“What if Star Wars Episode III Were Good” is finally here! And there’s a lot we love about it.
When we interviewed Michael Barryte of Belated Media about the final chapter in his “What If?” reimagining of the Star Wars prequels, we were careful to stay away from too many plot details. Instead, we talked a lot about the motivation behind the characters, and a few particular plot points from the real Episode III in need of a change. (You can find the full interview here.)
Today, though, time to unleash the details. “What if Star Wars Episode III Were Good?” is finally here! It’s brilliant, and we’ve picked our favorite ten ideas we wish had made it into the real Star Wars: Episode III.
#10 – Opening Battle vs Maul Battle
In the real Episode III, we see a little bit of Anakin and Obi-Wan working together as they fly through the battle, but there’s also an awful lot of Obi-Wan getting in trouble and Anakin saving him. Then they spend basically the rest of the movie apart from one another before their big fight at the very end of the movie.
Revising the opening to take place on the ground is big for a couple reasons. First, because in the “What If?” prequels we’ve already seen that Anakin is “the best star pilot in the galaxy,” we don’t need a starfighter sequence to drive that point home. Second, and most importantly, because hand-to-hand combat is a way better way to show off how close and in sync Obi-Wan and Anakin are.
But here’s the real brilliant step: Midway through the “What If?” version of the movie, we get a status update in the duel with Darth Maul, and we get to see the growing gap between our hero Obi-Wan and his “brother.”
#9 – Anakin’s Slave History
Watching a clip of Episode I, I was recently struck by a line where young Anakin says he dreamed he was a Jedi who returned to Tatooine and freed all the slaves there. His traumatic childhood is a criminally overlooked piece of his character in the real prequels.
Not so in “What If Star Wars Episode III Were Good?” This makes Anakin’s fury over being the property of others a vertex in his flip from Light to Dark. Palpatine is able to convince him that the Jedi are only controlling him for their own purposes, while Anakin should have the ability to step out as his own man – well, his own man full of fear, anger, and hate who bristles at the very mention of others trying to control him. (Until he’s so far under Palpatine’s thumb that he willingly abdicates control in much of Return of the Jedi. Guess 40 years as vassal to a Sith lord will do that to you.)
#8 – The Yoda/Palpatine Standoff (Without Lightsabers!)
Among the worst of the prequels’ sins were making Yoda and Palpatine use lightsabers instead of being the wise exemplars of their respective philosophies that were so badass they didn’t have to fight anyone directly.
Still, as we recently had to admit, seeing them go toe-to-toe was pretty awesome.
“What if Star Wars Episode III Were Good?” finds the best in both worlds by giving us a scene where Palpatine and Yoda have a massive standoff, but it’s all with clever words and implied knowledge. Just what should happen between two of the wisest beings in the galaxy, like a massive interstellar chess match.