Remaking Star Wars

The Star Wars films have their cinematic gems–and lightsabers, which better be well-stocked in heaven–but if the stories were ever to be retold, I’d want someone other than George Lucas in the lead X-wing.  Someone like…me.

Yes, I’ve thought long and in nerd-level detail about how I’d re-envision the world of the Jedi.

Were I given the opportunity and more money than Han Solo could image, I would tell the story of the rise, fall, and redemption of Anakin Skywalker in a three season HBO series.  My Anakin would be radically different from whiny space brat we all know and regard with a cringe: extraordinarily powerful and intelligent, magnanimous, and with a long way to fall.  The overarching narrative would center on his story, but not every episode would focus on him.  His tale would be like the Dude’s rug, tying the whole room together.

Before I further explain what I would do, permit me to mention what I’d remove from the story: the clones, the Clone Wars plot, the Death Star plot, the extermination of the Jedi plot, the Virgin Birth, the planets having a uniform terrain and environment, Jar Jar Binks, and Skywalker temper tantrums.  Instead, the series would be about the political, cultural, and religious conflicts the Jedi Order have with the government of the Republic and the multiple planets throughout the galaxy.  Anakin’s rise and fall would mirror the deterioration of the Jedi as “guardians” and as political players.  While they lose control of their exemplar knight, they also lose control over the Republic.  Anakin’s redemption through the love of his children, Luke and Leia, would expose the limitations of the Jedi way.  Lucas touched upon this theme, but I would like it explicit and cardinal.

I would keep Palpatine as a sly and powerful senator and secret Sith Lord, but he wouldn’t be working to transform the Republic into an empire.  His goals would be more in keeping with the way of the Sith: growing powerful in the Dark Side of the Force while working behind the scenes to undermine the moral and political authority of the Jedi.  He’d be an expert player of the game of thrones, maybe even the best, but his ascension to power would be more subtle, more the designs of a closet religious fanatic than a would-be emperor.

Obi-Wan, Mace, and Yoda would also play prominent roles, but as less likeable characters than they were in the films.  They’d still be good guys, more or less, but more morally flawed, more open about using Anakin and later is children for their own religious, cultural, and political purposes.  Through them and other Jedi we’d learn much more than Lucas ever told us about the Jedi mythos and ethos.  The origins of the Jedi, and whether they are as history records them, would be an important theme.  I’d also get into the conflicts that emerge between the Jedi way, which has the backing of and power over the senate, and the multiple religions and cultures that each planet would reasonably have.  In my Star Wars, the Jedi wouldn’t be the only game in town, but they’d want to be, and they’d blur the lines between the Light Side and Dark Side of the Force in their Force-fueled futile attempts to remain the mainstream galactic religion.

Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewbacca would mostly feature in the third and final season.  In order to maintain continuity between the second and third seasons, i.e., not have a 20 year gap, I would have the Skywalker twins conceived in the first season.  I’m not sure yet who their mother would be, maybe a fellow Jedi or a bounty hunter or a senator, but not the wife of Anakin.  No secret marriage in my version, although Luke and Leia’s mother would be among the main characters throughout all three seasons.  Oh, and Leia would also be a power Jedi like her brother, but in conflict with him about how best to save their father. The method they ultimately choose would be similar to what Luke did in the films–refuse to fight and appeal to love–but it would cost them more than the death of their father.  I’d probably have at least one of them slain by Palpatine.

As you can tell, my telling of Star Wars would not be for young children.  It would be grand, dark, tragic, and morally ambiguous.  So, what do you think?  Am I off my AT-AT?  Am I dramatically idiotic to imagine a remake?  If you could remake Star Wars, how would you do it?

Kyle Cupp

Kyle Cupp is a freelance writer who blogs about culture, philosophy, politics, postmodernism, and religion. He is a contributor to the group Catholic blog Vox Nova. Kyle lives with his wife, son, and daughter in North Texas. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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50 Responses

  1. I’ve always thought the original trilogy works fine, so I wouldn’t change it. But I’ve been thinking a lot lately (for some reason) about how I’d redo the prequels. Those movies are utter disasters.

    FWIW, I think Jar Jar is salvageable. I would make him sort of a protector/counselor/big brother for Padme. I think her political career could be an interesting proxy for Anakin’s journey, with Jar Jar representing a more hopeful future and Palpatine (obviously) the opposite. In the end, she chooses good and he choose evil.

    I also don’t think the story of the fall, as it was told, makes any sense at all. But I’m also on the record saying that I don’t think you can make that story actually good or convincing, so I’m not sure what I would do with it.

    • Kyle Cupp says:

      Overall, I agree the original trilogy works, but I also like the idea of re-imagining what works into something different.

      Maybe Jar Jar could be salvageable, but his inclusion would remind me too much of the original character.

    • DensityDuck says:

      That’s the unfortunate thing about the prequels; it’s that all the right pieces are there. It’s just that the guy putting them together was so bad at it.

  2. My initial response to these ideas; the chance Firefly never got. Morally ambiguous, that’s how the world is, not light and dark, though these sides do exist to pull any such ambiguities onto opposing cliffs where they can push everyone into the chasm. It seems a bit in your face concerning current politics, but perhaps, for that very reason, it is more enjoyable that way.

    Much like Captain Mel and his crew of vagabonds, misfits, heroic brothers, sassy mechanics, just to name a few, this particular version of Star Wars would allow for both sides of the story to be told in a way that does not plunge its audience members into warfare with their opposing factions (if that makes sense, I can be unclear at times, my apologies).

    You certainly have the makings of a good story teller with regards to your characters. My only warning though, when in pre production make sure that your script has doesn’t fall prey to Lucus Syndrome, where everybody is either holier than though or bad ass whiners; but you already noticed that problem so I think you’re covered.

    Finally, if you want to start writing these episodes, please tell me when you will begin and whether you will need assistant writers; I would be happy to join your crew. Cheers!

    • A Teacher says:

      I am totally with you on the glories that are Firefly and how sad that it never got it’s chance.

      ~goes back to warming a bottle for the 5 week old Kaylee in her bassinet~

  3. Burt Likko says:

    I like Palpatine slaying one of the two twins. I also like their mother being a Jedi rather than a political figure. Helps explain why the Force is so strong within them, without necessarily resorting to midi-choridians (ptooi!). And as much as I enjoyed the two-and-three-quarters good movies from the original trilogy, I see no particular reason in a re-imagining of them to adhere to the plot points strictly.

    But, one of the big plot arc elements of the two-and-three-quarters* good movies from the original trilogy was that neither Luke nor Leia knew anything about their heritage and only gradually discovered their familial relationship to one another. I can still recall in the original theatrical version of what is now known as Episode IV — the version where Han shot first — that right before swinging across the abyss, Leia gives Luke an open-mouthed kiss, presumably complete with tongue. Neither of them had any clue that they were actually siblings. Is that an element of the plot arc you would try to preserve or that you would sacrifice?

    * 1/4 of original trilogy not good = Ewoks.

    • Ryan B says:

      Technically, you have the mis-remembered. Before swinging across, Leia kisses Luke on the cheek. The open-mouth kiss you are thinking of occurs at the beginning of Empire after Luke survives the wampa attack and subsequent night in the tauntaun’s belly.

      • Burt Likko says:

        I admit to vulnerability to mis-rememberment. I’d try to dig out the old footage somewhere to verify either my memory or vindicate your correction of it, but I know such an effort will be futile: Mr. Lucas is quite talented at revisionism. You won’t find any current release of Episode IV that has Han shooting Greedo first, for instance, but again I’m quite sure that he did in the original theatrical release.

        • Ryan B says:

          This is why I have refrained from buying any new versions since the DVD release he did of the original theatrical versions (they came in a tin in 2008) – at least until I let my mother buy me the Blu-ray versions for Christmas last year. Oh well.

          Also, as someone recently pointed out elsewhere, it’s incoherent to say Han shot FIRST, given that Greedo didn’t shoot AT ALL. 🙂

        • Burt,

          For what it’s worth, I think Ryan’s memory correct.

          • A Teacher says:


            And Han shot first. That was his ~way~. You don’t take chances. You dump your cargo ~before~ you get boarded and you shoot the ~bounty hunter~ before he shoots you.

          • Jaybird says:

            I’ve been thinking about the whole “Han Shot First” thing (or, to put a finer point on it, the whole “Greedo Shot First” thing).

            When Lucas was trying to get this thing off the ground back in 1976/1977, everybody was saying “no”, “no”, “no” to him. He said “screw you, I have my vision, I know it’s good!” and went on to prove everybody wrong and make more money than God.

            Now when people are disagreeing with his artistic vision, he’s not hearing that they’re people who love much of what he’s done and are trying to edit, not deny, what he’s trying to do.

            Instead of seeing the student of Joseph Campbell who chose “Star Wars” instead of “Star Trek” in the eternal-at-least-until-1997 argument, he sees the fat cat smoking a cigar and saying “no” to him.

            To his detriment.

    • Kyle Cupp says:

      I would probably keep Luke and Leia in the dark about the identity of their father, and perhaps about their being siblings, but the audience would know who they are and where they came from, so the affect on the audience would be dramatic irony rather than surprise. The darkness wouldn’t be very prolonged, though, as I’d want to explore how each grows up under the shadow of the towering Jedi and how each reacts to his becoming Vader.

    • greginak says:

      Shouldn’t a bro and sis, who the force is so powerful with, be able to sense something in each other? Other then each others tongues?

  4. Vince S says:

    Very interesting idea, I personally feel there is really no need to remake star wars, your story basically just borrows some characters and lightsabers from previous creative minds. I have to ask what palpatines motives are in all of this and what your view of a sith should be. Destruction of the jedi (balance keepers) is what I have always interpreted.

    A lot of people love grey, where no body has a side and everything is so relative that nothing really gets done. The magic of the original star wars was the black and white of it, the Yin Yang of it. How boring would it get to watch a show about jedi debating with other “jedi” splinter sects about the proper religion of the galaxy and the force and whatnot. You could have atheists and protistant jedi and fundamentalist jedi, latter-day saints jedi, the evil islamic sith with their fanatic view of non force using infidels, you get my point, this world is stupid enough without dragging all of it into our entertainment with the excuse that it will make us question more.

    The fantasy of star wars was that the force was the answer the audience knew it. The jedi and the sith were right, the faith and science were one, the fore was just a fact to the viewers. There were two sides, one that kept the force in balance and one that destroyed that balance the simplicity is elegant and I must defend it.

    I believe you have some great ideas on how to better portray Anakin Skywalker and his fall, but I believe Palpatines motives and methods were spot on. A Sith destroys balance and themselves in the process, they are the universes joke, they gain power like and explosion gains force but their end result is only destruction, they have no real concept of balance. The question star wars posed: Is this ultimate form of entropy (sith) permanent or will Good (or balance of the force) be restored, and how?

    Yes the story is flawed with dumb characters and bad character development, but every story has its mistakes. All I can do is speak for myself here, when I can find depth in this story I see no need to remake it. I am enraptured and entertained when I watch some hated-upon prequels and a classic and simple original trilogy. Entertainment and storytelling is simply another way of seeing an expressed philosophy its imperfect and flawed but resonates with certain and unique thoughts about life each of us may have.

    If you have a story to tell and something to express I encourage you to take that creativity to the next level and put aside this story, there is no need to dwell on its imperfections any longer, nothing is perfect.

    • Kyle Cupp says:

      My Palpatine wouldn’t be fundamentally different from the original character, at least in terms of motivations, but he wouldn’t be faced with the prospect of imperial rule, so his lust for power would have to find more limited outlets.

      I should note that my desire to remake Star Wars is due not only to the original’s imperfections, but also to my enjoyment of seeing a basic story told and retold with difference ideas, directions, and interpretations.

  5. Ryan B says:

    Just in case folks haven’t seen it, I will pass this along:

    It’s pretty enjoyable.

  6. James Hanley says:

    I’m going to agree with Vince S. The manichean element of Star Wars is important. The good guys don’t need to be perfect, but they shouldn’t be so morally flawed as to be really morally ambiguous–just people on the right side who aren’t quite as unrealistically perfect as Yoda and Obi Wan.

    But I like your other ideas, and all good and right people agree that the original three movies need to be destroyed and completely revisioned. I remember wondering, after the plotless episode 2, “when does the physical destruction of Anakin begin?” 3/4 of the way through episode 3, I was still wondering, and then Lucas crammed it all in at the end–really, everything that physically scarred Darth Vader (except the hand), happened all at once?” What wretched storytelling.

    And of course Darth Vader, at no point in his life, ever yelled “yippee!” As a friend of a friend once said, “Now we know how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, but when did Darth Vader become cool?” Lucas’s grave error was in not realizing that Anakin was cool long before he became Darth Vader.

    And he should be the moral linchpin of the story; he should be the morally ambiguous one, the non-manichean figure; one who strives for his version of good, but is somehow misses the mark, and in his struggles to do what he thinks is right becomes ever darker and more tragic. He doesn’t go to the dark side out of petulance, but out of frustration.

  7. Alan Scott says:

    When filming the climax of The Empire Strikes Back, David Prowse (the guy in the Vader Suit) didn’t say “I am your Father”. That was dubbed in later by James Earl Jones.

    Instead, to preserve secrecy, the line was “Obi-Wan killed your father”. I think that would make a much more enjoyable Return of the Jedi–and I’d start my remake there.

  8. Jobe77 says:

    I think a new Star Wars with a new characters would be cool, somewhere else in the timeline. Someone working with Lucas as Kirchner did for Empire would be a must, just for the love of god leave the current movies alone! The last thing we need is a remake of some a-holes idea of what they think the movies should be. Its freaking Star Wars, yes the prequels could have been better but everyone needs to shut up about it! The Star Wars bashing is getting old, find something else to whine about.

    • Kyle Cupp says:

      I’m not bashing Star Wars. I’m rather fond of the movies. Even Revenge of the Sith. But I am an a-hole who thinks he could do better.

      • Jobe77 says:

        You seem like you have good ideas, I think they would be better put to use in an original project, not re-making, re-imagining or re-doing something else, especially something as well known and beloved (for the most part) as Star Wars.

  9. Renee says:

    I guess I’m with James and Vince S on this and it goes back to the question of whether Star Wars is fantasy or sci-fi. I think the extermination of the Jedi was presented horribly in episode 3. But if SW is fantasy it has to happen. Because Luke has to discover a power that he didn’t know he had. A power that most of the world had forgotten about. That character arc is essential to the classic fantasy genre. If Luke and Leia are simply raised to be powerful Jedi, than there is no journey of self discovery for Luke. Although I would love to see a more developed Leia (character-wise people), the way I see the overall story arc is that Luke’s redemption of Anakin isn’t just in the last minutes on the (2nd) death star, it is the entire original trilogy.

    Similarly, the good and bad elements preserve the essential fantasy of Star Wars. You are talking about re-making it as Science Fiction, which could be very interesting, but it would be a different galaxy that is far, far away from the Star Wars galaxy.

  10. Brandon says:

    However one cuts it, the final destruction of the Republic and the near-complete destruction of the Jedi happened on the watch of wise Master Yoda, and I think this has to be a big part of the arc — showing Yoda (and the Jedi generally) as both wise and arrogant. I actually think Lucas had some of the basic elements of this right — remember Mace Windu’s casual remark to Yoda, which the movie never did much with, that implied that the Jedi are having problems with the Force and also are hiding that very important fact from everyone else, or Obi-wan’s casual and not very necessary use of mind control in the bar. There are others, and by adding to them they could easily be built up to a picture in which the Jedi are, with the best intentions, regularly abusing both their position and their power in ways that will eventually bring them down.

    Actually, I think it’s true for the most part that Lucas had all the right elements; he just slathered them over with appallingly bad taste. I once watched all three of the prequels in a row, fastforwarding through the boring parts, and it made a much better story — still some weak points of characterization and plot issues, but if someone had actually had the courage occasionally to say to Lucas, “Look, George, this is an extraordinarily stupid idea,” or “Look, this is an important plot point that needs way more development, even if that means changing things around a bit,” it would all have been much better. The ideas were there — he just really needed an editor.

  11. Serena says:

    Ewoks! You forgot the Ewoks! Don’t tell me your version won’t have a hell-raising band of teddy bears!

  12. Nob Akimoto says:

    So…not to put too fine a point on this…

    But isn’t someone already doing this in a way? The basic storylines of Knights of the Old Republic, then the current MMO SW: The Old Republic have a lot of the ambiguity and shades. The history of the Shan family for example, is very similar to what you imagine your reimagined Skywalkers would be.

    Then there’s the (controversial) Star Wars: Legacy sequel, sequel, which has even more elements and has some Skywalkers to boot. (Assuming Fel the Emperor is actually a descendent of Jaina, that gives you the rise and fall angle, too.)

    Maybe it’s worth looking at expanding the universe in that sort of way, but it’s being done. The movies, though? I think they work the way they are. In fact the way the Redemption of Anakin Skywalker and the rise of Luke Skywalker help frame the overall story in the galaxy in a fashion that gives a better sense of what the big deal for the other bits of history are.

    A bit like the basic Lord of the Rings versus the rest of what Tolkien wanted to tell.

  13. James Hanley says:

    The Star Wars movie I’d like to see is “R2D2 and C3PO Are Dead.”

    • Tod Kelly says:

      Oh, is that the one the opens with them flipping a galactic credit standard over and over, with it coming up tails each time?

      (This might well be the most cross-pollinated nerd drill-down post I have ever written.)

      • Burt Likko says:

        R2D2 et C3P0 Sont Morts
        Une pièce en trois actes

        Acte D’un:

        “I say, Artoo, Master Luke will be along any moment now.”

        “[Beep whistle whistle chirp, long falling whistle.]”

        Acte Deux:

        “Absolutely not! I will not engage my auto-destruct function!”

        “[Whistle beep beep whir.]”

        “No! No you shan’t! Artoo, this is contrary to your programming! Have your circuits finally fried?”

        Acte Trois:

        “[Piteous whistle.]”

        [R2-D2 actives internal memory wipe, shut off.]

        “Oh. Oh my. Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh my! Wake up Artoo! Wake up! … Master Luke! Master Luke, are you ever going to come? Oh, dear. I suppose there is no other choice then. Thank you, brave Artoo, for showing me the way.”

        [C-3PO shuts off.]


  14. i am jaba says:

    same script, just use newer technology imo XD

  15. MikeSchilling says:

    His tale would be like the Dude’s rug, tying the whole room together.

    Before Fate, Destiny, and Karma combined to pee on him.