For my intro to this blog please read here
For my synopsis of Episode I click here
For my synopsis of Episode II click here
Episode 3: The Shadows Rise
For the final time, the Star Wars crawl scrolls from shot as we pan down to Hoth. Over mountain crevices an unknown Jedi is out of breath running for their life. Through treacherous snow, they are being pursued by cold assault Stormtroopers. After an intense chase a hovering droid signals the Stormtroopers to a hiding place and the Jedi is swiftly killed by their exact double. The galaxy-wide Jedi slaughter continues.
We cut to Caelum meditating at the Royal Palace – currently a place of sanctuary as Palpatine’s words echo in his mind. Nucifera enters and the two discuss the ongoing clone battles as the Jedi numbers dwindle. Accepting he is Anakin, the ever-growing force powers seems to take on a heightened sense every time he thinks about his newly discovered past. As he trains with Kenobi, we see an intense violence that has been unlocked. Kenobi feels something isn’t right but is not sure as there is chaos clouding his mind.
The Queen is then victim of an assassination attempt by the OB-1 clone but is killed by Kenobi whilst Anakin gets information that Palpatine is now using his powers to influence the Senate - brainwashing officials into following his lead on the road to the highest office in the universe. Slowly, more Stormtroopers are conscripted and begin patrolling the galaxy to fill the gap left by the Jedi. There are also rumours Palpatine’s destroyed weapon factory has now morphed into plans for an even more powerful artillery “station” that can travel in space.
The two Jedi are then called to Dagobah by a lesser known elder called Yoda. Of an unknown green species, this tiny Jedi believes he is one of the last of the temple elders to survive. Anakin refuses to leave in order to protect the Queen which causes an argument with Kenobi who feels they should go. Kenobi leaves on his own and chats in the swamp with the wise master.
Kenobi returns to explain how he was told that if the Jedi can pool their resources then they can fight the spread of Palpatine’s plans. Anakin refuses to leave the Queen causing a further rift between them.
Kenobi presses harder before Anakin erupts that he is not Caelum but is in fact the sought-after Skywalker, son of a slave. Kenobi stands in shock before the two begin to fight. The Queen walks in and faints at the sight of their actions before the two put their differences to one side as the Queen explains to them she has been hiding a pregnancy.
Suddenly the royal palace is rocked by large ships and we pan outside to see hordes of Storm-troopers now descending on the kingdom. The Queen and Kenobi are split from Anakin who is taken hostage and she takes up a lightsabre to fight the throng. However, after realising that any fight against such numbers would be futile, they escape away on a cruiser but a space fight forces them to hide in an asteroid. Kenobi proceeds to tell the Queen of who Anakin is – a prophecy of evil and that for the sake of their children, she should keep them hidden. The shock leads her to go into labour and Kenobi helps deliver not one but two children.
Meanwhile, Anakin is brought before Palpatine who explains how he plans to have him become his new apprentice now he knows the truth of who he really is. Anakin refuses to accept it but Palpatine explains that they can rule together and Anakin can finally be someone rather than just the orphaned son of a slave. He attempts to fight but only succeeds in getting his arm cut off.
Palpatine takes him to Mustafar and Anakin awakes with a new metal arm. Palpatine has now become a Sith “Emperor” – a controller of both body and machine - perfecting his technology by experimenting on Clones and Maul. Anakin wrestles with his conscience and feels he has lost everything and everyone close to him.
As the Queen and Kenobi fly through space they are contacted by Anakin with a message saying he needs their help. Landing on Mustafar, Kenobi quickly realises they have been tricked. As Anakin approaches, the Queen comes into view and despite her love, she lies to him that she has rid herself of the unborn children as she cannot face the future with him being a slave or a Sith. Anakin’s anger rises and in a rage he kills the Queen. His turn to the dark side is complete. He then wastes no time in tackling Kenobi.
An evenly fought lightsabre fight ensues and Anakin’s pain results in him pleading with Kenobi to kill him to end all the torment. However, a volcanic explosion leaves Anakin burnt and Kenobi leaves him to die from his wounds. Kenobi blasts off on the spaceship with the children and splits them up for their own protection after guidance from Qui Gon and Yoda. He then disappears into the desert with only the conflicting rumours of the OB-1 clone protecting his real identity for the next 20 years.
Back on Mustafar, Palpatine returns to collect Anakin’s injured body.
Transferring him to an Imperial Shuttle, news comes in of a landslide victory for Palpatine in the Senate.
As Anakin screams in pain, Palpatine angles his gurney and shows him a new suit he has built.
It is a dark foreboding piece of armour to encase his scarred body and keep him alive. Caleum is dead. Anakin is dead. He requests a new name.
Darth Vader is born.
And there we go. My thoughts on the prequels is that there isn’t just a few tweaks to be made. Lucas came at them from the entirely wrong angle. You want to root for Anakin before his downfall. The twist of finding Anakin under their noses all along parallels Luke/Vader’s father reveal and simple things like less lighsabres may just increase the mystery of the film. After the initial opening the focus would be on Caelum as the main character. Some other writers around the web have proposed Kenobi but I still see Anakin’s storyline as a parallel to the classic rise-and-fall gangster narrative. But we must care about him. Again, even small changes like the removal of a Jedi “council” which sounds far too officious for a group of space knights could help get over some of the plodding problems of the prequels. This is a fantasy fairy tale of a film – albeit one with a darker tone and ending than the originals.
May the force be with you!