I first learned of the Star Wars Prequel reboot scripts in a post on CHUD last year. The author of this post claimed that he had found the three scripts, credited to one P. T. Geist in the alt.binaries.boneless newsgroup, in April of 2015 and provided a link to three scripts that allegedly fixed all the problems with the prequels, preserving Lucas’ rough narrative structure but refining it (and, in some cases, radically jettisoning elements like the “Trade Embargo” that were particularly irksome) to remove the things that the fans found most repulsive.
I was intrigued, downloaded the scripts, and read them over the course of three days, each in one sitting. Immediately, from the opening crawl of “Star Wars I: The Lurking Menace”, the difference was clear:
It is a time of civil war. Democratic forces have waged a bitter struggle to overthrow the Royal House on the planet Naboo, and join the Galactic Republic as free people. To save Naboo from destruction, Queen Amidala and Jerol Tynn, the first Senator of Naboo, will sign a treaty to end the war, sharing power until the young Queen's death, when Naboo will become a democracy at last. As both sides gather at the Procession of Orbs to sign the treaty, neither faction realizes that a sinister force lurks in the darkness, ready to shatter the peace, wreak havoc, and ignite a fire that will rage across the galaxy...
Within the next ten pages, a massacre simultaneously destroys the tentative peace on Naboo and calls into doubt the integrity of the Jedi Order, rattling the Republic to its core. The Trade Federation is not the impetus of the crisis, and vanished along with the Trade Federation are the Asian-sounding aliens, the Roger Roger droids, Gungans, Jar Jar…in short, all the things that drove us crazy. In this script, the threat is immediate and devastating. This is a subtle and more realistic plot, one that resonates throughout the three scripts bringing things to their inevitably dark conclusion.
I don’t want to critique the scripts, or review them at this point. I mainly just want to present them to you without prejudice. Obviously there were some things I would’ve done differently and a few things I find annoying, but overall I’d say these are vast improvements on the prequels, and staggeringly better than what Abrams and Disney put together. I’d rather not give away any spoilers, though I can tell you some of the general things that are fixed in these scripts, namely:
Anakin, being a slave, is a much darker and more complex character from the start. Slavery is less sanitized in this version, and Watto is more realistically harsh, treating him and his mother like property rather than low-income wage slaves. Watto is also responsible for what happened to Anakin’s father. (Midichlorians and the miracle birth of Anakin are, thankfully, gone);
Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon are actual characters with an genuinely close relationship. Their repartee was, IMHO, very engaging, and made me really feel Qui-Gon’s ultimate fate;
Darth Maul is fucking kick ass, and (SPOILER THAT I CAN’T RESIST)…survives the first script;
Palpatine’s plot is outstanding in its subtlety and nuance. It really is inexorable in how it proceeds, and what’s more, things go wrong with it along the way, forcing him to recover and allowing us to see his thought process. One thing these scripts don’t do is play coy with the whole Palpatine/Sidious thing…the scripts simply acknowledge that, at the time these films would’ve been made, everyone knows Palpatine becomes the Emperor, and so they don’t waste time hiding the fact, opting instead to allow us to participate in his schemes, watching them unfold. It’s a superior choice that really adds depth to his character, and reveals new dimensions to his perfidy;
A key decision is made to adjust Padme’s age, lowering it closer to Anakin’s age. As the trilogy begins she is 12 years old and has been thrust onto the throne by the deaths of her parents in the civil war. This makes their interactions much livelier, and less creepy. She tries to keep it together, but is flawed in her impatience, her temper and her insecurity. This allows her and Anakin to bond on a much deeper level, which lends much greater credibility to their romance in the future (which worked a lot better, as evidenced by the fact that it never made me throw up in my mask);
The interactions between Artoo and Threepio are awesomely Star Wars;
General Grievous is transformed from a minor 2-dimensional character into a major force in the story, replacing Count Dooku (I still can’t say that name without thinking Count Dookey, I guess because I’m juvenile) to great effect…
There is so much more I could say, but really the point of this article is to give you guys access to the scripts from my Google Drive (don’t know how long I’ll keep them there, so grab them while ye may) and share something that, inexplicably to me, has remained undiscovered for all this time.
Here’s a link to a zip file containing the scripts: