A Star Wars Prequel Reboot — Episode I Synopsis

If I could have my druthers, Star Wars Episodes I-III would be rebooted by a competent team and have some writers with serious storytelling chops. The results could look something like this.



OPENING CRAWL: The galaxy has been torn asunder. For 15 years the Clone Wars have raged between the Galactic Republic and the Outer Rim Federation. Countless worlds have been devastated by the Federation’s merciless armies of clone soldiers. Even the famed Jedi Knights, guardians of peace and justice, have suffered grievous losses as they have sought to defend the Galactic Republic from the campaigns and machinations of Federation warlords and their renegade Dark Jedi. In a daring bid turn the tide of the war in the Republic’s favor, Supreme Chancellor Velorum has dispatched his most loyal supporter, Senator Sheev Palpatine, on a secret diplomatic mission to the Hutts.

Palpatine arrives in orbit above the backwater world of Tatooine, where the clandestine summit with representatives of the various Hutt clans is to take place. He is traveling in the Star of Alderaan, a top-of-the-line warship commanded by the Crown Prince Bail Organa of Alderaan. Upon dropping out of hyperspace and entering orbit, Palpatine departs for the port of Mos Espa in a shuttlecraft, accompanied by Prince Organa; the ship’s first officer, Jedi Colonel Obi-Wan Kenobi; and a small security and diplomatic detail. However, the mission is betrayed, and shortly after the shuttle launches, a quartet of Federation warships drop out of hyperspace and surprise the Star of Alderaan. Palpatine and his company can only listen in horror as the ship desperately reports sabotage to its shields and weapons systems before being destroyed. Colonel Kenobi takes the shuttle controls in a desperate evasive action, but it is no use when a bomb planted in the shuttle’s engines detonates and sends the small craft crashing into a fiery wreck in the remote Tatooine desert.

The survivors of the crash, Senator Palpatine, Prince Organa, Colonel Kenobi, and protocol droid designated C-3PO, are rescued by a moisture farmer named Shmi Skywalker. Palpatine explains the importance of their mission and the absolute necessity of his getting to Nal Hutta to go forward with the negotiations with the Hutts. Shmi says that her children Anakin and Beru own a spice freighter that is in port and looking for work; they might be able to smuggle Palpatine and company off of Tatooine without being detected by Federation agents. Colonel Kenobi insists that it is too dangerous to go to Nar Shaddaa, and that they should instead attempt to return to Coruscant and bring news of the traitor who sold out the mission, but Palpatine and Prince Organa override him.

The group flies to Mos Eisley in the Skywalker family airspeeder. Once in Mos Eisley they make their way to Calmun’s Cantina, where they meet Anakin and Beru Skywalker and their childhood friend Owen Lars. Owen is the first mate and mechanic of the Dune Trader, and does not want to get involved in the diplomatic mission, but gives into Beru and Anakin’s repeated entreaties and reminders about their need for work. On the way to Docking Bay 94, the party is ambushed by a squad of Federation agents and local mercenaries, and Prince Organa and Kenobi engage in a furious battle while the others make a dash to the Dune Trader. After blasting off and swooping in to recover Organa and Kenobi, the Dune Trader is pursued in the air by a squadron of fighters and gunships. Anakin shows off his uncanny flying abilities by skillfully juking and evading the faster and more maneuverable pursuit craft all the way to hyperspace, while Kenobi and Beru man the turret guns and destroy a number of their attackers.

On route to Nar Shaddaa, Kenobi expresses his amazement at Anakin’s piloting skills and asks if the young man was ever tested by the Jedi Order. Anakin says no, the Jedi recruitment teams rarely come to Tatooine. Kenobi senses that the Force is strong in him, and offers to bring Anakin back to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant when this is all said and done. Anakin seems interested, but Owen convinces him that it would be a fool’s errand, and one more than likely to get him killed, so he declines.

The Dune Trader arrives at Nar Shaddaa without further incident. Kenobi refuses to let Palpatine make contact with the Hutts himself, and after the attack in Mos Eisley, Organa backs him up. Palpatine points out that Prince Organa is just as likely to be recognized as Palpatine himself, and that the Hutts have a long-standing distrust of the Jedi, so Kenobi cannot seek them out alone. Anakin volunteers to make contact with the Hutts, since he’s a nobody and already knows his way around the Smuggler’s Moon. Owen once again tries to talk him out of it, but Anakin is insistent. Palpatine gives his consent and Anakin sets out, though Owen refuses to let him go alone and so accompanies him.

After working their way through a series of shady bars and backrooms, Anakin and Owen makes contact with Jarool the Hutt, leader of the pro-Republic clans on Nal Hutta. Jarool greets them warmly, and then expresses his sorrow that he had not made contact sooner, otherwise Jarool might not have accepted the large bribe to turn Palpatine and company over to the Federation. He boasts as well that when the Federation wins the war, they will install Jarool as supreme ruler of Nal Hutta. At that the rest of the party, except for Kenobi and C-3PO (who was knocked offline and left aboard ship), are lead in from a side door in chains. The guards explain to Jarool that Kenobi escaped into the city, but that everyone is on high alert to find and kill the Jedi. Anakin and the other prisoners are led into the cells beneath the palace.

Meanwhile, Kenobi, with the help of the Dune Trader’s astromech droid R2-D2, surveys the palace from hiding and begins devising a plan to free the others and upsetting Jarool the Hutt’s plans. Fortunately, R2-D2 is a smuggler’s droid, and comes equipped with a whole slew of illegal upgrades. R2 is able to hack remotely into the palace surveillance systems and feed a looped video into the display, and Kenobi slips past the guards and cameras and heads for the dungeons. Before he can get there, R2 warns him via communicator that a Federation light cruiser has just landed at the palace, presumably to collect the prisoners.

Kenobi arrives in the dungeons, disables the guards, and frees the prisoners. However, at that moment the security hack is detected and shut down, and the alarm is sounded. While making there way back up through the palace without R2’s guidance, the escapees run smack into the Federation detail sent to collect them, led by a black-cowled figure who draws a crimson lightsaber and engages Kenobi in furious combat. Kenobi shouts at the others to run as he holds off the mysterious attacker. Prince Organa takes the lead, and Palpatine demonstrates his own competency with a blaster rifle, citing his tour of service in the Naboo Defense Forces before launching his political career. In the maze of tunnels and hallways that honeycomb the palace, and the increasingly confusion as more and more of Jarool’s forces attack them, Organa, Owen, and Beru become separated from Anakin and Palpatine and pinned down in an alcove, while the senator and Anakin continue to battle their way towards the exit.

Meanwhile, Kenobi is barely managing to hold his own against his hooded opponent. The Jedi takes the warrior to be one of the Dark Jedi who have signed on with the Federation, but while the Dark Jedi Kenobi has previously faced in battle have fought with reckless rage and aggression, overflowing with the Dark Side, this duelist fights with an implacable determination and a level of skill the likes of which with Kenobi has never before crossed sabers. The duel continues through the corridors of Jarool’s palace until Kenobi and his opponent come upon Organa, Owen, and Beru, who have managed to shoot their way out of their corner. Organa unleashes a burst of auto-fire at the robed duelist, which the figure deflects contemptuously. However, this provides enough distraction for Kenobi to lock sabers and push in close, and then slam a vibroblade into his opponent’s side. The robed figure gasps in shock and pain before Kenobi neatly decapitates him. They leave the body and set out to find Palpatine and Anakin, but Kenobi takes the stranger’s lightsaber with him.

Anakin and Palpatine finally catch sight of the gates and make a break for the exit, but they find themselves cut off and cornered by Jarool’s thugs, who are angry and thirsty for revenge for their fallen comrades. As they level their blasters on the pair, Palpatine snarls in fury and unleashes a lethal spray of Force lightning from his fingertips, killing the guards instantly. Anakin stands by in shock, not knowing what to make of this, and asks if Palpatine is a former Jedi. The senator denies it, saying that he learned how to use the Force from his father, and begs Anakin not to mention any of this to the others. Palpatine promises to explain everything to him at a later time, but that for now, he needed him to remain silent. Anakin hesitatingly agrees, and Palpatine thanks him, reminding him in the process that he does owe Palpatine his life. When Kenobi, Organa, Owen, and Beru arrive, Anakin keeps mum about Palpatine’s Force lightning.

Once back on the Dune Trader, Kenobi has R2-D2 transmit the security recording of Jarool the Hutt boasting of his impeding lordship over Nal Hutta to the other Hutt clans. The Hutts are furious at their betrayal by Jarool and their putative Federation allies, and tell Palpatine they will throw their support behind the Republic. Anakin asks Kenobi if the offer to return to Coruscant still stands, and Kenobi affirms it. Despite Owen’s repeated objections, Anakin decides to pursue his talent with the Force, and the Dune Trader sets off for the galactic capital. Palpatine remains behind to coordinate the war effort with the Hutts, but renews his promise to Anakin to explain what took place at the palace the next time the two of them cross paths. As they lift off from Nar Shaddaa, Kenobi confides to Organa that he does not believe it was just another Dark Jedi that fought, but something more, and Organa points out that there remains the question of the traitor to be solved. Still, the war is perhaps at a turning point, and might now be brought to a close. The good guys won this round, if at a heavy cost.

On these thoughts, the Dune Trader blasts out of Nar Shaddaa’s orbit and enters hyperspace, heading for Coruscant.