My alternative take on Star Wars Episode I
By midlandsmovies, Feb 1 2015 10:35AM
To see the context of this blog please read my introduction to alternative Star Wars prequels by clicking here
Episode 1: The Unknown Enemy
After the opening Star Wars crawl, we see a huge ship closely followed by a small starfighter which is then shot and crashes on a wooded planet. Out of the wreckage come 2 Jedi: Ben Kenobi and his mentor Qui Gon Jinn. Attempting to find some civilisation, they come across a young nomad Caelum Caminar who uses survival skills and bow/crossbow to hunt local beasts keeping him alive and he chooses to live away from both local town folk and the savages of the forest. After an attempted attack by monsters, Caelum in enthralled by the Jedi who protect him and eventually he comes to envy their skills. The three then make their way to a more populated town where the Jedi are equally feared and respected. The teen’s attempts to steal are thwarted by the Jedi who keep him on the straight and narrow. Thanking Caelum, the Jedi use mind tricks on a trader to get hold of working ship and flee the planet before finding the nomad stowed away on their vessel. They agree to continue on their journey and explain their search for a Sith Lord whilst they begin to warm to him as they land on Tatooine to refuel.
Stormtroopers - who at this stage are simply police-like enforcers from the galactic senate who patrol a number of more dangerous planets – are present to prevent lawlessness. However, the Jedi witness some corrupt troopers and a fight breaks out. They use force power and cunning (but not lightsabres) and as Obi-Wan is being attacked, Caelum saves his life and his fighting skills further enamour him to both men. Continuing their journey, they travel to Yavin 4 where they find a Jedi temple. Only the Jedi can enter and update a small group of elders about their search for the master Sith Lord. The elders explain that more ripples in the force suggest that there is also a mysterious student called Skywalker who may pose an even bigger threat to the Jedi order.
Leaving the planet they are tasked with going undercover to recover stolen material that may give them clues to the whereabouts of this Sith Lord. Caelum explains his background as an orphan growing in the wilderness and convinces the Jedi he could be a useful part of their team. After some basic training, the Jedi are impressed enough to take him along and plan an elaborate heist against a number of bounty hunters on the run.
Teaching Caelum some basic Jedi manoeuvres, the heist involves a number of clever turns, fights, secret entrances and the retrieval of secret access codes. They enlist the help of a local female spy who assists them in their plan. Fighting huge beasts that guard the entrances, the get inside the bounty hunters’ den and manage to grab data from the vaults and fight their way out of the city. After thanking the spy, the three of them leave and we see the beginnings of them feeling like a cohesive team.
Caelum celebrates as the group returns to the Jedi elders with the archive material revealing this Sith Lord is in hiding and running an illegal weapons factory. This Sith Lord is using slaves to create weapons with some corrupt Stormtroopers on a distant planet. The Jedi and Caelum agree that they can stop the threat in its tracks and plan an assault. A battle breaks out as they arrive at the factory resulting in many Stormtroopers being destroyed whilst the Sith’s number 2, Darth Maul is cut in two (!) during the movie’s only lightsabre fight. As the factory is destroyed, the Sith’s whereabouts are unknown but the slaves are freed and the Jedi & elders rejoice by rewarding them all and welcoming Caelum as a servant/bowman of their temple.
And that’s it. The film is gets the story underway, the main part being the beginning of a three-person group dynamic (think the first half of Goodfellas) and the serious scenarios are punctuated with fun action scenes. This is a very sketchy outline but my main attempt was trying to simplify the origin with a straightforward heist plot and avoidance of anything remotely involving trade disputes, government and political machinations. A galaxy of creatures, training scenes and supporting characters would flesh out the plot but simplicity was a theme sorely lacking in the other prequels and I wanted a smaller selection of protagonists (some new) who we could focus on – and, more importantly, care about.