My attempt to make the Star Wars prequels good…
When I was in elementary school in the mid-1990s, there was already talk about the Prequels — namely, Episode I. As kids in the cafeteria, we sat around a copy of The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels, marveling at the drawings and specs, trying to figure out what this ship was or that one. We passed around a copy of the A Guide to the Star Wars Universe and read about our favorite characters. If the Star Wars universe was already so vast, so massively populated, then the Prequels were going to be amazing!
We all knew that they would have to star Obi-Wan Kenobi as a Jedi – a full Jedi Knight and not just a learner like Luke. Of course it would star Obi-Wan Kenobi. How could it not? And he would meet Anakin, “the best starpilot in the galaxy,” and he would try to teach him the ways of the Force. But then something would happen and Anakin would fall to the Dark Side, becoming the looming villain we all knew and loved.
And then there were the Clone Wars — they would surely serve as the backdrop for all of this drama. That seemed a near-certainty. Yep, Anakin, Obi-Wan, the mysterious Skywalker mom — all of their lives would collapse as the Clone Wars eventually caused the rotting dissolution of the Old Republic.
Mandalorians and Jedi would be fighting it out on one planet after another, taking and destroying worlds as they engaged in the greatest, most destructive conflict the galaxy had ever seen! No wonder the Empire felt it necessary to construct weapons as powerful as Star Destroyers and the Death Star.
Yeah, that’s definitely how it would go. Jedi versus Mandalorian. Civilization versus barbarism. Order versus chaos. And nothing less than the very fate of the galaxy hanging in the balance! Would the Jedi be equal to the task? How would they stop the Mandalorians? Did the Jedi play an inadvertent hand in the Old Republic’s demise? Oh man, it was going to be the best.
And then it was the summer of 1999…
Although the memory was lost to me for a very long time as I tried to digest and understand just what George Lucas was doing to my beloved galaxy far, far away, the image of what the prequels could have been — should have been — lingered. In some dark recess of my mind, the memory held on, resisting the urge to retroactively change itself to suit the new, ever-expanding, and ever-changing narrative coming out of LucasFilm.
From those scanty memories, I decided to undertake the task of turning the vague flashes of what-might-have-been into three works of fiction: Episodes I, II, and III.
Yes. This is fan-fiction, but it’s a different kind of fan fiction.
For Star Wars fans out there, the attempt here is turn back the clock. To turn it back to the first years of what is now referred to (by those who bother referring to such things) as the “Star Wars Renaissance,” a period in the early to mid-90’s when Star Wars experienced a sudden and powerful resurgence, due in large part to the unrivaled success of Timothy Zahn‘s groundbreaking novels Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command. These novels represent the first entries to the Star Wars universe — the “Expanded Universe” — in nearly a decade. It was this resurgence that ultimately gave LucasFilm the confidence to risk the Special Editions in 1997, which ultimately served as the proof-of-concept for making the Prequels, the first of which — The Phantom Menace — was released two years later in 1999.
This project seeks to turn the clock back to that time in the 1990’s, when Star Wars media was being cranked out with increasing rapidity in a way it never had before. The ground was fertile then. It was before the atrocities of Jar-Jar Binks, Attack of the Clones, and the NOOOO!!!! heard around the world. This project seeks to present the Prequels as the darker character studies I envisioned as a child —
[parenthetical]Obviously as a child I didn’t actually think “I want to see Star Wars as a character study”; I just mean that my ideas ultimately add up to what I would today characterize as a character study.[/parenthetical]
— with the events from the old Expanded Universe which shaped my thinking thrown in to the mix. Obviously in the transition from vague mists of memory and hope, much has evolved and changed, and much more was forced to change as the realities of creating a story set in, but the core ideas remain.
One caveat: With the release of The Force Awakens, the old Expanded Universe simply no longer exists. This means that a story like this has far, far less impact than it would have only a few years ago. Ultimately most Star Wars fans have now grown up with Star Wars being six movies and not just three, and soon a whole new generation will grew up with seven (or eight, or twelve) films.
But whatever. I’ll post this little personal project anyway — even if nobody gets it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯