How The Phantom Menace could have been as good as the original Star Wars

When Star Wars directed by George Lucas came out in 1977, it became a smash hit and a top grosser, leading fans of all ages to want to know more about the film resulting in toys, games and stories about the characters in a franchise known as ‘the Expanded Universe’ and two sequels The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and Return of the Jedi in 1983, both of which Lucas served as producer on

22 years after the original Star Wars film, a new one directed by Lucas, The Phantom Menace set 32 years before the events of the original film, was released, . Despite high expectations, the film received mixed reviews and faced criticism. As a Star Wars fan, The Phantom Menace is my personal favourite as much as the films that we all know so well, but I acknowledge its shortcomings and believe it could have been better. Here are the aspects that could have rekindled the enthusiasm of the original films.

The energy field known as The Force, introduced in the original Star Wars film, should (also) have been explained in The Phantom Menace to emphasize the significance of midi-chlorians—intelligent microscopic life forms responsible for maintaining life and knowledge of the Force—explained to Anakin Skywalker (who would later become Darth Vader) by Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s master. However, since this concept was not introduced in previous films, mentioning it here seemed unnecessary.

– The word ‘lightsaber’ (The traditional weapon of the Jedi) is never used in the film. Instead, it is called ‘laser sword’ once and it should have been called by the name it has always had.

– Yoda’s appearance is not faithful to the way he appeared in the original films (Although that was changed when the film was released on Blu-Ray and during the film’s 3D re-release).

– Some of the original characters are still there including R2D2, C3PO, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Jabba the Hutt, Bib Fortuna, Anakin Skywalker and Darth Sidious better known as the evil Emperor Palpatine (A scene with Greedo was also filmed but was cut and only shown in the film’s deleted scenes). George Lucas could also have brought back the Wookie Chewbacca and created a story for him in the film since this would be before he met Han Solo in the original films although Chewbacca’s people, the Wookies do make a small appearance. The tribe known as the Ewoks should also have been given a minor role in the film though it could be that their homeworld Endor was only known by the time of Return of the Jedi.

– Some (of the) original characters, like R2D2, C3PO, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Jabba the Hutt, Bib Fortuna, Anakin Skywalker, and Darth Sidious (the Emperor Palpatine), are present. George Lucas could have brought back Chewbacca and given him a storyline before meeting Han Solo although Chewbacca’s people, the Wookies do make a small appearance. The tribe known as the Ewoks could have had a minor role, but their homeworld Endor might not have been known until Return of the Jedi.

– Darth Maul, the apprentice of Darth Sidious should have had more screen time with Queen Padme Naberrie Amidala (the mother of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa) and only had three lines throughout the entire movie. He should have had more given that he was a central character in the film.

– Probably Jar-Jar Binks’ clumsiness is what contributed to the negative aspects about the film so making him a non-clumsy character would have been good (at least for him) although his purpose was to provide comic relief but he could have had a serious side to him and only been funny when he needed to be.

– C3PO could have accompanied Queen Amidala’s Party from Tatooine to Coruscant where he could have been refurbished and rebuilt to look like he did in the original films.

– The Naboo pilots’ dogfights against the Trade Federation droids were covered less extensively than those dogfights between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire in the original films, implying a lack of interest in engaging the droid ships rather than confronting them, which should not have been the case and the Naboo pilots should have engaged the droid starfighters much like the Rebel pilots in their X-Wings engaged the Imperial Starfighters and the stormtroopers that flew them.

– In the first Star Wars film (which is the fourth chapter, but first to be produced), Luke Skywalker follows his destiny to become a Jedi after his aunt and uncle are murdered by stormtroopers seeking R2D2, while in The Phantom Menace, Anakin Skywalker chooses to train as a Jedi without such a tragedy happening to his mother. Including such a familial tragedy could have foreshadowed his future as Darth Vader.


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