Occasionally, one just wakes up with a head full of Star Wars opinions and an unfortunate movie blog that they need to spew them on to, okay? Okay.
My dear co-writer Kevin has been putting together a series called The Kev Cut lately, where he fixes movies with just one change, and I’ve been considering how I can top that. What about, perhaps, fixing three movies with one change? What about fixing some of the most iconically dreadful movies ever to come out of franchise cinema? What about fixing…the Prequel Trilogy of Star Wars?
Now, before I begin, let me stress a couple of things: first, this article is dealing with the prequel trilogy and the movies alone, not any of the (excellent) TV that came out in the same timeline. And secondly, yes, I know there are a million things to be fixed about these movies – let’s start with Hayden Christensen and work backwards from there – but if I’m playing by Kev’s rules, then I can change just one thing, and I think I’ve solved it.
Here’s my pitch: Darth Maul survives the end of The Phantom Menace. And yes, I am well-aware that he, in fact, does survive is bisection and become a spider-legged automaton in The Clone Wars, but in the movies, he buys it at the bottom of that great big pit and is basically forgotten. But what if he lived?
Much of the prequel trilogy is about the small cracks through which darkness enters (best handled in Revenge of the Sith), but this arc, character-wise, is focused almost entirely on Anakin Skywalker. If Darth Maul lives, you give Obi-Wan a chance to be a part of this plot, as well – his love for Qui-Gon is one of the most significant parts of his character in the first movie, and allowing that love to turn into something darker as he pursues the man who killed his mentor for revenge would have given a whole new dimension to his often goody-two-shoes character arc.
And, by turn, allows a similar darkness to seep down to Anakin. I think this would have given a really good chance for the films to depict this twisted version of the mentor-mentee relationship that Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon had, to sew the seeds of obsession and anger and darkness in Anakin in a way that would leave him ripe for manipulation by the Emperor by the time that opportunity arose. Ewan McGregor has the range to balance those sides of Obi-Wan, and I would have loved to see him given the chance to play a more conflicted character.
It would have leant the relationship between master and apprentice – arguably the most important one across the whole of this trilogy – a depth that’s lacking, even with the great chemistry between Christensen and McGregor, and reflected major themes that run through the full franchise beautifully.
What do you think? Would this have improved the prequel trilogy? What would you change to fix these movies (or would you change anything at all)? Let me know in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this article and want to see more stuff like it, please check out our other cinematic universe retrospective – for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Jurassic Park movies, and the Batman cinematic universe. You can check out more of my work on my personal blog, The Cutprice Guignol!
By Louise MacGregor
(header image via Star Wars.com)