I've been thinking of this and I have it: it's all the fault of the age of Anakin in TPM and so the knock on effect for AOTC. If Anakin had only been 12 or better 14: First of all TPM would have been light years better, and so the effect of the basher fans on AOTC would have been blunted. Yippee! If he was 14, the gap between TPM and AOTC could have been shorter - 5 years? So,his romance with Padme would not have had the age credibility gap And the time away from his mother without so much as an interstellar phone call would likewise not have strained credibility so much Obi Wan Kenobi would not come over as such an apprentice (=jerk) Anakin would not have jumped from brat to whiner And what has Sidious been playing at for a decade anyway? The Clone Army would either have to have been incubated quicker or the Sifo-Dyas subplot predate Palpatine's Chancellorship - so what?