PT The Phantom Menace Rough Draft

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by lovelikewinter, Jul 16, 2014.

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  1. lovelikewinter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2014
    star 2
    I recently came across this summery of the rough draft for The Phantom Menace- or The Beginning as it was originally called.

    http://secrethistoryofstarwars.com/thebeginning.html

    It's...better. It seems more mature and much more like Star Wars than what we got. Obi-Wan is the central character and he has an arc and mannerisms that gel more with what the OT told us about him finding Anakin. Jar Jar is less annoying and his racist pigeon English is not there, and in the battle he is actually heroic. Anakin is older and much more active in the plot- his recklessness shows more. In short, a lot of the kiddie crap is not there.

    There are a couple problems like how did Palpatine become Chancellor and stuff, but for only a rough draft is was decent. I am wondering, what happened? Why did Lucas go the other way?
  2. thejeditraitor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2003
    star 4
    lucas changed it just to piss you off apparently.
  3. Bazinga'd Dark Lord of the SWC/PT/ Spinoff Forums

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    Play nice please....
  4. GGrievous Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2005
    star 5
    Profits, merchandise, and appealing to children, of course. I believe we've discussed the original screenplay here before. In the thread, IIRC someone posted this older link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/394542.stm
  5. Rabs Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 2014
    star 4
    If Anakin had been more like the feral kid from The Road Warrior, and Jar Jar hadn't been such a foolish cartoon character, and midi-chlorians hadn't been added, I'd have no serious complaints about TPM. However, even with those complaints I still find TPM an enjoyable film.
  6. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    Lucas changed it as the themes developed and took him in new directions.

    The rough draft -- as it is summarized -- is a good outline, in my opinion, but not quite as quirky or as interesting as the final film. The draft has more of a steady, conservative quality; Lucas is still playing it safe here and not contradicting established lore too much. Some obviously find favour in that approach, but I like the way he opened it up and thickened the soup of his galaxy far, far away.

    Having Obi-Wan as the main Jedi protagonist, for instance, is perfectly fine, in my view, but nowhere near as compelling as splintering Obi-Wan to a side role and letting Qui-Gon come into the foreground. The fatuity of the old Jedi Order is highlighted through Qui-Gon and the warm, instinctual father figure he is. Since criticisms of power structures form an essential part of Lucas' film art, with a commensurate focus on the importance of rebellion and individuality, I'm glad that Lucas worked through his early ideas and expanded Qui-Gon's role; so as to indicate key differences between Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan and the rest of the Jedi Order. This crucial theme is not particularly evident in the summary of the rough draft, in my opinion; and, one assumes, the rough draft itself. Therefore, I like that Lucas sat down and obviously had a bit of a re-think, broadening the scope of his story as he sacrificed some elements but added newer, more provocative ones.

    Jar Jar and Anakin's characters also come across better in the finished film, in my opinion. I like the "wise beyond his years" Anakin of the rough draft -- or, again, how the summary conveys it -- and much like Obi-Wan being the central Jedi figure, there's nothing "wrong" with it, per se. Yet Lucas must have felt that it didn't really need to be there; and he could explore other aspects of Anakin's character instead. Qui-Gon really goes for Anakin because he perceives a certain selflessness there, combined with his aptitude for podracing, even if Anakin doesn't really philosophize his actions so much in the finished film. Maybe Anakin is a little less mature in the final film; but I'm wont to see that as kinda the point. Jar Jar is more restrained in this version; but for want of something better than a circular objection, that doesn't feel like "Jar Jar", to me. I equate it, in a way, with Lucas' early conception that Threepio have the voice and persona of a "used car salesman"; yet Threepio became something different under Anthony Daniels. Like Jar Jar, in essence, he was de-greased and made a little less sure of himself, and he became more of a bumbler. It's more than simply appealing to kids; there's a softening as various characters are made more innocent, vulnerable, and in a way, more human.

    As for accidents, characters being more (or less) active, and what-not, well, I think it's a better fit for the light, slightly scatter-brained, and esoteric side of TPM and Star Wars generally. There are lots of improbable scenarios in all the films, and if nothing else, TPM is an allegory for the clumsiness that seems to ultimately explain human actions a lot more than "conscious" intent: "Oh, I meant to do that". Such delusion, perhaps Lucas is suggesting, is the height of hubris, while a more humble conception of the cosmos and our place within it allows us to see that our thoughts and actions are not entirely our own, and that we are bound ("You're a slave?") to forces and principles far grander and subtler than anything in the realm of human imagination.
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Jul 17, 2014
  7. thejeditraitor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2003
    star 4
    exactly. as i've said before one of the reasons i love the pt is that each film explosively expands the universe of sw. qui-gon is also one of my favorite sw characters.
    Last edited by thejeditraitor, Jul 17, 2014
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  8. DurararaFTW Jedi Master

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    Jul 5, 2014
    star 1
    Yeah, I'd argue that C-3PO/Jar Jar style antics ARE a part of Star Wars. Can't begrudge the PT for at least trying to try their hand at having it's own version of it. Prefer Obi-Wan and Anakin having a longer road to go before becoming the people we know them as too.
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  9. The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2011
    star 4

    I'm not sure how most of the changes can be traced back to blatant commercialism, frankly. At the very most, you can maybe attribute it as the reason for Jar Jar becoming a bit goofier. But at the same time, it's not like that's a smoking gun. If he thought Jar Jar would be more appealing that way, is that a commercial decision, or an artistic one? Jar Jar is supposed to be an appealing, interesting character, after all. There's nothing inherently sinister about that.
  10. lovelikewinter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2014
    star 2
    Lucas thought Jar Jar would be loved but couldn't see that Darth Maul would be extremely popular and killed him off. That says he was out of touch with what people wanted to see. When people make things "for the kids" the quality almost always goes down. Lucasfilm's 1980's efforts focused on providing entertainment for everyone and they worked because each age group got something different out of it. When you purposely alienate the whole for one specific subset, it doesn't work. Hence the older fans who hated Phantom Menace.

    Qui-Gon was decent, but it really should have been Obi-Wan in that role. The Anakin/Obi-Wan friendship was one that suffered in the PT, and it really took the Clone Wars to get it where it should have been in the first place. I have repeatedly stated, Lucas strayed too far from the established backstory and caused no end of problems.
  11. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2001
    star 9
    Lucas was going to kill Maul regardless of how popular he was, because he had a story in mind and wasn't going to deviate it because of the fanboys. As to Qui-gon, every script has major changes from the rough draft outline to the final film. Han was an alien, Obi-wan's ghost fights with Minch, Luke never built a Lightsaber, he just steals his father's to fight him with.
  12. The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2011
    star 4

    You really think Lucas didn't know that the cool-looking villain with a badass double-bladed lightsaber would be extremely popular? Of course he did. Contrary to popular belief, Lucas isn't a literal brain dead idiot.

    He killed him off because he would have served no further purpose in the story. Meanwhile, his death actually did end up serving a purpose in the story. Just because fanboys always want cool characters to live forever and completely dominate the story doesn't mean any other decision is the result of an out-of-touch obsession with marketing to children. If Lucas had catered to the fanboys and ignored his instincts by keeping Maul alive in the movies past his use-by date, starting Anakin off as a brooding young adult, and making Jar Jar's character a safe and uncontroversial one, that would have been crass commercialism.
    Last edited by The_Phantom_Calamari, Jul 18, 2014
  13. redlightning Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 1, 2014
    star 1
    I hate the plot of both the final film version and this rough draft. Too many elements are forgotten from the OT.
  14. The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2011
    star 4

    Like what?
  15. GGrievous Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2005
    star 5
    It could be artistic, but I'm pretty sure that he thought of merchandizing and children as he rewrote Jar Jar. I could've elaborated more in my previous post, but George, per in the Making of TPM book, said that, when he writes, he has to think ahead of time. TPM will not only affect the movie within itself but the next two movies as well (AOTC and ROTS). We all know he likes Jar Jar, and he even later admitted to it, but I personally believe that the backlash against Jar Jar ultimately disallowed George from continuing to use him as a main character. There's always a reason as to why a character was created. George likes toys and he became wealthy because of his original merchandise deal with 20th Century Fox, so it's logical to assume that George had merchandise in his mind as he wrote the prequels. The original generations have grown up, so appealing to new children will prolong the franchise's life.

    It's been a while since I have watched those behind the scenes videos, but I most likely would have to rewatch them again to make a more stronger argument. At some point, George was talking about the idea of Jar Jar and his character.
    Last edited by GGrievous, Jul 19, 2014
  16. redlightning Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 1, 2014
    star 1
    The origin story between of Owen and Anakin as brothers living together during the Clone Wars is pretty clear. I don't think Obi-Wan meant for that to be a lie. The Clone Wars are not occurring during this plot. Anakin would appear to be much older than this version as he should be. He is also a pilot. I would not call driving a pod racer or accidentally destroying the one Trade Federation ship such a thing.

    The entire story of a greedy corporation blockading and then invading a planet is pretty irrelevant to the entire overall story arch. It's just a generic crisis created so that Palpatine could be elected Chancellor. Why he couldn't be that already is not exactly clear.

    Why the royal family of Alderaan is not in this and another generic monarchy on Naboo is is beyond me also.
  17. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    Prequel cynicism from a TFN mod? Say it ain't so.

    The quotation you're probably thinking of is this one -- from page 4 in my copy:

    "In writing Episode I, I spent a lot of the time doing research. I had to develop an entire world. I had to make a lot of decisions about things that would affect the next two movies, as well as this movie. Everything had to be laid out in this script so that the next two scripts would follow as they should. I also had to play this script against the three movies that had already been made, making sure everything was consistent and that I hadn't forgotten anything. There was a tremendous amount of minutiae in these movies that I had to consider."

    Maybe we just see the world in radically different ways, but it sounds to me like Lucas is talking about the nitty-gritty of the larger storyline; and that his remarks have little or nothing to do with marketing or mechandising.

    That article is bunkum -- low-rent satire. The pronouncements issued by "Lucas" in that article do not resemble his style in either tone or content; nor are they faithful to his manner-of-speech or grammar.

    Furthermore, Lucas is on-record as deeming R2-D2 his favourite Star Wars character (his declaration is in the DVD audio commentary for ROTS). Not that there'd be anything wrong with him picking Jar Jar at any point in time; it's simply incorrect to cite that as fact (as the article falsely has its "Lucas" attesting: "He was the best damn character in any of the six movies"). Of course, that doesn't invalidate the idea that Lucas likes Jar Jar. I mean, he created him, so why wouldn't he?

    Non-sequitur. There are always reasons that characters are created. It doesn't mean they automatically collapse to one variable or another.

    Since Lucas has always wanted to appeal to the young and the young-at-heart, it's logical to assume he continued in that vein when making the prequels; and that he left his marketing people and the toy-makers to work out the details.

    Personally, I think it's a horrible conceit that one is expected to "grow up". As the saying goes, everyone gets old, but growing up is optional.

    It would help if you (re)familiarized yourself with basic sources, yes.

    Jar Jar's genesis is complex. At root, Lucas wanted a funny alien sidekick -- and that's the character up on-screen.

    IMO, anyway.
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Jul 19, 2014
  18. Darth Palpadious Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2013
    star 1
    The dialogue is definitely worse. Look at this:

    OBI-WAN: The pallies are on me. You've just saved Jar Jar from certain destruction. We should celebrate. It's a small reward for your kindness.
    ANAKIN: Kindness is a joy. Why would you reward me for that?
    Obi-Wan studies Anakin for a moment.
    OBI-WAN: You have old wisdom for one so young.

    I mean, just look at Anakin's line there! What on Earth?

    You say that a lot of the kiddie crap is not there, but in reality, some of the potential audience is therefore not there either. As someone who was 6 years old when TPM came out and found it to be the best movie I've ever seen, you really should not underestimate the fact that not only did Jar Jar and Anakin pull in a lot of new fans, it also went down very, very well with kids my age - it was a phenomenon. That's important.

    It's all far too serious and ho-hum for me as far as I can see. I really disagree that it's more like Star Wars.
    Last edited by Darth Palpadious, Jul 19, 2014
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  19. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    They're not on Earth. :p

    I like that exchange just fine.

    If you stop and really think about what he's saying, it's got something of the quality of a Buddhist koan, or a Native American homily.

    Rare to find that in a blockbuster movie. Quite Star Warsian. Even if this dialogue later went kaput, it's fairly clear, in my view, that Lucas doesn 't care too much about having all his characters sound contemporary or cool.

    Jar Jar was, and is, very appealing to young children. But some older people like him, too. ;)

    Clearly, Jar Jar and Anakin are part of the package -- they are aspects that help sell the film to kids.

    But they are not the only aspects doing so; nor does that enclose everything about them.

    I agree with you there. The finished film has a more Protean character -- it's richer, has more layers, makes better use of the "Star Wars" name, and is simply a better work of art, in my opinion.
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Jul 19, 2014
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  20. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    See, all the suggestions you gave are just your opinion. I think Kenobi and Lars made the whole dang story about Anakin up. And Owen told Luke a story about his dad to keep him from being curious. Kenobi and Lars lied to Luke about a lot of things.

    And frankly, I find Palp's plotting to become Chancellor by using a current crisis to be one of the best aspects of the story. What would you have Episode One be about then? Two hours of Jedi saber twirling.
    See, you, like me, had assumptions. We thought we knew what the story was. Lucas threw us a curve ball and it pissed us off. Well, that's our problem, not his.
    Last edited by ShaneP, Jul 19, 2014
  21. lovelikewinter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2014
    star 2
    The first episode should have been Obi-Wan finding Anakin and him going off on an "idealistic crusade." I would have preferred that to be the Clone Wars. What we got feels somewhat disconnected from the other two films and feels like a waste. Anakin is recast and Qui-Gon is ignored until the last 5 minutes of ROTS. Obi-Wan is cast aside in PM, which hurt the film.

    Sure kids liked it, but kids were the only ones. It alienated the older viewers for the sake of children so he could sell Jar Jar lollipops and Anakin beach towels. The OT was much more layered. Then Lucas got pissy that he didn't get universal praise for the bad job he did. The re-release of Phantom Menace tanked, because the general public didn't want t see it again. The only reason it was successful was that it was the first Star Wars in 16 years. Had the Phantom Menace been the first film, it would have been the only film.
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  22. redlightning Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 1, 2014
    star 1

    Qui-Gon was a pointless character also. Obi-Wan could have been his role. There was supposed to be a point where he convinces Anakin to go off on an idealistic crusade when they meet.

    The choice of crisis was weak. A whole film about how a random planet and corporation blockaded another planet because it doesn't want to pay higher taxes? It had nothing to do with the overall story arch.

    If TPM was skipped in production, nothing would be harmed by it because it was so irrelevant to the rest of the films. Palpatine could have simply used the Clone Wars to come into office or already been elected under a normal election using his abilities.
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    Last edited by redlightning, Jul 19, 2014
  23. The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2011
    star 4
    It was never clear that Owen and Anakin were brothers living together during the Clone Wars. In fact, ever since the novelization of Return of the Jedi came out, fans were convinced that Owen was Obi-Wan's brother, and were disappointed when Episode II revealed that Owen was, in fact, Anakin's (step)brother.

    And besides, none of what Obi-Wan said about Anakin in that part was a lie. It's all literally true; you don't even have to invoke the "certain point of view" clause. It's just not exactly what you and a lot of other people expected. But that's not a crime.

    Well, I hope it isn't a controversial statement when I say that it isn't George Lucas's fault that you don't consider Anakin literally piloting both a high-speed hover vehicle and an advanced spacecraft as a nine-year-old to be evidence that he's already a great pilot.

    Because it's generally better to show rather than tell. Palpatine manipulating events to become Chancellor is an incredibly important part of the story, whichever way you cut it. Leaving that out would be like leaving out the destruction of the Death Star. I mean, why it couldn't have just already been destroyed is not exactly clear, IMO.

    Maybe because Lucas wanted to expand the universe? Because having Leia hide out as a princess on the very planet where her royal mother is from would be an even dumber plan than putting Luke with his no-name farming relatives on Tatooine? Who knows, really. Why did it have to be Alderaan?

    What you wanted to happen isn't automatically what was supposed to happen. All that was supposed to happen was something that was consistent with Obi-Wan's words in Episode IV. And that's what happened. Obi-Wan said Owen was afraid that Luke would follow Obi-Wan on an idealistic crusade like his father did, rather than stay on the farm. In Episode II, Anakin left the farm specifically because of Obi-Wan, rather than staying with his newly discovered stepfamily with whom he just buried their mutually beloved family member. We don't know that's the way Owen saw things until Episode IV, but that's okay. Owen just isn't a super important character until the very end of Episode III going into Episode IV. There were bigger, more interesting things to focus on other than the fact that Owen is a grumpy and judgmental man.

    Yes, that's generally how wars start. Smaller, petty conflicts between two groups snowball out of control until eventually everyone's involved and people are getting killed. It had everything to do with the overall story arc, which is a parable about how real-world democracies destroy themselves through conflict.


    You could skip any movie in production and just have the next movie paper over the missing plot through some contrivance. So what? There's nothing wrong with how things went down in Episode I. Lucas obviously didn't want the conflict to escalate until the second movie in the trilogy, which is a reasonable pacing decision. And do remember that the conflict in TPM was a direct precursor to the Clone Wars. It wasn't some completely disconnected event.
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  24. thejeditraitor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2003
    star 4
    are you serious? the origin story wasn't clear until gl wrote it and that was the pt we got.
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  25. DurararaFTW Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 5, 2014
    star 1
    Obi-Wan did lie. Owen was not nearly as vocally opposed to the boy who had only been there for two days leaving again because his master was in danger as suggested. I doubt Anakin and Padme consulted him on the issue at all. Owen wouln't know anything about anything. Didn't leave on an idealistic crusade either. His master was n danger, he was the closest Jedi that could help. Also Padme was gonna go anyway.
    Last edited by DurararaFTW, Jul 20, 2014
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