Brow Beat

What If Star Wars: Episode II Was … Good?

What if, for instance, we didn’t have to stare at these two quite so much?

© Lucasfilm Ltd.

Few films inspire as much ire as George Lucas’ prequel trilogy of Star Wars films. (For a definitive indictment of the prequel trilogy’s abundant failings, Red Letter Media’s scathing, hilarious 70-minute video takedowns of each film are hard to top. And you’ll find a defense of the prequels right here on Slate, of course.) But it’s easy to be hard on these films. One intrepid video reviewer has instead decided to look back in optimism, and ask: What if Star Wars Episode II had been good … really good? What changes could possibly have improved this massively disappointing film?

Belated Media is responsible for this amazing what-if, which refocuses the film on the bond and betrayal between Anakin and Obi-wan, rather than on the weird, stilted, forbidden romance between Anakin and Padme that wastes 40 minutes of our time with romping among space-tapirs and the like. The installment below, which premiered yesterday, is a follow-up to Belated Media’s excellent “What If Episode I Was Good?” video from last year.

It’s fun to imagine how a few simple rewrites could not only make Episode II vastly more satisfying, but actually retroactively raise the stakes and answer some questions for the original trilogy. Giving Uncle Owen a small relationship with Anakin early on or changing Naboo to Alderaan (to give us some context when it’s eventually blown up), for instance.* Belated Media’s work here is as entertaining as it is well thought out—and I, for one, would love to see a similar take on Pacific Rim, which felt like it was a five-page rewrite away from being a about a thousand times better.

I mean, couldn’t Raleigh and Mako have had ONE SCENE where they didn’t trust each other and the neural bridge fails and then ONE SCENE where they overcame a challenge together and the neural bridge finally worked? And does Hannibal Chou even have a purpose in the film?

Help me, Belated Media. You’re my only hope.

* Correction, Aug. 15: This post originally referred to Uncle Ben when it meant to say Uncle Owen. Ben is, of course, Obi-wan.