|Reviews for Revenge of the Sith: The Unauthorized Rewrite|
| NarwhalWarlord chapter 14 . 2/18
I can't even begin to say how fantastic your rewrite was.
Really. This is everything fanfiction should be. Congratulations.
| Guest chapter 14 . 3/1/2014
It took me a looong time before I was able to write some feedback on the last chapters. They knocked me flat. They're so stark, so depressing... Of course what else did I expect? The structure of this prequel trilogy is it *should* be depressing, it should knock the wind out of you, and this ending really does.
The first warning that these last chapters would be very different is how Anakin just tore through Dooku. No more climaxes here, this is all horrible denoument. The climax, in retrospect, was the fight between Sidious and Yoda, as was appropriate. Now, "The fun was over."
The fight with Dooku had no energy, no rising adrenaline - just regret, disappointment, and a sense of deep stupidity. Which is just how wrongdoing actually feels, afterward.
The sense of waste is so very total: Obi-Wan's, Anakin's, everyone. Having Rune so tired and accepting of being killed really brings it home, since he was a perspective character. Mustafar itself is a good setting for this, so completely desolate. The film's Mustafar was rightly mocked as the lava level of a video game, utterly breaking credulity just when the film was trying to reach a psychological peak - you can't feel for characters surfing on flotsam when in real life they'd be horribly killed by the heat and fumes alone.
This Mustafar was just bleak bleak bleak, the nearby lava a decorative element, the heat and damage coming from the cutting rocks. I like that it's hard to say exactly what forced Vader into the suit: was it the radiation, the heat, the rocks? Probably everything, being overexposed to damage when his epidermis was already in such bad shape... but you also got the sense that encasing him like this wasn't even strictly necessary, it was the Emperor taking advantage of Skywalker being completely psychologically burned out. Anakin accepted the suit.
That's as it should be. Obi-Wan in Episode IV said Vader was _seduced_ by the Dark Side. Not tricked into it. Not forced into the suit in a dueling accident, so that if he'd jumped a little higher it might have been Obi-Wan and not Anakin in the suit. He accepted the suit. It is an outer manifestation of the inner moral failing. "
The concluding chapters do what a conclusion does best: force you to rethink the whole story (in this case all the way back to Phantom Menace) from this other perspective. Until RotS chapter 12, these stories were intensely *fun* to read, especially the parts from the Sith perspective. The Dark Side was seductive. The ending showed that all of it, attractive as it looked at the time - Dooku's pride, Anakin's anger, Sidious's naked amoral glee - was completely hollow. We got a preview with the deaths of Ventress, Grievous, Maul, but these were not so total; the momentum of the story kept going. "Now they were sweeping up the stage, re-tuning their strings. The fun was over. Time to govern."
Ideas from the novels are deployed thoughtfully. The movie doesn't show why Obi-Wan doesn't deliver a coup de grace. One of the books suggests that this was Obi-Wan beginning to fall into the Dark Side a little himself, via despair, and this comes out much more clearly the way it's plotted here with Anakin begging to die. And especially with this contrast: that Yoda had the mercy to end Grievous's life.
As for the suiting-up itself, it was actually one of the better scenes in the movies, right up to the "Noooo!" but this is better. Colder. Duller. No need to actually show him in the suit at all, much less that awful awful imagery of him the Emperor Tarkin looking at a skeleton Death Star. A movie can make you feel smart or act like it thinks you're stupid; Lucas apparently seems to be worrying we didn't know that Vader would wear a suit and the Empire would build a Death Star. Simply saying "We're ready to begin, Lord Vader" works so much better. It suggests.
Red Letter Media observed there are two ways to tell a story about a giant total war. One is to focus on the big picture, tell an epic. The other is to make it a character study. Lucas opted for the latter but didn't know how to show a character, so making everything dependent on Anakin falls flat. Here, Anakin's complete emptying out - the burnt-out cinders after the fire, the "empty house" - tells the character study of how war, rash decisions, anger and a lack of accompanying mercy completely drains everything human in a man.
And then the heartbreaking epilogue to reinforce that message again, with its borrowing from Ozymandias. How much better would it be if Dooku could just let Assajj be free, do this one decent thing? But we know he hasn't, just as we know it's completely pointless; that Dooku in himself realised in his last moments what a joke it was, how he'd have been better off not fighting so hard and loving a little more when he could.
I think this rewrite of the prequels might have begun as an attempt just to show how the plot of the prequels could have worked well with remarkably few adjustments when in the hands of an adult. But it morphed into something that puts the prequels back in the same *moral universe* as the originals. It's funny, I don't often think in moral terms, generally suspicious of the things, but so often people ask "what makes Star Wars so great?" and get it terribly wrong - they think stuff like "it's a Western in disguise" or "it's a samurai movie" or "it's a kid's movie". Lucas himself seems not to have understood what went right the first time around. And this makes it clear: it was the moral framework of the films. The Rebellion stood for humanity (in the wide sense of being humane, that certainly includes aliens), kindness, warmth, love... the Empire is all that is cold, heartless, machine-like, "twisted and evil". That made it worth watching and rewatching. Without that moral dimension, the Force might as well be midichlorians, Anakin may well have become Vader after losing a video game battle.
The Force after all isn't real. The impetus to turn the targeting computer off and trust your better feelings is, maybe, on some level real. So the latter makes us care.
Part of that reorientation of the prequels is now it's a story about nearly complete failure, which means the failure of the Jedi too. The point is driven home over and over that the Jedi really failed, "traded peace for stoicism". "A million, billion slaves crying out to the deaf and the heartless." The implication of course is that the spark just barely survives, to blossom in Luke and Leia whose existence now owes itself to a moral act of Obi-Wan's (going off the plan for once in his life and prioritising the children over following Yoda's orders and facing Anakin) - we never see the new republic or the new jedi after the empire, but the impression is that they will have traded stoicism for love. Palpatine, who called Luke's faith in his friends a weakness, turns out to have been wrong. One imagines the new Jedi marrying and having families, less centrally controlled, more alive and organic even if that has risks of its own.
The best symbol of all, I think, has been the lightsaber as a symbol of failure. "This is all I was" is Obi-Wan's line, "How did it happen?" Dooku muses on Yoda's regrets over lightsabers. Anakin's lightsaber is broken, "shorting out the blade in a puff of evanescent bluish gas." Ironically it makes a good criticism of the movie prequels too - it's so wrong for Obi-Wan to treat the lightsaber as a Jedi's "life", as Red Letter Media points out; it's so mistaken to whip it out at every opportunity. The utter moral climax of the original series is when Luke throws his lightsaber aside. That's the first big victory in the film, the second is Vader standing up to the Emperor. Somewhere between the originals and the prequels Lucas seems to have lost track of that and bought into the simpler explanation that "lightsabers are cool" - which, overexposed like that, they weren't.
It really makes me enjoy the originals more, these rewritten prequels, which I think is one of the best things you can say about the prequel. In this new story Luke throwing aside his lightsaber carries even more meaning. It is no longer all he is, even though he starts out as hotheaded as his father ever was. Love - Obi-Wan's, Leia's, Han's, his own, ultimately even his father's - is what got him past the insanity of hatred... barely.
Well, and so: bravo! Veriform's front page said at some point that he was thinking of another set of prequels at a complete departure from the movies (instead of the small strategic departures in this rewrite), to restore the moral compass of the originals. I'd sure enjoy reading it, but I don't think it's actually necessary: I think you already wrestled this material into a real continuity. This is, from my perspective at least, the canon; no further rewrite needed.
I hope we see more fanfiction on this account. Maybe after they make Star Wars sequels you can rewrite those... or maybe you could anticipate them and write them right now?
| DarkShura chapter 14 . 1/14/2014
Great story! Thank you for writing.
| Flaming Man of Iron chapter 14 . 12/19/2013
Wow. Again, this is a seriously amazing story and so much more emotionally impacting than the movies. Great, absolutely fantastic job. No criticism is warrented IMO, unless someone has a PhD in English lit in star wars.
| pronker chapter 13 . 11/27/2013
Very effective imagery and I liked the sense that Anakin knows that Palpatine did not deem him worthy, in his compromised state, to greet him in the medical bay. How will he search for his children, I wonder, and how will Obi-Wan navigate so grievously injured himself? Your prose highlights the visuals we all have from seeing the film, and make them darker, if possible.
| pronker chapter 12 . 11/27/2013
/a small-hearted clerk/ Well, nobody can be harder on himself than Obi-Wan; good phrasing, in a sad, fast-paced chapter.
| His Majesty the Emperor chapter 14 . 11/25/2013
That was simply beautiful. It leaves a great deal open to interpretation. What will happen next? I wonder if you will continue someday. It was a great read either way and I am incredibly glad that you wrote this masterpiece. Thank you very much.
| Jt 45 chapter 13 . 11/22/2013
Wow, that was fast work updating. Very fast! I really love this chapter. So intense and so much better than what Lucas gave us in ROTS. I'm guessing that there's one only one, maybe two or three chapters left now? Her's hoping you can wrap it up by Christmas!
| Nangijala chapter 12 . 11/22/2013
This is the best story I've read in a very long time!
| His Majesty the Emperor chapter 12 . 11/21/2013
You portray Obi-Wan's guilt in such an exquisite manner. I always felt bad for him in the films. I was surprised slightly at just how quickly Dooku was killed off considering the large role he played in this series of yours, but I found it understandable. Padme's death was also well done. You have done such a magnificent job with the relationship between Anakin and Padme. It wasn't a very healthy relationship, but at the same time it is clear that they both cared for one another at one point. In other words, the relationship as you depict it was complex and interesting. Which is more than I can say for Episode II.
I enjoyed Palpatine's POV as he describes the funeral in such a detached manner. It is very clinical and cold. You can practically hear the contempt in his voice. He really is the epitome of evil in that scene, able to seem sorrowful for Padme's passing to Anakin while simultaneously being completely devoid of all empathy in actuality.
It would seem that you are setting up a situation whereby Obi-Wan will meet up with what is left of the Confederacy. It would seem that Rune still has a part to play in this tale. I doubt that he will last long though.
All the while I wonder, if and how and when you will put Anakin into the Darth Vader suit. Assuming that you still do of course. I am sure that it will be suitably dark and epic.
The scene with Yoda being swallowed up by the swamp was also well done. One wonders if he has surrendered to despair or if he has a long term plan in place? The same question could be asked of Obi-Wan. I doubt that either two would just let the Order die like that.
I look forward to what comes next. Bring on the Empire! Update this wonderful story soon.
| pronker chapter 11 . 10/27/2013
Jango is even more tragic than the other characters; he ought to be the one going insane rather than Anakin, but you've got him filled with purpose, a neat writerly accomplishment. I'm enjoying the machinations of Dooku, mourn the passing of Yoda and am on the edge of my seat for this story.
| His Majesty the Emperor chapter 11 . 10/25/2013
The tension just seems to build and build with each chapter. I feel that we are on the precipice of the confrontation, and I have little doubt in my mind that the end result will be anything but epic. It seems as if the Darkside has already driven Anakin mad, and it seems Padme is close behind him. Odd that Dooku and Palpatine should more or less retain their senses (a few eccentricities not withstanding) while it seems as if the former two are cracking badly. I suppose a lack of training and acclimation would be the answer. I assume that Obi-Wan will rescue the children while Dooku and Anakin have it out. One wonders where Palpatine is during all of this.
As always the prose and the selection of vocabulary is nothing short of awe inspiring in both subtlety and sheer beauty.
I look forward to what comes next. I am sure it will leave me speechless. Update soon good sir.
| Rick Dagless chapter 10 . 10/21/2013
Ahh, I do enjoy Chapter 10. I'd been wondering for some time how it was going to go, making my own guesses in advance. It seemed to me there was an easy part, a hard part, and a surprising bit.
The "easy" part was the style of the fight itself - easy in the sense that just about anything would be an improvement on the original. The Red Letter Media review is so good at taking this apart: for Yoda and the Emperor light sabers are barely more than toys, they should be progressed far beyond them. In the original series every fight revealed so much about the characters; in the prequels... well, Plinkett shows this great shot of Lucas saying "We're finally going to see Yoda go at it with a lightsaber, which, you know, everybody's been waiting to see", and the nameless guy next to him looking horrified but too afraid to contradict the boss.
So the "easy" part went well: we feel who Yoda and Sidious are in this story. The taunting really works. The flames, the darkness, the little island of calm. The one bit of guilt, the little flaw exposed in "Upon myself, this sin I take" which the Emperor knows just how to find and crack open.
The "hard" part I just couldn't guess how you'd go at was the plotting. How does the Emperor win, yet Yoda survive to train Luke? The prequels hand-waved it: we have no idea why Yoda and Obi-Wan give up after barely losing (and in Obi-Wan's case winning!) a lightsaber duel; it's totally inconsistent with what we know of them, not to mention with the moral underpinning of the originals. I was trying to imagine some kind of, I don't know, Force Sickness, something where Yoda couldn't even get close to him again.
The simpler, more effective way: just have Sidious kill Yoda outright.
Of course that raises a consistency question with Episode V. I'm not so worried about little inconsistencies: if a story is good we forgive details like Vader saying "Sister! You have a twin sister!" when he should have said "Sister! Then Shmi is alive!" - just like we forgive Obi-Wan's terrible "certain point of view" and a certain regrettable snog. But how is Yoda alive to train Luke? Is there a Yoda junior? Is it the ghost of Yoda? But that doesn't fit him rummaging in Luke's food or making Luke lift him.
Well, we'll have to read on (more on that in a sec). My guessing guess is there's something of a Darth Sion effect: that Yoda is so wounded that he's just barely able to keep himself together, and soon only the fastness of Dagobah, rich with the Living Force, can sustain him. Which adds another layer of poignancy to his death in Episode VI, in more ways than one he's no longer able to sustain his form.
What came to me as a complete surprise is how the story *felt*. This might be the most atmospheric chapter I've read so far. All the earlier times, even as the Force has been an ocean, a fire, a raging current, it's still interplayed with human will and human personalities. But in this conflict between its two greatest masters, followed by the unfolding drama of Anakin and Jango, Dooku and Padme, we feel it differently. They really do feel like raindrops in a storm, punctuation in a wild argument the Force is having with itself.
I can't wait to see where it leads. So many possibilities.
And so... can I just mention... how happy I'd be to see Chapters 11 and 12? That's all I want for Christmas. Thanks!
| calvinocious chapter 10 . 10/1/2013
I really like this trilogy. It's a nice take on a different way the story could have gone, and in general it's way better than what George Lucas wrote. That said, I still don't think it *quite* fits with the original trilogy; I can't help reading it as just an AU, rather than as a replacement for the prequel movie trilogy.
A few concerns:
There seems to be some disagreement between time spans between installments. The beginning of AotC mentions four years since TPM, but elsewhere there is a reference to a ten year gap (as it is in the movies), and in RotS Padme thinks about Anakin's fifteen-year Jedi training. I wrote this off as a simple mistake, it's nothing that breaks the story, just something that should be addressed if you revise/edit.
The violence and gore is...a bit much. I realize this is your domain and prerogative, and that some of the EU novels feature similar content, and this is just my personal nitpick that sort of breaks my suspension of disbelief. The films had their share of violence and darkness, it just wasn't so heavy. I just have a hard time reconciling all the blood from your story with the relative lack of it in the original trilogy.
And I have just a couple of story complaints. For the most part, this is brilliantly constructed, characters and motivations are greatly and sensibly explored, and everything makes sense. The only two exceptions are the children, Qui-Gon and Shmi, and the Obi-Wan/Anakin relationship.
In Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader learns from probing Luke's mind that he has a sister. Previously, he was unaware. In this story, Anakin is well aware of the twins, which makes it clash with the OT canon. Again, this isn't a huge thing, but it does pull me out of the story a bit just because of the contradiction. I will give you props in that your take on the children is better-thought-out than that of the prequels (where Vader just assumed they died with Padme in her hokey "lost the will to live" death scene).
I also don't get a strong impression that Obi-Wan and Anakin are good friends. In ANH, Obi-Wan tells Luke about his father, and one of the few things he mentions (in a very heartfelt, regretful manner) is that Anakin was a good friend. This is a point on which the prequel trilogy massively failed. While your characterization of Anakin is WAY better, there's still not much exploration of this alleged friendship. Anakin and Obi-Wan rarely even share "screen time" in these stories.
Anyway, those are my critiques. Keep up the great work, basically if I didn't mention anything here it means that I loved it...which covers a LOT of things in your trilogy. I look forward to the conclusion.
| His Majesty the Emperor chapter 10 . 9/5/2013
Beautiful. Sheer, unadulterated beauty. I really am just flabbergasted by just how epic this really is. If the upcoming sequel trilogy is half as good as this then the franchise will be better than ever.
" A high, whining note built in the Supreme Chancellor's ear as he wrapped himself in the frayed veils and rotting vestments of the Dark Side." Where did you come up with this? It's absolutely gorgeous.
The battle between Yoda and Sidious really goes to show the differences between Light and Dark, not only in substance but in style as well. The Darkside loves to show off. Lightning, telekinesis, the mad laughter, it is all done to excess in order to stroke the ego of the vain. It is all style, no substance. In contrast the Light is all substance but little style. Both in Canon and in this own story the Jedi use the bare minimum amount of Force in order to get the job done. I've heard many people wonder why they don't just simply use the Force in certain situations. Like on Mustafar. Why doesn't Obi-Wan just Force-push Anakin into the lava? Because it isn't the Jedi way to be so excessively brutal. You show that very well in the duel between Sidious and Yoda.
Here is a question for you. Do you plan on making your own Sequel Trilogy? You could mail it to J.J. Abrams and chances are he'd look at his own draft and say, "screw this, lets get this Veriform guy on as a writer." Another question is, would you consider rewriting the Original Trilogy? Frankly, this trilogy is a lot darker than 4-6 ever were. There is nothing wrong with that, but it seems that after such an epic war story the original trilogy is a little lighter in contrast. Its all good though.
I look forward to the confrontation between Dooku, Padme and Anakin. Wonder what Obi-Wan is up to in the meanwhile. Update soon good sir, this story is as awesome as ever!