NOTE: I have updated this post since The Rise of Skywalker was released, and there have been some changes to what I had previously written. For those of you who have already read through, you may want to revisit the whole thing just in case there’s something new!
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….
Those words will forever be burned into my mind as the precursors to my favourite film franchise of all time. I can’t actually remember a time when I didn’t love Star Wars. I don’t remember not knowing Darth Vader was Luke’s father and Leia was his sister. It’s a shame really, as I’d love to experience that shock again. Nevertheless, it is worth pointing out my love for Star Wars is becoming more and more limited with each new addition to the saga. The original trilogy will forever hold a special place in my heart, with the rest of the films either setting up shop somewhere in the vicinity or being cast aside as unworthy of my affection. Now, this is not something I’m overly pleased about. If I love the originals so much, why don’t I have equal affection for the other films? Well, there are many reasons, and thankfully I’m not alone here. And so, I’ve given much of my thought over to ways I would change the saga (as a whole) in order to put the prequels, sequels and spin-offs on the same pedestal as Episodes VI, V and VI. Read on!
Please note, I am only looking at the live action films from the main series. There will be no consideration given to The Clone Wars or Rebels, because I haven’t seen them! Please hold all comments and criticisms until you’ve read the whole article, as I may have points which span several films, and remember: this is my opinion, and not everyone will agree with me. Enjoy!
The Original Trilogy
It is important to remember these three films, whilst spanning the middle of the Skywalker saga, came first. Therefore, they form the benchmark for the rest of the films, and also lay the foundations for what should and shouldn’t happen in the saga. With that being said, I feel there are some changes which need to be made; however, most of these changes are simply removing some of the later updates made by George Lucas in his various editions. I will, therefore, look at each of the three films separately and list the changes for each. Please assume any of George Lucas’ updates I do not list here are fine to stay in my book.
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
- Remove the rocks blocking R2. You know which ones I’m talking about. What on Earth was George thinking when he threw them in?!
- Remove all of the extra CGI when Luke, Ben, R2 and 3PO enter Mos Eisley. It’s unnecessary and looks awful. Go back to the original format which immediately showed them being stopped by the Stormtrooper patrol.
- HAN. SHOT. FIRST.
- Get rid of the scene with Jabba and his goons in front of the Falcon. It’s a straight repeat of the dialogue between Han and Greedo in the Cantina and serves no purpose other than to introduce Jabba the Hutt, but this Jabba is much less menacing and imposing than the version we see in Return of the Jedi. The only real benefit to it is the brief shot of Boba Fett walking away; therefore, I would prefer to see a quick shot of Boba sat in a dark corner of the Cantina, watching Han as he leaves following the altercation with Greedo. This would leave new audiences wondering who he is, and would set up the “rivalry” between Boba and Han.
- I’d like to see a bit more emotion from Princess Leia following the destruction of Alderaan, but this isn’t major.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- Replace Boba Fett’s voice (that of Temuera Morrison) with the original recordings, when he was voiced by Jason Wingreen. It makes him much more menacing, and suits the “Wild West” style given to him with the addition of the spurs sound effects. This will make more sense when read in conjunction with my points on Attack of the Clones.
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
- Get rid of that stupid song from Jabba’s Palace. The original wasn’t great, but it was a right side better than the current CGI-fest. In the words of Simon Cowell, “it’s a no from me.”
- Remove the weird CGI mouth-beak-thing from the Sarlacc pit. This is Star Wars, not Little Shop of Horrors.
- I’ve always been disappointed with the way Boba Fett meets his end, but having him survive wouldn’t serve much of a purpose. Perhaps make him more effective in the fight before he’s knocked into the pit? I don’t know.
- Get rid of Darth Vader’s “NOOOOOO” at the end. Watching him silently turn, pick up the Emperor and cast him over the side is much more impressive. Sure, he’s returned to the light side of the Force, but he’s still an imposing man who instills fear in those around him.
- Restore Yub Nub, the original Ewok song. I personally like the new music at the end, but it’s too sophisticated for a tribal race of forest-dwelling creatures. Yub Nub seems much more believable as Ewok music.
- Scrap the scenes of fireworks over Tatooine, Naboo and Coruscant. I have several reasons for this. One is the news of the Empire’s demise wouldn’t travel that fast. Another is Coruscant is depicted as it was in the prequels – surely the Jedi Temple wouldn’t be in such good condition? Also, if my changes for the prequels are implemented, Naboo will no longer be a major planet, but you’ll have to read on for more on that.
- I think the world will agree with me on this one. Bring back Sebastian Shaw as Anakin’s force ghost. See Hayden Christiansen stood there with Alec Guiness and Yoda is just insulting.
So, it’s clear to see which of the originals needs changing the least! As I said before, most of these changes are simply removing some of George Lucas’ later updates and restoring the original versions, with a couple of tweaks thrown in for good measure. Now, onto the next…
I’m looking at these next as the two spin-offs we have – Rogue One and Solo – are close enough to the time period of the original trilogy to be considered the same era. They’ve also done the right thing in being their own thing whilst still feeling like Star Wars. Mostly.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
I actually really enjoyed this fim, although I was abroad when it was released in cinemas, so I had to wait for the Blu-Ray to be released before I could watch it. I’ll admit, I expected it to be awful, but I was genuinely impressed by it. That being said, it is by no means a perfect Star Wars film. If anything, it makes for a good watch as a standalone film, but I’m not sure it really fits with the rest of the universe. Nevertheless, I don’t think there are many things wrong with it, although I do have a few thoughts.
- I don’t really like the implication of an intimate relationshop between Lando and his droid, L3-37. I thought Phoebe Waller-Bridge played her superbly, but the idea of Lando – the suave ladies’ man – being hooked on a droid is a bit odd. I’d suggest changing the dynamic to that of partners who have worked together for so long they behave like an old married couple, but they’re no more than that.
- Revealing the bandits at the end to be the origin of the Rebellion was a little jarring. When you look at the Rebel Alliance in the original trilogy, you can definitely see how it was born out of the ashes of the Old Republic, with political influence and military support. This film kind of suggests it actually just came from random groups of people who banded together to fight back. It’s a romantic idea, sure, but I don’t think the tone works. Not only that, but if Han really did have a chance to join the Rebellion in his early stages, don’t you think he would have been more sympathetic to their cause in A New Hope, rather than just going after his reward? Maybe they should have just been simple folk fighting for survival against Dryden Vos.
- This last point isan interesting one. I liked how Qi’ra was revealed to be more villainous than she let on throughout the film, and the reveal of Darth Maul was excellent, but it was too much of an opening for a sequel. Don’t get me wrong, a sequel would be great, but given this is a spin-off film and and sequel was dependent on box office performance, unlike the main saga where the installments will always come as trilogies, I think leaving it on a cliffhanger was a mistake. I’m not really sure how they could have gone about doing it differently, though.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
I should probably start this one off by saying on first viewing I really didn’t like this film. I found fault after fault after fault, and went a long time before I watched it again. I did eventually get to a time where I decided to watch it again, just in case I had overreacted, and I’m pleased to say I found it much better the second time around. The faults I had found still exist, but because I knew about them I was able to focus on the rest of the film and I enjoyed it. I’ll list the faults I found and suggest rectifications for them.
- The first time I watched it, most of the film felt like two hours of fan service. I do not like fan service, especially when it’s glorified. For starters, I would completely remove the cameos of Dr Evazan and Ponda Baba on Jedha, and also those of R2-D2 and C-3PO on Yavin IV. They serve no purpose whatsoever, except for Disney to sit there and say “look, look! Look at these instantly recognisable characters we threw in for you even though they have no effect on the film in any way!”
- There was way too much Tarkin. Yes, we’re at a stage in film production where deceased actors can be brought back through the magic of technology (well, we knew that as Ridley Scott used the same tech to close off Proximo’s story in Gladiator following Oliver Reed’s sudden death), but just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I propose cutting down Tarkin’s role to little more than an extended cameo and giving over much of his commanding screen-time to Ben Mendelssohn as Director Krennic. Look at it this way: Krennic is director of the imperial military, commander of the Death Star, and he has a fancy white uniform (with a cape!) and his own personal guard in the black stormtroopers. He’s clearly set up to be the big bad in this film, but as soon as Tarkin arrives on the scene, Krennic is reduced to little more than a petulant child playing soldiers. Krennic needs to be the prime villain, with a brutal attitude which eventually becomes a maniacal obsession with catching the rebels infiltrating Scarif. At this point, Krennic should take his personal guard to hunt down the rebels himself and leave the Death Star in the hands of the newly-arrived Governor Tarkin, who sees an opportunity to take Krennic’s place with a well-aimed laser blast at the surface. Thus, the status quo becomes what it should be for A New Hope, and Ben Mendelssohn gets the role he deserves. As part of this, I would also completely scrap the scene with Krennic and Darth Vader on Mustafar, as this only further paints Krennic as a whiny child. It also isn’t helped by the fact James Earl Jones isn’t getting, or sounding, any younger (and he doesn’t have to utter that awful pun).
- There’s a lot of technology introduced in this film which doesn’t exist in the original trilogy, but Rogue One is set only about a week before A New Hope. Some things can be explained away, such as the shield protecting Scarif (it proved to be vulnerable to attack, hence why the shield generator for the Death Star II was put inside the shield itself on the surface of Endor). Others, like some of the ship designs, should be replaced with established designs from the original technology. The only one I’d like to see remain is the Hammerhead Corvette (I believe this features in the Rebels TV series), because it is, quite simply, badass.
- On the subject of technology, we come to K-2SO. The character is good (Alan Tudyk is wonderful, as always), although he began to grate toward the end of the film with the constant dry humour. The problem is he’s a model of droid we don’t see in the original trilogy, but his design is fantastic. I thought about perhaps making him a one-off prototype, but this would negate his attempt to infiltrate the stormtroopers on Jedha and Scarif. I therefore propose to have a throwaway line of dialogue explaining his model is no longer in production after too many faults were found with the model, and he is one of only a small handful left in service.
- I do find the characters of Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) to be somewhat underwhelming and not particularly endearing. Given the natures of the characters, I don’t see how to rectify this without changing their personalities entirely, which I think would be a step too far. Perhaps this is something I’ll have to live with.
So, it’s here we start to see the difficulties and consequences of not following the boundaries created by the original trilogy, but none of this is particularly detrimental. It’s the next section where we’ll really see problems…
The Prequel Trilogy
Here we go. This is the one you’ve been waiting for, right? The reason I’m going to this trilogy next is because the sequels aren’t finished yet, so it makes sense to review them last. I’m going to go out on a limb and say, whilst these are easily the lowest point of the franchise, they’re not 100% terrible. Yes, they are pretty bad, but they have their virtues, and with some changes they have the potential to be brilliant.
Now, this is an interesting one to do, as it’s difficult to make changes to the films individually. We also need to consider the fact these films must honour the lore set down in the original trilogy, particularly when those films make reference to past events – events we will see here. Such things we need to take into account are Obi-Wan’s failure to recognise R2-D2 and C-3PO, his recounting of his friendship with Anakin, and him dropping the name of Obi-Wan and becoming Ben Kenobi. Also, there’s Leia’s memory of her birth mother, Owen’s fear of Luke becoming like his father, and Leia’s claim of Obi-Wan serving her father during the Clone War. This trilogy needs so much overhauling, any change to one of them will filter through to the others. Therefore, whilst I will discuss them individually, please keep in mind any changes made to The Phantom Menace will be reflected in Attack of the Clones, and so on.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
This one is often considered to be the worst of the three, but I actually think it has some of the best moments from the prequel trilogy. It’s just it also has some of the worst, and those bad moments often outweigh the good. I will attempt to list the changes I would make in as concisely descriptive a way as possible (I do tend to rant at this stage).
- First of all, the basic plot needs to change. The whole trade dispute and political game is boring, flat, and doesn’t lend itself to the Star Wars lore. Now, the Separatist movement introduced in Attack of the Clones is a much better angle, and it does a good job of setting up the fall of the Republic. I propose bringing that in as the main story here, but rather than having the Separatists as an in-your-face antagonistic force from the off, make it subtle. The storyline will stay basically the same, for the most part, but with the new underlying plot, it gives it a stronger tie to the other films and sets up Episode II nicely. There will still be an attempt by the Sith to gain power over a provincial world in order to work toward gaining control of the Senate, but this time it will be directly tied into the Separatist movement rather than a phoney trade dispute. With that being said, I would replace the Trade Federation with a mysterious organisation (later revealed to be the Techno Union) as the main force behind the droid invasion. It never made much sense to me for a company built upon trade to have its own droid military.
- Next, we need to look at Naboo as a world. My thoughts? Scrap it. Not entirely – Naboo will still exist within the galaxy – but what benefit does Naboo’s presence in this film bring to the wider saga? None. Therefore, it would have a greater impact on the Star Wars story and audience to replace Naboo with Alderaan in Episode I. This would give the destruction of Leia’s homeworld in A New Hope much more gravitas, and would also allow Bail Organa to have a stronger role in the prequels. I propose to keep Bail as the senator from Alderaan, and make Padme, still the queen, his sister. There is an attempt on the queen’s life, in an effort to weaken Bail’s presence in the Galactic Senate, but it fails and the Jedi – still Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan – are dispatched to rescue Bail and Padme and deliver them safely to Coruscant. Thus follows the sequence of events we’re familiar with, although the Naboo Cruiser will be replaced by the Tantive IV, Bail’s personal ship, and it will be captained by Captain Antilles. Aboard this ship, we will (very) briefly encounter R2-D2 as one of the ship’s mechanics, but it will be a passing moment and he won’t interact with the main characters (remember, Obi-Wan doesn’t recognise him or C-3PO in A New Hope). As for C-3PO, he will be a protocol droid to Captain Antilles and will remain on the bridge at all times.
- Going back to my first point, we need to consider this mysterious organisation attacking Alderaan. Whilst it will turn out to be the Techno Union later on in the trilogy, for now all we will see is the droid army invading Alderaan, with it’s sole purpose being to destroy their political stance and pave the way for Palpatine to become Chancellor, and eventually Emperor. The reason for this is Bail Organa is the favourite to succeed Chancellor Valorum at the next vote. We see Darth Sidious appearing as a hologram, as he already does, commanding the invading force. But it is not Nute Gunray who liaises with him. It is none other than General Grievous, though no one knows his name. The reason I want Grievous here is because he is a fantastic character who deserves a much bigger role in the trilogy. However, I would like to see him appear in this film as his pre-cyborg self – his natural, Kaleesh self. Grievous is the face of the invading force, because he is an unknown entity and not affiliated with any of the systems within the Republic, therefore cannot be traced to the Separatist Movement. Also, he is not a Sith, so will not trouble the Jedi. Nevertheless, he works for Sidious and Darth Maul, just as Gunray does. Grievous will be aboard the droid control ship when it is destroyed at the end, and will be presumed killed while trying to launch an escape pod, but he will be rescued and restored as the cyborg we know in time for the next film.
- Now, Darth Maul. In my opinion, he is the best villain in the Star Wars saga behind Darth Vader. He’s vicious, he’s calculating, and he’s extremely menacing. I therefore think killing him off at the end of The Phantom Menace was a complete waste. I’d like to see Darth Maul as the apparent main villain across the first two prequels, replacing Count Dooku’s role as Sidious’ apprentice in Attack of the Clones. Maul will still kill Qui-Gon in front of Obi-Wan, and the Duel of the Fates will happen, but when Obi-Wan falls into the melting pit and grabs the side, Darth Maul will simply slip away.
- No Gungans.
- Now then, Anakin. This is the hardest part. I think the events on Tatooine need to remain largely the same, but I also think a few tweaks are needed to better portray the character of Anakin, and to allow the prequels to fit in with the original trilogy better. So, here are my thoughts. First of all, The Phantom Menace should be set later, so Anakin is not a nine-year-old boy. He is, in fact, a teenager. He’s also not a slave, but he’s not exactly well-off either. His mother, Shmi, is already married to Cliegg Lars, who has a son called Owen. Cliegg is a good man, but Anakin hates him as he knows Cliegg is not his father. Cliegg therefore sends Anakin to work for Watto in order to teach him how to behave. Anakin is a bit of a bully and desires power above everything, but he also despises injustice and dishonour. He also believes his life has more meaning to it. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan (together) stumble across him, as they do, and discover he has a very strong connection to the Force. They believe he fulfills an ancient prophecy and are determined to bring him before the Jedi Council, but whilst Cliegg and Shmi are willing to let him go with them, Watto cannot do without the help as Anakin is something of a prodigy. Enter the podrace, where Anakin strives to win money in order for Watto to hire more hands. The events play out more or less as they do, where we get to Coruscant and the Jedi Council. They interview Anakin and agree he has incredible powers waiting to be unlocked, but they sense the Dark Side in him from the start. They forbid his training on account of him being too old – an age-old excuse used by Jedi Masters to justify their decision and let the person down easily (remember, “he is too old” was Yoda’s final excuse for not training Luke after Obi-Wan countered every other argument he made, an excuse which didn’t work out). Eventually, they will agree to Anakin’s training following Qui-Gon’s death after they see how much of an impact he has against the droid army on Alderaan, but only on the account Obi-Wan take him as his Padawan and keep him in line.
- On to Palpatine. I think the character of Palpatine/Sidious was one of the better-handled aspects of the prequel trilogy, but much of his rise to Chancellor seems to depend on luck – he trusts the Senate to vote him in. I therefore think we need to redo his arc to show him taking control of the Republic by sheer cunning. Besides, every Star Wars fan knew the Emperor’s name was Palpatine before the prequels were even announced, let alone released. As I’ve said before, I’d like to see Bail Organa set up as Palpatine’s rival for the next vote of leadership, but I think the system of government should mirror that of the USA. With that being said, Valorum should be the Chancellor (as he is), with Palpatine as his Vice Chancellor. As the Americans among you will know, the Vice President only succeeds the President in two events: he wins the next election, or the President leaves office early (correct me if I’m wrong here). So, here is the situation: Palpatine is Vice Chancellor to Valorum with aspirations of winning the next election, but Bail Organa is the favourite. Thus, Palpatine devises a way to win the next election uncontested and win the complete trust of the Senate in one go. How does he do this? He schemes to have Padme, the queen of Alderaan and Bail’s cousin, assassinated and Alderaan occupied by Grievous and his droid army. Bail would be forced to return home and step down from his political position, leaving the path to Chancellor wide open for Palpatine. Palpatine would then rally the Republic to drive out these invaders, whilst at the same time uncovering the Separatist Movement and bringing them down. Suddenly, in a short period of time he has removed the one person who could beat him to power, and shown he can defend the Republic against threats on multiple fronts (of course, the Senate would be completely oblivious to the fact Palpatine is pulling all the strings as Darth Sidious). However, the assassination attempt will fail due to the involvement of the two Jedi, and the invasion will be halted thanks to Anakin destroying the droid control ship. Palpatine’s plan seems to have failed, then? Alas no, he would resort to Plan B – a riskier plan, as it would mean his rise to power could be viewed as suspicious. At the end of the film, after Darth Maul has escaped from Obi-Wan, Chancellor Valorum will be found dead. Just like the American system, power will transfer to the incumbent Vice Chancellor, Palpatine, and his plan will be back on track.
- Now let’s look at Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. I loved Liam Neeson’s portrayal of the righteously rebellious Jedi Knight, and firmly feel his character should stay the same. However, I’m of the opinion Obi-Wan should be a fully fledged Jedi Knight for this film. Perhaps it’s just me, but I sometimes find it hard to believe the Obi-Wan of Episode I is the same Obi-Wan of Episodes II and III. Yes, I feel Obi-Wan should still be Qui-Gon’s former student, but I think the chemistry between them will be better if they are equals in this film. Besides, Obi-Wan is a grown man in Episode I, so to see him as a student is a little jarring. With this happening, the disagreements between the two characters will have greater weight, as Qui-Gon can no longer pull rank on Obi-Wan. We also see a strong bond of friendship between them, the loss of which will have a greater emotional effect when Qui-Gon falls to Darth Maul’s lightsaber.
- No Midichlorians.
- Going back to Anakin, we need to evaluate the relationship between him and Padme. Anakin should be drawn to her through lust, rather than a boyish romance, but his good nature should hold him back from advancing on her. Having said that, there should be a clear infatuation between them. He longs for her as a beautiful woman; she for him as a boyish rogue, but she must be torn, for he is well beneath her station and shows signs of a darker nature. This will be further explored later in the trilogy.
- Now, we go back to the invasion of Alderaan. The assassination has obviously failed, but Sidious’ plans are not ruined yet. Grievous will go ahead with the invasion by sending his droid army to the surface of the planet, controlled through his ship, in order to wrest control from the royal family and draw Bail Organa back to his home, away from the Senate. Darth Maul will be aboard Grievous’ ship, sent by Sidious to oversee the invasion, but he will slip out unnoticed by Grievous at one point, only to appear before the two Jedi on the planet’s surface, thus commencing the Duel of the Fates (in my opinion, the best part of the whole prequel trilogy). Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan will return to Alderaan with Padme, but they will convince Bail to remain on Coruscant as they feel his presence will be needed in the Senate. This is the final nail in the coffin of Palpatine’s plan to seize power legitimately. The invasion of Alderaan will begin, but the two Jedi will coordinate the defence of the planet and hold the droids away from the main city whilst Anakin (willingly) joins a team of pilots looking to attack the control ship. The events then play out the same: the ship is destroyed, the droids shut down, and Alderaan is saved. As previously stated, Grievous will attempt to escape his ship, but will seemingly fail as the ship explodes. Darth Maul will then appear in an attempt to cut down the Jedi and finish the job himself – at this point, he feels the risk of revealing the Sith is worth it. He will succeed in killing Qui-Gon, as he does, but will leave Obi-Wan hanging in the melting pit, believing him to be defeated. The implication then is Darth Maul returns to Coruscant and assassinates Valorum on the command of Darth Sidious.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Before I get started on this, please remember the changes to Episode I will filter down. This means I won’t be addressing anything which will have naturally changed already, and will simply continue from where I left off above, taking into account the events of this film which are currently unaffected.
This film will be set several years later (but not the full ten, as The Phantom Menace is now set later), with the following events relayed via the opening crawl: Anakin has proven to be a gifted Jedi and is already preparing to face the Trials to become a Jedi Knight; Palpatine has exposed Count Dooku, a political extremist, as the leader of the Separatist Movement, and the Senate is calling for Dooku to stand trial for treason against the Republic; attempts to capture Dooku have been thwarted by the mysterious droid army, which lingered on after the failed invasion of Alderaan and is now strongly linked to the Separatists; Padme Organa, Queen of Alderaan, has taken it upon herself to join her brother Bail on Coruscant and lobby for the creation of an army for the Republic to combat this threat. By having these events already in place, much of this film doesn’t need to change when taking into account the effects from changing Episode I, but they make the story stronger and tighter. Now, onto the changes throughout this installment in the saga:
- The first one is a quick one. Jango Fett is no longer a Fett, and Boba Fett does not feature in this film. One of things I detested was the backstory given to Boba Fett. Suddenly, a famous bounty hunter shrouded in mystery becomes a little brat with a pre-ordained future. No thank you. Keeping Jango in but changing him to someone entirely separate from Boba restores the Fett intrigue without removing one of the cooler characters from this film. In order to explain the similarity between the two, it would make sense for another character to remark Jango is from Mandalore, a world infamous for producing the galaxy’s deadliest bounty hunters.
- Count Dooku is not a Sith. This is actually something I picked up from a YouTube video I was watching of someone else looking to “fix” the prequel series, and I actually found it to be brilliant. Dooku should still be in league with Darth Sidious, the mastermind behind the Separatist Movement in order to rally the Senate behind him, but he should purely be a political extremist. As far as he’s concerned, he leads the Separatists and has the support of a very powerful man in Sidious, but he also believes he’s doing the right thing for the galaxy. He sees himself leading the people away from a broken political system and placing himself as the head of a new order, one which would benefit everyone. He should be staunchly against the supporters of the Republic, including the Jedi, as this will keep him in a villainous role, but giving him an obliviousness to Sidious’ grand plan will also paint him as a more complex character, and one who may have been innocent all along.
- In the absence of Darth Tyranus (Dooku’s Sith alias), Darth Maul returns from Episode I as the foremost Sith villain. However, as with his appearance in the previous film, he continues to hide and show when it suits him the most. Keeping him as a near-silent villain who attacks from the shadows makes him much more menacing, especially as the Jedi are now fully aware of his existence. He should be painted with a cruel arrogance which makes him feel unstoppable. It will be Maul who faces down Anakin and Obi-Wan at the end, not Dooku (although it should be Dooku who leads them to Maul and escapes before the battle ensues). The battle will be much the same, although with some alterations: Anakin will be wounded very early on, with Maul severing his right forearm and subduing Obi-Wan; however, before a killing blow can be dealt to either of them, Yoda will appear. There will be no frog-like Yoda, though. The dude’s nearly 900 years old, Jedi or not. Instead, he will use his supreme command of the Force to overcome Maul, at which point Obi-Wan will rise and bisect him from behind. This restores the canon of Maul’s death, and explains his robotic legs in Solo.
- The assassination attempt on Padme at the start should remain, carried out by Zam Wessell on the instructions of Jango. The Separatists should view Padme as the most powerful voice in the debate to create an army of the Republic, owing to the invasion of her world several years earlier, and thus should be looking for ways to eliminate her. This will lead into the reunification of her, Obi-Wan and Anakin, and the need to hide her away whilst Obi-Wan tracks down her would-be killer.
- Anakin’s lust for Padme must remain, as before, but the relationship between them needs to have more emotion than a simple romance. Anakin may be a Jedi, but he must show an element of the Dark Side in all aspects. He longs for her physically, but he has a young boy’s feelings for her as well. This feeds into the conflict within him pointed out by Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi. She, on the other hand, desires him from a place of wanting to submit (after all, she’s the most powerful person on Alderaan), but she equally cannot bring herself to admit her feelings. This is partially because her station is so different to his, but also because she fears him.
- The evacuation of Padme and Anakin will also remain, but it must be shown to be an event which interrupts him taking the Trials. Anakin should be visibly put out by this, drawing out his anger. Effectively, the characterisation of Anakin throughout the prequels should show the man who will become Darth Vader at every turn. They will evacuate to Naboo, a quiet, peaceful world where no one will expect to find them. The reason for this is choosing to evacuate Padme to her homeworld was always a daft decision, as it would be the first place anyone would think to look for her. During this time, their relationship will develop, until they find themselves in a situation they should not be in, but cannot escape from. This will create a forbidden love, one which they must keep secret, but one which Padme will always feel conflicted over.
- I would scrap the entire sequence with Anakin’s mother on Tatooine. Yes, it served a purpose to reveal Anakin’s deep anger and violence when in emotional turmoil, but I believe such a revelation would be better handled over time, but also hinted at from the very start. Anakin should hold no ties to his family on Tatooine, seeing them as the Anakin he wants to leave behind. Remember, in this version of the prequels, he longs for power above anything, so to be a working boy on a desert planet, submitting to a stepfather he never liked, would be in direct contradiction to his character.
- Obi-Wan will still discover the existence of a clone army on Kamino, but there will be some differences to this part of the story. For example, there is no need to mention Sifo-Dyas as the Jedi who commissioned the project (as I’m sure you all know, he didn’t – Count Dooku used Sifo-Dyas’ name as an alias to ensure the order to create the army could not be traced back to him). In fact, I believe it would be better if the person who commissioned the army should remain anonymous. Also, I don’t like the idea of the cloned subject being Jango. I would prefer it if the Kaminoans explained they used several samples of human DNA from their stores (you would think a planet which makes its living by selling clones would have thousands of samples of different species’ DNA). This will better explain how the clones eventually become the Stormtroopers. Jango will be present on Kamino to keep watch on the progress of the army – it will be revealed the army was commissioned by Palpatine in order to be ready once the inevitable vote to create it passed. Jango will thus be working for both Dooku and Palpatine, no doubt promised a great payoff by both.
- The rest of the story will play out very much the same. Obi-Wan will relay the information he has learned on Kamino to Yoda and Mace Windu, before following Jango to Geonosis, where he will be captured. Anakin will learn of Obi-Wan’s situation via the Jedi Council, leading to he and Padme ignoring orders and rushing to help Obi-Wan (showing his good side and his struggles with authority). Mace Windu will take the Jedi Knights and Masters to Geonosis to uncover the truth of the Separatists, with Yoda arriving with the clone army. Jango will be killed and Dooku will escape. Having said that, Anakin and Padme will not marry.
- The original scene of Dooku arriving on Coruscant and being greeted by Sidious should remain, but altered. Dooku is not a Sith, therefore there will be no master-apprentice bond between them. Dooku should arrive in worry, believing the Separatist Movement to be finished. Sidious will then explain there is another part of his plan he has yet to reveal, at which point the camera will show a bacta tank. The tank will open and a droid-like figure will emerge, opening its yellow eyes to show it is General Grievous rebuilt.
- One last thing – no Death Star plans. How ridiculous was that?
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
I think it is fair to say this film is the best of the prequels, but I don’t think that says much. Hopefully, with the changes discussed in the first two prequel films above, much of this film will already be in a better position. There are a few things which need to be addressed, however. As before, the introduction will explain the galaxy is at civil war following the events of Episode II, with the droid army commanded by a cyborg named General Grievous (remember, whilst the character has been in the franchise since Episode I, no one knew who he was until now). Also, Anakin is now a fully-fledged Jedi Knight.
Before I get onto specific scenes in the film, there is one change I must mention first. This has truly irritated me ever since I first saw this film in the cinema back in 2005, and continues to irritate me to this day. CHANGE THE DROID VOICES BACK. Honestly, I cannot fathom why George Lucas decided to replace the battle droid voices from the cold, metallic ones in Episodes I & II to a stupidly comedic version in this one. Frankly, it’s insulting. Right, now that’s over…
- The opening sequence is one of the best, but to have Palpatine captured by Grievous is just plain silly. To overcome this, I think it would be better if Obi-Wan and Anakin were leading an assault on Grievous’ ship in an attempt to bring about a swift end to the conflict. A simple assault with the goal of killing him. Ultimately, they’ll fail in their mission to destroy him as before, but not before Grievous reveals his lightsaber collection and explains his role thus far: how he led the invasion of Alderaan from the command ship and very narrowly escaped with his life. He will also explain the droid army are the creation of the Techno Union, one of the Separatist parties. Effectively, Grievous will tell Obi-Wan and Anakin everything, fully expecting to kill them shortly anyway, but he too will fail in his goal, leading to his escape and the crash landing on Coruscant.
- With Maul gone, Palpatine must start to coax Anakin over to the Dark Side; but this time it will not be through his love for Padme. No, it will be by using his lust for power. By this point, Anakin must start to consider himself among the most powerful Jedi in existence, with aspirations of becoming the most powerful. Palpatine should play on this, pointing out where the Jedi hold him back and don’t appreciate his talents. This will ultimately come to a head where he puts Anakin forward as a Council member, but the Jedi refuse to make him a Master. This is the key point to show where Anakin’s downfall really begins, as he finally realises the Council do not trust him. Of course, his friendship with Obi-Wan must fracture at this point, but Obi-Wan will desperately try to hold on to him. Anakin will start to leave the Jedi Path – he will remain among them out of honour and duty, but will begin to live for himself. Palpatine will use this further, by drawing Anakin alongside him and painting him as the only trustworthy Jedi – he will feed him lies about the Jedi planning to take control of the Republic and being behind the war.
- Anakin’s relationship with Padme will be extremely rocky throughout this installment (they will not be married, remember). She will spend most of her time on Coruscant in order to oversee the war, given she was the lead voice in creating the clone army. She will be drawn to Anakin more than ever, especially as he has begun to stray from the Jedi ways, but her emotions will conflict inside her. Anakin, on the other hand, will be battling himself over her. On the one hand, he wants her for himself, but on the other he cannot bring himself to take advantage of her. Eventually, they will both succumb to their desires, leading to Padme falling pregnant. She will ultimately keep this a secret from Anakin, as the rest of the events play out, and return home to Alderaan.
- As the war is being fought on the battlefield and in the Senate, Bail Organa will be voted one of the leaders of the Republic forces by the other Senators. As a friend to the Jedi, he will co-ordinate with them, and Obi-Wan will be sent to work with him closely. This will explain comments by both Bail and Leia in later films of how Obi-Wan served him faithfully. Obi-Wan will spend much time aboard the Tantive IV, working with Bail and Captain Antilles, where he will briefly encounter R2-D2 again, but not enough to leave a lasting memory. C-3PO will still serve under Captain Antilles, but will not encounter Obi-Wan (they don’t recognise each other, after all). Obi-Wan’s scenes with the Jedi Council will remain, but he will appear via hologram as others do.
- Obi-Wan will go on to hunt down Grievous on Utapau as before, with Palpatine feeding the Jedi Council information via Anakin. These events will play out much the same, with Grievous sending the Separatists to Mustafar shortly before the clones attack. Having said that, Grievous will not claim to have been trained in Jedi arts by Dooku, or anyone else for that matter, but he will engage Obi-Wan in lightsaber combat, using his droid reflexes to explain his ability to wield a saber without Force-sensitivity.
- Anakin will be tasked with spying on Palpatine as before, which will be the final thing to drive him away from the Jedi Path. Palpatine will pounce on this and try to lure Anakin away from them with promises of power and greater abilities. This will become the reveal of Palpatine as Darth Sidious, which will shock Anakin. He will become angry with Palpatine for manipulating him and will report back to Mace Windu with his discovery. This will lead into the Jedi’s attempt to arrest Palpatine, but Anakin will disregard the order to stay behind in the Council chamber as he wants to bring Palpatine down himself – for deceiving him, and because it will be another step up the power ladder. When he arrives to find Mace Windu about to destroy Palpatine, the Force lighting attack which disfigures Palpatine having already happened, Windu will rebuke Anakin for disobeying orders once again. Anakin will become angry at Windu for this, especially as he led him to the Sith they had been hunting, and will vocally renounce the Jedi Order. This will lead to Windu taking his focus off Palpatine, who will rise and kill him with Force lightning. Seeing this, Anakin will be in awe of this power he has never before seen and will immediately want it for himself, not really paying any attention to what just transpired. He demands Palpatine teach him how to wield such power, but Palpatine uses the Force lightning on Anakin, proving himself to be beyond the former Jedi’s ability. Anakin will realise this and beg Palpatine to teach him the Dark Side powers, as he wishes to learn everything there is to know in order to become stronger. Palpatine promises to do so in exchange for Anakin’s unwavering obedience as his apprentice. Anakin’s hunger for power will get the better of him and he will agree to this, but he will not become Vader at this point.
- No Chewbacca. Including him as Yoda’s mate was ridiculous.
- Order 66 will be carried out as normal, and Anakin will be tasked with storming the Jedi temple. Palpatine will reveal to Anakin he commissioned the clone army in disguise, and had each one trained to obey his every order, no matter what (explaining why the clone troops would betray a strong bond with their Jedi commanders). Palpatine will weave further lies to make Anakin believe the Jedi must truly be destroyed if the war is to end.
- After the attack on the Jedi temple is successful, Palpatine will bestow the name of Darth Vader on Anakin. He will then begin to wear dark armour, almost like that of the Vader from the original trilogy, but not quite. Anakin Skywalker will cease to exist, and Vader will be sent to Mustafar to kill the Separatists, as their purpose has been served and Palpatine needs to reunite the galaxy in order to form the Empire. Once Palpatine receives word of the Separatists’ destruction, he calls the Senate to order and proclaims the creation of a galactic Empire.
- Obi-Wan will track Anakin to Mustafar after viewing the security recording with Yoda, where they will hear Palpatine sending him there. The battle between them will play out as before, except Vader will proclaim Anakin Skywalker to be dead when Obi-Wan tries to plead with him. Obi-Wan will point out Palpatine has brainwashed him, but Vader will state it doesn’t matter as he now has more power than he would ever have experienced as a Jedi. Obi-Wan will realise Anakin is gone, and the battle will end with his “high ground” victory.
- Yoda will confront Palpatine in the Senate chambers, but there will be no lightsabers. Palpatine will have lost his during his duel with Mace Windu (dropped out the window), and Yoda will be of the mindset of not needing one. They will duel using pure Force powers, showing great prowess and ability. It will come to a head where Yoda has the upper hand, but his purity as a Jedi will cause him to hesitate when about to deliver a killing blow. At this point, Palpatine will take advantage of the situation and gain the upper hand. Yoda will escape as before, but now he has a clearly defined reason for going into exile.
- Yoda, Obi-Wan and Bail Organa will reconvene aboard the Tantive IV. They will agree Obi-Wan and Yoda must go into hiding as the new Emperor will be hunting down the remaining Jedi. Yoda explains he knows of a largely uninhabited planet (Dagobah) he can settle on, a place with a strong Dark Side presence to mask him. Obi-Wan decides to leave his name behind, adopting Ben as his new alias, but doesn’t yet know where he’ll go. The ship will then get a message to return to Alderaan immediately. When they arrive, they will find Padme has gone into labour and is giving birth to twins – Luke and Leia. She will survive childbirth. Shortly afterward, the four of them will meet to discuss the children. She will explain Anakin is the father, but he doesn’t know. They will agree the children should be split up for safety. Obi-Wan (now Ben) will take Luke to Tatooine and give him to Anakin’s step-brother Owen to raise as his own, although Owen will only agree to raise Luke as his nephew, as he would always be a reminder of Anakin to him. Padme asks Bail to raise Leia as his daughter, as it would be foolish for Padme to be seen as a mother when she is unmarried. Also, if Anakin were to find out she had a child, he would know it was his. Bail agrees, but only if Padme agrees to Leia knowing the truth when she is old enough. Thus, they go their separate ways. Nothing is said of Padme’s death several years later, as nothing needs to be said.
Well, that certainly took the longest time to write of this article. Hopefully I’ve been able to cover of all plot holes created by the prequel trilogy, whilst also tweaking things to make the films better in general. I’ve tried to keep hold of the best characters and cut out the parts which ruined the trilogy, without actually impacting the story as a whole (for the most part). Given how much is here, there may very well be things I’ve missed or forgotten to address, but I think I’ve covered the important things. Now, for our final section…
The Sequel Trilogy
I’ll be honest, when they said Star Wars was coming back for Episodes VII, VIII and IX, I practically squealed like a little girl. I was at the right age to truly appreciate new entries to the franchise – when the prequels were released, I was a young boy so I just thought the whole thing was cool. Now, I could experience the thrill of new Star Wars in the cinema like the megafan I am. Unfortunately, this trilogy has brought me a mixture of joy, disappointment, and anger. I’m afraid I have quite a few major changes to this set of films…
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Before you say anything, I know the whole “Episode…” was dropped from the titles, but that annoyed me so I’m bringing it back.
I actually loved this film when it was first released. It was the first Star Wars film to feel like Star Wars since Return of the Jedi. It’s not without its flaws, but on the whole it really hit the mark (in my opinion). Having said that, as time has gone on and the later films have been released, I’ve come to realise this film actually could have been so much better, not least because the story is effectively a rehash of A New Hope. Let’s take a look…
- The first and biggest issue with this film is the First Order. Now, to have a Star Wars film, there must be an antagonistic force, but to effectively revive the Empire under a different name diminishes the efforts of the Rebellion in the original trilogy. I’m not saying the First Order shouldn’t be the enemy, but I think they should have been handled slightly differently. Instead of being the Empire reborn, I think it should be an evil rebellion against the New Republic (see how I’ve turned the tables there?), made up of what remnants of the Empire were left behind, along with anti-Republic protestors and Imperial sympathisers. The Resistance, therefore, is a faction of the New Republic set up to counter this rebellion. I think this would show how rebellions can go both ways – sometimes they’re a necessity to bring down a corrupt government, other times they’re a dangerous force driven by anarchy. At the head of the First Order should be the Knights of Ren – they’re mentioned, but we see nothing substantial of them until Episode IX. More on this later.
- I’d like to see more of Max von Sydow’s character. It seems a shame to have a high-profile actor cast in one of cinema’s biggest franchises, just to be killed off at the start of the film with no explanation of who he is. This is further amplified by the fact Kylo Ren knows him. Perhaps some more dialogue between him and Poe Dameron to give him a brief backstory, or perhaps some later dialogue from General Leia about him would suffice. I believe the lore describes him as a Force worshipper (or something along those lines), suggesting he follows the same path as Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus in Rogue One. I think this should have been stated explicitly, as this is a plot point I’m going to draw on later.
- There needs to be some kind of explanation about how Rey can understand BB-8 and Chewbacca. Sure, Finn does ask “you understand that thing?”, but that’s it. How can a girl from Jakku understand a droid who talks in beeps and whistles and a Wookiee? I’ll take any explanation, as long as I get one. It could simply be she learned such methods of communication from living near a trading outpost.
- Luke’s lightsaber has to be explained. Everyone knows it fell to Bespin from Cloud City. Bespin – a gas giant with no discernible surface. How did Maz Kanata get it? She says it’s a story for another time, but we never get to hear it. I think this has to be addressed, but I don’t really mind which of the three films it’s in.
- One of the things which bothered me most about this film was also an issue with The Last Jedi (I’ll cover that one in the next section): scientific inaccuracies. Okay, yes. Star Wars is science fiction, meaning the laws of physics can be bent to suit the artistic license. They cannot, however, be completely broken. I am, of course, referring to the great laser which destroys the Hosnian System – the seat of the new Republic. For a start, lasers are made of light, therefore a laser cannot travel any fast than the speed of light, as this one clearly does. Also, the Resistance could not possibly witness the destruction of the Hosnian System as clearly as they did unless they were in the same system of planets. If that were the case, surely they would have been destroyed too? Now, this would be a difficult situation to rectify, however I do have a way of doing it, and it involves completely overhauling Starkiller Base.
- Starkiller Base is a complete rip-off of the Death Star, let’s be frank. The characters even make such a comparison. Whilst I am quite happy to watch The Force Awakens play out along the same lines of A New Hope – a desert planet being home to the main character who can use the Force, a secret file hidden with a droid, an old man playing the mentor – this part did bug me. I propose the following: Starkiller Base exists, but it is simply a hidden base upon the snowy planet. No giant laser cannon. It’s been thirty years since the destruction of the Death Star II, and the Republic has been reinstated. There’s no possible way the First Order could have constructed such a weapon in such a short time without someone knowing about it. So, how do we follow the story without that part of it? Well, we know the First Order have somehow become a strong military force in the galaxy, so I think a better solution would be to have a couple of their dreadnoughts bombard the new Republic from space. The planets aren’t destroyed, but the cities are, giving the same outcome. Finn, having worked at Starkiller Base, knows of its existence and feeds this information to the Resistance, just as word comes in from their scouts dotted throughout the galaxy of the attack on the Hosnian System. Suddenly, we’re back where we need to be. The rest of the film plays out as it does, although the Resistance attack doesn’t end up destroying the planet – just the base. However, it must be pointed out the First Order fleet is not present at the base. I think such a point should be made after the victory, leaving that question mark over what will happen next, to be explored in the next chapter.
- Finally, I think the plot point of R2-D2 having the map to Luke is just far too convenient, especially as there appears to be no trigger as to why he wakes up then. It was a good idea to push C-3PO and R2-D2 aside in favour of BB-8, but I would have preferred the following explanation: R2 went offline shortly after Luke went into exile, with instructions to awaken upon the defeat of the First Order. R2 would know of this event as he would be plugged into the Resistance base computer. Obviously, the First Order are not defeated, but the victory is celebrated as if they have been, so R2 would awaken as planned, revealing Luke had left partial instructions on how to find him in the event of victory. The rest remains the same.
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Ahhh, now. I suspect many of you have been waiting for this one. I think it’s fair to say this has been the most controversial entry in the franchise to date, splitting fans right down the middle. There are those who love it, and those who hate it. I have no fear in admitting I strongly lean toward the latter. I personally felt this film was a betrayal of the franchise for many reasons, but I will give credit where credit is due. I know for a fact Rian Johnson was not given any direction from Disney as to where to go with this film or what to do. J. J. Abrams had given new life to the saga with The Force Awakens, but had not penned a sequel as he already knew he would not be the man behind the camera for it. Johnson was therefore given complete free reign over this installment, so naturally he would do what he thought was right. I think he made a good decision in trying to take the franchise in a new direction, but I strongly believe he chose the wrong direction for many things. One of these things I will address here, as it affects the whole film: Star Wars is NOT a comedy. I thought the comical elements of Revenge of the Sith (the one-liners and droid voices) were bad enough, but this just had way too much comedy in it. It wasn’t even good comedy! It was cringe-worthy and completely out of touch with the Star Wars feel. So, I won’t address the individual comedic elements. Just assume anything in this film intended to make the audience laugh – the one-liners, gags, and comical scenes – are all gone. Onward!
- The main thing about this film which ruined it for me, aside from the stupid comedy, is the story. Seriously, it’s not a good one. I’ll look at the various parts of the story and explain how I think they could have been better handled.
- So, Luke on Ahch-To. This part of the film contradicts itself, starting out with Luke asking Rey if she thought he had gone there for no reason, then later having him say he went there to die. This is daft – if he had gone there to do die, why did he learn how to survive? (We don’t need to see how he survives, by the way. No one wants to see him milking aliens for their green milk.) Also, since when does Luke Skywalker give up after one failure? Nonsense. First of all, there’s the interaction between them with the lightsaber. Luke should be astonished to see his father’s old lightsaber, which he lost on Bespin 30+ years earlier. Now, I accept he wants to leave that part of him behind, but it would have more impact if he shoved it back into Rey’s hands before striding away. The whole reason for Luke being on the very planet which gave rise to the first Jedi should be symbolic – I believe a better reason would be to use his comment “it’s time for the Jedi to end.” Yes, yes it is, because the Force can only truly be balanced when there is no light or dark. Only when they come together as one can the Force be in balance (I don’t want to trample on the Anakin prophecy, but Yoda does say in Episode II the prophecy could have been misread – I’d like there to be an explanation somewhere stating Anakin did bring the Force into balance by becoming the first Jedi for millennia to find the harmony between light and dark in himself when he killed Palpatine). So, Luke is on Ahch-To to learn from the first Jedi and discover how to unite both sides of the Force into one. The Jedi Code should be abolished, and all aspects of the Force should be studied. There will always be good and evil, but to try and bend the Force to the will of one or the other will always end in ruin. Luke must understand this and convey that truth to Rey, explaining the Jedi were behind the times, and the Sith knew this. He should be reluctant to train her, however, as she is far too eager to learn all she can – the same way his father was – and because he is still trying to discern how to move forward in this revelation himself. Yoda’s appearance (incidentally one of my favourite parts of this film) must confirm this truth too, as he tells Luke his own failure was not realising it until it was too late. Luke should also explain he realised this was the case when he sensed the Dark Side in Ben Solo – when he went to kill him, he realised it was the Dark Side in himself leading him to do so, at which point he realised the Light and Dark could never be separated, and each Force user must learn to harness both in harmony. Of course, that’s not how it would look to Kylo Ren.
- Rey’s relationship with Kylo Ren is a very interesting one, going from her hatred for him at having killed Han Solo, to pity, to acceptance, to a mild attraction. Kylo Ren will also have come to the same conclusion as Luke, but will come at it from a different angle. While Luke is trying to come to terms with straying from the Jedi Path to encompass the Force as a whole, Kylo Ren is of the belief the Sith were right all along, as they knew this truth and studied the Force as a whole. The thing is, the Sith weren’t right, as they still harnessed the Force for evil and couldn’t use certain Jedi powers – those drawn from the Light Side, such as Force Heal. However, because Kylo Ren also knows the truth and appears to be doing a better job of understanding it than Luke is, Rey will naturally gravitate toward him.
- Let’s leave Rey for a second and focus on the rest of the Resistance. For a start, how could the First Order have tracked down the Resistance base so quickly? Well, here are my thoughts. I believe a good plot point would be to have a First Order spy among the Resistance, someone who has been there since the events of The Force Awakens. Obviously, the fingers will point at Finn. After all, he was a stormtrooper. Now, Finn should still be recovering from his injuries sustained at the end of The Force Awakens, but due to these accusations, he is dragged out of stasis by force, but he will be protected by Leia and Poe Dameron. What I think would be a good idea is if Benicio Del Toro’s character, DJ, were in the Resistance from the very start – he is the spy, but no one knows this yet. The First Order appear at the Resistance base out of nowhere and a general evacuation is sounded (this could be explained in the opening crawl, as well as the suspicion of a spy in the ranks). Most of the ships get away, thanks to the Resistance bombers taking out the dreadnought (that part was fine when you cut out Poe’s prank call; in terms of the bombs dropping, just throw in some cool tech to explain it), but the command ship – Leia’s ship, which also houses Poe, Finn, Holdo, DJ, et al – is struck by a laser blast which cripples their hyperdrive, although they are able to make one jump. While in hyperspace, they realise there is a problem with the hyperdrive and if they don’t drop out of lightspeed soon, the ship will explode. When they drop out and find Snoke’s ship is on their tail, they realise the spy is aboard. At this point, General Hux decides to “toy with his food”, opting not to blow the Resistance apart, but to dog them through space, making them suffer by not knowing how long they have and giving them false hope. The First Order fighters, led by Kylo Ren, assault the Resistance ship, and Leia is blasted into space. Now, the Mary Poppins scene just made me laugh because of how daft it is, but I think showing Leia has some control of the Force is necessary. Therefore, I think it would have been better if they had shown her twitching hand and her eyes opening, then switch to show Poe watching her from aboard the ship. We don’t actually see her gliding through space, but the implication is there. Thus, Leia goes to sick bay (Star Trek, anyone?) and Holdo assumes command. Also, there is another scientific inaccuracy here – the First Order’s laser blasts would not form a parabolic curve in space, so sort that out.
- Now then, the master codebreaker and Canto Bight. Scrap it. Entirely. I absolutely hated that part of the film. I also don’t see the need to have Rose as a character, as she was nothing more than a Disney fingerprint. To replace this, I think having Finn and Poe team up again in order to track down the First Order spy would be a good plot point. After all, while most of the crew believe Finn to be the spy, Poe knows better. Eventually, they’ll realise DJ is nowhere to be found and will find an escape pod has been jettisoned in the direction of Snoke’s ship. Poe will report his findings to Holdo, but she will tell him to let DJ go, and this will cause the tension between them. She won’t explain her plan as she needs Poe to trust her implicitly, as he would Leia, but he will plot with Finn to take another pod and chase down DJ. Thus, the encounter aboard Snoke’s ship goes ahead, except Poe will take Rose’s place, as does Holdo’s plan to drag the Resistance to Crait. Originally, I would have liked Captain Phasma to survive the encounter with Finn, but having now seen Episode IX, I’m not sure there’s a place for her. Therefore, I think she deserves her moment of badassery. The fight should be drawn out, with Finn eventually winning and leaving her wounded (drop the “Rebel scum” line as changes to Episode VII invalidate this). As Finn and the others escape, she should be engulfed in flames as the ship breaks apart.
- Now, back to Rey. She will leave Luke as she did before, believing Kylo Ren to be saveable, and disappointed in Luke for not being willing to return to the Resistance. He won’t do this because he cannot leave Ahch-To until he has found balance within himself. Yoda will ultimately tell him this is folly, and he must find balance through his actions rather than sitting and studying. She will go to Snoke’s ship as before and the throne room scene will play out (seriously, that battle was so cool). Kylo Ren will betray Snoke as he believes it is time for him to step up and lead, and also to teach Rey. Also Snoke was a bit of a dick toward him. Snoke will apparently die, although this will be ambiguous as his body will have disappeared by the time Hux arrives later on. Now then, this is the real change I wanted to make. When Kylo Ren offers Rey his hand to join him, she takes it. How cool would that have been? She believes Kylo isn’t truly evil and can be saved, so she goes with him in an attempt to gain his trust and steer him toward the light. She doesn’t really understand the whole balance thing, but she is inherently good so wants Kylo to be the same, especially as he’s Leia’s son. She will accompany Kylo Ren to Crait aboard his ship, but will realise how evil he is when he begins a relentless attack on the Resistance – her friends. It is only when Luke appears and Kylo strives to destroy him she fully understands Kylo cannot be turned back, so she leaves the ship silently. She’ll then next appear when moving the rocks to rescue the Resistance with Chewbacca aboard the Falcon.
- Because Rose is no longer in this film, the Resistance’s charge against the First Order forces on Crait should end with Finn preparing to sacrifice himself before his rickety old ship fails. That way, his heroism remains and the Resistance’s trust in him is restored, but there’s no stupid “love conquers all” Disneyfication of the film.
- Now, Luke’s appearance on Crait. I like how they did it, but there was one fundamental mistake: people must believe it is Luke in person. By making him look younger and giving him his blue lightsaber (which won’t be destroyed in this version), it was plain obvious there was something not quite right. He should appear as he does, with long hair and grey beard, wielding his green lightsaber. The only hint of him not really being there is the lack of footprints in the salt. Also, this technique will show Luke has finally grown in his Force knowledge and will give a hint as to what happened to Snoke’s “body”. Unfortunately, this will still lead to Luke’s passing due to the sheer amount of energy required to use this skill, but he’ll have used it as it was too late to raise his X-Wing and fly there.
- Finally, because Canto Bight is no longer in the film, there’s no need to show that kid at the end.
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
So, I was very apprehensive of this film. Knowing how much I disliked The Last Jedi meant I went into the cinema expecting to be disappointed and angry. Amazingly, I wasn’t, but I wasn’t happy either. I thought this film was a bit of a chaotic mess, with way too much going on. Also, because there was much to retcon following The Last Jedi, I felt a lot of the story was written for that purpose rather than carrying on where Rian Johnson left off and tying up the saga. Nevertheless, I felt satisfied because the story had been brought to an end and some of the elements of The Last Jedi which angered me were retconned. Unfortunately, at least one of those plot points causes a massive issue and unravels much of the lore…
- Palpatine. I genuinely believe, had Rian Johnson not killed off Snoke and made Rey a “nobody”, we wouldn’t have seen Palpatine return. I fully understand why J. J. Abrams brought him back – he needed a villain to replace Snoke, and one superior to him in order to explain everything away. But being as this is the last film in the saga, it’s too late to introduce someone new, and so the easiest thing to do is revive the one man who loomed over much of the saga as the main antagonist. Personally, I thought he was handled well, but I don’t like the fact they had to use him, as doing so makes Darth Vader’s sacrifice in Return of the Jedi completely meaningless in the long run. Here’s what I would have done…
- Snoke. He was completely wasted in The Last Jedi. A mysterious evil creature at the head of the First Order, with no one knowing who he is or where he came from, just unceremoniously cast aside? I think not. As I said above in my Episode VIII notes, after Kylo Ren apparently kills him, his body disappears. But wait, I hear you say. The Sith can’t become Force ghosts, can they? Why no, they can’t, and here’s my explanation. Snoke was using the same ability Luke did to project himself across the galaxy, but his power is so immense he was able to do so without dying, and could manipulate the image to make people see what he wanted them to see. So, when Kylo Ren appeared to dismember him, it was merely Snoke’s projected image. All along, Snoke has been dwelling on the Sith planet of Exogol, commanding the Knights of Ren. Let’s look at them now and give some background detail to Snoke and Kylo Ren.
- I don’t know how this would be explained in the story, as it would probably take up a large scene. Perhaps Rey learns it from Luke’s Force ghost on Ahch-To, similar to Luke learing Leia is his sister from Obi-Wan on Dagobah. Anyway this is my proposed backstory to the rise of Snoke, the turning of Ben Solo into Kylo Ren, and the formation of the First Order: Snoke was the first Force-user (note how I didn’t say Jedi). In the temple on Ahch-To, there is the mosaic pool which appears to show an image of Snoke. My idea is he is from an ancient race, long extinct, and he was the first to learn how to tap into the Force and harness its powers. He was a good person, and sought to pass on his teachings to others. He learned all he could about it and taught his students everything, but what he did not envisage was the natural duality of people. Some of his students sought to use their newfound power for their own personal gain; the others believed it should be used only for good. They clashed over this, and eventually went their separate ways, thus forming the first Jedi and Sith. The Jedi stayed on Ahch-To and shunned all force abilities they believed to be evil (Force lightning, Force choke, etc.). The Sith left and created their own temple on Exogol, and began to study what was to become known as the Dark Side. Snoke, believing he had failed his students, went to Exogol to try and fix things, but he never came back. Shortly after, Exogol was enveloped in Dark Side energy and was lost to the mists of time.
- With me so far?
- Snoke was captured by his former students, who had become very powerful indeed, and was sealed in a chamber full of pure Dark Side energy (think the cave on Dagobah, or the well on Ahch-To, but much more powerful). He had no way of escaping, and over time he was completely taken over by the Dark Side. The Force sustained him, and in that chamber he became the embodiment of the Dark Side, pure evil, but he could not break out due to the power holding him there. Hundreds, if not thousands of years passed. Eventually, he was discovered by the Knights of Ren – a group of cultists who worshipped the Dark Side, but had no Force-sensitivity (we’re back to Force worshippers!) They had discovered the location of Exogol after years upon years of searching for it, as their cult had passed down the knowledge of it through the generations. They were able to release Snoke, as it could only be done from the outside, and seeing how he was immeasurably strong with the Dark Side, they fell down and worshipped him. Being now free of his bonds, Snoke was able to use his command of the Force to formulate the First Order from the safety of Exogol, using the Knights of Ren as his pawns.
- Okay, let’s move on to Kylo Ren, or Ben. Ben was one of Luke’s first students – after the fall of the Empire, Leia had overseen the creation of the New Republic, and Luke had rebuilt the Jedi Temple. Luke took students whom he identified as Force-sensitive, but only if they were willing to learn (originally the Jedi took them as infants). Ben, being his nephew, was eager. Too eager. It follows Ben was deeply interested in the Dark Side, and Snoke was able to use this curiosity to tap into his mind. Snoke drew him to the Dark Side (Leia states this in The Force Awakens), and made him master of the Knights of Ren, dubbing him Kylo Ren. Kylo took the Knights and attacked the Jedi Temple, killing the rest of Luke’s students and driving him out. However, Snoke never truly told Kylo who he was, or indeed where he was, and neither did the other Knights. Kylo was nothing more than a tool for Snoke to use. This explains Kylo’s actions in The Last Jedi.
- Another issue I had with this film was the explanation of Rey’s parentage. Rian Johnson had made her a nobody, but J. J. Abrams clearly wanted her to be a somebody. She couldn’t be a Skywalker, so how else could she be so powerful in the Force? Ah yes, make her a Palpatine. No no no! We already know from the prequel trilogy anyone can be Force-sensitive! Having said that, I don’t think she should be a nobody either, especially as there does appear to be some form of recognition from Leia and Han in The Force Awakens. I therefore suggest her parents were some of the original founders of the New Republic. Rey had been identified by Luke as being Force-sensitive, but he had not yet taken her as a student due to her being too young to make her own choice. When Kylo destroyed the Jedi Temple, Leia encouraged Rey’s parents to hide her away, knowing her Force-sensitivity would make her vulnerable when her parents held such a high position. They made the hard decision to send her to Jakku, knowing she’d be far away from danger (exactly like the actual film), but they were intercepted and killed by the Knights of Ren on their return home.
- Okay, that’s a lot of backstory. Let’s look at a few other things which I think could have been better.
- For a start, I would have liked to see more of R2 in this. I didn’t really get why C-3PO went with Finn, Poe, Rey and Chewbacca on their adventure but R2 didn’t. It wouldn’t have been nice to see the duo out and about once more, with BB-8 making them a trio. I also think the different personality of each of them would have been an interesting dynamic when D-O was introduced.
- I was going to mention the dialogue surrounding Leia in this, as it felt a bit off in places, but given those scenes were archive footage from the previous two films, there wasn’t much more they could have done. RIP Carrie.
- I thought they introduced some of Rey’s abilities quite cold. It’s obvious she’s been studying the ancient Jedi texts and training with Leia’s guidance, which explains how she’s able to use the Force to heal people and can grasp the transport ship in mid-flight, but her sudden use of Force lightning is just forgotten about. This needs to be addressed as her unlocking the full potential of the Force and finding the balance within herself, the lesson being she needs to learn control over all else.
- Let’s go back to Palpatine quickly. I think the idea of the dead Emperor supposedly returning could be a good plot point if used correctly. Kylo Ren strives to find the map to Exogol in order to prevent Palpatine from challenging him, as we see in the film, but eventually it turns out to be Snoke fooling everyone. However, Palpatine’s copy of the map will still feature, as it can be explained he was the only other person to discover Exogol during his time as a Sith, but would not release Snoke for the same reason Kylo Ren “killed” him – he would not submit to another. Thus he kept a map to the planet, but left Exogol behind him.
- Now then, there were two things I really didn’t like about this film. The first was how Hux’s character was handled. Sure, he’s been a bit of a wet blanket through the trilogy, but to sudden;y make him the spy and then kill him quick and easy? I think not. I fully expected Richard E. Grant’s character to be the spy, and I still think he should have been. Perhaps make him a characer who doesn’t necessarily stand with the Resistance against the First Order (and certainly not Hux’s angle of “I don’t care if you win, I just want Kylo Ren dead” or whatever his line is), but who remembers the last war and just wants to see peace in the galaxy for good. Someone who knows the First Order is evil, but believed joining them was the best form of survival and now wants to see that evil vanquished once and for all.
- Keep Kylo Ren’s redemption as it was. I know I originally wanted to see him stay evil and end that way, but actually seeing him return to the Light following an encounter with Han (was that a memory, or a projection? I don’t know, but I liked it) and then go toe-to-toe with the Knights of Ren was really cool. I would have changed the final battle a bit though…
- The sequel trilogy is all about the legacy of Skywalker, but Rey isn’t a Skywalker, so Ben should absolutely have had more involvement in that final battle. He defeats the Knights of Ren and then joins Rey in her struggle against Snoke. Snoke, of course, overpowers them easily, but doesn’t take into account their resolve. Rey hears all of the voices of the Jedi, but Ben doesn’t at first, being confused as to her reactions. She tells him to close his eyes and listen, and he begins to hear whispers, unintelligible but getting louder. He suddenly opens his eyes and both of them are surrounded by Force ghosts – Obi-Wan, Yoda, Luke, Leia, Qui-Gon, Mace Windu, Ki-Adi-Mundi, Ahsoka Tano…and Anakin (yes yes, I know I want Anakin’s Force ghost to be played by Sebastian Shaw in Return of the Jedi, but it should be canonical Force ghosts can appear how they wish, and Hayden Christiansen would make sense here, as would Ewan McGregor). There will be many others, of course, the intention being all the Jedi are with them. Rey and Ben stand with the Force ghosts, and are able to defeat Snoke, just as the Resistance are able to defeat the First Order armada with the help of everyone else who joined the battle.
- Ben does not die. I understand why he did in the film, but by having him fight alongside Rey and the Force ghosts, this would be unnecessary. I personally think he should place himself in exile on Ahch-To, to account for his deeds as Kylo Ren, and study under the Force ghosts with Rey (although she won’t be in exile, of course).
- The other thing I really didn’t like was the ending. Rey burying Luke and Leia’s lightsabers on Tatooine and then declaring herself a Skywalker. Erm, no. Luke and Anakin both infamously hated Tatooine, so why would you bury their lightsaber there? Also, Leia had no connection to it as she was raised on Alderaan, so that doesn’t make sense either. And Rey’s not a Skywalker. It would have been better if she’d said “Just Rey”, showing she’s just an ordinary person with an extraordinary story. I would have liked to see her give the two lightsabers, along with Han’s dice (they must still be on Ahch-To), to Chewie, who would give them a place of honour on the Falcon. After all, they were his family.
I think that just about covers it for this film. I’ve only seen it once so I may very well have forgotten something, but I’ll update this again if that’s the case. From what I can remember, the rest of the film can play out as it does, as it should all fit together.
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading through this – I know it was very long! I do realise many people will most likely disagree with me on some things, but please understand this is all my opinion. I’d love to hear your thoughts on things. What would you change? What would you keep the same? Am I a rambling buffoon? The latter is a distinct possibility.
In terms of what I’d like to see in future, I honestly don’t know! What I do know is I don’t want anything further relating to the Skywalkers. Honestly, we didn’t need the sequel trilogy, but Disney is as Disney does (and that’s only a viewpoint I’ve taken in hindsight). If they make more films, I’d like to see something different. For a start I’d like them to tie up the loose ends from Solo, but I want to see more of the Star Wars universe. Maybe go back further into the history, or jump forward (after all, the saga is set “a long time ago”…). The possibilities are endless. I will be diving into the Mandalorian as soon as Disney+ is released in the UK – I’ve heard nothing but good things so far!
Thank you for sticking with me through this and, as always, may the Force be with you.