In the context of the Saga, was there an opportunity to better utilise Episode 1?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by jp-30, Feb 18, 2003.

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  1. jp-30 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2000
    star 9
    I need to be careful here not to present this as an anti-Phantom Menace thread.

    I am not anti-Phantom Menace, but I wonder if Episode 1 could have been better utilised to set up the rest of the prequel trilogy, and indeed the Original Trilogy.

    While Phantom Menace is a perfectly fine "Standalone" story, little of what happens in it has any bearing on the future saga films.

    The main villian, Darth Maul, while scary, is killed and neither he, nor his legacy, carry over to the next film(s).

    There is much to-do about a taxation blockade, which is all rather trivial in the big scheme of things.

    In my opinion, the only thing of consequence that happens is that Obi-Wan, Anakin & Padme meet. And of course the droids & Palpatine are introduced.

    Knowing how much has to be compressed and resolved in AOTC and Episode 3, I wonder if TPM should have been set during 2 different times. The first half being the character introductions and a compressed version of the TPM that was released, and the second half set years later reintroduce Padme & Anakin and set things up for AOTC.

    Like I said, I have no issues with TPM as a movie, but in the context of the saga, I do have a feeling that too little actually happened in Episode 1 outside of the perfunctionary character introductions.

    Anyone care to agree or disagree? :)
  2. Darth_Banal Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2002
    star 6
    It's hard to judge the whole saga (esp the PT) without having seen all 6 movies.

    BUT a couple of other reasons TPM is important IMHO:

    1) I like the fact it shows Palpatine/Sidious subtly manipulating the Senate and events years before he becomes the Emperor. Shows how powerful the dark side is, and he's not just a Johnny-come-lately.

    2) The emotional connection with Anakin is greater since we've seen him as a young boy with humble beginnings. It also mirrors Luke's growing up on Tatooine.

    3) Qui-Gon's part in the saga will be seen in a different light after Ep3.
  3. IG_88a Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2002
    star 4
    As with any story, the first few chapters are there to introduce the characters, there would be no point racing through the character introductions and development parts of the story, as this would not translate well. Would you rather GL show you ani, padme and Obi Wan, say these are the characters, and then jump straight into action that in the end wouldn't further the story?
  4. jp-30 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2000
    star 9
    > As with any story, the first few chapters are there to introduce the characters, there would be no point racing through the character introductions and development parts of the story, as this would not translate well. Would you rather GL show you ani, padme and Obi Wan, say these are the characters, and then jump straight into action that in the end wouldn't further the story?

    No. Certainly not. Then again, how much of the action in TPM "furthers the story"? Also, we are actually familiar with a number of the major characters prior to the release of Episode 1 - namely Yoda, Obi-Wan, Palpatine, and to a certain extent Anakin.

    Of course this opens up the whole "retrospective correct viewing order debate", which is something I hope not to get into here.

    Would it have made more sense to introduce Dooku in Ep 1? Upon further consideration I think it is perhaps the lack of consequence of Darth Maul's appearance in Episode 1 that seems to me to be a missed opportunity to better set up the later prequels.

  5. dehrian Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 1999
    star 6
    I believe TPM did a good job of introducing the themes and establishing the politics of the films. On the other hand, I feel that some of the characters could have been handled better.

    For instance, I really don't think that Padme should have been a Queen in TPM; or, that she should not have been a Senator in AOTC. I think it's a bit confusing for some people, and is an unnecessary confusion. Had GL just picked one and gone with it, I feel things would have worked better for her character in the long run.

    But I do find it interesting seeing how the Senate worked (or didn't), knowing how it is ultimately going to be dissolved in the future during ANH. In fact, watching ANH now, I almost wish we could see that scene wherein the Senate is informed that they're now all unemployed.
  6. DamonD Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 2002
    star 6
    This is definitely a valid question.
    But in my mind, being able to see Anakin Skywalker throughout his life, from child to young man to human wreckage to Darth Vader and back to Anakin again, is the most important thing.

    And TPM did that for me, while also introducing other elements, such as letting us see Palpatine grab the Chancellorship of the Galactic Senate, the first meeting of Obi-Wan and Anakin and so on.
  7. Bubba_the_Genius Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2002
    star 4
    First, I think the Battle of Naboo is imporant in its apparent insignificance. To make a historical comparison: if a saga about World War II had begun with the invasion of Poland, we would have missed the key events of Hitler's rise to Chancellor of Germany, his aggressive moves for power, and Europe's attempts to appease him.

    A proper place to start the epic saga would be the burning of the Reichstag: at first glance, the event seems disconcerting, but minor compared to a legitimate act of war. But it sets up everything else.

    Likewise, with Episode I covering such a minor event as a trade blockade, we're able to see how Palpatine created the very crises he used to move from an unassuming senator from a minor star system to unquestioned Emperor.

    While splitting the movie into two different stories -- an introduction, followed by the start of the Clone Wars -- would have made Episode II less dense, it would have been an unprecedented move in the Saga. Flashbacks, great leaps of time, voice-overs: none of these have historically had a place in the Saga.


    And dehrian, certainly having Padme serve as both queen and senator is a bit confusing, but no more confusing than her daughter being both a princess and senator.
  8. dehrian Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 1999
    star 6
    Ah, but there are two things about that: she was both at the same time, and little was made of her being a Senator. She didn't give up one to become the other between films. She was always "a member of the Imperial Senate" and a Princess. And the Imperial Senate thing was quickly dropped as the Senate was dissolved.
  9. JKBurtola Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 4, 2003
    star 4
    TPM for me did what it was suppose to do. And I liked how it was done (though I do understand why some would disagree with me on that :) ).

    Its a heavily exposited movie but very necessarily done so IMHO. We get to see the characters which will shape the story of the next 3 to ultimately 6 movies.

    It also introduces to the very beginnings of things which will envelope in the next two films (and of the course the 3 already done).
    Things that stand out:
    Anakins attachment to Shmi.
    Qui-Gon's "Greed can be a powerful ally" comment (remember what Dooku has done in AOTC? Gathers many greedy allies for a separatist movement).
    Obi-Wan taking on Anakin
    Palpatine's ascention to Chancellor and his promise to make the Republic better ;)
    Anakins crush on Padme

    And thats actually just a few of the elements that have been expanded on so far.

    Plus the film does (believe it or not) leave us with questions for the next film/s.
    How does the Republic do under Palpatine's stewardship?
    What next for Padme and Jar Jar?
    How will Obi-Wan deal with Anakin's training?
    What will happen to Anakin?
    Plus the questions of our own from the knowledge of the other 3 films.

    I think once EP3 is done and we have the whole saga to view TPM maybe seen differently, it may sem a little detached from whats going on in AOTC but its actually befitting that AOTC has such a different feeling with it especially when you're considering the "How does the Republic do under Palpatine's stewardship?" question.

    Anyway I don't think TPM could have done anymore than it did.
  10. IG_88a Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2002
    star 4
    Actually one question i can't wait to see answered.
    Does Anakin become a Jedi Knight before turning, or does he make the turn as a padawan?
  11. Darth_Dagsy Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2000
    star 6
    I quite like TPMs place in the Saga.

    We see Anakin with his humble beginnings. A very good parallel to Luke in ANH.

    We also get the feel for how Palpatine came to power. His planning and his manipulation. This is great background for RotJ, and his comments on the DS2.

    TPM also sets up Obi Wan, and shows the beginning of his relationship with Anakin....that we can also compare with Luke.

    I've heard people saying that TPM should have been AotC....that the whole discovery of Anakin should have been left out. But I cant agree. I think that we need to see the humble beginnings. We need to see Anakins strained relationship with the Jedi. We need to see how Padme starts to corrupt him. If we just dive into AotC, without the TPM backstory, then there are too many questions that arise, and people just wont know anything properly.

    I dont think the '2 different timeframes' would work in SW. The "10 years later" subtitle just doesnt cut it.

    Dooku? How could he really be introduced in TPM? He could be a nameless person on the Council, perhaps, or maybe have a conversation with Qui Gon. But he isnt really relevant to the story...it would be a distraction.

    Unless you are talking about having Dooku as the Sith Lord? In which case, it would be Dooku and Sidious all the way through the PT. If thats the case, its hard to have many Jedi/Sith fights....because someones really gotta die in these fights.
  12. V-Darthavich-Lenin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 12, 2002
    star 1
    I think it will be hard to really say how well episode 1 was utilized until after we've seen episode 3. I really like TPM, especially after seeing ATOC, but I have a feeling that III will not show some of the things I was hoping to see when I first found out that the PT was going to be made. Before TPM came out for some reason I thought that episode 2 would probably end with a fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin with Obi-wan winning and the audiance (if they didn't know the story of the OT) wondering the fate of Anakin because he had fallen into a pit or lava or whatever. Then I hoped that episode 3 would be Vader in suit the whole time hunting down the Jedi and maybe even a rematch with Obi-wan. With in this time frame it would have been possible (with the twins being born close to the end of episode 2) for Leia to be old enough to remeber her mom and for Padme to die at some point in episode 3. Well of course after ATOC it's not going to happen that way. So for me if episode 3 shows enough of what I hope to see (with in the confindes of the way the stiry has now been set up to unfold) then I will say that TPM was utilized well (Like I said I still think it's a great movie and I agree with what everyone said about the things that we see in TPM being important). But if episode 3 leaves something to be desired (and with only 5 minutes of the voice of JEJ and it mainly being a personal story the chance is there that it might) then I will be forced to say that episode 1 could have been used better. I know GL only was going to make 3 new movies but if episode 3 seems like it ends everything too quick then I will think that TPM should have been to the PT what the Hobbit is to LOTR. But regardless I still think the first 2 PT movies are great and I'm sure episode 3 will be great too.
  13. homeless_jedi Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 16, 2002
    star 4
    The phantom menace shows where anakin came from..that should be enough..to go beyond all the films.. therefore making it a very important film.
  14. jp-30 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2000
    star 9
    > The phantom menace shows where anakin came from..that should be enough..to go beyond all the films.. therefore making it a very important film.

    Well, Luke was introduced as an 18-20 year old character in ANH, and I don't think the story suffered for it.

    I don't know we needed to see Anakin as a 10 year old kid to better understand Vader.

    Answer me this - would it have been better if Anakin was portrayed as a late teen in TPM (paralleling our introduction to Luke), and was closer in age, or slightly older than, Padme?

    Did he have to be a child? I think TPM may have been more "credible" if Anakin was older, and I doubt it would have really altered the balance and dynamic of the rest of the Prequel Trilogy in the scheme of the Saga. And if it did alter it, it would probably be for the better.

    Let's face it, we all thought Vader was older during ROTJ before the PT gave us a reference frame. What's his age whe he dies on the Death Star, 45 or something? :confused:


    Edit: Claification / grammar
  15. Ternian Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2000
    star 4
    The main villian, Darth Maul, while scary, is killed and neither he, nor his legacy, carry over to the next film(s).

    I never like Darth Maul or the way his character was presented. After watching AotC, I can't believe that GL didn't put Count Dooku onto the Jedi Council. Dooku, storywise, is so much stronger than Maul, it's a shame he isn't in TPM to beef things up.

    There is much to-do about a taxation blockade, which is all rather trivial in the big scheme of things.

    I disagree with this. The whole taxtaion issue is extremely important in setting up the idea that the Trade Guilds are getting sick of the Republic.

    However, I don't think it was very well explained. GL should have made clear that the Republic is crumbling under it's own financial weight and that the taxes are needed; that the Trade Federation wants to use the Republic, but will not pay for it's upkeep, preferring to garner more profits for themselves.

    He also failed to set up the commerce guilds power in the Senate to sway votes. I would have loved to see Shu Mai requesting an investigation in the invasion rather than Malastare.

    All this is important in setting up the reasons for the Confederacy in AotC.

    I also feel WHAT the treaty was about wasn't clearly explained enough.

    In my opinion, the only thing of consequence that happens is that Obi-Wan, Anakin & Padme meet. And of course the droids & Palpatine are introduced.

    Anakin and Padme...GL totally forgot about them. After watching the scenes of the Naberries in AotC, I wonder why GL didn't have Padme and Anakin bond with a common cause on the starship; Padme's detained parents, Anakin leaving his mother; both issues which rear their heads in AotC. Argh!

    I also would have liked to seen Anakin personally protect the Padme after being seperated from the rest of the Naboo guards - something that secures some type of reasonable bond between the two, so that Anakin has a reason to remember her by in AotC.

    As for Obi-Wan, I think he was too anti-QuiGon/Anakin training in TPM. It just made him seem to hate Anakin in AotC.
  16. Bob0_Fett Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 28, 2002
    star 1
    I believe that Episode I would be better suited to being "The Hobbit" of Star Wars. Setting-up what is to come. PLEASE VISIT MY NEW THREAD!!! MY GRADE DEPENDS ON HAVING DIVERSE SOURCES!!!
  17. qui-gon-kim Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 19, 2001
    star 4
    But I do find it interesting seeing how the Senate worked (or didn't), knowing how it is ultimately going to be dissolved in the future during ANH. In fact, watching ANH now, I almost wish we could see that scene wherein the Senate is informed that they're now all unemployed.

    I have a feeling we will see Palpatine dissolve the Senate in the archival edition of ANH.

    Answer me this - would it have been better if Anakin was portrayed as a late teen in TPM (paralleling our introduction to Luke), and was closer in age, or slightly older than, Padme?

    Did he have to be a child? I think TPM may have been more "credible" if Anakin was older, and I doubt it would have really altered the balance and dynamic of the rest of the Prequel Trilogy in the scheme of the Saga. And if it did alter it, it would probably be for the better.


    The reason why Anakin is 10 in TPM is so that the experience of his being seperated from his mother would be emphasized as an important turing point in shaping his life. If Anakin was a teen when he left his mom, it would not have been as traumatic. One look at Shmi's death scene in AOTC makes me glad we saw Anakin as a kid in TPM.
  18. Ternian Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2000
    star 4
    Answer me this - would it have been better if Anakin was portrayed as a late teen in TPM (paralleling our introduction to Luke), and was closer in age, or slightly older than, Padme?

    His age was fine. The problem is that there is no high-bonding factor behind Padme and Anakin for the relationship to be plausible in AotC.

    Why is Anakin still thinking of a girl he only met once? - ten years later?

  19. jp-30 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2000
    star 9
    > Why is Anakin still thinking of a girl he only met once? - ten years later?

    Because she's the "first" girl he met? And I guess as a jedi in training, he never got to meet many others? He could certainly not hit on any of the female jedi, due to those crazy no-love rules. So she might be the only girl he's really met in 10 years.

    Yeah, I know. Bit of a stretch...

  20. Sara_Kenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2000
    star 7
    I feel alot could have been done to better TPM. Anakin being so young in the film; I can see the reasons why. But I think Padme suffered greatly for it. Her whole back story was a waste of time, by the time we reached Ep 2. By having her change from a Queen to a Senator, it was like meeting a whole new character for the first time. The same with Anakin really. We had to get used to a huge change with him by him being this young man, from the little boy we seen in part one. It was alot to deal with for fans. I think they should have had them closer in age, and GL should have had it in his head in TPM, what exactly he was going to do with Padme's character. The scenes with Queen Jamilla could have been axed in Aotc to tell more about her family. I think it would have been more simple to care about her then. When never really got to know anything about her, and the first two films are finished already. I guess it's from what view point you look at things.

    The whole pod race was something else that never connected with the rest of the saga, yet took up a huge amount of film time that could have been spent learning more about the Jedi council, the sith, the Jedi Order, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Padme, Anakin being the chosen one that happens to have no father...All these great story plots were just left floating up in the air in favor of special effects.

    I liked TPM very much, but I was also left with a great sense of disappointment. It could have been much better.
  21. dehrian Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 1999
    star 6
    I do think one thing GL could have done better with TPM is to have written all three prequels prior to filming TPM. For instance, Dooku is a fairly important character, yet he's not even mentioned in TPM. I don't believe he needed to be shown, but like Harry Lime in The Third Man, I believe he should have been spoken of.

    I think that having all three laid out in a specific manner would have helped the storytelling process immensely.
  22. Vanthorne_OX Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 11, 2002
    star 3
    dehrian wrote: "I don't believe he needed to be shown, but like Harry Lime in The Third Man, I believe he should have been spoken of."

    Good catch. Remember though, Dooku is mentioned and talked about in AOTC before seeing him, not to the extent of Harry Lime in The Third Man, but good enough concerning Dooku's role in AOTC. Having Dooku in TPM would have been nice, but for whatever reasons we can speculate he's not. He's still mysterious at first in AOTC without needing TPM's help. Again it would be nice, but such is not so. I await Episode III before matters like this can truly be resolved in the sense that we can say, "yes this would have been better this way" or "no it is great how it is".

    Sara_Kenobi, I invite you to check out a thread in TPM forum that proposes more relevance to the pod race. It's more than just a nifty action sequence. You can find it here.

    I think Qui-Gon's character embodies the need for the Jedi Order to loosen up some. It's own policies are choking it up. Certainly some of Qui-Gon's actions were questionable, but ultimately he had the right ideas. Why is this important for the rest of the saga? We know that the Jedi Order crumbles. TPM helps show why. And Qui-Gon is not wasted. When I see ROTJ, and a new Jedi, Luke, polished in skill and newfound wisdom, I see Qui-Gon. And it's not just the green saber - rebirth I might add. It's new life. The Jedi have indeed returned. There's going to be new rules, and Luke is the one who will forefront them. This makes me wish for a sequel trilogy. I still have my fingers crossed.

    Another theme TPM sets up is symbiosis. This vibrates throughout the saga. Father and son. Light side and dark side. Empire and Rebellion. People of Naboo and the Gungans. Outer Rim and Inner Core of systems. These are just a few examples.

    TPM also embodies old Obi-Wan's "before the dark times" memories. Before full darkness we see the light, in order to appreciate it more.

    We also see how Obi-Wan makes a name for himself by defeating Darth Maul and subsequently given charge of tutoring the Chosen One.

    Well these are my thoughts for now, gotta go check on my laundry.
  23. Ternian Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2000
    star 4
    Her whole back story was a waste of time, by the time we reached Ep 2.

    I loved Padme's story in AotC; its a shame that GL cut most of it out. I actually would have prefered more of the Trade Federation's and Jedi's history in TPM rather than Padme's.

    It works perfectly well having it in EpII.

    Anakin's cockiness should have been explained in TPM.

    The scenes with Queen Jamilla could have been axed in Aotc to tell more about her family.

    Again, I actually liked this scene - the original version being the best.

    If there were any scenes to be axed, I would have axed most of the scenes on Tatooine. There was overkill on a theme there.
  24. Garoth Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 12, 2002
    For me, biggest problem in PT so far has been the time gap between EP1 and EP2. But I uderstand the reason for this gap, but the jump from EP1 to EP2 could have been smoother. The characters should not have been so differnt.

    One thing that I have been thinking lately is the characters Qui-Gon Jinn and Count Dooku. Jinn slightly rebellous and get killed at the end of EP1. Then we get to the EP2, where we have Jinn's former master, more rebellous one. Could this have been handled differently? Like replace them with one character. So that Obi-wan master leaves the Jedi at the end of TPM rather than gets killed.

    OK, this is something that I had in mind. I'll call this new character also Qui-Gon (the better name of those two). He could be slightly older than Qui-Gon was in TPM, but this is not essential. But he should not be so humble, but rather something like Chris Lee was. Then his charecter should be established as a political negotiator, that would be the reason why the Jedi sent him to negotiate with the Neimodians.

    (Because of his traits as a negotiator, he is also capable of forging an alliance like CIS when he gets rogue in EP2.)

    Obi-wan character would be a litte different too. He could be the one who cares about all lifeforms, and Jinn is the one who wonder why Obi-wan want's to take seemingly useless peolple like Jar Jar and Anakin with him. This could also establish Jinn as slightly colder man. (After all, he will start the war against Republic in the long run.)

    I would have preferred that it would have been Qui-Gon who stays at the Naboo cruiser when they get to Tatooine, and Obi-wan goes there and find's Anakin. It was beacuse of Qui-Gon character that there never was eny good character development between Obi and Anakin. But What if padawan Obi-wan would have been in favour of training Anakin and Qui-Gon would have been against him?

    The changes this far have kept Obi-wan much more in focus storywise, so we could see his promotion to Jedi Knight when our charters get to Coruscant. During the Coruscant sequence we could now establish the fact that Qui-Gon has strong feeling about the Senate beeing disfunctionate. Maeby he was a lifetime friend of Valorum's and he sees Valorum's fall as a very ill sign of the state of political situation in the Republic. And then we could add the fact that Qui-Gon is against the idea of Anakin being the Chosen One and is stunned that the Jedi are even considering this option. He tell's to Obi-wan the fact that he is thinking about leaving the Jedi and the Republic. He says that he's been thinking this already some time ago, but he didn't want to abandon Obi-wan in the middle of he's training. But, when Obi-wan's training is complete, he now thinks that this might be the time to leave the Republic. He doesn't make his decicion yet.

    The first missoin of Obi-wan as full Jedi Knight is serve as Queen Amidala's guardian when she desides to go back to Naboo. The Council has not yet given Obi-wan the permission to train Anakin, but he still follows Obi-wan to this journey. Qui-Gon remains on Coruscant.

    When we get to Naboo, it is time to see how Obi-wan gan operate without the help of his former master. He is involved in planning the operation of taking ack the Theed palace. At this point, we can already see the first hints of "General Kenobi". The battle of Naboo is the with the exeption of Qui-Gon not being there. He arrives with the Jedi that come to Naboo aftre the battle. Intesad of the funreal scene, we have a scene where Qui-gon informs the rest of the Jedi that he has made his mind: He is leaving. It could be a good idea to establish a fact that Qui-Gon and Nute Gunray have had some offscreen conversation.
    After this there is there are the end celebrations as normal.

    (In fact, this offscreen conversation is the true reason that Jinn leaves the Jedi Order. He learns the fact that the Sith are behind this whole thing and he believes the Jedi are powerless to deal this situation. But his investigatio of the Sith and up like Dooku's did in the real movi
  25. Vanthorne_OX Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 11, 2002
    star 3
    Garoth, wow, what to say...

    All of the alternate ideas I've seen for the prequels, that one I could see myself actually working, and working well. Good job.

    Sure Lucas had a backbone of a plot with which to flesh out when he decided to do the PT, and I do wish he had fleshed it more than it seems. I say seems, because we aren't Lucas' shadow. We don't know how every decision for the PT has been handled. Many are too quick to assume, and usually for the worst. But I don't think it's right to tell a painter how to paint. If he is more comfortable with fleshing certain details out after others, than that's his style and I will respect it.

    So Garoth it's likely that your alternate scenario, at least good parts of it were weighed by Lucas. And for whatever reasons Lucas chose another path. The key is that he knows what he has in store for Episode III, we don't. Be patient my friend. The puzzle pieces will come into place. In the context of TPM, Qui-Gon's role is fine. It's not until you think about the whole saga that the doubt begins to sink in. The same can be said for Dooku's role in AOTC. We didn't see Lando or Yoda in ANH and their impact in ESB and the rest of the saga worked out just fine. Be patient and have faith.
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