Before we begin, it’s important to note that this particular piece is a followup to our rewrite of The Phantom Menace. If you have not read it, it is a good idea to do so because some of the story points continue on in this one.
So, let’s get back to the scenario.
What if I was a story executive at Lucasfilm who was charged with editing the script of Attack of the Clones before it went into production?
Well, wonder no more! This is my take on Star Wars: Episode II!
Five years after the events of The Phantom Menace, Senator Padme Amidala is on her way to Coruscant to defeat the Military Conscription Act. She sees the bill as an antagonistic move against the newly formed Confederacy of Independent Systems, but she knows that her work is an uphill fight.
To make matters worse, her decoy and several of her friends die when her transport ship explodes.
As in the original movie, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker are assigned to protect her and investigate the situation. However, we have to make a few tweaks to eliminate the unnecessary stupidity in the first act.
- Anakin and Obi-Wan agree that they need to investigate and protect their friend.
- Anakin doesn’t act like a creepy beta gentlesir when he talks to Padme.
- The Jedi keep Padme away from the windows, which keeps her away from snipers and poisonous bugs.
However, Jango Fett and his shape-shifting patsy use a rocket launcher to blow through the wall of the apartment. Anakin and Obi-Wan chase after the patsy, but she dies by Jango’s hand. It’s very similar to the original story, but the protagonists are much smarter.
In response to the crisis, Obi-Wan and Anakin set off on separate missions. Obi-Wan is told to investigate the assassination attempts, whereas Anakin must guard Padme from any further attempts on her life. The two friends say goodbye and go their separate ways.
Much like The Phantom Menace, one of the big problems with Attack of the Clones is that the momentum dies in the second act. In the case of Padme and Anakin, let’s liven things up by imagining that they are under the relentless pursuit of assassins, but they don’t know that all of the killers were hired or mind-tricked by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine!
In between the series of attacks, we see the beginnings of their romantic attraction, but it doesn’t seem like two deck chairs are being smashed together. Instead, their time together consists of one part flirty banter and another part ruthless bickering, which may remind us of something…
One problem arises when we consider some of the exposition from earlier in the film. Anakin’s mother, Shmi, is still on Coruscant, so how are we going to show off the beginning of Anakin’s fall?
It’s simple. We use his knowledge of the Dark Side and his boiling anger over the constant pursuit.
In the original film, Anakin goes from zero to genocidal maniac in ten seconds flat, which undermines the point of being seduced by the Dark Side and throws any credible relationship with Padme out of the window. Instead, why not have him tap into the Dark Side to do a good thing with an awful tool?
Anakin wants to keep Padme safe because he is falling in love with her. And besides, what’s the harm? He’s using something that makes his life so much easier.
Hey, that brings something else to mind!
It’s important to remember that most of Attack of the Clones hinges on a conspiracy, so let’s play with that!
While Padme and Anakin fend off one attack after the other, Obi-Wan investigates the origin of the assassination attempts. The toxic dart leads him to Kamino, but he doesn’t have to go to Yoda or the Jedi kiddies because he is an incredibly perceptive man. He simply gets into his Jedi Starfighter (Only $19.99 at your local Toy Store!) and flies away.
Once he lands on Kamino, the ostrich aliens tell him that the Clone Army is for the Republic. Obi-Wan accepts the explanation, but suspects that Jango Fett is up to something from the moment that he meets him. He asks the white ostrich people where the clones are supposed to be deployed, and they tell him that they are bound for Geonosis, a Separatist stronghold.
Obi-Wan dukes it out with Jango on Kamino and above Geonosis. After he lands on the planet, he discovers that the Separatists are going to use the clones to launch an attack, warns the Jedi, and is captured by Count Dooku.
Anakin and Padme attempt a rescue, but end up in prison alongside Obi-Wan.
In response to the rapidly escalating crisis, the Senate passes a Declaration of War, the Military Conscription Act, and a law that suspends elections for the duration of the conflict. These three actions allow the Senate to maintain some semblance of democracy, but effectively cement Palpatine’s hold on power. In a grand and eloquent speech, Palpatine orders the deployment of several divisions to Geonosis.
The Final Battle.
As in the original script, the Jedi get there first.
Much of the battle goes the same way. Mace Windu and the Jedi rescue Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Padme from the monsters and stand their ground. On this go around, the Republic’s volunteer army saves their lives. It may seem silly, but consider the rationale behind this change for a moment.
In a final battle, it’s important for the audience to develop an emotional connection with the characters. An army of disposable clones undermines this principle by introducing faceless people with laser cannons. We can’t connect with them because they don’t have a real personality. They are only there to fight and die.
On the other hand, an army of people adds a ton of weight to the turmoil. These soldiers think that they are fighting for democracy, but they don’t know that Chancellor Palpatine is pulling all of the strings. None of our heroes know the truth either. That plot point has to be saved for the next movie!
To close off the film, our heroes confront Dooku in a similar fashion, but Yoda never pulls out a lightsaber. The Force is his ally, which is enough to beat almost every foe. However, Dooku forces a draw and flees to Coruscant, where he plans the next phases of the Clone Wars with our Emperor-in-waiting.
Meanwhile, Obi-Wan reflects on the entire conspiracy. He concludes that the Separatists were responsible for the attempts on Padme’s life, but he cannot shake the feeling that something is off. The actions and reactions of both sides are a little too convenient. Nothing happens by accident, so he suspects that there is a traitor in the Republic.
In our last shot, Anakin and Padme marry one another, and the ceremony actually matters. They fell in love over time and care about each other for a number of reasons, so it all fits into place.
After all, Anakin didn’t bitch anyone out, make arguments for fascism, express disdain for everyone around him, or commit mass murder in this episode of the saga.
He’s a stand-up guy, but his fall is coming.
And that is Star Wars: Episode II.
Next up: We’ll tackle Revenge of the Sith!
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