve jumped into your timeline. I’m still trying to figure out exactly when we are,” Ramona explained.

 

“Ten years ago,” Alan interjected. Ramona gave him a puzzled look. Alan motioned forward to a young boy – about ten or eleven years old – running out in front of his parents.

 

“Is that-?”

 

“Yeah,” Alan responded with a barely audible murmur. “What are we doing here?”

 

Ramona cleared her throat. She had a hunch, but she couldn’t be certain for sure what was happening. “I don’t know. We’re just following my dad.”

 

“Why is your dad here?” Alan questioned.

 

“He isn’t. At least, not anymore.”

 

Alan felt the uneasy sense that he was being followed. Hunted. For whatever reason, he was the target for some elaborate time-traveling weirdo’s hunting habits. Alan stared at his younger self. The boy’s eyes were filled with a youthful exuberance and optimism that Alan could hardly remember. It was a strange, unearthly feeling to stare at one’s self from the outside.

 

“I don’t like this.”

 

“We should get going,” Ramona said, grabbing Alan’s arm as the young boy looked up from the slide stairwell at them – pair of strangers across the park. Alan nodded, his mind uneasily detaching from the surreal memory visitation he was experiencing.

 

Ramona pulled him backward by the arm, and they opened a portal around the side of a tree to jump back to the in between.

 

“Is your dad looking for me?”

 

“It would appear that way,” Ramona replied, visibly uneasy with this new variable.

 

“Why?” Alan questioned her with an interrogating tone.

 

Ramona confessed, “This may have something to do with how I found you.”

 

“I thought I ended up here by accident,” Alan said, confused by her admission. Ramona lowered her eyes, staring intently at the flowing long grass of the field of the in between.

 

“I found you when I was looking for my father. There was a strange nexus of temporal energy around you and my father.”

 

It all made sense now.

 

“Your father is the Director?” Alan asked, his voice shrill and markedly upset. The girl stared at the ground.

 

“I never knew him by that name, but I have heard it uttered before.”

 

“Your father is a monster,” Alan shouted, “He’s been destroying our kind for decades. Why didn’t you tell me this earlier?”

 

“He wasn’t always this way, and he wasn’t always this Director. In my time, he was my father and he loved my mother.”

 

“Whatever man you knew, the one you’re looking for is hunting me down through time. That’s why you found me. He was going back to destroy me before I could stop him. He would’ve killed ten year old me just now if we didn’t show up at that park.”

 

“I’m deeply sorry. I didn’t know,” Ramona apologized.

 

“Don’t be sorry. You’re going to help me catch him. And stop him.”

The Hunted: A Sequel

My first novel (which you can find on this blog) is in its first revision, and I HATE editing (writing, not video… I’m good at editing video). So as a means of catharsis, I’ve started working on the next book, which takes place about a month or two after the first story. If you’ve read the first book, you know it ended on quite a cliffhanger with our characters in an uncertain situation.

I’m happy to say that I’ve finished the first chapter of the sequel to the Department for Mutated Persons, The Hunted. When I’m a bit farther along I will probably post the first chapter for those of you whose curiosity is gnawing away at your bones.

dmp_2-hunted

A little update

Photo Apr 15, 4 02 01 PMDo you remember when I wrote that book. Like… a WHOLE book. There were mutants and a work camp and some bad guys. Wasn’t it great?! What happened with that?

So life has been a little busy. I replaced writing time, with playtime. Instead of making words fit on a page, I’ve tried imparting them to a little human.

Being a dad has become such a life-defining role for me, but I haven’t forgotten about the book. I’ve started revising it slowly over the past couple months. That’s ‘dad’ code for: I’ve revised one of the chapters. But it is a damn good chapter now.

If you’re interested in helping me revise my book, you can email me. I’d love to get an extra pair of eyes on this thing, so it can be released into the wild as a genuine book. If you have any advice on publishing (self or otherwise), I’m always open to twitter conversations as well.

 

 

DMP Update (December 29, 2016)

Hey all,

So I’ve been working on the Department for Mutated Persons this holiday week, and I know there hasn’t been an update since Christmas Eve. Maybe you’re chomping at the bit, or maybe you forgot about the Depart for whats-its. Either way, I’ve been working on Chapter 6, but also working on the end of the book. I’ve had a real breakthrough for how I want the first book to end (yes, the first one!). I decided I wanted to break the narrative into two books because of how the story flows, and what I want to do with the second half just didn’t make sense to be in the same book as far as themes and characters were concerned.

So far this story has been unfolding as I write it. I haven’t made much of an outline, which is not something I normally do; but I wanted to get this first draft out in front of your lovely faces instead of procrastinating. That means the story will evolve over time, and you have the ability to change it with me. So if you have any suggestions for the future of the story, you can comment below, tweet me (@robfike), message me, or email me. Any feedback is crucial to making this the best it can be.

This is also a YA fiction work, which means I want as many middle, high school and college people to see it as possible. I want to know how you guys feel about it: what’s missing? what’s great?

Thanks for sticking with me thus far, and I hope I give you the excitement you were wanting out of this read.

My best,

Rob

 

Our World Now

So we filled our cups to the brim with hatred. And we cast ignorance upon you if you didn’t agree. And with any misstep we wouldn’t bury you, but you felt six feet under. We’d take your job, your reputation, and – if an apology was granted – your soul as well. And you would be the cautionary tale that we would spin cycle in our 24 hour news coverage. And the pundits would bemoan your mistake, and assassinate your character, and impugn your very existence. Because we were right, and we always would be. And you would be wrong, and you would be evil, a relic of an ancient past full of pagan ritual and superstition.