Episode II: Anakin as Scoundrel

Fixing the Prequels, Part 2 of 2

Last week we identified the problems that Anakin has: He is the Chosen One for no evident reason, he is a whiny, ungrateful tween instead of a rebel heartthrob, and he too easily falls to the Dark Side.  In this week’s installment, we follow up on our critique of why Anakin doesn’t work as the hero and make him everything we want him to be.

Never Tell Me the Odds

It is inexplicable that Anakin is “the Chosen One” and how important Qui-Gon makes the boy out to be for no good reason other than the script says so.  His proof?  Anakin’s blood test with a high “midichlorian” count (aka microscopic “Force” bacteria).

How do we correct this?  We look at what Obi-Wan tells Luke Skywalker about his father in A New Hope:

He was the best star-pilot in the galaxy and a cunning warrior.  He was a good friend.

We can follow with what George Lucas already wanted to happen, but instead of making him too old at eight, make Anakin a young man.  Instead of TELL, as Lucas does, just how impressive he is, we can SHOW how he is able to pull off amazing feats in a starship, even though he may not recognize that he’s using the Force to do it.

Rebel Without a Clue

So we have a young, hotshot pilot who needs to have a rebellious nature and be everyone’s favorite character.  Luckily, the Star Wars Universe already has one of those.  Make Anakin a rogue like Han Solo.  Everyone loves a bad boy with a heart of gold.  This makes the Jedi turning Anakin away believable also – there’s no way a grown man is going to be able to take in all the Jedi teachings on peace and serenity when he is so clearly obsessed with himself.

Give in to the Dark Side

Lastly, in order for Anakin to fall to the Dark Side – he has to actually lose someone important to him.  Not the idea or threat of losing Padme, his true love, as the movies actually play out.  He needs to be committed to the Jedi Code and that commitment is what lets his true love die.  This is the shock to Anakin’s worldview that can believably push him over the edge, turn on the Jedi, and become Darth Vader.

Final Thoughts

Instead of making Anakin Skywalker a small boy with good genetics, by making him a young, swaggering rogue and accomplished pilot like Han Solo, we can really see why he is so special when he pulls off impossible stunts.  We can understand why he has trouble, as an adult, adapting to the lifestyle of a space-monk.  Ultimately when he loses the one person in the galaxy that he truly loves thanks to his commitment to that new philosophy, we can sympathize with him and really understand just why Anakin Skywalker tragically became Darth Vader.

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