[personal profile] tangaroa

It has been in the news that Star Wars 7 is in production, so now is a good time to dump an alternate story idea of mine before the canonical story comes out.

Let me first state that while Star Wars has a large written canon, I have not read much of it and my ideas are not informed by it, so don't expect my ideas to come anywhere close to the canon.

The entry scroll would say such things as:

The Empire is in disarray. Following repeated defeats at the hands of rebel forces, the war entered a stalemate as Imperial forces withdrew to their most easily fortified star systems while granting the rebels sufficient concessions to discourage the restart of hostilities, such as the re-establishment of a powerless Republican Senate.

Numerous outer star systems have declared their independence from the Empire and now war with one another for regional dominance.

Roving groups of abandonded Imperial warships, freed of central command, impose ever-increasing taxes on the trade lanes and undefended planets while threatening the destruction of whoever fails to provide the materials that sustain the fleets.

Some worlds suffer their first famine in centuries as they are unable to produce or import the droids used for farming and food processing.

[...segue...]

The free world of {name needed} has invited a personal envoy of the Emperor to discuss trade negotiations, not knowing that Admiral {name needed}, commander of the home fleet, has secretly formed an alliance for a final attack to destroy the Empire, and may have other plans...

The introduction establishes that we are after the events of Return of the Jedi, but the Empire has not yet fallen. In fact, there is still an Emperor. Wasn't he killed in ROTJ? What is going on?


An Imperial Visit

We see a sizeable war fleet, perhaps 40-60 ships.

The camera slowly pans and zooms to the flagship, which is one of three or four ships of the same model to show that this world does not have the industrial wealth to make a special flagship.

The view switches to inside the bridge / tactical room, where crew are reviewing the details of different makes and models of imperial cruisers. A representative of the civil government plays the audience and notes that the crew appears to be preparing for war, not peace talks.

The admiral responds that preparation for war is why their world has peace, and the Empire has often used peace talks as a pretext for invasion. He gives an overview of the war planning: The Emperor's envoy -- assuming that the Emperor is sending an envoy and not simply invading -- is likely to be accompanied by ships from the {name} fleet, the {name} fleet, or one of the {name} or {name} fleets. At the mention of each fleet name, a new display shows the composition of the fleet, ship outlines and names and models accompanied by the faces of their commanders, while a star map shows the fleet's location. If the Empire is invading, they would probably send an entire fleet, the first or the second, while the latter two would likely be acting in support, securing the systems of the other fleets while they are absent. The home fleet "could put up a good fight, but it would be difficult" and the loss of their world would cause the alliance to fall apart.

One of the warships {give it a name} has a skeleton crew and has been stripped of all volatiles. It will immediately attempt to establish contact with the first Imperial ship that arrives to determine whether the Imperial force is hostile. They will miss its firepower in a fight, but the Admiral will not allow the Imperials the element of surprise.

From outside, we see a small shuttle exit hyperspace. So this movie, like the Phantom Menace, begins with a small shuttlecraft approaching a larger warship to discuss trade negotiations. We directly reference the earlier movie's scene but we play it differently.

Back on the flagship, a subcommander's voice orders all people to battle stations. The admiral tells the civilian that that Imperial envoy's ship has arrived, and he walks to a central location and looks at a screen and asks why is it not on the screen? How strong is its escort? The screen zooms in; the envoy's ship is a small craft with no escort, which in the previous view had been an electronically-painted blip on the screen indistinguishable from the blips for a few distant civilian ships.

This goes against the admiral's expectations. It's a trap. It must be a trap. They are testing us to see what we do. "I had thought the Empire had run out of clever commanders a long time ago." There is probably an Imperial fleet nearby waiting for them to drop their guard or to see if they shoot first.

He decides to delay the envoy.

Probes return from distant scout ships, informing the admiral that three of the Imperial fleets are still at their bases and have not moved. A probe from the fourth system has yet to arrive. Would they attack with that fleet? Their best information is that a quarter of its ships are in maintenance. "Possibly re-arming", installing new weapons system.

The envoy has provided a diplomatic passcode. They know that it is an Imperial passcode but lack the ability to verify it. The admiral gives orders to state that they are attempting to verify it with the Imperial diplomatic communications network. They have no access to the Imperial diplomatic communications network, but it makes a good excuse to pass time.

We learn that the the envoy has expressed a wish to speak with the admiral personally before continuing to the civil representatives.

After the delay, the envoy boards the admiral's ship.

{Somehow}, we learn the envoy is the Emperor himself!

The Admiral is shocked. "Confirm that! Does the Emperor have a clone? If this is the Emperor himself, we can destroy the Empire in an instant!" He is both excited at the prospect and worried that he might be wrong.

The civilian "must protest in the strongest terms". The admiral's reaction? "You may protest." We see that the civilian is alone, surrounded by military officers loyal to the admiral.

One of the subofficers says "the {so-and-so race} tell us that the Emperor is a god who cannot be defeated in combat. They say that they know this from trying."

The admiral states that he does not believe in such nonsense, evoking the original movie's line from the skeptical Imperial officer. Besides, "What I am considering is less of a battle and more of a straightforward murder."

In the hangar bay, the captain of the guard looks skeptically at his orders and hands his pad to a guard or maintenance worker. "Confirm these orders. I don't want a war with the Empire to be on my head."

The soldier: "It has the Admiral's authentication."

The captain: "Confirm it in person."

The soldier nods and runs off screen.

After the orders are confirmed, the captain of the guard informs the "diplomatic representative of the Empire", as their official statement will not call him Emperor, that "we are honored by your presence and the admiral has agreed to your request for a personal meeting."

As the shuttle's door begins to open, a large gun mounted on the corner ceiling quickly turns to fire on the shuttle and an unseen Force immediately wrenches the gun out of its socket and throws it across the hangar before it can do so. A hangar guard takes up a defensive position behind the wreckage.

The captain orders the assembled guards to fire "when you can see him." The scene waits a few seconds and then we see the guards fire. The shuttlecraft interior is too dark to see the Emperor, but we see a lightsaber reflecting blasts that enter the open doorway.

One by one, a few soldiers are lifted a few inches off the ground, and then dropped. This is harmless but the experience is quite frightening to the affected soldier and whoever sees it. After the third person, the soldiers have stopped firing.

The Emperor steps out of the shuttle. "Are you done?" He begins walking to the exit to the ship's interior.

The captain looks around and gives a suicidal order. "Open the doors!"

A crewman starts to run towards the controls and is immediately thrown aside by the Force.

Emperor: "I was hoping to speak to {the admiral} before he tried to kill me."

As the Emperor uses the Force to unlock the door, with his back to the crew, he says "You will not." The guard captain raises his sidearm to the Emperor's back, his hand shaking, and then he lowers it.


So what just happened?

In the previous reveal, we see that the Emperor is played by Mark Hamill. He is none other than Luke Skywalker.

The Rebels actually had won the war and taken over the Empire through subversion after the death of the last Emperor, and they found it necessary to maintain the Empire's structures to maintain galactic peace. The current Rebels are rebelling against the old Rebels.

The movie would use as many of the old actors as possible.

Characters

Luke became the reluctant Emperor because the other Rebels chose him when they decided to retain the title, because he was the last Jedi Knight and he was humble enough to do little with his title.

Back on Coruscant, Luke has a bunch of puppet-alien advisors from the ranks of the rebels. They give conflicting advice and generally act as stereotypical Star Trek (yes, Trek) aspects of human attitudes. One of the advisors is the same species as Yoda except he is a fat greedy corrupt SOB.

Luke spent a small amount of time (2 years?) studying the origins of the Sith at a Sith temple on some Sith planet. For some time the Force was balanced within him, but he has slowly started to lean towards the Dark Side.

Leia is now a Senator representing the survivors of Alderaan, which was allowed to keep its Senate seat as an apology for blowing up the planet. She is opposed to the institution of the Empire and is a vocal voice against many Imperial policies. Luke has taught Leia the ways of the Force and she is now a passable Jedi, though not as powerful as Luke.

Leia is also married to Han Solo.

Leia probably has children by now. Luke does not, intending that the title of Emperor die with him.

Colonel Han Solo commands an Imperial warship where he practices a catch-and-release policy with smugglers, to the consternation of his junior officers.

The Food Plotline

One day Han Solo's ship pulls in one of the usual failed smugglers to find the ship carrying nothing but food, even after tearing it apart to find all the hidden compartments. He decides to find out what is going on at the destination.

As that plotline advances, we find it is an independent world that abandoned the Empire. An advisor says "they're not our responsibility anymore." Luke thinks that helping them could pull them back into the Empire, and maybe some of their neighbours. Luke's advisors agree, but convince him that sending food could depress farming productivity further by making it not worth the farmer's while to farm, and to instead allocate them droid parts and manufacturing tools to get their farm equipment working again. Another advisor says "who do we allocate it from?", making the point that this decision will cost somebody else.

Since it was Solo's concern, Luke tasks him to deliver the goods. Leia convinces Solo that the people on that planet need food now because they are starving now. Solo halts some of the food transports going to Coruscant and sends a fleet of smugglers with seized food to the starving planet. However, that will only last a few of their cities a few days. This angers Luke's advisors and becomes a political scandal, but Luke trusts his friend.

Somebody identifies an undefended agricultural planet. "Their productivity is down" but they are still a net exporter and are finishing up a harvest season. However, there is a pirate fleet in the way. Solo decides to solve two problems at once.

The pirates are an old Imperial fleet that is better armed than Solo's ship. Solo invites the pirates to return to the Empire. The pirates are angry; the Empire abandoned them, etc.

One of the pirates holds one of Solo's junior officers hostage at gunpoint. The pirate has an artificial heart. Leia can use the Force to stop it and kill him. Solo tells her to do this, but she refuses. The pirate shoots and kills the officer. Leia kills him in anger, and later feels guilty about doing it. Solo says she should be guilty about not doing it earlier. The officer was a good man and the pirate wasn't.

{PROBLEM: Leia had no problem killing people in the earlier Star Wars, and the good Jedi killed people left and right. This plot point is very out of character.}

Solo and the ex-pirates head to the agricultural world. The world's negotiator angrily says that they already paid, but this confusion is quickly cleared up. Solo convinces them to lift as much non-perishable food into space as they can as quickly as they can and hires every transport. The Empire is paying.

They take the shortest route to the starving planet, which goes through neutral territory. They talk their way across after running into a paniced neutral fleet that was hastily thrown together.

"If we were hostile, we would have shot you down already."

Two neutrals have a blockade on each other and neither wants to let the fleet through the border.

"we are breaking the blockade. We have six Star Destroyers. Try to stop us."

Without the pirates, the agricultural world is now undefended. Something must be done to resolve this. I am considering having the pirates accept the representative of the agricultural world as their new admiral, and having the Empire assign the ex-pirates as the official fleet of the sector. It works in Movie Logic, but real people would probably not accept it.

Wait a minute, this sucks!

One Big Problem with this proposal: there is not enough action for this to be a Star Wars movie. There is one brief action scene at the beginning and that is it. The rest of the conflicts are managed through negotiation, which while realistic, is too boring for Star Wars.

The food plot needs to be reduced to a subplot that is shown alongside a more conventional combat plot involving Luke and several new characters. We also need a third, long-term plot to create unfinished business for the next movie. For example, an analysis of trade trends and material movements may uncover three Death Stars being constructed in an out-of-the-way corner of the galaxy.

Stuff that every Star Wars movie must have, that this plan is missing:

  • A lightsaber duel
  • A chase scene
  • Explicit good versus explicit evil
  • Spacecraft shooting laser cannons
  • A rescue. Rescuing a planet doesn't count.

Background

New mythology: the Force rebalances when power strays too far to the Light or the Dark. The Jedi were destroyed because power favored the Light, so the Force provided a strong Dark power, the Emperor and Darth Vader. When this brought too much power to the Dark, the Force provided a balancing Light power: Luke has done things with little training and no potential that the Jedi of old could not do.

At least, that's Luke's theory.

Apex

One of the final scenes:

Leia angrily confronts Luke about reviving the Dark Side.

Leia: Are you to restore the order of the Sith after all they have done?

Luke: The Force already has restored the Sith Order. I merely guide it.

Leia: No! (she draws her lightsaber, but she is clearly unwilling to use it on him.)

Luke: (calmly) No.

(Leia withdraws.)

Leia: And I suppose you have chosen an apprentice?

Luke nods.

Leia walks off, on the verge of tears.

Luke: (quietly) It is you. I could trust no one else with the power of the Dark Side.

The Clone Subplot

An additional sideplot involves the aging clone veterans.

They have been literally trained from birth to be expendable soldiers, to be absolutely loyal to their superiors, and have had their entire lives planned out for them by someone else. They are entirely unprepared for a civilian lifestyle. When the surviving clones were offered their freedom after the rebellion, they could not comprehend what they were being offered. Those who do choose a civilian life have to go to school for many years to learn the most simple things like what money is and how to acquire food when it is not given to them.

Employers have found that the clones make excellent service workers, doing anything they are asked without any regard to their own safety or any sense of self-respect that any other person would have.

Another factor of interest is the clones' predictability and their sameness of behaviour. They were raised from the exact same DNA with the exact same lifestyle and did not have any differing experiences until they went to war on different planets.

In the clone classroom, we would see a room full of gray-haired clones who by all appearances seem to be mature and well-disciplined adults, learning such simple things that the kindergarteners in the audience would already know. With one or two exceptions in a class of one hundred or more, they would all share the same mannerisms and make the same movements at the same time.

A single notable clone could become an important character in future movies. He physically and mentally is no different from any other clone, but somewhere he learned to have initiative and to better himself, and he has risen in prestige to become a guard captain and/or one of Luke's personal bodyguards.

The Lost Jedi Subplot

A potential sideplot involves Leia finding Jedi novices who were trained by a Jedi who survived the Clone Wars and died between movies. They have used their Jedi skills to gain power in order to better direct their world's development and recovery from the war, which is portrayed as a corruption: the locals fear them and they have begun to fall away from the light side. They view Solo's Imperials as a threat and attack. Leia fights a very brief lightsaber battle with three of them at once where she clearly has the upper hand before both sides recognize each other as Jedi.

The Darth-In-A-Can Long-Term Arc

A potential future arc:

In the second movie, Leia again confronts Luke and this time gives him a glancing blow across the head which fries part of his brain. Leia reports to the Senate that they no longer have an Emperor. Feeling upset about the day's events, she leaves early and goes to bed. When she wakes up, she discovers to her horror that the Senate has crowned her Empress.

In the third movie, a repaired Luke is brought back as the Empire's "secret weapon".

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