Roll Credits: Star Wars Reboot Complete!

As of this very minute, all three scripts in my “Reboot the Prequels” Trilogy are completed and ready to read. All free of charge, as a labor of love.

Check out my “What the Prequels Should Have Been” page now.

If you love (or perhaps “loved”) Star Wars, but never felt right about the prequels, you’re in the right place. [Obviously, if you enjoyed Lucas’s prequels, you’re not. You have your movies, go enjoy them!] What I’ve done here, is provided Star Wars fans with a prequel trilogy that “feels” more like the originals.

I began this project as a writing exercise, a sort of “Oh, yeah? Can you do better?” to prove that the prequels were not beyond repair.

And I’ve done it.

I really have. I’m incredibly proud of these three scripts and in my mind, now they are the Star Wars prequels.

Give it a go. Reading a screenplay is like having a movie unfold in your mind. Put on a John Williams station on Pandora or YouTube and let these scripts come to life in your imagination.

Then let me know what you think.

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Star Wars: New Script, New Titles

For those following my Reboot the Prequels project, Episode II is available to read now!

Hit that hyperlink, go to the landing page, and check out Attack of the Empire.

Attack of the Empire

And if you’ve been following along, you might have noticed I changed the title of my Episode II. Originally, it was going to be called The Dark Lord of the Sith. I’ve also changed Episode III from Fall of the Jedi to Return of the Sith. Why?

The titles changed between drafts. As A New Menace was born of a portmanteau of The Phantom Menace and A New Hope, so too is Attack of the Empire a linguistic blend of
Attack of the Clones and The Empire Strikes Back (while Return of the Sith sits between Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi).

I felt these new titles more clearly stated my goal: Return the Prequel Trilogy to the tone, feel, and world of the Original Trilogy.

Interested? Head over to my Reboot the Prequels page and check it out for yourself.


Thanks for reading! What do YOU think? 

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A Star Wars Manifesto

As today is Star Wars day (May the Fourth Be With You!), I’m releasing part one of a passion project that’s been consuming me these past few months.

Many of you may have heard me mention my Reboot the Prequels project, but I wanted to take a minute to declare my intent. For those unfamiliar, I decided to rewrite The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith into a story-focused narrative that unfolds Anakin’s descent to the Dark Side in a compelling way.

Why would I do such a thing?

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Allow me to explain. Photo credit: Jo Sabin.

Undoubtedly, some of you reading this think I’m wasting my time. But I’m not. And not just in the John Lennon, “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted,” sense.

Here’s why:

  1. I’m certain this writing exercise has made me a better writer. It’s kind of incredible, when you step back and think about it, that we have one trilogy that is universally loved and another that is all but universally reviled set within the same franchise. But what is it that makes them so different? The wooden performances in front of a greenscreen, for sure, but it’s much more than that. It’s the story. I broke down what worked for one and what failed in the other and I’m a stronger author for doing so.
  2. Writing is cathartic. The best way to discover how you feel about a subject (and why) is to write about it. It was truly healing to be able to put my gripes to bed, even in something as seemingly inconsequential as a movie franchise. But now I’ve said my piece. I have an answer, one which I can give emphatically, to the proverbial, “Yeah, well, could you do any better?”
  3. I got to write a Star Wars movie! Sure, I didn’t get paid six figures and get to walk the red carpet (though, if you’re reading this Disney, let’s do lunch), but I undoubtedly wrote the movie. And I loved every minute of it. This is the most I’ve ever felt like an “artist.” Having created a thing for no other reason than for the pure joy of doing so. It’s the same aspect of self-publishing that I find so freeing. We are living in an era where the only thing stopping you from creating and distributing a story is the will to do so.
  4. I get to share my love and my lessons.

That’s where you come in, #4. And May the Fourth Be With You.

The screenplay for A New Menace (That’s what I’ve called my Episode I. Get it?) clocks in at 103 pages, with another dozen of story lessons and explanations at the end. If you’ve never read a screenplay, that should take you 103 minutes or less to read. You can read this first script right now on my Reboot the Prequels page. Then you can tell me if I nailed it or failed it. Share it with your friends. Let these screenplays be the movies we all deserved to see.

Your author,

May 4th, 2017


Thanks for reading! What do YOU think? Waste of time or time well spent?

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Lessons: The Force Awakens

My final posting on lessons from Star Wars before I start the reboot. What a great week it has been!

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In case you missed it, I read and analyzed the Original Trilogy (OT):

Now, time for the fourth film. Stream-of-consciousness impressions follow:

-Opening crawl: Leia’s Resistance has the support of the Republic? Shouldn’t she…be the Republic?
-Apparently Jedi are prone to disappearing into Hermitage after a traumatic event.
-This movie cheats the “always open in space” conceit quite well
-Maybe the old man can be a little kid in the prequels? Hahaha, just kidding
-Plans given to a droid
-Finn being the first “person” stormtrooper is great. But don’t do this in your story.
-Humor!
-Phasma is cool. What a waste.
-By minute 11, we’ve met all our main characters. Nice! What was the timestamp when they meet Han and Chewie? [Went and checked…48 minutes before we see Han? Holy shit! Well, wind up between those two extremes.]
-Rey is a “kid” (dolls, wears helmet, etc) without actually being a kid. Well done.
-Speaking alien/robot language without subtitles, but we get it.
-Jakku is essentially Tatooine. Environments can be reused successfully
-TIE escape: nothing goes according to plan
-This movie sure has action!
-As far as the physics of these movies are concerned, space is just an extension of the sky
-Everyone has their own goals and motivation, but gets pulled into something larger
-Han Solo… goosebumps. These movies are about characters
-Why would the Reptar carry Finn around when it immediately devoured everyone else? Guess it was going to tuck him away for later…be consistent.
-So… what was the Awakening?
-The remote, the chess board, this film is full of member berries
-Cantinas are an important part of the underworld
-Orphans, man…
-That vision scene suggests some strange things about the nature of the Force
-The only thing in this movie from the prequels is Coruscant, nice!
-Stormtrooper energy staff thing is cool. It would make sense if there were other “energy barrier” weapons to combat lightsabers
-How the hell does Rey even know what a mind trick is? Much less how to do it
-The “let’s plan a mission to blow up the big thing” scene. This movie “feels” like Star Wars…and that’s the most important part
-I hate to say it, but Rey is too good at too many things. Mainly, at the Force
-Is it possible for the good guys to have a win without blowing up a superweapon?
-No medal, no hug…what does Leia have against Chewbacca? Haha
-Why did R2 suddenly awaken? Where did he get the rest of the map? Why is there even a map? Who made it? Luke? Abrams sure is good at asking questions. Hope the next guy is up to the task.

That’s it! What’s next? Am I going to analyze the prequels?

Nope.

That’s been done many times over. If that’s what you’re looking for, I’d recommend watching RedLetterMedia’s prequel reviews or BelatedMedia’s if the prequels were good videos.

Instead, I’m going to Reboot the Prequels. The ultimate writing exercise. I’ve spent plenty of time groaning about the prequels, and now it’s time to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak.

I’m going to write three screenplays that do justice to the series and make the OT stronger, rather than weakening it. Craft a series that’s essentially what the prequels should have been. 


Thanks for reading! What do YOU think? Will you join me on this journey?

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

Lessons: Return of the Jedi

The original trilogy (OT) is now complete! Read the other two entries here:

As I go on, I’m getting more and more excited about how to crack the prequel trilogy (PT) into a successful reboot. Talking with Brian (my go-to fellow Star Wars fanatic who’s helping me crack the story), we think we may have just figured out a gigantic story beat: How to give a compelling PT storyline without ruining the major reveals from the OT.

That is to say, the biggest reveal of all time. We’re going to keep that secret!

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How, you may ask? All in good time…

For now, check out my notes from viewing Episode VI: Return of the Jedi in all their glorious stream-of-consciousness format:

-The opening crawl says that Luke doesn’t know about the new Death Star. That means this galaxy is huge.
-Maybe if there is a Jedi council, each member is on his/her own world, defending it. The core worlds. When they meet, it’s via hologram.
-Vader’s opening speech uses excellent foreshadowing. The Emperor is coming, a man we haven’t truly seen in two movies. And he “isn’t as forgiving” as a villain who just spent a whole movie choking people out. Awesome.
-Jabba is another who was mentioned in each movie. His palace is delightfully terrifying, yet fits with what we know of Tatooine
-Droids are treated almost like slaves on Tatooine. It’s odd, but makes us feel danger for the innocent characters.
-The rancor is so cool!
-Heroes hiding in uniforms is fun
-Luke choked out the pigmen guards with the force! No way!
-The guy who cries over the rancor is a nice touch
-Just seeing Luke’s new lightsaber is great
-But the “humorous” Boba Fett death is not.
-There is chaos on the sail barge scene, but it’s manage. And only a few minutes long…
-Could do something with those cool red Imperial guard. Show them off at the formation of the Empire so that it adds gravity to their impression on this film
-This movie did a Star Wars greatest hits before it was cool. Return to Tatooine, Dagobah, and a Death Star
-Obi Wan says Anakin was already a great pilot (and amazed at how the force flowed through him) when he took it upon himself to train him. None of this little kid shit.
-“Bury your feelings” re: Leia. Great foreshadowing!
-“Battle of Denab, many bothans died” – again, mention events that happen between movies
-Weird looking Imperial advisor dudes. Use for them?
-Lucas used most of Earth’s environments in these films: Desert, tundra, rainforest/swamp, and forest. It makes sense that in the prequels he used a city planet, plains, waterworld, and volcano. Use these and maybe mountain planet too.
-Man, I can’t help but think this would have been better as the Wookie world and not with Ewoks.
-Does Leia do anything in this movie after her role in freeing Han? Aside from getting her hair braided by teddy bears…
-The Emperor sees himself as the chessmaster, to his own detriment. “There’s a small rebel force…” “Yes, I know.”
-“I have foreseen it” would make a great bluff. Who could call you out?
-Luke only uses his powers when absolutely necessary. “Han, can you reach my lightsaber?”
-Leia remembers her “real mother”
-“It’s a Trap!” Traps are a great power-reversal in these movies.
-Interesting…The Ewok battle is pretty silly, but the only hero in the space battle is Lando.
-Even so, Ewoks die. This isn’t full Gungan.
-Hopelessness tempts the dark side
-Make battles more like Hoth and less like Endor
-Lightsaber throw can be quite effective
-Palpatine’s lightning. Anakin needs the breather because of his own exposure?
-Did they really throw the prequel “Nooooo” in there? Goddamn these special editions!
-“With my own eyes” so there is Vader vision
-CGI celebration scene…yuck
-Young Anakin force ghost…double yuck

That’s it for now. Up next, The Force Awakens!


Thanks for reading! What do YOU think? Was I too rough on the Ewoks? Not rough enough?

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Lessons: Empire Strikes Back

Continuing yesterday’s A New Hope post, I’m proceeding with my breakdown of Star Wars for the impending writing exercise where I Reboot the Prequels.

I have to say, after viewing Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, with a critical mindset…this might just be the best sequel ever made.

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Stream-of-consciousness notes follow:

-Fun worlds + using the local wildlife = magic
-Probe droids are efficient.
-Danger, always danger
-Chewie and R2 didn’t need subtitles, nor did they need to speak English. Keep that in mind.
-Significant events have transpired between movies. Characters and relationships have changed without us seeing it, but it works. This is how you achieve the gravity of growth.
-Conflict, conflict, conflict!
-Swears: hell, blast
-Seeing someone learn to use new force powers is exciting. Use this tool sparingly.
-Rebel personnel are everything, Empire personnel are expendable
-“Bounty hunter on ord mandell” and “ears off a gondark” –plenty is mentioned that we don’t see or even understand, yet it works
-Vader didn’t even need to be in the same room as the Admiral he force-choked! He did it during a teleconference! That’s huge!
-Vader is patient…except when it comes to incompetence
-Ion cannons can take out a Star Destroyer, but it doesn’t stop the invasion
-Things that are new to us are not new to the characters. Speeders, Walkers, etc
-TV screens for short range comm, hologram for longer
-Obi Wan had plans at the ready, Luke improvises. Use this characteristic for Anakin.
-Did the Special Edition really add a single AT-ST to the battle? Lame.
-Snowtrooper uniform is legit.
-Heroes barely win. Losses on both sides. Tense battles put our favorite people in jeopardy, not a lot of expendables
-Vader’s meditation pod is legitimately cool. But is it because he was “promoted” since the last movie? Perhaps he’s outside of the Imperial command structure. A Lord, not an officer. Was attached to the Death Star while on his own mission to recover the plans. Now he leads the mission to crush the rebellion/capture Luke.
-Yoda testing Luke while playing the fool is too cool. Don’t ruin this. There is a way to keep this surprise. Does Yoda need to be in the prequels? What if Obi Wan mentions his old master’s wisdom, but Anakin thinks Yoda is more of a teaching metaphor, and not someone who truly exists. We never see the green little dude. And certainly never see him fight with a lightsaber.
-“Who will Leia end up with?” is the original love triangle. Make your own romance as interesting.
-We don’t even see the Emperor until this movie, though he was mentioned. We don’t need to cram every character in every movie
-“Was I any different when you trained me?” This implies that young Obi Wan was temperamental
-“Adventure, etc. A Jedi craves not these things.”
-All hero dialogue is either an argument, humor, or both
-“Jedi use the force for knowledge and defense, never attack.”
-Why is there a domain of evil (cave) on Dagobah? Is that why Yoda is there? To balance out an evil place?
-Imperial officers don’t like bounty hunters, but Vader doesn’t care.
-“No disintegrations.” Have a scene with disintegrations!
-“No ship that small has a cloaking device!” So…big ships can cloak, eh? Interesting…
-The force will show visions of the past, the future, friends. Moments of strong connection.
-“No, there is another.” — Planting seeds of a reveal in the next movie, daaaaaaamn
-Seems like all the heroes in these movies start off hating each other.
-“I love you, I know” has to be the best line ever
-Vader wants order, that is his ultimate goal.
-Vader as Luke’s father is the best reveal of all time. Is there any way not to ruin that if someone sees the prequels first?
-Luke literally watches his lightsaber fall from the floating city…
-It’s a dark ending for the rebellion, but they state their plan for the future. There’s a way forward.

That’s it for now. Up next, Jedi!


Thanks for reading! What do YOU think? Is this really the best sequel of all-time?

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

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!