First things first. The Phantom Menace is gone. The story does very, very little for Anakin’s development and aside from introducing the characters (including obvious keepers Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul) we don’t need it. It’s filler.

Storywise, I think the remade prequels should take place from the middle of Episode II through Episode III. Basically, the Clone Wars cartoon timeline (a timeline that, unfortunately, has to be discarded in favor of live action.) We never see Anakin as a child. We hear about it, he goes back to Tatooine looking for his mother, but it’s a much bigger thing. In fact, let’s start there.

The search for his mother is Anakin’s story arc in the new Episode I. Fade up on Anakin Skywalker, teenage Jedi apprentice, escorting Senator Padme Amidala back to her home planet of Naboo on some kind of mission. Along the way, he reveals to her they met years earlier, and we simultaneously learn Anakin’s backstory while beginning to develop his relationship with his future wife. Qui-Gon is a member of the Jedi Council and he and Obi-Wan Kenobi head out to investigate a mysterious Clone Army. They discover that it was, very obviously, ordered by a Dark Lord. They encounter his apprentice, Darth Maul, and wage an epic battle but it’s no use. Maul gets away. Anakin discovers his mother is dead but wins some kind of major battle, possibly something involving the Hutts and Sandpeople, and we end there. Down ending? Yes, but this isn’t a happy story.

Episode II becomes a full on Clone War adventure with the beginnings of Anakin’s allegiance to Palpatine. The majority of the film would be Jedi armies all over the galaxy, fighting this evil clone army as a distraction. Back on Coruscant, Palpatine’s plot becomes more and more obvious: gain control of the Senate to rule with absolute power. In working the politicians and Palpatine, Anakin and Amidala fall in love and begin to have a relationship, a huge no-no because he’s a Jedi and there’s a war going on. Something happens, she gets hurt and when Anakin confides in Palpatine, his true identity is revealed: The Dark Lord of the Sith and master of the Clone Army. Anakin is forced to fight and defeat Palpatine’s apprentice, Darth Maul, but when Palaptine steps in, Anakin knows what true power is. Feeling hopeless, powerless, and unsure how to help his ailing love, the film ends with him becoming Darth Vader.

Episode III begins with the Clone Wars ending. As the Jedi finally come back to Coruscant they finally piece together the sinister plot. A Sith and his new apprentice control the universe. Anakin and Palpatine begin to systematically destroy the Jedi who start to flee across the Universe to regroup. This gives us time to see how evil Anakin has become and give each Jedi their proper fighting goodbye. In this film we kill Qui-Gon, Mace Windu and the like. Meanwhile, it’s Anakin’s evil that sends Padme off into exile, she has the kids, Anakin tracks her down only to find his old master, Obi-Wan on the planet of Mustafar. Then it pretty much ends like Revenge of the Sith, with Anakin being defeated, Obi-Wan leaving, and Darth Vader becomes more machine than man.

No more Jar Jar Binks, no more young Boba Fett, no more Chewbacca. We don’t know that Anakin built C-3P0, R2-D2 isn’t the savior of the world and yet our characters get to where they need to be for Episode IV: A New Hope. A remade trilogy.

Obviously those are incredibly broad strokes. To actually make these movies you’d need more specific story beats, character arcs, and goals for all the characters, but you get my idea. Consolidate extraneous story while expanding the character development of your core people. Use as much of Lucas’s original vision as possible, but tweak it. Improve on it. It’s the reason remakes were made in the first place.

Yet even as I write this I know this may never happen. Kathleen Kennedy was given the keys to Star Wars because George Lucas trusts her with his vision. Unfortunately, that vision includes Episodes I, II and III. But what’s so exciting about Star Wars at this very moment are the infinite possibilities, this being one of the more radical ideas. The prequel trilogy may never be remade, but crazier things have happened.

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