For the time being, George Lucas is unable to answer our questions regarding the Prequel Trilogy. Some of the more fantastic and ambitious computer-generated effects that George wants to appear in The Phantom Menace (TPM) are behind schedule and may have to be left out of the first edition of TPM if they cannot be completed by May 1999. George is now spending every waking moment trying to comlete this film on schedule.
However, George has been kind enough to let us post some of the notes he wrote down about the Prequel Trilogy while writing TPM screenplay in 1995. Some of these ideas may appear in the final screen plays, however; many of these ideas will not be used. Since this material reveals some sensitive secrets about the story line of the Prequel Trilogy, please read at your own risk. Enjoy! Excerpt 1 from George'personal notes (February 1995)
The second episode will somewhat parallel the fifth episode. While the Empire seeks to destroy the Rebellion during the great Civil War in Ep. 5, the Jedi Knights seek to destroy their enemies during the Clone Wars in Ep. 2. The title of Ep. 2 will be similar to that of Ep. 5 just as the titles of Ep. 1 and Ep. 3 are similar (both titles describe a single individual that shape the destiny of their respective trilogy).
Anakin Skywalker unwittingly becomes the center of the conflicts of the Clone Wars through his valor, strength and high purpose whereby he and Obi-Wan are able to unite the Jedi for an important, albeit foolish, crusade. Owen Lars pleads with Anakin to not get involved with the wars. During the wars, Anakin faces temptation that he must resist if he is to perform great deeds. Above all, he and the other Jedi must remain unselfish for they are serving a power greater than themselves, the Force. The Force is a mystical energy that defies scientific explanation. It empowers the Jedi and enables them to protect the weak and humble. Unfortunately, Anakin ultimately fails to live up to the ideals of the light side of the Force and he must pay for it in the end-- (i.e., he loses his wife, friends, physical body and nearly loses his life, etc.)
In the Prequel Trilogy, the Jedi Knights are seen as a band of heroes fighting for abstract principles of justice, honor and purity. These knights have flaws- pride, lust, rashness, vengefulness- but they rise above their faults to honor the light side of the Force and the ideals of the grand Old Republic. The adventures of the Jedi carry an extremely important insight- that a man's self-respect does not depend on external qualities such as wealth, position, physical strength or size. It depends on the person's private integrity and the person's valor in pursuing great goals. This is the kind of insight that builds great civilizations like the Old Republic. Anakin fails to respect this insight. He chooses to seek wealth, exalted status, glory, etc. His disregard for the Jedi Code ultimately results in the destruction of his own personal life and loved ones, the Old Republic and the Jedi Knights.
Bridging the Prequel Trilogy and the Sequel Trilogy
One way to bridge the Prequel Trilogy and the Sequel Trilogy is to have an important character of the prequels trapped in suspended animation (possibly Queen Padme) sometime during the prequel trilogy chronology. This character would then be awakened in the Sequel Trilogy when an Anakin Skywalker clone rises to lead the struggling New Republic through a period of its greatest hopelessness, helplessness and peril. After the great foes of the New Republic are defeated once and for all in Ep. 9, King Anakin and Queen Padme would rule over the resurrected Old Republic and the Jedi Knights. Anakin would finally redeem himself for leading the original demise of the Old Republic and the Jedi Knights. As a result of the great deeds of the new Anakin and others in the Sequel Trilogy, the Republic and the Jedi Knights flourish for yet another 1,000 generations. The circle becomes complete . . .
The Old Republic and the Jedi Protectors
The Old Republic was a realm of virtue, protected for as long as can be remembered by the servants of the light side of the Force. Those wishing to join the Jedi Knights were required to take a vow of virtue. While a Jedi must have courage and might, a Jedi must also act honorably, protect the helpless and behave justly to all. The Old Republic was only vulnerable from within, through dissent and treachery at the highest levels of the ruling elite. No external force alone could crush the Old Republic.
The Anakin/Obi-Wan Duel
The inevitable Ep. 3 duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan provides a multitude of possible plot variations. One of these is to have Anakin and Obi-Wan under a dark-side spell created by Palpatine through his tremendous mastery of the dark side (possibly enhanced by his possession of the fabled Kyburr Chrystal). Under this spell, neither man would yield during the duel even though it meant certain death for one of them.
Another plot possibility is to have the duel result from either an actual or perceived affair between Queen Padme (Anakin's wife) and Obi-Wan. Palpatine (or some other agent of the dark side) could reveal the affair or cause Anakin to believe that an affair is ongoing in order to permanently end the strong and powerful friendship of Anakin and Obi-Wan.
Or the duel could be instigated from Obi-Wan's ill-fated attempt to turn Anakin back to the light side of the Force or the duel could occur as Obi-Wan's last-ditch effort to thwart Anakin's (and the New Order's) slaughter of the noble Jedi Knights.
Regardless of why this duel occurs, Obi-Wan is the victor and leaves Anakin's broken body for dead. Obi-Wan is greatly saddened by the apparent death of his greatest pupil and closest friend. Palpatine, the dark side and Anakin's intense hate are barely enough to keep Anakin alive so that his broken body can heal and be housed in his life-supporting, black body armor. After sufficient healing, the resurrected Anakin confronts the Jedi in his frightening, intimidating and mechanical persona. During one of the final battles between the minions of the Empire and the Jedi Knights, Anakin spares Obi-Wan's life during the battle. A truce is made between these mortal enemies when Obi-Wan swears an oath to exile himself never to be seen or heard from again.
Foolish Idealistic Crusades
One of the characteristics of knights is that they seek out and attempt to complete noble, yet treacherous, crusades. One possible crusade that the Jedi Knights might attempt during the Clone Wars is the quest for the legendary Kyburr Chrystal. It would be intriguing to write a subplot where the culmination of the Jedi Knights reign as guardians of the Old Republic involves a great crusade of some sort. Perhaps, Palpatine and the nefarious Sith Lords seek the Kyburr Chrystal in order to give themselves an advantage over the Jedi. It becomes a race against evil for the brave Jedi. If the chrystal falls into the hands of evil, this would spell certain doom for the Jedi Knights and the Old Republic. The Jedi Knights' failure to keep the chrystal out of the hands of Palpatine may explain why Palpatine is able to so easily defeat the Jedi Knights, who successfully protected and served the Old Republic for 1,000 generations.
The Clone Wars
Prior to these horrific wars that would define the Clone Wars as the most catastrophic wars in the history of the galaxy, Yoda was grieved to foresee that this was the last time that all the Jedi Knights and Masters would gather together because, soon, many would die during the Clone Wars and during the rise of the New Order. Yoda knew, the end of the Old Republic and the Jedi was near. In desperation to preserve hope for the future, Yoda hatches a plan involving the Skywalker twins in hopes that Anakin/Vader's offspring would one day bring and end to Palpatine and Vader reign of evil.
Betrayal of the Sith Lords
Palpatine foresees that for his reign as Emperor to be secure he must destroy not only the Jedi Knights, but, also, he must destroy his own servants, the Sith Lords. Palpatine betrays his loyal Sith Lords by arranging confrontations with the Jedi Knights that leave each side almost completely annihilated. By the end of the Jedi Knight and Sith Lord slaughter, only a handful of Force users, which Palpatine has comlete control over, remain alive. Palpatine's New Order institutes measures that makes sure that the rise of new Force users becomes an impossibility. Hence, Palatine has no fear of the Mon Mothma led Rebellion because without a powerful Force wielder the Rebellion has no chance of defeating the Empire. Palpatine's grand scheme of galactic domination would have succeeded had it not been for the unexpected rise and ultimate destiny of Luke Skywalker.
The Old Republic has fallen and the Jedi Knights have been defeated. A battle-weary Obi-Wan returns one last time to Coruscant to see for himself the fate of his beloved Republic. Obi-Wan finds that all Jedi buildings, temples and artifacts on Coruscant have been destroyed as part of Palpatine's "cleansing" of the galaxy. Obi-Wan learns that, except for Yoda, all members of the Jedi Council are dead and the Jedi Knights are all but extinct save a few survivors, who will eventually be hunted down and murdered by the Empire. Whether he deserves the blame or not, Obi-Wan carries the guilt for the rest of his life that his failures to properly train Anakin and to heed Yoda's warnings about training Anakin led to the creation of the monster called Darth Vader. Without Darth Vader, it is unlikely that Palpatine could have destroyed the Jedi Knights. When Anakin left the Jedi Knights to join Palpatine, many Jedi left with Anakin and converted to the ways of the Sith Lords. Hence, the Jedi Knights became weakened by Anakin's defection to the dark side. To redeem himself, Obi-Wan watched over Luke while in exile on Tatooine and patiently waited for the day when Luke became old enough to seek his destiny.
The Complexities of Episode 2
While the plot line of The Phantom Menace is rather straight forward and simple like that of A New Hope, the plot line of Ep. 2 becomes quite complex, convoluted and intriguing. The Clone Wars, Palpatine's political maneuvering, the romance of Anakin and Padme, Boba Fett's surprising role and other subplots will all be smoothly interweaved to produce the most satisfying episode of the Star Wars saga.
It becomes impossible to determine who exactly will turn out to be the bad guys. By the end of Ep. 2, the Jedi Knights are victorious on many levels, yet our heroes are left dangling in the worst possible predicaments of their lives. And unlike Return of the Jedi where our heroes escape their various predicaments unscathed, the heroes of the Prequel Trilogy learn that their ultimate fates do not bode well in Ep. 3. While the good guys prove victorious in Ep. 6, the bad guys prevail in Ep. 3. The story of Ep. 3 will be quite tragic and sad. For the next 20 years, the galaxy experiences the darkest times in its history until a new hope emerges to challenge the Empire.
To write a satisfying, successful and timeless mythological adventure, there are certain universal themes that must be explored during the three episodes of a trilogy's story arc. Many of the themes explored in the first three films will be explored once again in the Prequel Trilogy. However, this is not meant to imply that the new films will be a carbon copy of the old ones. In fact, the converse is true. There are many, many unique and original ways to revisit these universal themes that will be fresh, exciting and more compelling than the way these themes were explored in the old films.
Excerpt 2 from George's personal notes (June 1995):
Rough Summary of the six-episode story of Anakin Skywalker (all titles to the prequel films should be considered preliminary until released on starwars.com)
Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
The bad guys conquer a peaceful world, but are ultimately defeated by the Jedi Knights. Young Anakin is introduced to the ways of the Force. The seeds for the ultimate destruction of the Old Republic are sown by clandestine evil agents.
Episode 2: The Jedi Knights Victorious/The Old Republic Victorious
The devastating Clone Wars ravage the galaxy. Millions of lives are lost including many of the Jedi Knights. Palpatine continues his calculated and patient rise to power. Anakin and Padme are wed and our heroes are left in the worst predicaments of their lives.
Episode 3: Revenge of the Dark Lords
Anakin defects from the Jedi Knights and many of his Jedi friends defect with him to join Palpatine as Sith Lords. The Dark Lords' (Palpatine and Darth Vader) revenge against the Old Republic and Jedi is now in full swing. In a few short years, the Jedi become all but extinct. Most of the heroes of Ep. 2 do not survive the traps set for them by the evil agents of the dark side. The Skywalker twins are safely hidden from the Empire. Yoda and Obi-Wan go into exile. Palpatine becomes emperor and the galaxy enters the dark times.
A New Hope
Obi-Wan emerges from exile to lead one of the galaxies last hopes towards his destiny. With his part of Yoda's plan complete, Obi-Wan becomes one with the Force to insure Luke's triumph over the death star. The Force as a significant factor in galactic affairs re-emerges as the power of the Force defeats the power of the Empire's technology. Many imperial officers who oversaw the demise of the Old Republic and the slaughter of the Jedi Knights meet their end on the death star. There is new hope for freedom in the galaxy.
The Empire Strikes Back
The Rebellion now has a powerful Force wielder as an ally that will lead their victory over Palpatine and Darth Vader. Realizing that with the powerful Luke Skywalker the Rebellion is now a legitimate threat, the Emperor desires young Skywalker's extermination. Vader convinces Palpatine that Luke should be made their ally. Vader secretly plans to ally himself with Luke and then father and son will destroy Palpatine. Palpatine secretly plans to have Luke kill Vader and replace Vader as second in command of the Empire. Our heroes are left in the worst predicaments of their lives.
Return of the Jedi
Palpatine devises a trap at Endor to destroy the Rebellion once and for all and Palpatine foresees that Luke will destroy Vader and join him as a powerful dark side ally. However, Luke refuses to turn to the dark side and refuses to murder his father. Inspired by the actions of his son, Vader betrays Palpatine and destroys his evil master. Prior to his death, Anakin is redeemed and returns to the light side of the Force and becomes one with the Force. Our heroes survive the worst predicaments of their lives. Hope for the re-establishment of the Old Republic and the Jedi Knights now exists.
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