Episode I- The War Begins
“Evil began in a time before recorded history, when magicians made themselves into kings…and gods…using the powers of the dark side of the Force. The weak-minded have ever been ready to obey one who wields great power. Those who learned the powers of the dark side were quick to exploit this weakness—to make war. Again and again the dark side has surged forth, like a storm…devouring whole worlds and entire star systems. Those who mastered dark power became dark power. They unleashed destruction, for no other reason than for selfish gain. They despoiled nations…destroyed whole civilizations. Some of them, I am ashamed to say, were Jedi.”
-Mace Windu, explaining the history of the Sith Order
The opening crawl explains that for the first time in ages, there is a threat to the peace of the galaxy.
For the sake of our story, it could be anything. Grey aliens. Killer tomatoes. However, I am going to make them Mandalorians. Why? Well, it seems that it may have been Lucas’ original plan to make the Clone Wars about Mandalorians vs. Jedi. When Boba Fett is first introduced in the Empire Strikes Back novel, he is described as wearing “a weapon-covered, armored spacesuit, the kind worn by a group of evil warriors defeated by the Jedi Knights during the Clone Wars.”
The Camera Pans down and we see four giant Mandalorian Space cruisers zooming towards an acid-green colored planet called Felucia. These cruisers are unlike any ship that we have ever seen in Star Wars before- they are sleek and metallic looking, and have green and blue glowing lights on the side. They look like they belong in an alien movie more than they belong in a Star Wars movie. Hundreds of small fighter ships are deployed from the bottom of these cruisers, and they speed towards the unsuspecting planet below.
Then we wipe to a birds-eye view of the suburban area of the planet of Felucia. Felucia is a planet that is filled with all sorts of exotic flora and fauna. It is divided into three distinct regions: the suburban region, the jungle region, and the capital region. Despite the fact that it is filled with exotic plants like those seen in the image above, the suburban region of Felucia suspiciously resembles a never-ending Earthly [western hemisphere] suburbia. See my “why I did what I did” article for why I have chosen to make this part of Felucia so similar to our neighborhoods here on Earth.
Back to the story. The suburban area of Felucia is peaceful and quiet at night- just like any nice neighborhood. We see a random human being relaxing next to a small stream in a park. From our earthly experiences, it looks like he may be fishing. Suddenly, the man sees a bright streak of light in the sky. He turns to look at it just in time to see a bright blue glowing disc zoom right past his head. Startled, he chases after it and sees it crash into the ground. He picks it up (it’s about three feet wide) and it begins to pulsate slowly. Then it explodes.
And the invasion is underway! Hundreds of Mandalorian bombers are now flying through the sky, dropping large, bright green, pill-shaped bombs to the surface of the planet where they explode. It’s a bombing raid.
We wipe to a Mandalorian home that is quite a distance off from this activity- and is therefore oblivious to it. Inside the home is a regular family who is going about their regular evening activities. We soon learn that this is the Skywalker family who we get to hear so much about. So, let me introduce you to them!
Qui-gon Jinn Skywalker- The father. Yes, in my version of the story he is Anakin’s father. He pretty much has the same personality that he does in The Phantom Menace. Also: he wears a Japor Snippet necklace. This is important.
Shmi Skywalker- The mother. Pretty much the same personality as in The Phantom Menace. Before she and Qui-gon settled down on Felucia to have a family, they were both Jedis, though they are now “retired”. Their children know nothing about their Jedi past and believe them to be the same as all their friends’ boring parents. Shmi has a noncontagious desease that is a real damper on her health sometimes, and it causes her to cough a lot. But, as far as this story is concerned, she is perfectly healthy (she coughs a lot though).
Owen Skywalker- He is about 17 years old. This is a younger version of the “Uncle Owen” that we see in A New Hope. A true homebody, he likes a simple life. As the oldest sibling in his family, he is very protective of his younger siblings and is like a third parent to them.
Anakin Skywalker- About 14 years old- he hasn’t quite hit his “voice change” yet. Unlike the youngster we saw in The Phantom Menace, he is quiet and methodical. He is also very talented and skilled (more about that later). Basically he’s an all-around good kid, but he’s not self-righteous or bratty. He’s likable. Also, unlike his other two siblings, he is very strong with the force, and his parents have sensed this. His father has even taught him some very basic Jedi lessons without Anakin realizing that his father was once a Jedi.
Camie Skywalker- About 10 years old. Young, brave and daring, she looks up to her older brothers in many ways.
So now you have met the Skywalker family, and we can get back to the story. As Anakin’s parents prepare dinner, they ask him to go run upstairs and fetch something for them. He does, and while he is upstairs, he notices the light show going on in the distance. He runs downstairs to tell his parents about it and at first they are not sure what it is. However, as the bombers come closer, it becomes all too clear. In a rush, the Skywalkers hurry their children down to the basement as the explosions come nearer and nearer.
Next, we wipe to the Mandalorian attack on the Royal Palace, which looks similar to the one in The Phantom Menace, except this one is in a Felucian environment instead of the Naboo one. The Mandalorians easily take over the undefended Palace. Some members of the Royal family are taken captive, while others escape into the nearby forest. The top Mandalorian warlords rush into the palace and force the “prime minister” to sign a treaty that states that the Mandalorians now control Felucia. All too easy.
And this is when we first meet Darth Maul. Yeah, everybody loves that guy. Basically from this scene we gather that he is the leader of the Mandalorians, though it is not yet clear whether he is a Mandalorian or if he is just leading them.
Back to the Skywalkers. It is now morning and the Skywalkers come out of their basement and exit their house. They are stunned by all of the destruction surrounding them. The Mandalorians have launched a blitzkrieg-like attack on the planet and have completed phase one- the bombing. They have now moved onto ground invasions and are quickly establishing their authority of the first planet they have captured. Shmi and Qui-gon Jinn silently confer with each other and decide that as former Jedis, it is their duty to help the planet. Qui-gon then announces to the family that they are going to travel to the capital (the palace). It will be dangerous, but if they can help Felucia it will be worth it. So their journey begins. What was once a sprawling suburbia is now a destroyed wasteland. Things go pretty well on their trip, until a transport full of Mandalorians spots them and straight-on attacks them.
In the brawl, Anakin is separated from the rest of his family and soon finds himself headed down a deserted alleyway. Two Mandalorians spot him and start firing at him. All of a sudden, a Jedi jumps into the alleyway. He is riding a strange horse-like reptile. He is dressed in Jedi robes, and over them he is wearing samurai-like armor. He also is wearing a samurai helmet that conceals his face. The Jedi quickly whips out a lightsaber and disarms the Mandalorians. Then, he rides over to Anakin, grabs his hand, and whips him onto the lizard-horse’s back and rides away. He quickly makes his way to a spacecraft and takes off, Anakin still with him.
Meanwhile, Qui-gon manages to find a group of two-seater podracers. They climb into them and race them through the streets of rubble, quickly escaping the Mandalorians. On the ultra-fast podracers, it only takes an hour to get to the jungle region of Felucia. Just as they get there, they slow the junky podracers down and hop out. Totally discombobulated, they hop out and take a break. But it doesn’t take more than a second for Owen to realize that someone is missing: Anakin!
Anakin and the Jedi have made their way into the orbit of Felucia, where they rendezvous with a group of other Jedis that have been defending the citizens of Felucia. They discuss what they have been doing, pay little attention to Anakin (who, of course, is in awe). There are only about 10,000 Jedis in the galaxy, a relatively small number for such a large galaxy. So, while no one doubted that they were real, there were many legends and tall tales about them, and their presence was somewhat enigmatic. Very few people had actually met a Jedi, and “the force” was not something that everyone believed in.
Then the Jedis casual meeting comes to a close, and the attention focuses to Anakin. Anakin, of course, wants to return to Felucia with his family. The Jedis, however, object to this, stating that it is too dangerous for a boy his age down there and that they cannot allow him to return. They assure him that they will let him know if his family is found, in the meantime, he is to go to Coruscant with the junior Jedi of the group, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Obi-wan Kenobi is the same character that he was in The Phantom Menace, except he has just barely been knighted. So, while the rest of the Jedis are going back down to the surface of Felucia, he has to go to the Galactic Senate and testify about the events on Felucia. Obi-wan leaves with Anakin to go to Coruscant, the incredible city-planet. Both are in awe of the immense size of the planet.
Back on Felucia, the Skywalkers are in the jungle region of the planet. The Jungle region is a thick Felucian Jungle that has the large houses of the upper-class citizens of Felucia spread throughout it. Sort of like one of those “forest neighborhoods.”
A wealthy woman sees the tired family trekking through the jungle and invites them into her home. Qui-gon tells them where they are headed- the capital. When she hears this, she shows them a map of the area surrounding the palace, and she tells them what to expect and what is around there. Owen suggests that they go look for Anakin, but Shmi says she thinks she’s okay. (She personally confides with Qui-gon Jinn and lets him know that she can sense he’s okay). They leave the home and proceed on their journey.
Meanwhile, as a Jedi Knight, Obi-wan Kenobi is granted an immediate audience with the Galactic Senate. He starts to report on the situation in Felucia, but is dizzied by the sheer size of the senate chamber. Sweating nervously, he begins to stutter.
Fortunately, a popular Senator named Palpatine (from a planet called Naboo) comes to Obi-wan’s rescue and helps him get through his speech alright, and Obi-wan is able to let the Senate know about the invasion on Felucia. He also uses Anakin (who is with him), who is “lost” from his family, as an example of what has happened.
Of course, everyone is enraged and shocked that a planet in the Republic has been invaded, so the senators discuss what to do to fight the Mandalorians. Without question, this means war. Papatine suggests that each planet raise an army, and each of these armies will work together and collectively be known as the “Grand Army of the Republic”. The measure passes unanimously, and the session ends.
After the session ends, Obi-wan catches up with Palpatine and thanks him for helping him out. After that, Bail Organa, the Senator from Alderaan (a very prosperous and affluent planet), tells Obi-wan that his planet is a leading expert in high-tech design and is prepared to start designing high-tech weapons for use by the republic. At his side is C-3PO. Obi-wan thanks him, and the two part ways. As they leave, Anakin asks where they are going next. Obi-wan tells him that even though the Republic is creating an army, it will not be ready in time to help Felucia until it is too late. So, he is going to go to the Jedi Temple and see if any more Jedis are available to help Felucia out.
They get in a ship and start flying over Coruscant, and they see the Coruscant Jedi Temple below. Obi-wan explains to Anakin that there are two Jedi Temples: one on Coruscant, which is more of their polical affairs office and an administrative center, and one on a distant planet called Baroonda. The temple on Baroonda is millenniums old and is more of a spiritual center/ living place for the Jedis. (of which there are about 10,000 in the Galaxy, give or take a few).
The Skywalker family arrives at the capital region of the Felucia, which is much swampier and the architecture is like the architecture on Naboo. The swampy area is being constantly patrolled by mandalorians, and like in The Phantom Menace, Qui-gon saves a gungan named Jar Jar Binks from getting run over.
Right now, you may be asking, “Why, oh why did you put Jar Jar Binks in this movie?” Well I’ll answer you: it’s because he serves my plot. Also, you may want to know that in my story Jar Jar doesn’t talk in a ridiculous accent or act stupid. In my story his is a sort of a loner who is quite childlike, and a bit clumsy for some comical relief. Qui-gon and Shmi ask Jar Jar if he can show them where the underwater gungan city is, as they have been hoping to get an alliance with them. Jar Jar says that he can take them there, but he warns them that the gungans do not like outsiders, much less human outsiders. Qui-gon and Shmi say they understand the risks, and they follow Jar Jar into the lake, leaving Owen and Cami behind and telling them to stay put
The Mandalorian patrols in the area have detected the Skywalker’s presence, and so they send five scuba troopers after them. Hidden behind some plants, Cami and Owen watch as the Mandalorians jump into the water to swim after their parents….
While this is all happening, Anakin spends a day or two at the Jedi Temple, where he is given a tour and sees a lot of what Jedi life is like. The purpose of these scenes are to introduce the viewer and Anakin to some of the basic principles of the Jedi Order, the force, etc. Obi-Wan senses how powerful Anakin is and in a discussion we learn that Anakin is extremely well-rounded and talented, and he knows it. No, he’s not cocky and braggy (okay I made that word up), but he’s not unaware of his skills. Obi-Wan sees that Anakin has already mastered some very basic force skills, and is extremely surprised to find that Anakin’s father/mother is not a Jedi (though we know they are).
Later, on his own Anakin goes into a room that is a sort of a 3D holographic Augmented reality planetarium. In a scene that is not unlike Luke’s reflective gaze into the sunset, Anakin stares upwards at the stars. This scene helps to show the viewer the immensity of the Star Wars galaxy. An older wise woman Jedi Master is in the room and says to him, “Isn’t it beautiful?” Anakin nods and asks, “Do all of the stars have planets?”
“Most of them,” responds the old Jedi Master.
“Has anybody visited all of them?” Anakin asks.
“There are billions of them,” says the Master, “but maybe, one day, you’ll be the first to visit them all.” She puts her hand on his shoulder and walks away.
Back on Felucia, things do not go well. Boss Nass, the gungan’s leader, turns down the Jedis flat. Mercifully, however, he does give them a mini-sub and allows them to leave peacefully with Jar Jar.
In the sub, the have the encounter with a “bigger fish”, and for the first time, Qui-gon Jinn Skywalker contacts the Jedi Council and tells them of his predicament.
Just after the Jedis leave five Mandalorians enter the underwater city and declare that the city now belongs to the Mandalorians. The gungans resist, and the Mandalorians kill a few of them before all the Mandalorians were killed. Boss Nass realizes that the Jedis were right about the Mandalorians, and he orders them all to evacuate immediately.
In the forest, while waiting for their parents, Owen and Cami hear a rustling in the swamp and turn around, expecting to see some killer Mandalorians going after them. Instead, they meet Princess Amidala (in my story the princess and Anakin’s eventual wife are two separate people) and her bodyguard. They are on the run from the Mandalorians. When Owen tells them of how his parents are leading a crusade against the Mandalorians, they are encouraged and they make their way to the palace.
The Jedis get out of their submersible and start walking out of the forest-swamp and onto a field that you can see the Felucian palace from. Discouraged, they walk towards it, when a voice calls out. Jar Jar, Qui-gon, and Shmi turn around to see a gungan calling for them to follow him. They do and he shows them the ruins where the gungans have gathered. There, Boss Nass tells them that he has changed his mind, and decided that they will help Felucia fight the Mandalorians. They plan a little bit, and decide that Qui-gon and Shmi will go to the palace and try to fight in there, while the Gungans will have a battle with the Mandalorians in the field and try to get them all out there. The Jedis like the plan and leave for the palace.
Because Obi-wan Kenobi has sensed something in Anakin, he has Anakin stand in front of the Jedi council to be tested in his abilities. In my story, Yoda is not part of the Jedi council. Instead, he lives on Dagobah and teaches a small school of young Jedis full-time: passing on his knowledge is what he loves to do. As far as the council goes, many of them are extremely ancient dudes with super-long beards who don’t do much except sit around all day an contemplate. However, there are two members of the council who I will introduce to you because they will be important later on in the trilogy: Mace Windu and Dooku Tyrannous. Mace Windu, well you know him. The guy with the purple lightsaber.
Dooku Tyrannous needs explaining though. Yes, he has the looks of and is inspired by the character Count Dooku from Attack of the Clones. However, in my story, Dooku Tyrannous is a good guy who is sort of a “gentleman” Jedi. The way he acts is somewhat suspicious to the audience at times, however, he is always good. He is a real thinker and idealist, whereas Mace Windu is a “get it done” guy.
So anyway, Anakin is tested by the Jedi council. Okay, you got it. Anakin then leaves, and Obi-wan comes in and he be like, “did he pass?”
Mace Windu says his line, “No, he will not be trained.”
Obi-wan immediately gets angry at the council and criticizes them, saying that Yoda would train Anakin if he could. The council immediately rebukes Obi-wan for his outburst, and tells him while they do have some reservations about Anakin (they sense some fear in him) the real reason they cannot train him is because he still has living parents on Felucia who they have just talked to, and it is their responsibility to get Anakin back to him. Mace then explains to Obi-wan that they want him to go back to Felucia with a small group of Jedis, and to bring Anakin with him. Obi-wan, realizing the error of his ways, accepts the mission.
The small group of Jedi quickly flies to Felucia, but they are met by a blockade of Mandalorian ships, which immediately starts to shoot at them, and ends up taking out their deflector shield. So, the entire group of repair droids on the ship goes out to try to fix it. And, like in The Phantom Menace, R2-D2 is the one who saves them all! The Jedis decide to surrender the ship to the Mandalorians: Anakin and two other Jedis are left on board the ship with R2, while everyone else climbs in a motorized escape pod to land on Felucia below.
The Jedis meet the Skywalkers and the Princess at the palace, while the gungan battle is beginning. Obi-wan gets to meet Qui-gon and Shmi, and is surprised to find that these retired Jedis are Anakin’s parents. The Jedis sneak into the palace and do some sneaking around and fighting stuff.
Meanwhile, Anakin and the two other Jedis relax on their ship in the landing bay of the Mandalorian ship. The Mandalorians haven’t come to deal with them yet.
Meanwhile, gungans fight in the battle.
Meanwhile, the Jedis decide to split up: while the rest of them will go a separate way to get to the throne room, Obi-wan and Qui-gon decide to split up and go through the Generator Complex. When they open the door, they see Darth Maul.
“At last,” he says, “the Sith have revealed ourselves to the Jedis.”
Obi-wan is stunned that the Sith really have returned. “Impossible,” he mumbles.
“At last,” says Darth Maul, “we will have revenge.”
Then he ignites his lightsaber and their duel begins!
Back in the ship with Anakin, the Mandalorians finally decide to deal with the surrendered Jedi ship. Mandalorians come out and shoot at them, and the Jedis return fire from their ship. The Jedis realize that the cruiser isn’t a safe place at all for Anakin, so they fly away, down to Felucia…
Meanwhile, the Jedis get to the throne and trap the chief warlord of the Mandalorians in there, and force him to sign a treaty that restores control of Felucia to the Royal family.
And the gungans win the battle.
So the lightsaber duel continues, and in the end Qui-gon is killed. As Qui-Gon falls to the ground, Maul grabs the Japor Snippet necklace, which snaps and falls into his hands. Maul pockets the necklace. Obi-wan comes out of the hallway and slices Maul’s lightsaber in half, scaring Maul into escape. Maul leaps up the wall, out of the room, and Obi-wan turns to tend to Qui-gon Jinn:
Qui-Gon Jinn: [mumbles, as Obi-Wan sits him up after battle with Darth Maul] Uhh, it’s too late, it…
Obi-Wan: No! You can make it. Anakin never got to see you again…
Qui-Gon Jinn: Obi-Wan, promise… Promise me you will train my son Anakin. Out of all my children, he’s the only one who could touch the force…
Obi-Wan: Yes, Master Skywalker
Shmi Skywalker suddenly walks into the room, and sees he dying husband lying on the ground. Suddenly emotional, she kneels next to him.
Qui-Gon Jinn: [wiping a tear from Shmi’s right cheek] Take care of the children…
And then he dies… and a strange thing happens… Qui-Gon Jinn Skywalker disappears. Obi-Wan is immediately shocked and surprised (people aren’t supposed to disappear when they die!), and pats down his clothes just like Vader does in A New Hope. Shmi doesn’t seem as surprised, she’s mostly sad. The camera zooms out from them, and then we switch scenes.
Darth Maul’s ship flies across the screen, heading towards a glowing grey-and-red planet- Sigma Vulcanus. The ship maneuvers through the smoky clouds and heads towards a creepy-looking palace/temple sort of thing. Darth Maul’s ship lands in a mysterious landing bay and Darth Maul walks out of the ship as a mysterious hooded man who we’ve never seen before boards the ship. It’s “Darth Sidious”. Maul turns to him as they meet on the boarding thingy and tells him that the invasion of Felucia failed, but those invasions of other planets has begun. He then hands Palpatine the Japor Snippet and tell him that they have killed their first Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn Skywalker.
As night falls, there is a sort of a party at the Felucian palace. Anakin and his family are reunited, though it’s bittersweet because Qui-Gon Jinn has died. Shmi then tells Anakin of how she and his father were once Jedis, but left the order for a couple reasons: her illness, wanted to have a family, were tired of it, and one more mysterious reason that she won’t tell him. She also tells him how they always sensed that out of all their children, Anakin was the one that could become a Jedi, and without him realizing had sort of been preparing him for it. She then tells Anakin that he can become a Jedi, and that Obi-Wan can train him, but that it’s his choice.
Owen takes Anakin aside and begs him not to join the Jedi Order. A war is beginning, and if Anakin join the order then he surely will be right in the middle of it all. Anakin tells him that their father died for this cause, but Owen is quick say that this is the reason he does not want Anakin to join: he does not want to lose another family member. Owen tells Anakin that since their neighborhood on Felucia was destroyed, the “Republic Relocation Services” have given their family a homestead on the desert planet on Tatooine (and they have adopted the the last name “Lars” because that is the name of the homestead, and it is custom to do so). Owen says that there, they will be safe. They are leaving tomorrow to go there.
Conflicted, Anakin wanders about the party and his mood brightens a bit as he sees people talking and celebrating. It should be noted that R2-D2 is still following Anakin around and has pretty much adopted Anakin as his master. A bunch of politicians walk by. Among them is Senator Palpatine. Palpatine recognizes Anakin from the senate session (he was in there with Obi-Wan) and greets him warmly. He then says that as Supreme Chancellor (sort of like the president) he is doing all he can to help Anakin’s family. Anakin says, “You’re the Chancellor?” Palpatine explains that the home planet of the old Chancellor was invaded earlier that day, she resigned, and Palpatine was appointed as temporary Chancellor until they could find a new one. Palpatine then says, “But with this war business going on, I don’t think they’ll bother to find a new one for a while. I’m not sure if I’m ready for this responsibility.”
Anakin turns around and a droid tells him that his family wants him outside.
Outside, there is a fire where the clothes of Qui-Gon Jinn are being burned. Mace Windu and Obi-Wan are looking into the fire and discussing how the Sith have returned. Anakin’s family is there too, though of course they’re too sad to care about this conversation. Anakin comes out with R2-D2 and sees them all around the fire. Shmi asks him if he has made his decision. Anakin pauses for a moment and stares into the fire and says, “yes”. Avoiding the gaze of Owen, he announces he has decided to become a Jedi. Shmi smiles, turns to Obi-Wan and says, “I would train him, but I have other things to take care of (looks at other two children). Teach him well.” Mace Windu reminds Anakin what it means to be a Jedi, and Anakin affirms his decision.
Just then, a republic worker comes outside and tells the Lars’ that their transport is leaving. Anakin hugs them all goodbye, and he waves to them as they disappear into the palace…
END OF EPISODE I