IGPlog #2: Re-awesoming the Star Wars Saga, Episode I – Take THAT, Audience!

As you might well have noticed, many of us here in IGP are what some would call “nerds.” Or, at least, some of us like things such as comic books, science fiction, and talking about those topics at great length and in frighteningly pedantic detail in social situations. Thus, we have taken the prerogative to re-awesome the Star Wars saga.

On balance, I am fairly well-disposed towards the Star Wars movies, prequels and all. Sure, The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones aren’t much more than visually stunning, brainless popcorn movies with shockingly inconsistent acting, but I’d put Revenge of the Sith on roughly the same level as Return of the Jedi, which as far as I’m concerned is pretty excellent.

Admittedly, it isn’t really until the last half, maybe even last third, that Episode III really kicks into high gear, because it isn’t until then that Palpatine puts Order 66 into motion and finally, at long last, gives us all what we’ve been waiting for: the mass slaughter of countless Jedi, not to mention some younglings. As I assume they say on Alderaan, laissez les bon temps roulez


From then on, George Lucas shows the technical control, engineering ambition, and slavish devotion to a predetermined outcome that had only previously been seen in builders of the Lego Ultimate Collector’s edition of the Millennium Falcon. That’s five hundred dollars well-spent, people.

In any event, Lucas furiously connects the dots between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, a task even more impressive when one considers the original movie is barely in continuity with the other movies to begin with. (Think about it: Darth Vader is controlled by some random dude with no clear rank when in all the other films he basically runs the entire empire, there’s barely any mention of the emperor, and lightsabers are more like heavy battle-axes than swords, though that may have something to do with the fact that a 63-year-old Sir Alec Guinness is doing half the fighting).

In forty-five glorious minutes, Chewbacca saves the day, Yoda and Obi-Wan go into exile, Anakin gets put into the Vader costume, also signaling the return of James Earl Jones, the Death Star gets built, Padme gives birth to Luke and Leia, then promptly dies, C-3PO and R2-D2 are given to Captain Antilles with instructions to have their memories wiped, and Obi-Wan gives Luke to Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru in a sequence that rips off Episode IV to brilliant effect. It’s all so clean and tidy, it’s almost disappointing.

And that’s exactly my point. After years of being rightfully slammed by his fans, George Lucas turns around and makes the most fan-pleasing film imaginable. I guess it’s true what they say: when you’re richer than several countries, it’s kinda hard to be petty. It’s more than I could have done if I were in his position, I must admit. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to resist the urge to throw in a plot twist so completely random and baffling that it would have completely contradicted the original trilogy and destroyed the entire series in one inexplicable blow. You know, something crafted purely to convey the message: “So, you still like my movies, huh? Well, take that, loser!” Without further ado…

1. Kill Obi-Wan Kenobi off
Even though he’s only a ghost in the last two movies, Obi-Wan is pretty much the glue of the entire saga, providing a consistent audience identification figure that isn’t an effeminate robot. So what better way to destroy the series than to have Anakin, horribly burned and disfigured in their final battle, throw his lightsaber like a spear right through Kenobi’s chest, killing him instantly? Then cut to a scene several months later where Yoda delivers Luke to Tatooine, where Owen and Beru Lars are entertaining a slightly deranged guest called Ben. When he hears of Obi-Wan’s demise, he immediately snaps, “What are you talking about? That’s ME!” and runs off into the desert claiming he is now Ben Kenobi.

He can even be played by archive footage of Sir Alec Guiness from Bridge over the River Kwai, because nothing says crazy quite like a guy who wants to build a bridge on a desert planet. Well, except for his actual character in Bridge on the River Kwai, because that dude was crazy.

2. Save the day in the most irritating way possible

Yoda and Palpatine’s improbably kickass lightsaber fight at the end of the movie represents the last stand for the forces of good, and as far as I can tell it’s a tie that Palpatine wins, which is fair enough considering he also has an entire evil empire backing him up. But if Lucas really wanted to mess with some minds while also provoking the most intensely negative reaction to anything in the history of everything – and yes, what I’m about to describe what easily do that – he would have done the following…

Right as the scene ends with Palpatine landing a crushing blow on Yoda, the Sith lord stands above the old master with a look of glee and disgust. Now he will end Yoda and, in doing so, any chance that his new Sith order will ever be defeated. He raises his lightsaber to deliver the fatal strike, but then suddenly a voice cries out: “You-sa go bye-bye!” A blaster shot screams out, and Palpatine crumples to the ground, revealing…Jar-Jar Binks, savior of the republic. Bye-bye, original trilogy, you’ve just been contradicted out of existence.

Now, if I was being incredibly positive, I guess I could argue this is not the end of the world. I mean, Obi-Wan, the droids, Yoda, Chewbacca, Boba Fett, Darth Vader, and even Luke and Leia make an appearance in the original three films. So yeah, we would lose three great movies, but at least we know all of those characters still exist and we know they would still have adventures, and they might even do it in a happier, more harmonious world where innocents like Biggs Darklighter or Dak Ralter are not pointlessly killed (also the entire planet Alderaan, I guess, though I can give those uj’ala-eating surrender greysors only so much sympathy). But before we declare that this could just about be acceptable, let’s remember who does not appear in the prequels, and so who by extension we would lose…

To paraphrase a great man, a cosmos without Han Solo scarcely bears thinking about. I mean, this is the dude with the best declaration of love in all history:

Take that Romeo, you big sissy! “O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright” ain’t gonna cut it against the Solo!

3. Throw in the most inexplicable twist ever

The best way to totally mess with the minds of hardcore fans would simply be to perfectly link every thread connecting Episodes III and IV, but then throw in a gigantic revelation that doesn’t exactly contradict anything we’ve previously seen, but at the same time renders the Star Wars movies the most nonsensical films ever made (well, more so than they arguably already are). One such twist that was semi-seriously thrown around was the revelation that Darth Sidious and Palpatine weren’t the same person, which was pretty much based on the fact it was way too obvious that they were the same, so clearly George Lucas was misdirecting us. This of course assumes a man who actually had Natalie Portman say the line “You’re breaking my heart” is capable of subtlety. Speaking of Queen Amidala, here’s my favorite hypothetical twist…

Padme has been betrayed by her true love, the fallen Jedi Anakin Skywalker, and now she lies in an interstellar maternity ward. She is apparently dying, as a medical droid actually has the mechanical nerve to confirm her asinine “broken heart” self-diagnosis. Then, in what one can only assume and hope is not what George Lucas believes to be an accurate portrayal of childbirth, she yells out the names of her children in the midst of her most unbearable birth pains…

“Luke!”

So far, so good.

“Leia!”

Right, right, there’s the other one, and with that, all our loose ends are finally tied up…

“Lando!”

The thing about this twist is that there’s nothing entirely impossible about it. Sure, one might point out that Lando doesn’t exactly, well, look like his parents, but honestly, that’s way less strange than the idea that Anakin’s parents were the Force itself and a woman of whom George Lucas joked “came from a Swedish-speaking part of the galaxy” in order to explain her accent. Compared to that, a permutation in phenome seems positively mundane.

And sure, this does mean Lando was being awfully “polite” to his sister when he met her on Cloud City:

But that’s pretty much the oh-so-playful-and-coy, nineteenth century Victorian, ready for Jane Austen version of what George Lucas actually, you know, did in the original trilogy, which was of course turn two sides of his romantic triangle into siblings. Let’s not forget that Lucas revealed Luke and Leia were siblings in Return of the Jedi even after this scene in The Empire Strikes Back, presented here in the ridiculously over-edited style that’s become all too common on YouTube. Just be glad it doesn’t repeat five times and then once again in slow motion, I guess:

Throw in the fact that we were initially supposed to believe when Empire first came out that Luke was the son of a guy who really, really sounded like James Earl Jones. This was of course before it was revealed at the end of Jedi that Darth Vader was in fact some sort of giant egg.

On second thought, shoehorning Lando into the Skywalker family might have actually made everything else that’s happened to that bizarre, mixed-up brood make way, way more sense. I’ve gotta say, kind of a missed opportunity there, George…

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