Lessons: A New Hope

Now that my newest book has launched (and is available in paperback!) and the promos are finished, I’m finally diving into a passion project/writing exercise that has been on my mind for years.

Only this time, I mean it. I’m not starting my next CYP book until I Reboot the Prequels.

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As part of the project, I’m rewatching all four Star Wars movies with a higher scrutiny than ever before. Trying to make myself see them for the first time. Really, focusing on the world and writing, and divorcing that from the existing prequels.

It should be noted that I’m essentially starting from scratch; going with what the prequels should have been. This is not “Episode I with less Jar-Jar.”

Feel free to follow along, maybe even tell me when I’m wrong; I’m going to try to do a lot of blogging during the process (relative to my normal hardly-ever blogging). And, of course, the scripts will be available for download once I’m finished.

Here are my notes from yesterday’s screening of Episode IV: A New Hope. I wrote these out stream-of-consciousness, so bear with me.

-Starts in the middle of the “civil war.” Start the prequels with the clone wars already underway.
-Vader lets his troops do the fighting, he interrogates
-What is Leia doing? Mystery!
-Have a consul ship “with an ambassador”
-Use stun settings somewhere
-Droid banter is fun
-Empire is overconfident/hubris. Give a reason why…
-It’s fun to see new worlds and aliens
-Literally every scene has conflict in it and this informs us of character
-Seems like C-3P0 doesn’t really know R2D2. Doesn’t even like him until the end of the movie. Don’t put them in the prequels.
-Owen Lars knows Obi Wan and Luke’s father, but doesn’t want to talk about it
-What if Beru is Anakin’s sister? A literal Aunt and Uncle.
-These worlds are dangerous. People die.
-Jedi trick: Vocal mimicry? Obi Wan made a ridiculous screech to scare off the sand people.
-Jedi healing: Hand over face.
-“Obi Wan” is his official, Republic name. He’s Ben to friends.
-Ben didn’t own a droid.
-Owen thought “your father should have stayed here and not gotten involved.” So Anakin really is from Tatooine. But instead of the exact same start…Maybe have Anakin “fresh off the bus” on Coruscant. Bright eyed and idealistic. The Republic doesn’t need him, they have plenty of people.  Gets swindled by locals and ends up homeless. Until he crosses paths with Major Kenobi…
-Response to “you fought in the clone wars?” Is “Yes, I was once a Jedi Knight. Same as your father.”
-Anakin was the best Star Pilot in the galaxy.
-Wanted his son to have his lightsaber, when he was old enough. Maybe said in the abstract to Ben? In a life or death situation? “I imagined a family,” etc…
-Jedi Knights were gentlemen.
-General Kenobi served Bail Organa in the Clone Wars
-“We’re being deployed. To Alderaan.”
-Maybe a “If you ever need me” moment from Kenobi to Organa.
-Imperial Senate must exist the whole time. It gets officially disbanded in this movie.
-The robes. Jesus, do Jawas wear tiny Jedi robes? No. Those aren’t a thing. Obi Wan is wearing a desert hermit’s outfit, not the official uniform of a League of Badasses.
-Random droid racism in the cantina
-Clone War Idea: Clones take a while to “bake” but they come out identical. If you rush the process, they deform like monsters and are mentally unstable. As the clone wars progress, there are more and more of the latter kind. In keeping with “starting in the middle” most of the clone troops we see in the opening have some sort of deformity and a quick temper.
-Outer systems are the Wild West, Imperial systems are colonial Britain
-Big trooper rifles need backpacks
-Han’s skepticism implies that the Jedi were secret. More powerful if people don’t know your tricks. Obi Wan was a General who was also a Knight in a secret society.
-The first rebel base is on Dantooine. Leave it there so audiences think Leia really did give away the location if they were to watch these in numerical order.
-“I’ve got a bad feeling about this…”
-Tractor beams are things.
-Give Prince Bail Organa a sweet cape. Anakin likes the look of it.
-Remember, this is a high tech analog world. Nothing is wireless.
-None of our heroes agree on anything.
-Most of the imperial officers are old. Maybe the “new” Empire is run by 20-somethings? Hitler-youthesque.
-“Not as clumsy or random as a blaster” no kidding. Those things can’t hit anything.
-“spirited droids” are great. Maybe a little flying one who helps Anakin?
-Same Jedi “sound trick” used on stormtroopers
-Jedi avoid engagement. Outsmart their opponents
-Humor, humor, humor!
-Vader is genuinely surprised when Obi Wan disappears
-The Republic should use new, shiny X and Y wings. The Empire tech later replaces it all. The rebellion uses the junk.
-Surprises and twists!

That’s it for now. Time for Empire!


Thanks for reading! What do YOU think? Are the prequels in need of a reboot? Excited to check out this side-project?

Leave me a comment below, and don’t forget to share and subscribe!

Happy Star Wars Day!

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It’s Star Wars day! A day when fans celebrate the greatest film trilogy ever made and fanatics do so slightly more than on any other day.

For me, I wanted to say that my Reboot The Prequels project is still alive and well.

Since last year, we were introduced to a new Star Wars film that I quite enjoyed, but wasn’t without its detractors. People complained (somewhat validly) that The Force Awakens was just a soft reboot of the Original Trilogy. A Star Wars “Greatest Hits” if you will.

I can definitely see where this criticism comes from; I just don’t see it as a bad thing.

As an audience member, I was extremely skeptical of a new Star Wars movie. I’m sure many of us were. So, giving us something that “felt” like Star Wars was a big step towards regaining that audience trust. Now I’m incredibly excited for the next installments in the saga.

But for my reboot? It’s a great thing! The Prequel Trilogy was all but written off in the new film, leaving a wide berth for the Reboot Trilogy to fit within the confines of the saga overall.

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I know it’s been a while since I announced my intent to rewrite these movies, but here’s a solid commitment: After I finish my next Click Your Poison book (this summer), I’m going to dive into these Star Wars scripts full time.

So…it’s coming. I just need to buckle down and remember, “Do or do not, there is no try.”

PS — I also had my fist taste of a “reboot hater” on the internet this year. I get that you might think I’m wasting my time, or hell, you might even like the prequels. But if you don’t think rebooting the prequels is a good idea, let’s just each go our own way on this issue, okay? Especially on Star Wars day, I think we can agree to disagree.

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What do YOU think? Still waiting patiently? Don’t care and hope I don’t take too long of a sabbatical between books? 

Leave me a comment below, and don’t forget to share and subscribe!

So…there are four Star Wars movies now.

So, I just got back from Brazil (blog posts incoming!) and I had to go see The Force Awakens before I could log onto the internet.

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There is quite a bit I’m glad I didn’t read online. Whew!

Walking to the theater, I determined there were four possible outcomes:

  1. The movie would make me angry (like the prequels).
  2. It would be better than the prequels, but not great.
  3. It would be a really fun movie, but without reaching instant classic status.
  4. It would somehow achieve the impossible task of being as good as the Original Trilogy.

And I must say, I really, really enjoyed the film. Much more than I thought I would. Here I was, prepared to call the director Jar Jar Abrams should he fail me, and all my doubts were unfounded. The movie easily hits #3. Not sure yet if it’s #4-worthy, but I’m already planning on seeing it again. Brian, my collaborator on the Reboot the Prequels project, has already declared the movie his favorite Star Wars movie. Ever.

I’m not sure I’m ready for such declarations, but I can say that I’m genuinely excited to see the next film. By contrast, waiting for Episode III felt like waiting for a dental appointment.

Sure, I have a few gripes. (Spoilers) I still don’t like the crossguard saber. Rey using force-based skills without any training felt rushed, the Skywalker saber seeming to have a will of its own didn’t sit well, and I’m not sure how I feel about Giant Smeagol as the new Big Bad (end spoilers). But I can let those slide, for one particularly wonderful reason:

It felt like a Star Wars movie. Great banter and chemistry. A real sense of fun. Almost no prequel references. No over-explaining everything. No politics. Hell, they blew up the senate!

Which leads to one awesome point: Our prequel reboot is still a go, and now has a stronger case than ever. Especially with a Mandalorian-centered plot.

Did you catch this Easter Egg?

What did YOU think? Love the movie? Hate it? Meh? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to share, like, and subscribe!