If I Was Making...STAR WARS!
If you're a Star Wars fan you've probably imagined stories of Jedi and Sith and bounty hunters, of a sequel trilogy featuring the children of Leia and Han, of a KOTOR trilogy brought to life. I know I have. It's been a few weeks since my last "If I Was Making..." and with the year about to end, I felt it was time to wrap up my first month of articles on CBM to talk about what I would do with my favourite movie series.
A "what if" outline for a new Star Wars movie - Star Wars: Prologue
The following idea isn't a remake of the Saga, it isn't a sequel, it isn't an adaptation of an EU story. In fact EU doesn't enter into it. For the purposes of this article, the expanded universe doesn't exist. George Lucas has previously said that he considers the EU to be alternate universe, something that has been shown with the Star Wars prequels and Clone Wars contradicting elements of the long running EU.
What I am presenting below isn't meant to disregard or insult EU. It is instead my attempt at creating a back story based on comments from Lucas and the films. I call it STAR WARS: Prologue. It deals specifically with the old conflict between the Jedi and the Sith as well as the formation of the Republic. Once again, I am not using the EU backstory for this though there may be some EU elements that make it in there. For example, the character of Darth Bane is present as he was created by George Lucas. But his role is somewhat different here than what it is in EU though there are some similar elements.
Rather than showing a series of plot points for a movie, I am presenting this as a bit of a history lesson, as if written for Wikipedia. I will discuss certain movie-specific elements, but essentially it's a rundown of the basic story I would tell, or at least the concept for such a story. My "vision" for this isn't another trilogy. It's a single film, a war epic that sets the stage for the the six-film saga that we all know.
STAR WARS: PROLOGUE
It begins about 1700 years before the beginning of The Phantom Menace. The galaxy is divided. While alliances are made and trade agreements are signed, each world is essentially on its own, competing with other worlds for resources. Interstellar war is common, piracy is rampant as the Hutt clans rise to prominence, gaining control over much of the crime across the galaxy, especially in the outer rim. Hyperspace technology has existed for about 200 years galaxy-wide. There is no prime directive preventing undeveloped worlds from being exploited. It is in the face of a galaxy in chaos that a common thread begins to arise. Across countless worlds there exists myths and legends of something beyond their understanding. Some creatures exhibit the ability to do extraordinary things. Nobody quite knows what it is but after extensive study, it is determined that this...Force...whatever it is, is real, is tangible. Is it sentient? Aware? Does it influence the universe or is it influenced by the universe?
In one of the first instances of galactic co-operation, many of the galaxy's greatest minds gather to study the phenomenon. As its power becomes a little more understood, they hide themselves away on a forgotten world, dedicated to studying the mysteries of the Force. They are not all scientists and philosophers though. Some are just those who excel in their particular fields far beyond their apparent potential, perhaps influenced or aided by the Force. Doctors, engineers, mechanics, diplomats, warriors and many more. For 300 years they study. Old generations passing on their knowledge to the new. In that time, some begin to show signs that they can use the Force in amazing ways, exhibiting a kind of power that only exists in legend. For a time, they pondered the question of balance between light and dark. They called the light, Ashla and the dark, Bogan (names taken from the early drafts of the first Star Wars). They became known as monks of the Jedi Bendu. A name of unknown origin. Most studied Ashla, dedicating themselves to wisdom and knowledge through serenity and peace. Though they gained power, they vowed never to use it. Never to fight. A smaller group studied Bogan, drawing strength from strong emotion - anger, passion, fear. The power came easier to them. But they didn't know the truth. It wasn't Ashla and Bogan. There was no balance between light and dark. There was only the Force and a corruption of it, a Dark Side.
Those monks who studied the Dark Side began to change, corrupted by a growing thirst for power and a fear that the others might take it away. At first, the other monks tolerated their studies as they sought to unlock the secrets of the Force. But it soon became apparent that those monks who studied the dark arts weren't interested in learning of the Force. They wanted to command it. When the Jedi Bendu asked this "Sith" faction to suspend their study of the dark arts, fearing it's corrupting influence, dozens of Sith advocates left the Jedi Bendu, determined to strike out on their own and discover the hidden possibilities of the power the Dark Side promised. The Jedi let them go. They were peaceful and confident that the Sith would see the corrupting influence of the Dark Side. They were wrong.
For 300 years, the Sith were not seen, not heard. They existed outside the known galaxy, exploring the extent of the Dark Side, falling further into corruption. When they returned, they were not monks seeking knowledge. They were an army, Dark Lords of the Sith. They sought power and control. Their justification was that a united galaxy under strong rule was preferable to the centuries of interstellar war and divided nature of the galaxy. So the Sith waged war. They started on one world. Several hundred of them. They were still vastly outnumbered but their power consumed the planet and it fell. They conscripted soldiers into their army, to fight for power, for order in the galaxy. They moved on. World after world fell to the Sith. And the Jedi did nothing. They were peaceful. Pacifists. They believed in the will of the Force. Balance would be restored. The Sith conquered the galaxy. With each world fighting for itself, having no united resistance, the Sith's victory was all too easy.
And so they ruled for 200 years. They oppressed the galaxy, enslaved citizens, forcing them to fight for them. They called it order. But in truth it was an age of constant war. For the Sith were not united. Each part of the galaxy was controlled by a Sith Master with hundreds of Sith Lords at their command and millions of conscripted soldiers. The masters waged war with each other all the time, fighting for more territory, more control while every so often, a Sith Lord would rise to challenge his master. It was normal. It was the way of the Sith. The strongest should rule. For 200 years it seemed to work. Though they fought amongst themselves, the Sith maintained a firm grip on the galaxy. And the Jedi did nothing.
And that's the backstory, the origin of the Jedi and Sith, the story of how the Sith came to rule the galaxy. That story would be told in a Lord of the Rings style prologue, lasting about 15 minutes. Only then would we have an opening text crawl (though A long time ago... would still appear at the very beginning). So...onto the main focus of the story...the war to free the galaxy.
The Jedi did nothing. They sought to dissuade the Sith from their path. Violence and war was alien to them. But as the galaxy plunged into darkness, some Jedi began to wonder if they should act. For 200 years, the Jedi had sent ambassadors to Coruscant, the central world of the Sith regime (which wasn't a united empire, but made up of a loose affiliation of Sith factions that warred constantly), hoping to convince them to abandon the Dark Side. Our main story begins with one such visit, where a Jedi Monk and his Padawan, a former Sith apprentice who abandoned the Sith, reach Coruscant for talks with the Sith Council. It was something that had been done every year for 2 centuries. The Sith had never attacked the Jedi. They were brothers, lost in their foolish ideas of peace and tranquility. No threat. In fact the Sith hoped to convince the Jedi to join them, just as the Jedi hoped to persuade the Sith to give up the Dark Side. It was all fruitless of course. On this particular visit though, the sight of a traitor, a Sith who returned to the Jedi, angered the Sith Council and they promptly killed the Jedi Monk, sending the apprentice back to the Jedi with a message to stay out of their way or face destruction.
The young apprentice, perhaps the only Jedi who had experienced the horrors of the Sith, delivered the message only to be met with the same line the Jedi had used for 200 years. Patience. Trust in the will of the Force. Angered by their inaction, the apprentice knew the Jedi had to be made to see the Sith for what they really were. So he showed them a vision of the galaxy, not as it will be but as it is. He showed them a vision of trillions of people across the known galaxy, suffering in service to their masters, forced to fight each other. He showed them the balance they so craved, corrupt and shifted completely to the Dark Side. Slowly the Jedi began to realise that they couldn't stand by. They couldn't do nothing. But to go to war...that was something they were unprepared for. They weren't warriors, they were monks, peaceful and tranquil.
So they devised a plan. A Sith weapon, called the lightsaber, would be theirs also. They would face their lost brothers on even footing. They trained, no longer monks, but Knights. They had no army...but the Sith did. The Jedi would use the same tactics to defeat the Sith as the Sith had to conquer the galaxy. One world. One hundred Jedi. They would attack and surprise the Sith, taking the capital where the Master sat on his throne, surveying the many worlds under his power. They would defeat him. The Sith would think that it was just another faction warring for power. Another war between two Sith Masters. But it wasn't. The Jedi defeated the Master and freed his slave army. Rather than conscript soldiers into their ranks, the Jedi asked. It was volunteer only. The Jedi would take the Sith army of oppression and turn it into an army of light, a beacon of hope for the galaxy. Freed slaves fighting for the freedom of all. And so the war began. At first, the Sith took little notice, but eventually they began to realise that it wasn't just another war between two Sith factions, it was an uprising, led by their naive brothers, the Jedi. By the time they could mobilize a response, the Jedi had freed dozens of worlds and gained a foothold in the galaxy.
The war would last a decade as the Jedi army fought its way from the Outer Rim towards the Core Worlds, towards Coruscant. But the Sith weren't just facing the Jedi. They faced each other. The Sith Council of Masters bickered constantly over who should command their united forces. They waged war with each other even as the Jedi waged war with them. The Sith would destroy themselves. As the war progressed, a young Sith Lord began to realise the truth. Darth Bane understood that the Sith could not win this war. Not only were the Jedi getting stronger with every world they freed, not only was it inspiring uprisings by slaves within Sith-controlled space, but the Sith were so busy fighting each other that defeat was inevitable. This war would be lost.
So Bane came up with a plan of his own. He was powerful. Powerful enough to challenge his master. Once he gained control he knew there was one course of action. First, at a meeting of the Master's Council, he poisoned his fellow masters, killing them. The entire Sith army now came under his direct control. He gathered them all together on a forgotten world, hoping to unite them under his leadership. But they were deceived. Bane bombarded the planet from orbit, destroying the Sith, but not before taking on a sole apprentice. With the Sith Lords dead and the slave armies rising up against him, Bane knew he could not win but the war had to continue for his plan to succeed. The Sith had to become extinct. The Jedi had to have ultimate victory. Bane replaced his slave armies with battle droids, prolonging the conflict and as Jedi ships finally reached Coruscant, Bane and his apprentice slipped away. The Jedi had won.
With the war over, the galaxy that had been united under the oppression of the Sith, remained united in rebuilding after the war. It was decided that the galaxy should be united in peace and prosperity in this new age, one voice. A Republic. The Jedi Knights, heroes of the galaxy, sought to return to their studies but agreed to stay as protectors, as guardians of peace and justice in the new Republic, beginning a thousand years of peace. But in the shadows, Darth Bane and his apprentice were plotting. A Republic, united as free worlds, could not be defeated with war. The Jedi, who had exposed the weakness of the Sith, humiliated and defeated them, could not be defeated. So Bane devised a new plan. One that would pass down from master to apprentice. There would be no new Sith army. Only one master. One apprentice. They would work within the Republic, corrupting it, working behind the scenes to influence the seat of power, hidden from the reach of the Jedi. When the time was right, they would strike, be it in a hundred years or a thousand. The Republic the Jedi helped to create would prove to be their downfall.
And that's basically it. The film itself would focus on two characters. It would show Darth Bane's rise through the Sith and also the Jedi Padawan and former Sith who convinced the Jedi to go to war in the first place. It would follow their fortunes throughout the war, rather than just focusing on the overall conflict as outlined above. My idea is to do this as a single film but given that the war takes place over a decade, I do have an idea that would involve a series of films, each one focusing on a different event or battle (I do have one specific story laid out actually).
I of course welcome comments and will attempt to answer questions as always.
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