What If Star Wars: Episode II Was … Good?

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Aug. 14 2013 4:17 PM

What If Star Wars: Episode II Was … Good?

starwars_episode2
What if, for instance, we didn't have to stare at these two quite so much?

© Lucasfilm Ltd.

Few films inspire as much ire as George Lucas’ prequel trilogy of Star Wars films. (For a definitive indictment of the prequel trilogy’s abundant failings, Red Letter Media’s scathing, hilarious 70-minute video takedowns of each film are hard to top. And you’ll find a defense of the prequels right here on Slate, of course.) But it’s easy to be hard on these films. One intrepid video reviewer has instead decided to look back in optimism, and ask: What if Star Wars Episode II had been good … really good? What changes could possibly have improved this massively disappointing film?

Belated Media is responsible for this amazing what-if, which refocuses the film on the bond and betrayal between Anakin and Obi-wan, rather than on the weird, stilted, forbidden romance between Anakin and Padme that wastes 40 minutes of our time with romping among space-tapirs and the like. The installment below, which premiered yesterday, is a follow-up to Belated Media’s excellent “What If Episode I Was Good?” video from last year.

Advertisement

It’s fun to imagine how a few simple rewrites could not only make Episode II vastly more satisfying, but actually retroactively raise the stakes and answer some questions for the original trilogy. Giving Uncle Owen a small relationship with Anakin early on or changing Naboo to Alderaan (to give us some context when it’s eventually blown up), for instance.* Belated Media’s work here is as entertaining as it is well thought out—and I, for one, would love to see a similar take on Pacific Rim, which felt like it was a five-page rewrite away from being a about a thousand times better.

I mean, couldn’t Raleigh and Mako have had ONE SCENE where they didn’t trust each other and the neural bridge fails and then ONE SCENE where they overcame a challenge together and the neural bridge finally worked? And does Hannibal Chou even have a purpose in the film?

Help me, Belated Media. You’re my only hope.

* Correction, Aug. 15: This post originally referred to Uncle Ben when it meant to say Uncle Owen. Ben is, of course, Obi-wan.

Chris Wade is a producer for Slate Video and occasional contributor to Brow Beat. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.