Friday, February 21, 2014

Episode VII: A Real Fake Movie!

A few weeks back on his Scouring Monk blog, Tony Laplume posted his idea for Star Wars Episode VII.  Eventually I got thinking that might be a fun creative writing exercise.  I decided to see what I could come up with.  Obviously it's not going to bear much resemblance to whatever they do put on the screen, but that's not the idea.  The idea was to use my own creativity--or lack thereof.

I decided to take what I consider a fairly realistic approach.  I also decided to incorporate a few parameters:
  • Use the old characters, but sparingly
  • The "Expanded Universe" is no longer canon, but I can cherry pick things from it to use
  • Approach this like a real movie, so we need some action set pieces, particularly a space battle and lightsaber fight
  • Avoid too many cutesy and/or racist characters
  • Finally thanks to the prequels the whole Star Wars series became about Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader.  The prequels detail his fall and the original trilogy his redemption.  What could come after that?  I figured that would have to be repairing what he's destroyed, which would fall to his children.

So here we go with what I tentatively call Episode VII:  Darkness Rises (The little numbers you see throughout are footnotes.)

It's 25 years after the defeat of the Empire and the Republic is back in power.  On the planet Corellia1, 18-year-old Ben Antilles lives a relatively mundane life with his father Wedge2 but like Luke Skywalker he dreams of more.  They have an argument about him joining the Republic fleet or whatever and Ben goes off to mope.

When he comes home the place is shot up and his father is dying on the floor.  Before he dies, Wedge gives his son a hologram disk and urges him to hurry up and get out of there.  But Ben is too late!  He runs headlong into his father's killer, a badass bounty hunter who basically looks like a cross between Boba Fett and Darth Vader3.  There's a chase through the city before Ben narrowly escapes.

Eventually he doubles back to where his father kept his old X-wing fighter from the war.  It has a generic astromech droid that comes with it.  Ben takes off and goes a ways until he has to stop somewhere for fuel4.  While there, he finally has the droid play the message.  On it his father reveals he's not really Ben's father.  It turns out Ben's real name is Ben Skywalker, but when he was young, his mother was killed by an anti-Jedi assassin and so Luke decided to do what Ben Kenobi had done and give the kid away to his old friend to keep safe somewhere out of the way5.  The message says that since by now Wedge must be dead, Ben should go to Coruscant and look up his aunt Leia Organa-Solo, who can help to keep him safe.

Ben ends up landing in a rough neighborhood of Coruscant.  He runs afoul of some of the local wildlife, but is saved by a girl about his age.  She reveals that her name is Jaina Solo6.  Jaina takes Ben to the much nicer neighborhood where her parents retired to after helping to rebuild the Republic.  First they meet C3PO, who's basically the butler these days, who then wakes up Han and Leia.

They talk the whole thing over and Leia tells her nephew he's welcome to stay while they clear things up.  Ben doesn't want to just sit on his ass, but in the end acquiesces--or seems to.  With only 3PO to watch them, Ben and Jaina easily sneak out to do some sleuthing on their own.  They go to the archives or something to try to figure out what happened to Ben's parents.  Apparently after his wife died, Luke decided he needed to go search the galaxy for other potential Jedi to make sure the flame wasn't extinguished if someone got to him.  There's not much solid to go on.  As the kids wander around, they don't realize they're being watched by Darth Fett!

Meanwhile, Han and Leia (mostly Leia) meet with the latest president to enlist the Republic's aid.  The guy promises he'll do everything he can to help them find Wedge's killer and the great Luke Skywalker.  Outside, both Han and Leia are uneasy--something about the guy seems off.  In his office a short time later, the president contacts an unseen superior to give a progress report.  He assures his master all loose ends will be wrapped up soon.

That night Ben awakens from a bad dream.  Jaina tries to comfort him, but then Darth Fett smashes into the place!  With the help of Han, Leia, and Chewie they drive Darth Fett off.  But now they have to hit the road again, so they all pile into the Falcon, which miraculously still works7.

They head to some rocky planet where Lando is running a mining operation.  They enlist Lando's contacts to find some information on who's trying to kill them, but there's nothing.  That night, Ben hears a voice claiming to be his father luring him away from the others.  It's of course a trap by Darth Fett.  Jaina's been following along, so she watches the Fett man take Ben away and then goes to get her parents.

Where they're going isn't much of a secret when an Imperial Star Destroyer shows up in orbit.  Ben is taken aboard while the ship plans to level the planet from orbit to wipe out any loose ends.  The Falcon and whatever local defenses Lando can scrounge together go up to engage the Star Destroyer and its fighters while Jaina is dispatched in a small ship to escape the Star Destroyer's jamming and call for help.  There's some fancy flying involved, but eventually she's able to get out part of a message before her ship is damaged.  Will it be enough?8

Meanwhile, Ben is taken to a cell in the brig to wait to be delivered to the Empire or whoever.  While in there, he hears another voice, this one different than the one that lured him out.  A short time later, the door to his cell is sliced open by a lightsaber!  There's an old guy in a brown robe there who claims he's there to rescue Ben.  Since the other option is to stay in the cell for possible torture, away he goes with the stranger!9

Meanwhile the space battle continues to rage.  While Han and Leia might like to go look for their daughter's ship, there's no opportunity.  On board the Star Destroyer, Ben and the stranger make it to the hangar, but of course Darth Fett is there to meet them!  [Cue "Duel of the Fates"]  The stranger and Darth Fett begin to fight.

The battle is going poorly for the good guys, until help arrives!  Ackbar and a flotilla of Republic ships are there to save the day.  Han and Leia find their daughter, who's none the worse for wear.

Meanwhile, Darth Fett is wearing the stranger down.  He finally gets the stranger down and is poised to strike, but Ben suddenly yanks the stranger's fallen lightsaber off the floor and with his mind uses it to cut off Darth Fett's lightsaber arm.  In the commotion, Ben hurries the stranger into a shuttle to escape.  They manage to get away just before the Star Destroyer goes into lightspeed to escape the Republic ships.

Everyone reunites on the ground and it's then Ben finally learns that the stranger is his father.  It's not a happy reunion at first.  Ben stomps off to be on his own until Jaina talks to him and helps him to understand his father just wanted to protect him from the kind of stuff that just happened.  Eventually Ben goes back to his father and they make up.  Then Luke tells him that he's found some others with Force ability and wants to take Ben back with him to Dagobah so he can learn to be a Jedi.  Ben somewhat reluctantly agrees.

A short time later, back on Coruscant, the president is in talks with his superior.  Things obviously didn't go how they wanted, but it's of no consequence.  Their plans are still on track.  Then we pull back to see the bad guy's superior is a blue-skinned alien with bright red eyes and wearing a white uniform.  That would be Grand Admiral Thrawn if you never read any of the Expanded Universe novels.10

Roll the fake credits!

Hurm, it probably would be better if I could involve characters like Chewie and R2D2 some more, but for the most part I think it achieves my objectives.  Maybe I can get them more involved with Episode VIII, wherein I also reveal that Darth Fett is really Ben's zombified mom, Mara Jade.  "No, I am your mother..."  Nooooo!  That's not true...that's impossible!

Anyway, my ambitions are probably a lot smaller than a movie studio's and obviously influenced by the Timothy Zahn books of the 90s.  Which really if the actors were a little younger I'd wish they just adapted those first three books.  Alas that spaceship has already gone to lightspeed. 

1:  Tatooine is so played out by now
2:  Nod to my brother who's always liked Wedge
3:  How awesome would Boba Fett with a red lightsaber be?!  No disintegrations, just decapitations!
4:  Among other things...
5:  And unlike the prequels he actually changes the kid's last name so any idiot with the equivalent of Google can't find him!
6:  But she doesn't have a twin brother.  There's no room for extraneous characters in my fake movie!
7:  I'd leave it out, but it's tradition.
8:  Duh, it's a movie.
9:  Have you figured out who the stranger is yet?  It's like soooo difficult I know.
10:  This is what I mean by cherry picking the Expanded Universe.  No fake Star Wars sequel of mine would be complete without him!


  1. The only flaw is that only in the screenplay would you be able to hide the stranger's identity. And then there's no real point even then. But this is my favorite of the blog's knockoffs to my original concept (such as it were).

    1. You can easily hide his identity. They hid Darth Sidious's face through the first two prequels, though it was obvious who he really was. Just shoot from behind the president like Dr. Claw in Inspector Gadget.

  2. I wish they'd do the Zahn trilogy as an EU movie thing. They'd make good movies. It would probably take 9 movies, though, to adapt those three books with any justice.

    1. They should do animated movies like DC and Marvel have done for their graphic novels. it'd be a lot easier to get the actors back or replace them that way.

    2. That's actually a really good idea. I suppose it's an issue of resources (for lack of a better word) since they're already working on an animated show.

    3. With Disney's money and outsourcing the animation to Korea instead of using expensive computer animation they could definitely make it happen.

  3. You have thought it out. I think it would be good. Much better than my Weekend at Bernie's idea.

  4. I read the Zahn trilogy, but it's been so long that I've forgotten a lot of details. Nice touch with changing Ben's last name.

    1. Yeah, I've just wondered for years now why it was so hard for the Empire to find Luke when his last name was Skywalker. I mean I don't think Skywalker was like the galactic version of Smith where it would have been that generic. So why didn't Vader or the Emperor ever wonder if he might be related to Anakin?

    2. Lucas has said that Antilles is his version of "Smith" or "Jones." I can only suppose Skywalker went unnoticed because he actually lived in the Lars household. Maybe, they never claimed Luke on their taxes. heh