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PT What if George Lucas went with his original idea of a 12 year old Anakin in TPM?

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by DarthVist, Nov 2, 2019.

  1. DarthVist

    DarthVist Jedi Knight star 1

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    Mar 20, 2019
    How different do you think the movie would've been?

    Hayden Christensen definitely could've passed as a 12 year old Anakin during the time that The Phantom Menace was being filmed since he was 16 years old and looked pretty young around that time.
     
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  2. Kole

    Kole Jedi Knight star 1

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    Jul 3, 2016
    I personally think it would have helped the film, especially if he’d been portrayed as a somewhat moody but ultimately good adolescent who’s angry he’s been a slave his whole life
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
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  3. DarthVist

    DarthVist Jedi Knight star 1

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    Mar 20, 2019
    Having Hayden Christensen as Anakin in the first movie of the prequel trilogy definitely would've helped build Anakin's relationship with Padme a lot better.
     
  4. christophero30

    christophero30 Chosen One star 9

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    May 18, 2017
    better, and no yippies.
     
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  5. PymParticles

    PymParticles Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Oct 1, 2014
    I agree with both of you. I also think it would’ve been good to keep the “Anakin beats up Greedo” scene with this slightly older Anakin, to show that darkness and anger was always bubbling under the genuine kindness and warmth.
     
  6. Subtext Mining

    Subtext Mining Jedi Master star 3

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    Apr 27, 2016
    Worse, I think it would've lessened the impact of his story and the bigger story overall.

    I think Lucas hit a sweet spot with Ani's age of 9-10. "Yippies" and all.

    For starters, his arc centers around leaving his mother and how that attachment affected the course of his life. According to Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence; which Lucas was reading while writing the PT, the ages in which the trauma of losing a parent, leaving a parent or divorce have the largest affect are 6-11. This is a precarious time when they begin to understand the implications of death and separation, though still have not began to step into a place of personal independence.

    This particular age also makes things like winning a podrace and destroying a droid control ship that much more spectacular and unexpected. Not to mention at 12 or older he may have been too big to fit in a pod.

    This also gives us 10 years for Anakin to train under Obi-Wan, and a total of 13 in the Jedi Order, making the tragedy of his betrayal and fall due to his inability to control his attachments all the more heartbreaking.

    When I see people complain that Episode I is too kiddy, I feel they are blocking themselves from the consideration that it's one of the best children's films of all time in a lot of ways. As well as missing the appreciation in how it contrasts with the dark & tragic Episode III so effectively, as we see the exuberance, innocence and warmth fade from the Galaxy and Anakin. Only to see it return in Episode VI.

    As far as beating up Greedo, I feel that would've been too heavy-handed. I like how things were handled much more subtly. Plus, scenes we got in AotC such as raising his voice at Zam served this purpose quite well. Having to temper his life-long inner passions with his newer Jedi expectations of conduct.

    I'm not sure I get what y'all mean by Hayden in Episode I helping to better build Anakin's relationship with Padme. Do you mean, because they would merely be closer in age? Considering how Padme had no romantic feelings for Ani in TPM, 5 years is not a big deal. If anything it helps show how much Padme cared more about her feelings for Anakin then society's rules, man!
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
  7. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost star 5

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    Nov 10, 2011
    I don't know, what's the official cut-off age for people who can't stand children in movies? The answer to your question depends on that.
     
  8. I Are The Internets

    I Are The Internets Shelf of Shame Host star 9 VIP - Game Host

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    Nov 20, 2012
    No. I remember writing letters to Lucas demanding that Anakin be an infant that is voiced by Bruce Willis. He never listened to me, and now Star Wars is ruined.
     
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  9. Tython Awakening

    Tython Awakening Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Oct 12, 2017
    I always pictured Anakin using the stories provided by Ben Kenobi and pictured a younger Sebastian Shaw. There was nothing in the original trilogy speaking about Anakin Skywalker as a child. The stories said Anakin was an ace fighter pilot who served in the Clone Wars and was a Jedi before turning to the darkside. I think the ANH novelization includes that Vader became a Dark Lord of the Sith (whatever that means?).
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
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  10. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Hangman Host & 9X Wacky Wed & 5X Who Am I Winner star 10 VIP - Game Winner VIP - Game Host

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    Sep 2, 2012
    Yup: introducing him with:

    Two meters tall. Bipedal. Flowing black robes trailing from the figure and a face forever masked by a functional if bizarre black metal breath screen — a Dark Lord of the Sith was an awesome, threatening shape as it strode through the corridors of the rebel ship.

    Fear followed the footsteps of all the Dark Lords. The cloud of evil which clung tight about this particular one was intense enough to cause hardened Imperial troops to back away, menacing enough to set them muttering nervously among themselves. Once-resolute rebel crew members ceased resisting, broke and ran in panic at the sight of the black armour — armour which, though black as it was, was not nearly as dark as the thoughts drifting through the mind within.
     
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  11. AEHoward33

    AEHoward33 Jedi Master star 4

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    Aug 11, 2019
    I don't see how having a 12 year-old Anakin would change things. The story would still have to jump forward at least 7 to 8 years. And to be honest, I never saw the problem of Anakin being 9 years old to begin with. If the Jedi Council had been reluctant to allow a 9 year-old in the Order, I can imagine them being even more reluctant to allow a 12 year-old Anakin.

    But that is what happened in the Prequel Trilogy. Anakin became an ace fighter pilot and a Jedi before becoming a Sith. I don't see how being introduced as a child when the trilogy began would negate that.
     
  12. Tython Awakening

    Tython Awakening Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Oct 12, 2017
    We were introduced to Anakin Skywalker in the original trilogy. The child version of Anakin in The Phantom Menace overshadowed the expectations built up, that of ace fighter pilot, served in the Clone Wars, and fallen Jedi. Neither Luke nor Leia were introduced as children in A New Hope. Our expectations centered on Anakin as a fighter pilot in adulthood. Somehow the ace fighter pilot and Jedi would fall to the darkside and become the evil machine claiming to be Luke's father....
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
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  13. AEHoward33

    AEHoward33 Jedi Master star 4

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    Aug 11, 2019
    So . . . this was all about expectations?
     
  14. Tython Awakening

    Tython Awakening Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Oct 12, 2017
    We (the audience) have our expectations built up as the saga unfolds. Who was Anakin Skwalker before he became Darth Vader? The small amount of information given in the Original Trilogy paints the picture of an adult ace fighter pilot who served in the clone wars rather than a small child. Therefore, the audience expected Anakin to be introduced using an adult actor in the first prequel film.

    If Lucas had shown Anakin's childhood moments as flashback scenes, they could have supported the adult character we expected.

    The adult portrayal of Anakin was the primary expectation. The portrayal of Anakin as a child was the secondary expectation. The portrayal of Anakin as a child was supporting to Anakin's mistakes in adulthood after he served honorably in the Clone Wars.
     
  15. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost star 5

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    Nov 10, 2011
    Anakin's childhood was central to the story Lucas wanted to tell about why he turned to the dark side. It wasn't some supporting detail that could have been relegated to "flashbacks" (which at this point, it must be noted, were still a stylistic device totally alien to the documentary immediacy of the Star Wars films). Anakin's childhood is the crux of the story. It's where all his issues with attachment ultimately spring from. It's an incredibly important, defining time in his life.

    It may not have fit with your expectations, but Lucas felt it was the best place for the story to go, and many people agree with him. It makes for a much stronger and more meaningful story. Most people don't develop their dark sides based on things that happen to them when they're adults. It usually goes back to what happened to them as children, during their most vulnerable, formative years. Our childhood experiences, more than anything else, are what condition our responses to various stimuli throughout our life.

    From what I'm told, I gather that some people would have preferred a grizzled war veteran who fell to the dark side as a result of loving war too much and being just a little bit too badass for his own good. For my part, I know that I get a much stronger emotional response gazing upon Darth Vader's body burning in that funeral pyre on Endor, knowing that that overwhelming icon of hulking evil was once an innocent and kind-hearted young child who simply missed his mother.

    I feel that a lot of the distaste for the child Anakin (and I'm not saying this is the case for you specifically) comes from the fact that his reason for turning to the dark side is something that is viewed as culturally feminine--he was emotional and sensitive and he pined for his mother. It strikes me that the path some people would seem to prefer, which more or less has to do with Anakin being corrupted by war, has to do with flaws that are viewed as culturally masculine--he was driven to evil through the basic appeal of violence and retributive bloodshed. Of course there are elements of the latter even in Lucas's portrayal of the character, but primarily Anakin is driven to violence not through an intrinsic masculine attraction to its qualities but as a means to satisfying his inner child's need for parental comfort and validation. In this way I think Lucas gets at a much more trenchant insight into the nature of evil than is usually allowed in Hollywood blockbuster productions, but of course it also inspired a predictable avalanche of criticism from certain quarters for purportedly reducing cinema's coolest and most badass villain to a quivering, weeping mama's boy. (I know the derisive "mama's boy" quip in particular has been quite a popular one, which is in large part what leads me to make this analysis.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
  16. Bob Effette

    Bob Effette Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Dec 20, 2015
    Forget 12, I would have preferred the trilogy to have depicted Anakin (with the same actor in each) as around 19, 22 and 25 respectively. I think it would have made for a more coherent trilogy and a more satisfying story. I can't watch TPM, the 10 year old Anakin is annoying as hell.

    To my mind, the prequel trilogy should have been about an affable, if not complicated young hero who turned bad, not bowl-cut Freddy and his whiny adult counterpart.
     
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  17. Deliveranze

    Deliveranze Force Ghost star 6

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    Nov 28, 2015
    This post I can't agree with more. Anakin, and Luke, both really resonate because they don't fit the typical overt-masculine idea of the cool guy who spits one liners and keeps it cool in every situation. I think Anakin being a guy who wears his emotions on his sleeves is cool imo. Makes him feel more like a real person than an archetype.
     
  18. Tython Awakening

    Tython Awakening Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Oct 12, 2017
    One of the biggest problems was matching a child actor to look like Sebastian Shaw. Shaw's appearance created the expectation in ROTJ then the actors selected to play Anakin either were believable or unbelievable. An older actor would have been easier to match.
     
  19. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost star 5

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    Nov 10, 2011
    I find Jake Lloyd's Anakin to be very endearing. I don't understand why he rubs some people the wrong way. He just comes across as a normal, likable kid to me. I have a nine-year-old brother who acts just like him. It's clear to me why Lucas chose him. He delivers his lines like an actual child, not a child actor.

    This is one of the things I like most about Lucas's work. He isn't afraid to portray men as sensitive, anxious, emotional creatures. Even starting with the first Star Wars movie, Luke is the one who complains about everything, talks back to people who know better than him, is insecure a lot of the time, and more often than not has no idea what he's doing, while Leia is the one who is secure in her position, knows what she's doing, confidently puts people in their place, and takes decisive action in uncertain moments. The traditional roles are flipped.

    On that note, it's interesting how Luke gets labeled a whiner while Han gets a free pass despite being just as immature. And again, I think the reason is because Luke is insecure while Han comes across as almost completely secure (regardless of the reality). They're both just as flawed, but Han evinces less overt doubt about himself, and so he's perceived as stronger and more masculine and thus less annoying. It's all about seeming strong rather than weak. A strong jerk is better than a weak whiner.

    And I think this ties in to the problems some people have with children in movies who actually act like children. Children are by nature insecure and vulnerable and emotional. That goes to the heart of what some people don't like to acknowledge in themselves, and so they don't like to see it. They'd rather see big strong men who stoically struggle with big strong manly problems. Whenever tears are shed, if it's absolutely necessary, they should be big strong manly tears. Who wants to see a snot-nosed little kid blubbering over his mommy?

    I've got some pretty heavy news for you. Almost no one back then cared about whether the actor playing nine-year-old Anakin resembled Sebastian Shaw, and even fewer people than that care now. It wasn't a consideration. All due respect to the man, but he was a generic-looking old white dude who was cast to play a role in heavy disfiguring make-up and was only included sans make-up in a couple of shots added to the movie at the last minute, which Lucas probably planned on eventually replacing the moment he started to think about casting the role for the prequels.

    These days the iconic image of Anakin ingrained into the minds of the public is that of Hayden Christensen. Sebastian Shaw doesn't register. Do a Google Image search for "Anakin Skywalker" and see how far down you have to go to find an image of Sebastian Shaw.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
  20. Bob Effette

    Bob Effette Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Dec 20, 2015
    Wow - for real? I thought you were some old bloke tbh lol
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
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  21. Tython Awakening

    Tython Awakening Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Oct 12, 2017
    Could a character's upbringing affect how they respond to certain situations? For his small amount of screen time, I am still a bigger fan of casting Sebastian Shaw as Anakin over the two actors who played him in the Prequels.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
  22. AEHoward33

    AEHoward33 Jedi Master star 4

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    Aug 11, 2019
    I'm sorry, but I still don't see the necessity of starting the trilogy with Anakin around 18-20 years old.

    I think it's more about that person's characteristics than upbringing. I believe that anyone is capable of anything, regardless of upbringing. I think it's all about which emotional buttons are pushed.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
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  23. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

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    Mar 18, 2009
    Agreed with every word.
    Plus, I don't think a 16 year-old could play a believable 12 year-old kid.
    And it would be a huge gamble to cast a 16-y.o. teen and pray that he would be good enough to play Darth Vader when he is 22. Because there would be no option to recast in this case. It's actually safer to cast a kid to play a kid, and then cast a young man who meets the requirements of the more complex role of the older Anakin/Vader.
     
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  24. Tython Awakening

    Tython Awakening Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Oct 12, 2017
    Just to relate my posts to the thread title a little more,

    My ideal Episode I would have introduced Anakin in his 40s. He would have been perceived as honorable and virtually infallible to other Jedi within the order. However, towards the close of the Clone Wars, he falls to the dark side through some unknown temptation involving Palpatine. I wanted to watch Episode I and see no hint that Anakin would turn. Basically, Anakin is introduced as an adult Clone Wars hero who served with Kenobi. In Episode II, there might be some sort of hint of how he might fall.

    Because it is so difficult to match a child to an old actor, Lucas could have better matched an actor in his 40s to Sebastian Shaw. Then Lucas could have worked backwards showing Anakin at progressively younger ages using more than two actors. The introduction to Anakin as played by Jake Lloyd was too jarring.

    I also wanted to see a progressive change to Darth Vader with intermediate costumes. Perhaps other peer Jedi of the Clone Wars also chose to become more machine-like than man? I wanted to see a group of Vaders.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
  25. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost star 5

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    Nov 10, 2011
    Haha, I'm in my late twenties. Don't know if that counts as old.
     
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