||"dawnbreak in the west"|
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
I'm not going to tell Lucas how he should've designed Episodes II-III because I'm not as good a plot designer as he is. I will say, though, that given his choices of plot design, he could have designed at least II differently. The biggest tweak I'd have made to the I-III arc is scheduling.
Lucas meant Episode I as an extended trailer for II-III (a defensible choice). As such, its job is to introduce everyone and to get Palpatine into the Chancellorship. Episode II's job is to lead into Episode III. Neither I nor II succeeded as standalone movies in the way of III or IV. (Leaving V and VI aside, here.)
Episode I's overall plan was a fine one: create a crisis which the good guys can solve, pleasing the audience, while the real action is going on in the Senate. The problem with it was that were was too much running around from site N to site T to site C. Only site N was necessary. Also, Anakin doesn't need character development in this movie. It could be - and should be - Obi-Wan's story.
The whole of I could have been designed during the 1980s. Lucas would have learnt CGI in the early 1990s and grabbed a 22-year-old Ewan McGregor in late 1993. The movie would have featured prosthetic Twi'leks as its amphibian race rather than CGI Gungans. Coruscant could have managed without quite so much CGI, in the way V's Cloud City managed before the Special Editions. Anakin would have been a 9-year-old swoop gang member enlisted to break the pilots out of camp, with no connexion to Tatooine. Tatooine would have stayed off the script entirely.
Then Lucas could have applied his Jedi CGI tricks on special editions of Episodes I, IV, V, and VI over the next decade while he plotted Episodes II and III. In the SEs: I'd've kept Han shooting first and quietly destroyed the Jabba scene in IV; saving that money for McDiarmid in V and for the Rancor in VI (untouched in the real-world special editions and corrected in the DVD). Episodes II and III would finish by 2005 as before, although I'm still not sure what I'd do with II. Again, I wouldn't tell him how to do II because I'm stumped myself.
An early-1990s standalone Episode I with minimal CGI and high focus would have been a brave and interesting move. Assuming it had been as good as the III-V trilogy, that is...
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